EATON — In Eaton’s only game this week, the team let a lead slowly slip away, allowing Valley View to end the game on a 21-6 run as the Eagles fell 76-67 on Friday, Jan. 15.
“I thought our kids played really hard and honestly, I told them I screwed up a lot. I should have called a timeout to stop the bleeding. I left guys in that later fouled out. I guess I just felt that, because we were playing at home, that things would go our way. I didn’t think strategically the way I should have thought,” said Eaton head coach John Tollefson. “Anytime the kids played hard and do what you ask them to do, you like to see them get rewarded.”
The Eagles played most of the game without Daniel Howard, who went out early in the game with an ankle injury before Trey Smith, another starter, went out at the beginning of the fourth quarter with his fifth and final foul.
For a large portion of the contest, Eaton held the lead, going into half up 35-32, and ending the third on an 11-2 lead to go up 55-48.
But the Spartans slowly chipped away, fulling taking advantage of Howard’s and Smith’s absences and outscoring Eaton 27-10 in the final frame.
“(We) never stopped playing. I’m always happy with the effort. Valley View did tonight what we do to a lot of teams where they fight to the bitter end, applied a lot of pressure, and made us make mistakes. I’m always proud of their effort. They’ve never let me down in that department,” said Tollefson.
Even with the big run, Valley View didn’t take the lead until a dunk with around three minutes remaining fully shifted the momentum and put the Spartans ahead 65-63.
Eaton was led by Trevor Pittman, who had 22 points in the first half and finished with 31 points and two assists. Jason Sneed ended the game with 18 points and six rebounds while Smith added nine points. Donnie Nicodemus led the team on the glass, pulling down seven total boards.
The Eagles start a four-game road trip, starting with Edgewood on Tuesday, Jan. 19. They take on Monroe on Friday, Jan. 22 at 7:15 p.m. before facing off against Oakwood on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. and then Brookville on Friday, Jan. 29 at 7:15 p.m.
Reach Jeremy at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.