Lions beat Cardinals in girls title contest
The Eudora High girls’ offense got so cold in the second half of the Tonganoxie Invitational championship game on Saturday that the Cardinals scored as many points — 12 — in the second half as they did in the first quarter and Lansing won, 47-37.
After hitting 46 percent of their shots in the first two quarters, taking a three-point lead into halftime, the Cardinals (9-2) went 4-for-16 from the floor and 3-for-8 from the foul line in the final 24 minutes.
Lansing (8-3), on the other hand, hit eight of 18 field goal attempts and was 7-for-10 from the line in the second half.
Eudora coach Ryan Luke said Lansing’s second-half defense was the difference in the title contest.
“They controlled the game with their pressure on the perimeter and that was the big key to the game,” the EHS coach said. “We had troubles in reversing the ball and getting the ball where we wanted to — inside.”
Eudora hadn’t struggled like that all season, and Luke said the performance left him scratching his head a little.
“I think we had 12 points in the second half,” he said. “Obviously, that was horrible. That’s coaching, so we’ve got to work to improve that part.”
Although Eudora’s Bailey Scott and Haley Epperson, both of whom were named to the all-tournament team, had solid outings, Scott’s 17 points and Epperson’s nine weren’t enough to counter the balanced offense of Lansing, which had three players score in double figures as Alexis Ellis contributed 12, sub Allison Ewing added 11 and tournament MVP Amy Briggs scored 11.
Epperson scored inside to open the second half and gave Eudora a five-point lead, but she was whistled for her third foul with 4:42 remaining in the third quarter and her minutes and effectiveness were altered down the stretch as she played in foul trouble and Lansing outscored the Cardinals, 23-10, the rest of the way.
“That did kind of change what we did offensively,” Luke said before noting that when those types of obstacles are encountered, the team needs to be more resilient.
“We have to have others step up and we can’t let that affect us, mentally,” the coach said, adding that it would serve as a great lesson. “Obviously, we have a good team and stuff like that happens in games and we’ve got to rebound from that.”
Luke said in the championship game, as well as in a 49-41 semifinal victory against Silver Lake, the Cardinals showed a lot of potential in the first half and had some weak spots revealed in the second half.
“We’re really going to take a look at these last two games,” he said.
Lansing only led by a point after three quarters but opened up the fourth with a 10-1 run. A Ewing free throw for LHS was followed by a layup from Katelyn Griffen, a three from Briggs, a steal and layup from Griffen and a pair of free throws from Briggs.
Even though she was held to three points in the final, Eudora’s Kendal Abel received the Most Inspirational award for her hard work and hustle throughout the tournament.
Luke said his team would have to regroup from its second loss in a hurry because the final stretch of the season will be difficult.
“We’re going to have to stay mentally strong,” he said, “because we’ve got some games where it’s going to be tough, it’s going to be tight and we might win some of those games and we might lose some of those games.”