NEW MADISON — The Eaton boys basketball squad made it to the finals of the Tri-Village Holiday Tournament, ousting Greenon 81-50 before falling to Tri-Village 75-46 on Tuesday, Dec. 29.
After a frustrating 0-6 start, the Eagles have won three out of their last five match-ups.
“I’m really excited, I’m really proud of them. I can’t wait until we get back out on the court again and get rolling,” said Eaton head coach John Tollefson. “We’ve been talking about how we have shown little spurts where we kind of start. We’ve made the comparison that we are a chainsaw trying to start in the cold weather. It won’t fire, it won’t fire, and (against Greenon) it fired.”
Eaton then turned its sights to the defending Division IV state champions in Tri-Village in the finals. The Patriots also sport former Eaton player Trace Couch on their roster.
“I think we were really excited for this game. We’ve finally just started playing well. I think that some excitement, some nerves, played into that,” said Tollefson.
The Eagles committed 22 turnovers in the game, including 12 in the first half, while shooting 29.5 percent from the floor.
Tri-Village jumped out to a huge 16-4 lead in the first quarter before Eaton could get anything going offensively.
They were able to battle back and forth for much of the second period though, ending the quarter only being outscored 14-13.
Out of the break is when Tri-Village took off, outscoring Eaton 25-9 in the third, including a 20-2 run to close out the quarter and push their lead to 59-30.
“In order to get back in the game, I rolled the dice a few times and we tried to run and jump. Whenever you take risk it’s high risk and high reward,” said Tollefson. “We missed on a lot of them and that was largely my fault. I was just trying to get us back in.”
The fourth was just back and forth for a large portion as the game was steadily in the Patriots hands.
There was a slight air of frustration afterwards however, as Eaton felt the game was not called as evenly as it could have been.
“Lots of credit to Tri-Village, they are well coaches, good players, but I felt like for whatever reason we just didn’t get calls tonight. That was frustrating. It’s hard to coach the kids up when you don’t know what they’re going to call a foul, what they’re going to let go,” said Tollefson. “I feel good from the standpoint of we didn’t give up and we played until the very end. We have a lot of good things to come. I’m feeling good where we are at right now.”
Leading the charge of Eaton was Daniel Howard, who had 19 points, nine rebounds, three steals, and a block on the night. He was helped by Trey Smith who chipped in six points, including going 2-3 from the three-point line.
Both teams were awarded All-Tournament team afterwards.
Ronnie Lindsey also added six points for Eaton while Tyler Springmier and Donnie Nicodemus pulled down six rebounds apiece.
Couch was the high point man for Tri-Village, posting 23 points against his former team.
Against Greenon, Eaton jumped out to a huge lead, outscoring the Knights 24-11 in the first and entering halftime with a 37-19 lead. They were able to shoot over 50 percent from the floor and 31.6 percent from three range.
During that game, Eaton was led by Smith who had 21 points and three steals while both Howard and Trevor Pittman added 10 points apiece.
The Eagles were scheduled to host Bellbrook on Tuesday, Jan. 5 and will host Brookville on Friday, Jan. 8 at 7:15 p.m. before taking on Greenville at home on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 7:15 p.m. as well.