CAMDEN — Eaton senior Bailey Shepherd scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter to help the Eagles rally for a 52-47 win over Preble Shawnee on Thursday, Feb. 6.
Two days later, Shepherd earned a career milestone as she scored 25 points to eclipse the 1,000 career-point mark in the Eagles 54-41 win over Bradford.
“This is one of the gutsiest wins we’ve had this year,” Eaton coach Dave Honhart said of the Shawnee win. “It was Preble’s Senior Night and that can often create a weird vibe for the opposing team, and extra motivation for the home team. For much of the first 20 minutes, their defense gave us fits and they knocked down contested shots, especially Kendra Worley, who hit three three-pointers.”
Worley finished with a career-high 16 points to lead the Arrows.
“I had to get on our players a little bit at halftime to implore them to take better care of the ball and get the shots that we wanted, not the ones that Shawnee wanted to give us. The game started to flip midway through the third quarter, after we fell behind 30-22.,” Honhart said. ‘Two plays really stood out to me: Rilee Worley attacked the basket with strength and aggressiveness, got the to the line and made both free throws. A couple of possessions later, as we were using our press to fight back, Shawnee appeared to have beaten it, when Kylee Kidwell sprinted from behind to get a crucial steal.”
Honhart said it was Shepherd, who had struggled to score the first three quarters, who provided a spark over the final eight minutes.
“In the break between the third and fourth quarters, (she) asked if she could speak to the team. At the time, Bailey was struggling on the floor, having scored only four points and none since the first quarter. What she said was simple: That we were absolutely not losing this game. But the way she delivered it was powerful,” Honhart said. “Then she went out and backed it up by scoring 14 of our 26 fourth quarter points in the comeback win.”
Honhart said sophomore Mara Posey also had a huge game hitting four three-pointers, including the go ahead shot with 3:15 to go.
Eaton trailed 38-35 when Allison Mowen connected on a three to tie the game. Moments later it was Posey who gave the Eagles a 41-38 lead. Shepherd followed with a three of her own to cap a 9-0 run in just over a minute for a 44-38 lead.
The Arrows never got closer than four the rest of the way.
“While it wasn’t the prettiest win, in those last 12 minutes I felt we got our fight and mojo back that had been missing for a few weeks. As coaches, we challenged our players to carry that over into the Bradford game and they did,” Honhart said.
Posey finished with 12 points, three rebounds and three steals.
Allison Mowen added seven points, six assists and six rebounds. Lexi Miller contributed six points.
Shawnee coach Kevin Schaeffer was frustrated by his team’s inability to locate Eaton’s shooters in the second half.
“It’s not a physical effort. They work hard. Sometimes I think it’s mental fatigue,” he said. “Like I said, those things we did well in the first half, identifying the shooter, getting a hand in their face not letting them get a free look and in the second half we just didn’t do it. That’s kind of the story of what we’ve done all year. Now granted, I think we played a little more complete.”
Schaeffer said he was happy to see Kendra Worley have a career night on Senior Night.
“If any kid deserves that, it’s her,” he said.
Going into the Bradford game, Shepherd needed 23 points to hit the coveted 1,000 point mark.
She got off to a hot start, scoring 13 of the Eagles 17 first-quarter points.
Midway through the fourth quarter Shepherd scored her milestone basket on a fast break layup to give her team a 39-23 lead.
“You could not ask for a more perfect Senior Day. I want to give a big shout out to our underclassmen and their parents, along with the folks in our athletic department for all their hard work to continue our tradition of holding a first-class Senior Day,” Honhart said. “As for the game and the day, it could not have gone any better. Bradford is a very good three-point shooting team, and they have a very skilled, difficult player to guard in Austy Miller. We were dedicated to face-guarding her and making her work very hard to earn her points and trying to take the three-point shot away from them as a team. Ashley Earley and Kylee Kidwell did a great job on Miller, and the rest of our team did a great job of running them off the three line – we limited them to one made three point shot and only 11 attempts! For those in the stands, it was probably tough to recognize that Bradford’s go to shot is the three, as we simply shut that down.”
Honhart was pleased with his team’s offensive performance.
“On offense, everyone scored and contributed, and Bailey Shepherd got out to a fast start, scoring 13 points in the first quarter. Midway through the third quarter, Bailey scored her 1,000th point, appropriately coming on a transition rim-run, with Ali Mowen throwing the deep pass for the assist,” he said. “Winning this game was a total team effort, and all three seniors (Ashley Earley, Bailey Shepherd and Rilee Worley) had multiple nice moments. It is always the goal on Senior Day to be able to pull the seniors out at the end of a win and allow them to get a final ovation on their home court, as it creates such a special moment that all of us will remember for ever, so I was glad we were able to do that.”
Shepherd finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. Worley added six points, seven rebounds and a pair of steals.
Olivia Baumann added eight rebounds, while Mowen contributed a team-high six assists and had four rebounds. Kylee Kidwell chipped in five points.
Eaton began the week with a 60-51 setback to Carlisle.
Shepherd paced the Eagles with 16 points and seven rebounds. Baumann tossed in 10 points to go with three rebounds and three steals. Earley added nine points and nine rebounds. Posey knocked down a trio of 3-pointers to finish with nine points. Mowen had five assists and five rebounds.
Eaton (17-5) is scheduled to begin sectional play on Thursday, Feb. 13 against Urbana at Tecumseh High School. The game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
Shawnee (9-13) will open tournament play on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 4 p.m. against Carlisle at Northridge High School.