MONROE —The Eaton Eagles girls’ basketball team picked up its first conference win of the season when the team defeated Monroe on Saturday, Dec. 5, 41-33.
Julia Titus led a balanced Eagle offensive night by scoring 10 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out four assists in the game.
Sidney Lamberson scored nine points and was a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line, including key makes in the final minute of the game.
Honhart also highlighted the defensive play of point guard Paige Whitesell who was challenged with guarding Monroe’s best player, Katie Sloneker.
She also added seven points and five rebounds and Madi Bowman secured 10 rebounds in the victory.
The Eagles grabbed an early lead when Lamberson scored the game’s opening points and the Eagles led for the remainder of the half, taking a 24-13 halftime lead.
Long scoring droughts plagued the Eagles throughout the week and the victory against Monroe was no different. The third quarter passed with the Eagles only scoring two points and both were from the free throw line.
Honhart spoke about his team’s struggles during long stretches on offense: “We are right now an average shooting team at best and Monroe did a good job of packing the paint and encouraging the outside shot.” Honhart said. “We kept taking open threes but when you’re struggling to score, you need to attack the rim and get to the free throw line then go back to the open three point shot. We’re just not attacking the rim enough at times.”
The coach was happy his team stuck through the long drought to pick up the win. “We survived the long scoring drought by playing defense and sticking together.”
Honhart gave senior Brittany George credit in helping through the drought, saying the senior has become the communicative leader of the team.
The team got back on track when Bailey Worley hit a three to put the Eagles up 29-24 with just 4:44 minutes to play.
Sloneker answered, but Lamberson finished an and-one after an offensive rebound on the next possession and the Eagles were up 32-26.
The Eagles stepped up to the free throw line when it mattered most and kept Monroe at bay the reminder of the game to hold on to an important victory.
“Saturday we just needed to get a ‘w’ and get going back in the right direction,” Honhart said. “Monroe is certainly improved from the past but we did a good job of guarding their two best players.”
On Thursday, Dec. 3, the team traveled to Bellbrook and was defeated by a score of 41-19.
“First of all, Bellbrook is very good — they are program you can count on to be extremely good,” Honhart said of his opponent. “Coming off a down year it’s very clear they went to work in the off-season and decided to pay the price to get back to where they wanted to be, so give them credit for that.”
Once again scoring and turnovers were problems for the Eagles. The team shot just 6-38 for the game and turned the ball over 27 times. After the first quarter the Eagles were down 12-4, and were never able to get back into the game.
“We played very good defense for the first 10 or 12 minutes,” Honhart said, noting the offensive struggles took their toll defensively. “Eventually our struggles on offense hurt our competitive stamina so we have to get better at playing for 32 minutes whether shots are dropping or not.”
Titus scored nine points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the only Eagle to score more than three points in the game.
“We took steps in right direction against Monroe to correct those issues from Bellbrook,” Honhart said, adding, “We took better care of the ball, we simply focused better. Turnovers are sometime a matter of skill, and if you want to play guard in this league you have to dedicate to honing your skills in the off-season.”
The Eagles (2-3, 1-2) were back in action on Monday, Dec. 7, when they hosted Tri-County North before hosting Talawanda on Wednesday, Dec. 9. The week ends with a trip to Oakwood on Saturday, Dec. 12.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH