OAKWOOD — The Eaton Lady Eagles picked up a key conference victory on the road on Saturday, Dec. 12, when the team defeated Oakwood by a score of 48-37.
Paige Whitesell had her best career game as a varsity point guard, according to head coach Dave Honhart, as she went for 21 points on 7-16 shooting — including 4-8 from three point territory.
Honhart credited the senior with “running the team” during a game in which the Eagles were shorthanded because of injuries and illness.
The Eagles used a triangle and two defense to help slow down Oakwood’s two best players, Courtney Eggleston and Lauren Turner.
The pair combined to shoot 4-28 from the field, scoring just 16 points on 28 shot attempts. Half the duo’s combined points came from the free throw line in the game.
While Whitesell and Sydney Lamberson drew the man-to-man assignment in locking down the Jill’s top two players, Honhart gave credit to three other players for playing a zone they had little practice in.
Paige Worley, Madi Bowman and Brittany George created the trifecta, holding down the middle of the paint for the majority of the game and Honhart said they were key in the team’s defensive effort.
He credited the three players for consistently forcing contested jump shots from Oakwood’s other players throughout the game.
As a team, the Jill’s shot just 22 percent, going 13-59 from the field.
Four Eagles scored in the contest, with Lamberson scoring 13, getting six rebounds and adding four assists.
Julia Titus recorded another double-double despite playing limited minutes due to illness. She scored 11 points and secured 12 rebounds. Worley added three points when she hit a three point field goal.
The week started on positive note when the team defeated Tri-County North, 61-31, on Monday, Dec. 7.
Honhart said the Panthers did a good job playing his team tough from the start, but according to him his team found a different level of intensity in the second and third quarters.
The Eagles had a six-point led after the first quarter before a 25-9 second quarter gave them a 35-13 lead at halftime.
A large part in the turnaround was the play of Titus, according to Honhart, who described his senior as a “beast.”
“She was the player we challenged her to be at the beginning of the year, tonight,” he said.
Titus scored 25 points on just 13 shots in three quarters of play. She also added seven rebounds. Lamberson was the only other Eagle in double figures, scoring 13.
On Wednesday, Dec. 9, the team saw a fourth quarter lead slip through its hands when Talawanda used a 10-2 fourth quarter advantage to hang on to a three point victory.
“That was a good team with good players,” Honhart said afterward. “They challenged our players and we stepped up. We took a positive step tonight in competing with tougher teams.”
The game has turned into a bit of rivalry according to Honhart, as the teams have played three times in the past three seasons with each game being decided by one possession.
The past two seasons each team earned a one point victory on their opponent’s home court.
Titus again received praise from the coach, who said she was dominant in the first half and was a big reason why Eaton held a 26-22 halftime lead.
Titus scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the game.
At the end, the Eagles had a chance to win when Lamberson got an open three, but it didn’t fall and the Eagles ultimately landed short.
The stretch of games was the middle portion of eight games in 17 days for the Eagles who end the stretch by visiting National Trail on Monday, Dec. 14. They host Brookville on Thursday, Dec. 17, and travel to Ross on Saturday, Dec. 19.
The Eagles are now 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the SWBL.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062, or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.