MONROE — Eaton’s boys’ basketball team nearly snapped its losing streak on Friday (Jan. 19) at Monroe, but the Hornets scored the game-winning basket with two seconds left to hand the Eagles a 39-37 setback.
“We had several players play well, but I was most pleased with our team defensive effort. Monroe has some really good players, with Tristan Backas leading the way and it took a total team effort defensively to hold them to 39 points,” Eaton coach Alex Prater said.
Eaton was led in scoring by junior Owen Baumann with 13 points. Senior Aaron Tolliver added 10.
The Eagles shot just 36.7 percent (11-for-30) for the game.
“We unfortunately could not make enough plays on the offensive end of the floor to get the win, but I was really proud of our kids’ efforts,” Prater said.
Eaton trailed 8-7 after the opening quarter but rallied to take the lead at halftime, 24-20. The Hornets outscored Eaton 14-8 in the third quarter and both teams scored just five points in the final quarter.
Eaton (1-14, 0-6 SWBL) has now lost 13 straight since beating Dixie 59-44 on Dec. 2.
”We have obviously struggled in terms of results, but our process continues to improve. We are really putting a focus on establishing our identity as a program and that starts on the defensive end,” Prater said. “We felt the last couple of weeks we got away from who we are and it was really important for us coming into this game to have the effort and intensity on the defensive end necessary for us to be successful. I thought we did that, but came up a little short on the other end of the floor.”
Prater said the team will continue to work hard in preparation for the final seven games of the season.
“We will get back to work and continue to address our deficiencies. A major key for our program going forward is toughness. Establishing mental toughness in order to play with physical toughness has been our focus and we are starting to take strides in the right direction,” he said. “It’s a process and our kids are working really hard to improve.”
Eaton opened the week with an 80-36 loss at home to Tippecanoe on Tuesday, Jan. 16. The Red Devils shot nearly 70 percent (34-for-49) from the field, while the Eagles struggled, making just 25.5 percent (12-of-47) of their shots
Eaton fell behind 22-5 after the first quarter and never recovered. The Eagles trailed 41-17 at the half and 57-30 after three quarters.
Junior Isaac Manning scored a team-high 10 points. Baumann added nine and senior Grant Sullender chipped in seven.
The Eagles were scheduled to play at Oakwood on Tuesday, Jan. 23 and will travel to Brookville on Friday.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH