EATON — Both Dave Honhart and Kevin Schaeffer, Eaton and Preble Shawnee’s girls basketball coaches, agreed that neither team played anywhere close to their best game of the season when the two county teams met last week.
For Honhart, though, his Eagles overcame a 24-turnover performance to outlast the visiting Arrows, 53-47, in overtime, on Thursday, Jan. 28.
The Eagles built a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter and then had to rally late to force overtime as the Arrows couldn’t take advantage of Eaton’s miscues.
Shawnee shot just 24 percent (17-of-71) from the field while Eaton connected on 31 percent (15-of-48) of its shot attempts.
The Eagles did hold two statistical advantages, out-rebounding the Arrows 54-34 and making 17-of-30 free throws. Shawnee was just 7-of-17 from the line.
”While it wasn’t our prettiest effort of the season, it was one of our gutsiest wins,” Honhart said. “After seeing a nine-point lead with five minutes to go become a four-point deficit with 1:30 to go I thought it took a lot of mental toughness to fight our way back into overtime, along with a great stop at the end of regulation.”
In overtime, senior Kylee Pitsinger gave the Eagles a four-point lead with back-to-back driving layups.
“That’s what she does best and I’m always encouraging her to drive to the rim,” Honhart said.
After Preble Shawnee tied the game back up at 47-47 on a free throw from sophomore Campbell Jewell and a 3-pointer from sophomore Harlee Howard, Eaton senior Alexis Miller came through with a huge 3-pointer and knocked down two free throws.
Honhart said sophomore Lily Shepherd had two key rebounds in overtime.
“I’ve been challenging Lily Shepherd to get more offensive rebounds and she came up with two huge ones in overtime. One led to Alexis’s go-ahead three. The other led to a final free throw by Lily to stretch the lead,” he said.
Eaton was led by sophomore Olivia Baumann’s 11-point, 19-rebound performance. Junior point guard, Allison Mowen added six points, six assists and a career-high nine rebounds.
“As a coach, I love it when our two best rebounders gobble up 28 boards,” Honhart said. “Allison also had six assists against only one turnover. Senior Kylee Kidwell hit a couple of big three pointers for us. It was nice to see all three seniors play well. We plan to celebrate them at senior night on Monday, but with the weather and unpredictability of this season, you never know. If Thursday night was their last home game, they went out in style with a win.”
Jewell led the Arrows with 19 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Liv Thompson added nine points and freshman Kahlen Kulms added seven points and seven rebounds.
On Saturday, Eaton fell to host Valley View, 60-29.
The Spartans knocked down six 3-pointers and shot 50 percent in the first quarter to grad a 22-7 lead.
”What can you say, really? Valley View remains a tough match up for us,” Honhart said. “Their defense gives us fits and they pass and share the ball so well on offense that they are able to generate good shots on us. I felt great about our mindset going into the game, but we struggled to get off to a competitive start. While I won’t miss seeing them score on us, I want to congratulate Valley View seniors Abby Dickson and Lauren Legate on great careers. They have played the game the right way and constantly improved their games over their careers. Both plan to continue to play in college and they’ll be great representatives of this league. Steve Dickson does a great job with his program – I wish them lots of luck the rest of the way.”
Legate led the Spartans with 19 points and Claire Henson added 11 as Valley View held leads at each stop, 22-7, 32-11 and 53-19.
For Eaton, Baumann led the way with eight points, six rebounds and four assists. Mowen tossed in six points, to go along with four rebounds and a pair of assists.
For the game, Eaton shot just 34 percent (11-of-32) and committed 23 turnovers.
The Eagles began the week with a 57-51 setback at Talawanda.
”Overall, I was pretty disappointed with the loss. We built leads in both halves and could not maintain them or build on them,” Honhart said. “We struggled to get dribble penetration and post entries against their zone. On defense, we built a game plan around trying to stop [Kylee] Fears and [Myah] Keene and they scored 34 and 11, respectively. We also wanted to pick and choose moments to pressure as Talawanda turns the ball over at a fairly high rate. We had success pressuring early in the third quarter, but after that, we struggled to get two on the ball.”
Honhart said lack of communication played a role in the loss as did other factors.
“We stress the importance of communication, and yet I didn’t feel we talked to each other very well on the court,” he said. “We stressed the importance of keeping them off the offensive glass, and game-planned to do so, yet I felt like that’s an area where they dominated. Talawanda is a good team, and we put ourselves in a position to have a chance at getting a win on their court, but it takes 32 minutes of doing the little things, or the so-called dirty work and that’s been a struggle for us at times. Certainly give Talawanda credit for their execution. They did a great job of making us keep the ball on the perimeter, and they were patient and got what they wanted on offense.”
For Eaton, Pitsinger led the way with a 14 points. Baumann added 13 and 10 rebounds. Kidwell contributed eight points and three assists. Mowen chipped in with six points, eight rebounds and six assists. Shepherd scored 10 and had three rebounds.
“Some positives, I thought we did a great job of taking a couple charges on Fears early in the game. Credit Coach Huisman for having the trust and confidence to leave her in, and credit to Kylee Fears for avoiding picking up her third foul,” Honhart said. “If they had gone man, we’d have gone right at her, but that’s a little harder to do with her playing the top of the zone.”
Returning to the positives, Honhart said Kidwell helped them get off to a great start by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers.
“We knocked down nine threes overall, so that’s an improvement,” he said. “Kylee Pitsigner played the best game of her career. We like to say that everything starts on defense, and she set the tone at that end. She was everywhere at the top of our zone. When you bust your tail on defense, it tends to carry over at the other end, and it did, as she scored 14 points and hit three three pointers – both career highs. Great defensive effort also endears you to your teammates and helps build good team chemistry. I was disappointed to waste her effort, as she put everything she had into that game.”
Eaton (7-12, 3-7 SWBL) was scheduled to host Oakwood on Monday, Feb. 1 and play at Carlisle on Thursday, Feb. 4. The Eagles will close out the regular season with a trip to Edgewood on Monday, Feb. 8.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 or follow on Twitter @emowenjr