Eldon was under a little pressure Thursday night in a showdown with Lebanon.
Whether it was a full-court press or a half-court trap, the visiting Yellowjackets did not let the Mustangs get too comfortable as they forced 32 turnovers en route to a 72-45 win.
Eldon may have a younger lineup than years past with six underclassmen and Lebanon may be a school two class sizes larger than the Mustangs, but it was clearly not the start Eldon had in mind as the Yellowjackets jumped out to a 28-9 lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back.
"They (Lebanon) have some nice players who are very athletic and run their sets well, but I think our first half came down to us not being focused and ready to play," Eldon coach Ashley Agee said.
"We just have to come ready to play every night and learn not to take possessions off. Right now it is just learning, building and trying to figure out who we are."
One thing Eldon will look to clear up is taking care of the basketball as Lebanon's defense brought relentless pressure from the start.
"Our full court press has been our arch enemy all season. We have to learn that teams have film on us, they scout us and know we struggle handling the ball right now," Eldon coach Ashley Agee said. "We just have to work harder in practice and get better every day at it.
"They were just outworking us and we were making them look like 'All-Star' players. Not to take anything away from Lebanon because they are a good team and talented, but we were also allowing them to look a lot better than they actually are simply because we were not hustling. With experience and playing over time, hopefully they learn from their mistakes."
The one thing Eldon can control, though, is effort and Agee expects the effort to be maintained for all four quarters. The first half may have resulted in a sluggish start, but she was pleased to see the tide start to change in the second half as the Mustangs started to match the pace of the opponent.
"I told the girls that boxing out, hustling and getting on the floor for loose balls are all things we can control. Sometimes we are not the most talented on the floor, but we can always be the team that works the hardest," the coach noted. "In the second half they (Lebanon) slowed it down, ran some sets and were working on things, but we got stops out of it and took advantage on the offensive end. We just have to continue to do that and keep building, working and pushing.”
Eldon was led by junior Kayleigh Fike who scored 16 points for the Mustangs while freshman Caroline Beckmann chipped in eight points and junior Lauren Imler, sophomore Kassidy Hull, senior Haley Clifton and sophomore Taylor Henderson added five points each.
"Kayleigh played very well and she has had a couple of good games for us. She was talking, being a leader and she is only a junior so that is a bright spot," Agee remarked.
"We are looking for a leader on our floor. Our upperclassmen have been role players for us in the past and now they are having to step up and be our stars and are still learning how to do that. To see Kayleigh talking, not quitting, fighting and coming down and playing hard to the very end, that is a bright spot for us. I’m looking for a leader and I think she has the potential to do it. She just has to be consistent with it now."
And she certainly does not have to be the only one as Agee hopes to see the team's confidence grow across the board.
Eldon (1-5) will look to get back on track on Monday at Dixon. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.