SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - The warm-up shirts worn by the Eastmoor Academy girls basketball team emphasize "Hustle, Heart, Desire" - qualities that defined the gritty, undersized Warriors throughout an exceptional season.
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — The warm-up shirts worn by the Eastmoor Academy girls basketball team emphasize “Hustle, Heart, Desire” — qualities that defined the gritty, undersized Warriors throughout an exceptional season.
The skill level and toughness of traditional power Dayton Chaminade-Julienne, however, trumped Eastmoor’s intangibles during a 54-36 rout in a Division II regional semifinal last night.
Chaminade-Julienne’s in-your-face style of defense, led by guard Erinn Bailey, imposed its will on Eastmoor from the start.
“Our goal was to get out and defend them hard and deny the wings, and I think we rattled them a bit,” Eagles coach Mandy Myers said. “That’s been our M.O. here for many years, using our athleticism to get teams out of their comfort zone.”
In falling behind 22-9 early in the second quarter, Eastmoor was indecisive with the ball, resulting in a number of traveling violations and errant passes. Warriors standout Tajanee’ Wells, the Central District player of the year and a career 1,000-point scorer, was stymied by Bailey, managing just two baskets and six points.
Chaminade-Julienne (18-9) will try to avenge two Greater Girls Catholic League losses to rival Dayton Carroll (22-5) in the regional final on Friday.
The Warriors (21-5) chopped a 23-point deficit to 12 in the final three minutes, but Chaminade-Julienne held the ball and caused Eastmoor to foul. Four players scored between 10 and 13 points for the Eagles, who made 22 of 35 free throws.
“We’ve had a lot of up and down games like this game throughout the season, but we settled down and came back in most of them,” said Eastmoor sophomore guard Imani Hill, who had 11 points. “We acted like we were scared. We didn’t play our game. They played really tough defense and they might have gotten in our heads a little.”
Eastmoor coach Tia Jameson maintained that her players looked inexplicably tired from the outset.
“We went up against a great defensive team, no doubt about it,” Jameson said. “But, still it’s hard to explain why shots that we usually make weren’t falling. It wasn’t just one or two players. Everybody struggled.”