EATON — Eaton varsity boys’ basketball coach Denny Shepherd continues to be encouraged with the play of his squad and their effort. The Eagles played well early in both of their games this past weekend, but could not come away with wins.
Eaton jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first half of its game against Bellbrook on Friday, Jan. 4. They took the lead early behind a strong offensive performance from Isaac Manning (12 points in the first quarter) and good team defense.
“We started off very well with our defense and being aggressive on offense,” Shepherd said. “We built a 12-point lead with some very good shooting by Manning and (Dylan) Jackson.”
Bellbrook came back with a 10-0 run in the third quarter to pull within two points. The game stayed close in the fourth period, with Bellbrook pulling out a 52-48 win.
“They (Belbrook) knocked down a big three with a minute to go and we couldn’t get the lead again.” Shepherd explained.
Manning finished with a team-high 14 points. Hunter Frost added 10 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Jackson contributed with nine. Owen Baumann tossed in seven and James Howard chipped in with six points and six rebounds.
Saturday’s game against Ross went much the same way, according to Shepherd. Eaton held a 15-10 lead at the end of the first quarter and the game stayed close until the final period. Ross was able to take control in the fourth, outscoring Eaton 17-7 to take a 52-42 win.
“Again, we get off to a good start with defense and shooting. The boys fought hard, but some key turnovers to start the fourth quarter put us in a hole that we couldn’t overcome. Ross did a nice job hitting free throws in the fourth and their size and rebounding didn’t allow us to get any second shots,” Shepherd said.
“The boys are playing hard and doing a lot of nice things. We need to be more consistent on the defense of end and wins will come. Both games this weekend could have been victories with two or three possessions going our way We are close!”
Howard led the Eagles with 12 points and four assists. Jackson added eight points and six rebounds. Manning and Frost each scored seven, while Travis Pittman contributed six points and five rebounds.
Eaton is 3-8 overall on the season, 1-3 in the Southwestern Buckeye League. They will stay in the SWBL for their next five games, starting with a scheduled game at Valley View on Tuesday, Jan. 8. They will round out next week at home against Franklin on Friday, and then face Brookville, Oakwood and Monroe over the next two weeks.