BELLBROOK — Dave Honhart saw both the good and bad from his team in a key early-season SWBL Southwestern Division match-up last week.
Eaton battled league heavyweight Bellbrook tough for a good portion of the game, but ultimately the hosting Golden Eagles got the best of Fighting Eagles.
Bellbrook used an 8-0 run to begin the second half to gain the advantage and eventually pull away for a 62-48 win over Eaton on Thursday, Dec. 10.
“The Bellbrook game was a mixed bag,” Honhart said. “We had some really nice moments that showed us what we are capable of, and it exposed some areas of weaknesses that we have to get better at.”
Eaton showed glimpses of being able to challenge one of the top teams in the SWBL, but also hurt itself with turnovers and defensive breakdowns.
“I was really proud of the way that we repeatedly battled back,” Honhart said. “We shared the ball well, having assists on all 16 made baskets, with many of them being plays where one person created for another, or had already seen their teammate and knew where she was going with the ball when she caught it.”
For the game, Eaton shot 41 percent overall and 50 percent (9-for-18) from 3-point range.
“We shot the ball well, with an effective shooting percentage of 55 percent, while holding Bellbrook to 41 percent EFG (Effective Field Goal Percentage which counts 3 pointers as 1.5 made shots since they are worth an extra point.) We also did a really good job executing in the first half as we held Bellbrook to 19 points and held their two best players [Bailey Zerby and Dreann Pryce] to 2 points combined.”
Junior Anna Kramer scored a career-high 13 points to lead Eaton, while senior Kylee Kidwell turned in a solid offensive performance with 11 points, with eight coming in the fourth quarter.
“It was nice to see Kylee Kidwell and Anna Kramer have strong scoring games. I thought they both played within themselves and showed what they are capable of,” Honhart said.
For Eaton, it was game of playing from behind.
Trailing 6-5 after the first quarter, Eaton fell behind 19-11 with just over two minutes remaining in the second quarter, and that’s when Kramer got hot.
She scored eight straight points, including a pair of 3-pointers to help Eaton pull even (19-19) at the break.
Bellbrook opened the second half with five straight made shots and opened a 40-31 lead after three quarters with Zerby scoring nine of her game-high 20 points in the quarter.
In the fourth, Eaton fell behind by as many as 16 points (50-34) with just over five minutes to play in the game.
A basket by senior Alexis Miller made it a 50-36 game and started a 13-2 run for Eaton over the next two minutes to make it a 52-47 game with 3:01 left.
Kidwell played a key role in the comeback, scoring eight straight after Eaton trailed 52-39.
Bellbrook, though, closed out the game on with a 10-1 run, as Eaton committed five turnovers on its last six possessions, to secure the win.
For the game, Eaton committed 24 turnovers.
“Bellbrook is known for pressure and Thursday was no different,” Honhart said. “While point guard Allison Mowen shined against the pressure, having almost twice as many assists (7) as turnovers (4), as a team, we turned the ball over on 37 percent of our possessions. We want that number to be 20 percent or lower.”
Honhart said his team also struggled rebounding against the taller hosts.
“We got dominated on the boards, coming up with only 55 percent of our defensive rebound chances and 25 percent of our offensive opportunities,” he said. “We want those numbers to be 70 percent and 40 percent, respectively.”
Zerby (20 points) and Pryce (11 points) combined for 29 of their 31 points in the second half.
In addition to her 13 points, Kramer also had two rebounds and two assists. Kidwell finished with two rebounds and two assists. Miller finished with eight points and four rebounds.
Mowen, a junior, contributed seven points, seven assists, three rebounds and two steals. Sophomore Olivia Baumann collected a game-high 10 rebounds and added five points. Senior Kylee Pitsinger tossed in four points and had three rebounds and two assists.
“Olivia Baumann continues to be one of the best rebounders in the league, corralling double-figure rebounds for the second straight game,” Honhart said.
Despite the loss, Honhart feels his team can learn from its mistakes.
“The good thing is that almost every one of our weaknesses is can be significantly improved with better technique, and it’s our job as coaches to teach and help our players improve technique,” he said. “The things that are harder to teach, and more instinctive, like being able to create for one another, being able to knock down shots, and having a flat-out willingness to complete are all things we did well against the first-place team in the league. This continues to be a fun team to coach that is eager to learn and dedicated to improving every day.”
Eaton (2-3, 1-2 SWBL) was scheduled to host National Trail on Monday, Dec. 14, and is scheduled to play at Franklin on Saturday, Dec. 19.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 or follow on Twitter @emowenjr