Golden Eagles lose physical battle against Eaton

By Scott Halasz Special Correspondent

January 14, 2014

BELLBROOK — A girls basketball game broke out during Saturday’s wrestling match between Eaton and Bellbrook high schools on Saturday.

Uh, check that.

A wrestling match broke out during Saturday’s girls basketball game between Eaton and Bellbrook high schools.

In a de facto Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division title game, the teams combined for 43 fouls, 56 free throws and three bloody body parts in a knockabout 58-49 Eaton win.

“That’s how league-championship type games go,” said Bellbrook coach Jason Tincher.

The win gives Eaton (10-2, 7-0 SWBL Southwestern Division) a sweep of Bellbrook and a 2-game lead in the division with no really difficult games left. Bellbrook, winners of four straight SWBL titles and 12 of the last 13, drops to 7-4 overall and 5-2 in the league.

After scoring just 31 points against Eaton in a December loss, Tincher tweaked the game plan and told his team to be aggressive and physical, not timid and tentative.

“We had to attack,” he said. “We couldn’t let us not be the aggressor on that side of the floor.”

The plan almost worked as Eaton’s Danielle Karns and Elizabeth Tolliver, who combined for 25 points in December, were non-factors due to foul trouble. The 6-foot-2 Karns was scoreless and Tolliver netted just five points in the rough-and-tumble game.

“We got Karns off the floor, which is what we wanted to do,” Tincher said. “We weren’t able to capitalize.”

Eaton was the team able to take advantage, thanks to solid play from Autumn Whirley (19 points), sub Julia Titus (career-high 15) and a smothering defense. Bellbrook turned the ball over 19 times in the first three quarters which sparked a 19-4 run over a 10-minute span during the second and third periods. A 3-pointer by Anna Nicholson stopped the run, but Eaton led 38-23 after three and didn’t let the margin drop into single digits until the end.

“We couldn’t get into our offense,” Tincher said. “To win big games, we’ve got to capitalize on free throw opportunities and we’ve got to knock down shots and continue to defend.”

Bellbrook made just 14 of 24 from the line and only made five 3-point shots.

Detroit recruit Chea Taylor scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Bellbrook while battling a cracked open lower lip that oozed throughout the game. Bellbrook’s Caroline Hypes and Eaton’s Libby Springmier also were cut open during the physical play that had coaches yelling at the officials as much as their teams.

How intense was it?

With 1:52 left in the game, the clock failed to start for a couple of seconds. That prompted a red-faced Eaton coach Gary Peffly to scream at the clock operator only to apologize a few seconds later.

“I figured it would be like that,” Tincher said. “We said it’d be a heavyweight fight.”

Another rematch could happen in the tournament.