EATON — The Eaton girls’ varsity basketball team split a pair of games this week. The Lady Eagles are now 2-4 on the season, 1-1 in the Southwestern Buckeye League.
“This week we continued to improve and split a pair of 8-point games,” coach Dave Honhart said.
Eaton lost at Talawanda, 45-37, on Thursday, Dec. 8, and then bounced back with a win over Oakwood at home, 46-38, on Saturday.
“Talawanda is a very good team, but they don’t go as deep as we do and we tried to use that to our advantage.” Honhart added. “In the game, we hit a long dry spell where we struggled to score and we got a little bit frustrated, which led to a few times where we let up on defense. We fell behind by as many as 16 points late in the third quarter, before our pressure and transition game started wearing them down.”
Eaton had cut the lead to eight midway through the fourth quarter and picked up momentum before two players had to leave the game due to injury and fouls, according to Honhart. “Even so, we managed to trade buckets from there on out. I’d have liked to have seen what would have happened if we’d been able to keep that group on the floor, because they were playing well together.
“While frustratating to lose, we knew Talawanda was a good team and we showed toughness in fighting back late for the second straight game,” he said.
Annika Gels led Eaton in scoring with 10 and Becca Mowen had nine rebounds and three assists.
“Against Oakwood, we won a ‘gut-check game.’” Honhart said. “It was a total team win. Going in, we felt this was a very even matchup.”
Eaton jumped out to an early 13-2 lead, according to Honhart. Mowen got the game started with a three-pointer with Emily Dungan, Megan Lipps, and Kurstin Frost all hitting jump-shots to help build the lead.
“We then went cold and Oakwood found their stride. We struggled with Lauren Hapgood in the first half, as the Lumber Jills built a 27-21 halftime lead,” Honhart said.
“We made a defensive adjustment at halftime, which our players executed perfectly in the second half. We pulled to within one by the end of the third quarter at 29-28 and slowly built a lead in the fourth quarter.
“A key stretch came with just under four minutes to go. We were up 35-31, when over the course of about 90 seconds, Bailee Worley drained a three-point shot out of an out of bounds play, then Annika Gels hit a 17-foot jumper, followed by Ashlynn Black draining a transition three-pointer,” he added.
It was Black’s fifth three of the game, giving her 15 points on the afternoon.
“Appropriately Worley assisted on the shot, as she did an awesome job quarterbacking our team, especially in the second half, on a day when she wasn’t feeling top-notch,” Honhart said. “Black’s shot pushed the lead up to nine points. Worley and Frost hit free throws from there to ice the game.”
“The story of the game was our team defense and rebounding in the second half,” Honhart said. “They were phenomenal. I was also very impressed with our poise. We know we will hit some dry spells, scoring-wise, as we are still young and fairly inexperienced.
“We talked at that morning’s shoot around, that when we hit a dry spell offensively, we need to pull together as a team and dig in on defense and move more on offense, rather than getting frustrated. On Saturday, that’s exactly what we did and it paid off for us.”
The Lady Eagles were scheduled to host Tri-County North on Monday, Dec. 12, and then travel to Brookville on Thursday.
“We look forward to continuing to improve and grow as a team — on and off the floor,” Honhart said.