MASON -- The closest the Eaton girls basketball team ever had gotten to cutting down nets was watching the Eagles boys team do it after capturing a share of the Southwestern Buckeye League West Division championship.
That was before Friday night.
The girls proved themselves to be quick learners, flawlessly cutting down a net at Mason High School after winning the first district championship in program history with a 43-35 victory over Summit Country Day in Division II.
“It feels great,” said senior Allison Mowen, the last team member to make a cut. She still had the net draped around her neck like a necklace and was carrying the district championship trophy. “It’s never happened before, so that’s great.”
Did the net it feel like a diamond necklace, somebody wondered?
“Very much so,” she said.
Eaton (13-13) is scheduled to meet Badin, a 47-31 winner over Trotwood-Madison in Friday’s nightcap, in a regional semifinal on Tuesday at Springfield High School. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. The Eagles have won five straight games and six of their last seven.
“We’re just going to keep trying to win the game in front of us,” coach Dave Honhart said. “We’ll honor this accomplishment and try to get better for the next game.”
Mowen scored 13 points, two fewer than junior Olivia Baumann, whose 3-pointer from the right wing with 2:44 left in the game gave the Eagles the lead for good at 36-34. Eaton closed the game with a 17-3 run. Summit Country Day (18-6) led by as many as eight in the last minute of the first half and by six 14 seconds into the fourth quarter before the Eagles started their surge.
“We were getting good shots, and we started knocking them down,” Honhart said. “We try to be as relentless as we can be.”
“I think our defense picked up, and we started communicating better,” Mowen said
Junior Raeven Ray-Richmond scored 10 points to lead Trotwood (13-11), which saw snapped a seven-game winning streak.
“We had some really good practices,” said coach Henry Benton, who coached his last game before retirement. “I thought we were ready, but we came out flat. I think our young players were a little nervous. This was their first time. Badin’s got a veteran team. We had a lot of opportunities. We just didn’t finish. Badin made some adjustments at halftime and came out in a junk defense. Badin kept doing what they do.”
Trotwood-Madison listed three freshmen and just one senior on its official roster for the game.
“We’ll be back,” Benton said. “Our young players just weren’t ready.”
Trotwood-Madison’s struggles started even before they left the school. An apparent miscommunication led to the Rams wearing their road uniforms, even though they were the home team. Benton told officials an email he received about the game said “home team/dark uniforms,” but officials handed them a technical foul before the game, and senior Dixon Morgan made one of two free throws to give Badin the lead for good.
In the first of the night’s three district championship games, freshman Maddie Moody scored 15 points and sophomore Riley Smith chipped in with 11 as Alter extended its winning streak to 10 games and earned its first district title since winning the 2016-2017 state championship with a 49-19 win over Indian Hill.
Alter (24-1) is scheduled to play Columbus Granville in a regional semifinal on Tuesday at Springfield High School. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. The Blue Aces, 24-1 and ranked third in the AP statewide poll, advanced on Thursday with a 62-25 rout of Carroll Bloom-Carroll at Capital University in Columbus.
The Knights grasping, clawing man-to-man defense didn’t allow a field goal and forced seven turnovers on the way to taking a 17-4 lead into the second quarter. Alter limited Braves senior Ella Riggs, the Cincinnati Hills League all-time leading girls basketball scorer, to nine points while Indian Hill was setting a season-low in scoring.
“The last two weeks, our defense has really improved,” Alter co-coach Christina Hart. “It’s been good all year, but it’s gotten better the last two weeks. It tells us the kids are really focused what we have to do to be successful.”