GREENVILLE — The Eaton girls’ basketball team travelled to Greenville to play in the Annie Oakley Shootout hosted by Greenville High School and including Graham and Versailles. The Lady Eagles split a pair of games on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 25-26, to open the 2016-17 season.
Versailles came away as the tournament champions, defeating Greenville in the final game. Eaton lost to Greenville on Friday, but bounced back with a win over Graham on Saturday.
“On Friday, our season got off to a start against a much-improved Greenville team,” Eaton coach Dave Honhart said. “We battled, but fell, 57-40. Last year when we scrimmaged them, we knew they had a lot of talent coming through their system and when we scouted their final scrimmage this confirmed how much their program has grown.”
Eaton got off to a good start as Bailee Worley hit a three-pointer on the Lady Eagles’ first possession. The game remained close throughout the first quarter and was tied 11-11 as the quarter wound down.
A Greenville three-pointer at the buzzer ended the first quarter and started a 15-2 run by the Lady Green Wave. The first period ended at 14-11, but Greenville opened the second quarter with a 6-0 run, taking advantage of several Eaton turnovers caused by Greenville’s full-court pressure defense.
“They were able to frustrate us with their press and on offense they were able to drive middle when we were trying to take it away, which is a credit to Greenville.” Honhart explained. “They also got good shots Karsyn Shaffer who wound up with 24 points. In the second half, we got a little frustrated on defense and committed fouls instead of moving our feet.”
Mowen ended the run with a field goal, but the Lady Eagles found themselves down 26-13, their largest deficit of the first half.
Eaton came back with a run of their own after a timeout. Worley led the charge with seven points, sparking a 9-0 run. The stretch got Eaton back in the game trailing 26-22. The half ended with Greenville up six, 30-24.
“I was proud of the way that our girls battled. In the first quarter we fought back to tie after trailing by 4 and in the second quarter we cut an 11-point lead down to four.” Honhart added.
Greenville opened the second half with a 6-1 run to stretch their lead to 36-25 and force Eaton to take a timeout. The Lady Green Wave spent the final minutes of the third quarter at the free throw line, hitting 6 of 8 free throws and expanding their lead to 45-30 by the end of the period.
Eaton was unable to make up any ground in the final quarter and suffered a 57-40 loss.
“I thought our players played hard and, considering how inexperienced we are, we were forced to grow up a little bit by facing a team that is at the level of teams that we eventually want to be able to beat.
“While lots of players did good things, I was especially impressed with the poise and productivity Bailee Worley showed by scoring 15 points and playing effectively at both ends.
“Though she might not have had a ton of stats we also played well with Megan Lipps on the floor — which is a credit to the little things that she does at both ends that help us have success. Lipps did come up with five rebounds and Becca Mowen led us with seven boards.” Mowen also added nine points and Ashlynn Black added five points off of the bench.
“Overall, it was a good ‘jump into the frying’ pan experience for our young team.”
On Saturday, Eaton faced Graham in the first of two games that evening. Graham was defeated on Friday by Versailles.
“I thought our players did a tremendous job of showing resiliency by coming up with a 48-33 win.” Honhart said. “At our morning shoot-around we focused on three areas we needed to improve upon and we saw significant improvement in all of those areas in our game that evening.”
Eaton jumped out to an early lead and finished the first quarter up 19-8. By halftime, the lead was extended to 31-14 as Eaton took control of the game. Overall, the Lady Eagles held Graham to 10 points or less in all four quarters, while scoring in double-figures in all but the final period.
“We used our depth and every player on our team contributed. It was a nice team win. At the top of our priorities is teamwork. Our players totally bought into that idea in this game. We also did a really nice job of executing the game plan and points of emphasis against Graham that we discussed.
“We did a great job of pressuring on defense and coming up with lots of hustle plays. In basketball you’re going to make plenty of mistakes – that’s the nature of the game. Hustle plays can overcome many of those mistakes and we embraced that attitude on Saturday.
“We overcame their size differential and we held Kari Sollenberger — who we felt was their best player — to 11 points. Every time Graham started to make a little run we responded with a key bucket or stop.”
“Our scoring was very balanced, with Bailee Worley and Emily Dungan both totalling 10 points, and Becca Mowen and Annika Gels chipping in nine each. Anna Black had two three-pointers in the first quarter to help us build an early-double digit lead.”
Eaton will kick off their Southwestern Buckeye League schedule with a tough matchup against Bellbrook on Thursday, Dec. 1. Bellbrook is coming off of a 26-1 season and was undefeated in SWBL play last year. Eaton will travel to Monroe on Saturday, Dec. 3.