EATON — Eaton boys’ basketball coach Alex Prater knew he needed someone to step up offensively going into a pair of games this past week, with senior and leading scorer Grant Sullender sidelined with an injury. He got that in the form of junior guard James Howard, but the Eagles were unable to come away with wins.
The Eagles dropped the first game of the week on Monday, Jan. 29, at home against Valley View. Eaton led throughout the first three quarters, but was outscored 31-18 in the final period, suffering a 70-68 loss.
“James Howard stepped up and scored 25 points with our leading scorer (Grant Sullender) out due to injury,” Prater said.
“Unfortunately, we committed way too many turnovers against Valley View’s pressure in the second half and it cost us a victory. Give credit to Valley View for continuing to play hard and forcing the issue, but we have to be able to play better in those situations.
“When you look at the final score, it looks like we played horrible defense, which we could have been better at that end of the floor, but there is simply no good defense for live-ball turnovers. Many of our turnovers in the second half were live-ball and that really allowed Valley View to get back in the game and ultimately get the victory.”
On the following night, Eaton hosted Arcanum in a non-SWBL matchup. Eaton, again, struggled offensively and dropped a 54-39 contest.
Both teams struggled to put points on the scoreboard early in the game as the first quarter ended, 9-7. Arcanum got their offense on track midway through the second quarter and took a 24-14 lead into halftime.
Eaton played the Trojans even in the second half, but could not make up the deficit.
James Howard led the squad again with 14 points.
“We were never able to establish any rhythm as a team offensively,” Prater explained. “We struggled from the floor shooting under 30 percent for the game.”
Eaton (1-18, 0-9 SWBL) was scheduled to take on Valley View again on Tuesday, Feb. 6, this time on the road. They will then host Franklin on Friday. They will close out the regular season on the following Friday hosting Bellbrook.