EATON – Eaton’s boys basketball team had four chances in the final 20 seconds to either tie or take the lead in its regular season finale against visiting Talawanda, but each time the ball never found its way into the net.
As a result, the Eagles suffered a 55-52 setback on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
“We’ve got to knock down shots,” Eaton coach Denny Shepherd said moments after his team suffered its sixth straight loss. “We did in the first half and in the second half we struggled. Defensively, I thought the effort was still there and it gave us a chance.”
Eaton held a 17-15 lead after the first quarter and was up 30-26 at the half.
The Brave opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run to take a 33-30 lead with 6:32 to play and led a 45-42 after three.
In the fourth, Eaton trailed 52-46 with just under three minutes to play before rallying to get within 54-52 with 43 seconds left.
Eaton missed a driving layup with just under 20 seconds left, but got the offensive rebound and kicked the ball out for the potential go-ahead three, which came up short. Talawanda got the rebound but Eaton forced a jump ball with 11 seconds left to regain possession.
Eaton then missed another driving layup and was forced to foul with under five seconds left.
The Brave made one of two free throws with 3.3 seconds left to take a 55-52 lead. Eaton grabbed the rebound of the missed shot and threw a long pass to Trevor Long who made a nice play just to catch the ball. His three from about 25 feet bounced off the rim as time expired.
The Eagles were led by junior Travis Pittman’s 13 points and three rebounds.
Long added 11 points and six assists.
Senior Hunter Frost scored nine points and added six rebounds, sis steals and six assists in his final home game. Senior Dylan Jackson added five points and three assists.
Junior Cameron Lewis came off the bench to score nine points.
“Ultimately, it was a game we could have and should have won,” Shepherd said.
Eaton (6-16) will open sectional tournament play on Tuesday, Feb. 25 against either Waynesville or Dunbar. The game will be played at Kettering Fairmont’s Trent Arena beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or follow on Twitter @emowen_RH