EATON — Eaton boys basketball is still searching for its first victory on the season, losing 74-73 in overtime to Talawanda early in the week before dropping a 65-60 match-up with Bellbrook on Friday.
In their game against Talawanda on Tuesday, Dec. 8, the Eagles held the lead for a large portion of the contest, taking a 27-23 lead into halftime and a 38-31 lead into the final quarter.
But Talawanda was able to shoot the long ball well during the final quarter, outscoring Eaton by seven to push the game into overtime.
“I was pretty happy with the way we are playing. We allowed some three point shooters to get open late in the game. When we closed out, we didn’t have a high hand. We’ve bought so much into getting help that we have not compensated for the scouting report when – you can’t commit all the way to the help side ball when you are closing out on a very good shooter with a quick release,” said Eaton head coach John Tollefson.
Eaton eventually lost the game by one point, and was unable to close out when it mattered.
“I don’t want to say we panic, but we lose sight of the goal or the things we have to do in certain situations,” said Tollefson. “Late in the game, we had opportunities. Learning to win is a tough thing. We need to learn that the possession is sometimes worth more than the points.”
The Eagles were led in scoring by Trevor Pittman, who put up 31 points and nine rebounds on the day. He also had two steals and two blocks. Daniel Howard helped out with 10 points, 16 rebounds, five steals, and one block while Trey Smith had 15 points.
Against Bellbrook on Friday, Dec. 11, Eaton found itself in a similar situation late in the game.
But that was after the Eagles crawled back after trailing by as many as 13 in the first quarter. They worked their way back into the game and went into halftime down by five.
“We were not very focused,” said Tollefson. “We came out in the second half and took the lead and it was a similar story to Talawanda, we went to close the game out. We made some poor decisions. Maybe as a coaching staff, we need to call some timeouts maybe in those situations to calm them down earlier.”
Against Bellbrook, Eaton had an outstanding game from freshman Jason Sneed, who went 2-5 from three-point range and posted 20 points on the night. Smith chipped in 14 points while Howard added seven points and nine rebounds.
“Once we get that win, things are going to slow down in their heads and good things are going to come,” said Tollefson. “We have to learn how to win. There are situations where we’ve had the lead and tried to close out and protect the ball, run some clock. We panic and turn the ball over late a couple times. It’s a process. The goal is to be ready for the tournament. I mean, you always want to win, but I like the direction we are going in.”
Eaton was scheduled to take on Monroe on Tuesday, Dec. 15 and will host Oakwood on Friday, Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m. before heading to Ross on Saturday, Dec. 19 for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
Jeremy can be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.