EATON — After struggling through a three-game losing skid, Eaton’s girls’ basketball team got back on track last week with a pair of league wins.
After suffering a 48-31 loss at Ross on Monday, Jan. 3, a game when the Eagles were outscored 21-4 over the final nine minutes, Eaton rebounded to knock of Carlisle 39-36 on Thursday and beat Monroe 54-33 on Saturday.
Eaton, now 6-7 overall and 4-4 in the SWBL, is scheduled to battle two more solid teams this week. They were scheduled to play at Preble Shawnee (9-5) on Monday, Jan. 10 and travel to SWBL West Division leader Valley View on Saturday.
“Disappointing to lose. I was proud of our player’s efforts,” Eaton coach Dave Honhart
said. “That is a good Ross team. They’ve always played great defense. Now, with Lainie Lipps and Veronica Allen they have dynamic scorers as well. I thought we competed well until the 4th quarter. We have a talented team that plays together well most of the time. The biggest hill we need to climb is learning to handle the big moments in a game with competitive determination. It’s a weird thing – once you win a close, competitive game, then it becomes a whole lot easier to do it again. Ross won the first game of their season on a buzzer beater and you can see their confidence in that situation. We’ll get there.”
Junior Lily Shepherd led the Eagles with 14 points and four rebounds. Junior Olivia Baumann added 10 points and 17 rebounds. Senior Anna Kramer tossed in five points and had five rebounds and three assists. Senior Allison Mowen contributed three assists and five rebounds.
Against Carlisle, the Eagles took the lead early and never trailed.
”I could not be more proud of our team for posting a such a gutty win,” Honhart said. “Some people told me this was an ugly game – I’ve got to respectfully disagree. In my eyes, this was a beautiful game. We were on the verge of busting it open several times, but each time they answered. We need to finish out a close competitive game with poise and grit and we did it today. There was a lot to build on in this game, and this was a total team win.”
Honhart said the team got contributions from several players.
“We found our defensive stopper in Kendall Miller – she stepped up in the 4th quarter and kept Jillian McIntosh from hitting any more threes,” he said. “Allison Mowen got her three-point shot going, which we absolutely needed in the first half. She is a great shooter, so it was great to see them drop. Lily Shepherd stayed mentally tough in a game where she struggled to score and hit two huge baskets along with two clutch free throws late. Anna Kramer set a career high in assists, Olivia Bauman continues to be ferocious on the boards and Kyla Mize keeps making her moments count – this time by draining a three-point shot and having a key block. We executed our strategy at both ends late in the game. Offensively, we kept attacking, but took some time off the clock with a two possession lead. Defensively, we had fouls to give, and we shorted the game by making Carlisle have to start their possessions over and over again. It was our most beautiful win of the season so far.”
Mowen led the Eagles with 11 points, all in the first half, as Eaton build a 17-11 halftime lead.
Freshman Olivia Orr added 10 points, five rebounds and four blocked shots. Baumann contributed six points and 10 rebounds, while Shepherd finished with seven points.
Against Monroe, a team the Eagles have struggled with over the years, Eaton raced out to a 14-3 lead to grab control early.
”I was very proud of the way our team played to our level instead of our opponent’s. Monroe is down a little bit this season, but they came in as a dangerous, confident team,” Honhart said. “They had just knocked off Franklin and they had just gotten last year’s leading scorer back from injury, in Paige Frazier. Our players treated them with tremendous respect and gave our best team effort the entire game. While the first, second and fourth quarters were the most fun, when we were scoring a lot of points, I was most proud of our third quarter. We hit one of those stretches that happens in basketball, where you just go through a scoring drought. We began the second half with a 12-point lead, but the way Monroe shoots threes, that can disappear in a hurry. Earlier this year, Edgewood was up 21 on them and Monroe shot themselves back into a tie ballgame. When we struggled to score, we showed mental toughness by taking our defense to the next level and holding them to two points in the quarter. This is such a great group of girls that really enjoy playing together. It was a fun lockerroom after the game and I was very proud of our team.”
Shepherd finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. Baumann added 12 points and 14 rebounds. Mowen added five points, six rebounds and six assists. Kyla Mize contributed six points and five rebounds. Foreign exchange student Karma Mohamed scored her first varsity point and added four rebounds.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr