Greenon survives Eaton in first-round thriller

NEW CARLISLE — Claire Henry wasn’t going to be denied a second time.

After missing the gamewinner at the end of regulation, the Greenon senior guard scored nine points in overtime as the fifth-seeded Knights beat No. 10 seed Eaton 72-64 in a Division II North 2 first round game at Tecumseh High School.

“I don’t get fazed by those things,” Henry said. “I just keep playing as hard as I can.”

The senior had 23 points and 10 rebounds, hitting 3-of-4 free throws in overtime to seal the victory. Knights senior Abby West added 16 points and 12 rebounds as Greenon improved to 19-4.

“I know it was scary,” said Greenon coach Nick Minnich, who earned his first tournament victory. “Our seniors have been carrying us all year and that was one more step with it.”

Knights sophomore Avery Minteer scored 14 points and sophomore Sarah Riley added 10 points as Greenon advanced to face the winner of No. 9 Thurgood Marshall and No. 14 Trotwood Madison in a second-round game at 6 p.m. Saturday at Tecumseh.

Eaton senior Lily Shepherd scored a game-high 24 points, while sophomore Olivia Orr had 12 and senior Emma Baumann added 11 as the Eagles finished the season 12-11.

The Knights led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but the Eagles cut the lead to 30-25 at the half. Greenon extended its lead to 53-39 with six minutes remaining, but Eaton — a D-II regional semifinalist last season — wouldn’t go away.

The Eagles went on a 18-4 run to end regulation, tying the game on a layup by Orr with 9.5 seconds remaining. Greenon had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but Henry’s runner from the top of the key rimmed out.

“In the fourth quarter, we told them to be patient and I think they thought that meant holding the ball,” Minnich said. “We wanted them to be patient, but still work to get layups. Eaton is a good team. There’s a reason why they play the best teams around. They see great competition and we don’t always see that kind of competition. It was great for us to get through.”

Henry scored the first four points of the overtime to give the Knights a 61-57 lead. West followed with two more baskets to make it 65-62 with 1:15 remaining.

Eaton’s Orr hit two free throws to make it 65-64, but the Eagles wouldn’t get any closer. Henry scored five straight points to give Greenon the lead for good.

“It’s so exciting, especially because it was such a close game,” Henry said. “We had to work for it and we earned it.”

Minnich was proud of his team’s effort against a tough opponent in their first game in D-II. The Knights moved up this season after advancing to the D-III district tournament last season.

“It’s huge for our team to win this kind of game,” Minnich said. “I told them that in D-III you may have some easier games, but it’s not that way (in D-II). We knew the first game was going to be tough.”

Alter 70, Stivers 9: The top-ranked Alter High School girls basketball program’s quest for back-to-back Division II state championships began with its ninth straight postseason victory.

Alter junior Riley Smith had 16 points and sophomore Maddie Moody added 12 as the Knights (20-3) surpassed 20 wins for the second straight season.

The top-seeded Knights advanced to face 20th-seeded Kenton Ridge (4-18) in a second round game at 4 p.m. Saturday at Tecumseh.

“This is a great start,” said Knights co-coach Christina Hart. “I thought that we had a good start to the game. We’ve had good practices leading up to today, which is something you always want at this time of the year. Our kids have been focused, we’ve improved in our practices and I thought it showed here.”

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