BELLBROOK — Through 14 games this season, Bellbrook’s overall record doesn’t match the unbeaten run it had at the same point a year ago.
Producing a 12-2 mark is nothing to be upset over though with the schedule the Golden Eagles put together in preparation for the postseason.
As the season moves into its second half, Bellbrook is still on track to meet the lofty expectations set by themselves prior to its start.
“I think we’re right on pace,” head coach Jason Tincher said. “Everything is up on a wall in the locker room. I look at it, they look at it every day and everything we want to try and do this year is still right in front of us.”
Bellbrook rattled off eight straight wins before falling in a one-point loss at home against Waynesville, which currently remains unbeaten in Southwestern Buckeye League play.
A strong showing in a holiday tournament against Cincinnati Ursuline Academy was followed by another one which still ended in a second defeat against Connor (Ky.).
Coming back to beat Wayne on Tuesday, Bellbrook is seeing where a new outlook following those games has already paid a few early dividends.
“I feel like we’re kind of held at high expectations based on how we did last year,” Olivia Trusty said. “They’ve changed now more based on how the season is going. Our practices are more trying to keep energy up … and we’re trying to keep the same energy and same mentality in all the games.”
There may still be a few games which end up similar to Thursday’s 58-18 romp over Franklin at home, but Bellbrook hopes to keep taking as much improvement as possible from each of them. They do get another week now to fully focus on practice before resuming league play with a game at Springboro squeezed in.
The home stretch of the season will see the Golden Eagles play on the road three times in one week before tournament play begins. A game at Mason, the state runner-up in Division I last season, was rescheduled for Jan. 30, with a rematch for a potential SWBL title against Waynesville to follow on Feb. 2. The regular season then wraps up at Kings on Feb. 4.
“You have your benchmark of where you’re at and we know where we’ve been at the beginning of the year and then at the halfway point,” Tincher said. “You can look at them and know we’ve gotten better since the beginning. Now the goal is to be a different team at the end of the year going into the tournament to peak at the right time.”
Despite the wealth of experience Bellbrook possesses on the court, the setbacks have shown where they still have room to grow mentally and physically as a team, according to Tincher.
The individuals know what to expect and, as Tincher said, they have every goal still in front of them as the season moves past the midway point.
“It’s kind of crazy that we’re already in the last half of the season,” Trusty said. “But I think we’re all mentally trying to prepare for the tournament before the draw and trying to keep our energy up for the second half.”