Much like the week prior, Eaton’s girls basketball team didn’t have much time to dwell on results from previous games during the week.
Instead of celebrating a key win like last week, Eaton had to put their first loss of the season behind them.
They did just that.
After suffering a disappointing non-league loss, at home, to Talawanda (44-43) on Tuesday, Dec. 17, the Eagles had to refocus for yet another key league contest just two days later at Valley View.
Eaton seemed to suffer from the affects of the loss for much of the first quarter before rallying for a 50-36 win to remain unbeaten in the Southwestern Buckeye League’s Southwester Division.
“We worked our butts off and a few mistakes at the end of the game hurt us. I didn’t want to call that last timeout and I (tried) called it too late. By the time I (tried) to call it they had a steal,” Eaton coach Gary Peffly said moments after the game. “We just played our butts off.”
Eaton struggled offensively.
“We just didn’t put the ball in the hole,” Peffly said of his team’s 26 percent shooting percentage.
“I thought we played an extremely good team to the wire. We all made, including myself, we all made some mental mistakes in the fourth quarter. To be a great team that’s something we are going to have to overcome. All of us. I can’t fault the girls for their hustle,” Peffly said. “I had reasons for everything that I did. A lot of times I was just a step too slow.”
Eaton fell behind 12-6 early, but rallied to take a 13-12 lead after the first quarter. The Eagles extended the lead to 22-15 with just under five minutes to play in the first half, only to score just one point in the final 4:45, as Talawanda trimmed the lead to 23-21.
The Braves rallied to take a 36-32 lead into the final quarter. Eaton opened the fourth scoring the first six points to take a 38-36 lead and still led 43-40 with 1:09 left. But Talawanda scored the final four points of the game, including the game-winner basket with 15 seconds left.
“Our offense, we struggle. Offensively, we’re not doing something right in practice. Just our timing, our execution it’s just not there. we’ve just got to do a better job of running our offense,” Peffly said.
Eaton was led in the scoring by Danielle Karns with 12. She also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. Libby Springmier added 11.
Playing a team the caliber of Talawanda will make the Eagles better in the long run, according to Peffly.
“We want to play these tough teams to see where we’re going to be at the end of the year. This did not lose the league championship. Hopefully, it will toughen us up a little bit. We’re going to have to get over this for Thursday. We’ve got to forget it,” he said. “I thought up till Christmas our schedule was really tough. I knew this would be a grind for us. I was hoping we could get through this grind and have our heads up. I know they are really disappointed right now”
Against Valley View, the Eagles got off to a slow start, falling behind 19-9 after the first quarter.
Eaton turned to its defense to get back in the game as they cut the Spartans lead ti 16-22 by halftime. The Eagles limited Valley View to just 10 points in the second half.
“We’re winning with defense,” Peffly said.
Karns paced the way again, this time scoring 14 points, four rebounds and five steals. Liz Tolliver scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds. Autumn Whirley added nine points, three rebounds and three assists. Katie Yoder chipped in with five points and six rebounds.
Eaton, now 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the SWBL, was scheduled to host Richmond on Monday, Dec. 23. They will visit National Trail on Thursday, Jan. 2