EATON — Eaton’s girls basketball team picked up a pair of much needed wins last week after suffering through three straight losses by less than four points.
Eaton started fast and finished strong in a 52-32 win over visiting Brookville on Thursday, Jan. 7. Later, the Eagles had to hold off an Oakwood team who was playing its first game of the season on Saturday, Jan. 9, for a 63-52 win.
“One of the things we talk about is starting fast and finishing strong. We did both of those against Brookville,” Eaton coach Dave Honhart said. “I was very pleased with the way we got our transition game going and used our full-court press effectively to speed up the game. Brookville is a good defensive team and a good passing team and their posts present problems. We did not want this to be a half court game.”
Eaton jumped out to a 21-4 lead after the first quarter and led 28-11 at the half. Brookville closed to within 36-24 after three and was within single digits of Eaton early in the fourth quarter.
Senior Alexis Miller paced the Eagles with 15 points, three rebounds and two steals.
“I thought our players did a nice job playing their roles tonight and really complimenting each other. This was one of Alexis Miller’s most complete games of her career, as she tied her career high with 15 points by scoring in a variety of ways,” Honhart said. “Assistant Coach Maggie Neanen has been emphasizing the need to have some double figure scorers and on this night we had three. It was a good team win.”
Sophomore Lily Shepherd came off the bench to score 12 points, and added four steals and three rebounds. Sophomore Olivia Baumann had 10 points, eight rebounds and five steals.
Against Oakwood, Eaton trailed 16-9 early in the second quarter before back-to-back baskets from junior Kyla Mize got the offense rolling.
Eaton eventually took the lead for good at 20-18 and led by as many as 19 in the fourth quarter before the Jills rallied to get within three.
“This had to be a highly entertaining game to watch as a fan. Talk about a game of momentum swings. Oakwood controlled the game early and we couldn’t get any shots to drop. I thought a really important stretch came early in the second quarter, when Kyla Mize made back to back jumpers to cut their lead from seven to two. That flipped momentum for us,” Honhart said.
The next seven minutes, stretching from the second to third quarter, would be some of the best basketball the Eagles have played all season, according to Honhart.
“We had our press and transition game going and I believe we outscored them 25-5. Then Oakwood made a couple plays, righted the ship, and suddenly it seemed they couldn’t miss and when they did, we struggled to rebound their misses,” he said. “They made a great comeback, cutting a 19-point lead down to three.
Despite nearly letting a huge lead disappear, Eaton was able to hold on for its fourth win of the season.
“I was very proud of the way our players kept the poise, righted the ship and finished the game strong, by making 13 of 18 FT’s in the fourth quarter,” Honhart said.
Baumann led the Eagle with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Kidwell tossed in 10 points and had five assists and four steals. Shepherd added nine points. Miller contributed eight points. Junior Allison Mowen added seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.
“As far as individual players, you have to start with Olivia Baumann, who had a career high of 18,” Honhart said. “She is becoming more confident driving the ball and taking perimeter jumpers which compliments her post game. Lily Shepherd made some big plays in the fourth quarter, with a beautiful assist to Baumann, a clutch mid-range jumper when Oakwood had cut it to three, and then a late contested layup to put the game out of reach.”
For Eaton, now 4-6 overall and 3-3 in the SWBL Southwestern Division, a busy stretch awaits. The Eagles are scheduled to play eight games over the next 17 days including three this week.
They were scheduled to host Monroe on Monday, Jan. 11 and will travel to Monroe on Saturday, Jan. 16. In between, Eaton will visit Middletown Madison on Thursday, Jan. 14. Next week, Eaton will host a trio of games with Ross, Bellbrook and Franklin.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 or follow on Twitter @emowenjr