Autumn Whirley has scored a lot of points for Eaton’s girls basketball team in the past three seasons.
More than 1,000 of them.
That, though, isn’t what impresses coach Gary Peffly most about the Eaton junior’s game.
“I think the one thing that pleases me the most about her is she’s a total team player,” Peffly said recently. “She’s worked on her defense. I think her defense has improved drastically from last year. She’s always trying to get the other players involved in the offense and so forth. I just think that she’s become a very good, complete player. That’s the plus side of her.
“Autumn can come out of a game with six, seven points and still be happy if we’ve won.”
There has been plenty to be happy about this season for both Whirley and the Eagles — and they’re aiming for more to come. Eaton faces Greenon at 7:30 p.m. tonight in an Ohio Division II sectional semifinal at Tecumseh.
The winner moves on to Saturday’s noon final opposite either Greenville or Tippecanoe.
Eaton won its opening playoff game 66-31 over Ben Logan. Whirley netted a team-high 24 points that game as she connected on eight 3-pointers in the victory.
Whirley passed 1,000 points the game prior to Eaton clinching a perfect 12-0 mark in the SWBL Southwestern Division. She scored 24 points in a 62-23 home win over Edgewood on Feb. 3, and followed that with another 14 as Eaton steamrolled Monroe 68-20 a few days later.
“I knew I was close. I didn’t think I would get it that game,” Whirley said. “I was glad it was a home game and I got to get it on my home turf. It was nice.”
Whirley has been swishing shots long before embarking on a successful high school career.
She won multiple Elks Hoop Shoot events, eventually earning a national title in the free-throw shooting competition as a 13-year-old Eaton seventh grader in 2010.
When she reached high school, Whirley immediately made an impact. She averaged 17 points per game as a freshman.
More success followed, both as an individual and for the Eagles. Eaton set a school record with 20 wins her sophomore season as she scored 15.2 points a game. The Eagles also won their first playoff game in more than a decade.
This year, Whirley reached 1,000 points and Eaton reached unseen heights by claiming the first-ever league title in program history.
“I think that’s a monumental achievement,” Peffly said of scoring 1,000 as a junior. “I just hope she can continue playing as she has been lately. She’s really playing well as of late.”
Added Whirley: “It was such an honor. It was really nice. … I’m shooting really well. I think I’m passing the ball well. Playing good team ball. That really helps coming into the tournament.”