EATON —The Eaton Eagles girls basketball team looks to continue the tradition of winning SWBL titles this winter, as it also looks to fill the void left by graduating five of its top six scorers from last season’s SWBL championship-winning team.
Coming off a record-breaking 21-win season, the Eagles are not defending champs according to head Coach Dave Honhart. “We have won it the last two years but we are not defending champs, we are pursuing another championship. We have nothing to defend — you can’t take it away from us.”
Honhart believes the SWBL Southwestern will be a balanced league. “Probably every team in our division feels they can win the league and we certainly expect to be right the mix,” he said.
Leading the pursuit of the championship will be seniors Julia Titus, Paige Whitesell, Madi Bowman, and Brittany George.
Both George and Titus will be counted on to bring experience and leadership from the district championship volleyball team, according to Honhart, as both return after being in the rotation last season.
Titus, who plays forward, returns as an “extremely versatile” post and Honhart says he expects her to contribute in variety of ways as a do-it-all type of player.
Bowman will return in the post for the Eagles, after seeing playing time last season. “She has really improved her skills — she bring toughness and leadership to our team that we need,” Honhart said of the senior.
Paige Whitesell is expected to start at the point guard position, according to Honhart, and he believes a productive off-season for her will lead to productive regular season.
Whitesell will be joined in the back-court by sophomore Sidney Lamberson, a combo guard for the Eagles. Honhart said he believes the duo will make for a quick back-court that will be able to get to the basket.
Junior Megan Lipps, a forward, will also be a contributor for the Eagles.
“I think Megan is just figuring out how good she can be,” Honhart said of the junior. “We are looking forward to her coming into her own this season.”
Despite having so many seniors, Honhart says his team is relatively inexperienced in varsity game time.
However, he believes his team will play selflessly enough to get it done. The team’s motto will be “as one,” a saying that goes back to this group of seniors’ elementary school days.
“It’s not just a slogan,” Honhart said. “But a core belief.”
“We have a tradition of being quite successful recently, what we are trying to do is pursue excellence and become the best we can be,” Honhart said. He noted, four teams in the state end the season with a win. “Four teams end their season happy, only four teams win state — we’re not going to measure our season by how far we go, but our goal is to win championships, SWBL, Sectional District and so on and to have some fun. It’s a blast playing ball, so enjoy it.”
The Eagles open their season at the Anne Oakley Tip off Tournament in Greenville on Friday, Nov. 20.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062.