Richmond makes the short trek across the border to Ohio on Monday for a girls basketball clash with Eaton.
The Red Devils are coming off a dominating win over Huntington North this past Friday, and look to avenge last year’s 64-60 loss to the Eagles at Tiernan Center.
“It will be a great test,” said RHS coach Casey Pohlenz. “It’s a bit of a rivalry. They got us at home last year, and they’re playing really well.
“I know he (Eaton coach Gary Peffly) is going to have them focused and fired up.”
Both teams feature high-scoring threats.
For Richmond, the 1-2 guard combo of Mackenzie Taylor and Destiny Perkins has poured in points on the way to a 5-3 record. They combined for 54 in Friday’s 71-48 win at Huntington.
Eaton’s Autumn Whirley is an outside scoring threat, and the Eagles have been a very balanced team as they’ve compiled an 8-1 start.
Eaton coach Peffly has yet to be 100 percent pleased with his team’s performance this year. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Peffly is a longtime coach who has made the trip to Columbus for the ultimate goal, the OHSAA state tournament.
For his team, there is always room for improvement, and there will have to be a strong showing Monday.
“Big game Monday against Richmond, and I think that we are going to have to step it up, both offensively and defensively,” Peffly said.
“I think our offensive efficiency has got to improve. Defense, we’ve got to counteract their speed.”
Eaton is also 5-0 in SWBL Southwestern Division play following last Thursday’s 50-36 win over Valley View.
That 5-0 mark includes a win over longtime champion Bellbrook. That and the Valley View victory avenge their two losses from last year. However, there is still plenty of basketball to play and the Eagles will play at Bellbrook’s home and host Valley View later this season.
Bellbrook had not lost a conference game in five years, before Eaton defeated them last season. The teams split the series with Bellbrook winning the conference at 11-1; Eaton finished 10-2.
“It’s nice, because I don’t think we’ve played up to our ability. I still think we’ve got a lot of room for improvement,” Peffly said. “I think our offensive efficiency has got to improve; defensively sometimes we’ve got some mental lapses. I’m pretty pleased. We’ve got things to work on. We’re not close to where we need to be, but that’s a good thing to say. We’ve got room for improvement.”
Peffly is in his second year leading Eaton’s varsity team. He had 41 previous years of experience, and more than 300 victories to his credit before taking over last year.
He also coached the current juniors and seniors in elementary school basketball, then led them to a program-best 20-5 record, and an appearance in the sectional title game.
“As long as we keep working hard and trying to improve on both ends of the floor, I will be satisfied,” Peffly said.
Josh Chapin contributed to this story