Eudora boys take 3rd at invitational
The Eudora boys basketball team has been in so many close games during the last two years, Saturday’s third-place squeaker against De Soto in the Tonganoxie Invitational seemed routine.
And on a day when both teams struggled shooting, the Cardinals made just enough shots down the stretch and took home the third-place trophy with a 35-31 victory.
With the scored knotted at 27 with 3:30 to play in the game, senior Drew Noble’s field goal inside gave the Cardinals the lead for good. Noble also added two rebounds and two free throws in the game’s final three minutes.
“We always work on late-game situations,” Noble said. “And now at this point in the season, it comes more easier. We’re not so nervous. We just need to knock down our free throws.”
From the stripe, Eudora made just 9-of-23 shots. Eudora coach Kyle Deterding said it might have been the first time in his coaching career that his team shot that poorly from the foul line and still won the game. In the second half, Eudora made just 6-of-17 free throws.
“It’s hard to win games when you do that,” Deterding said. “But we did make enough down the stretch to finish it, so that was big.”
Seniors Evan Cleveland, Conner Scott and Justin Ballock combined to make 4-of-6 free throws in the final minute that proved to be the margin of victory.
As cold as the Cardinals were from the foul line, they shot a chilly 13-of-46 from the floor for the game. But Eudora found some success attacking the basket with drives into the paint.
“We tried because obviously the shots weren’t falling,” Deterding said. “So we tried to at least get it to the backboard and get to the free-throw line. And sometimes that doesn’t workout too well, either. But we did finally make a couple buckets.”
The Cardinals led 15-13 at the half, but that lead soon evaporated as De Soto went on a 7-0 run at the start of the third quarter. Deterding shuffled the lineup, and after that, the Cardinals (7-4) regained their energy the rest of the way.
“Minus the beginning of the third quarter when we came out really flat for the first three minutes and had to sub a new group in there to get our energy level up, other than those two or three minutes the energy was pretty good,“ Deterding said.
Eudora also put up a battle on the boards, especially in the second half. While De Soto is a taller team and pulled down more rebounds than Eudora — 41 to 31 — the Cardinals were active throughout. And the Eudora defense held the Wildcats (7-5) to just 8-of-40 shooting for the game.
“They are a big team, and we battled on the boards,” Deterding said. “They still had a lot of rebounds, but we were at least in there making them go over us. And we were pleased. We working and we were pleased with our effort.”
Ballock led Eudora with 12 points and six rebounds, Noble scored eight, and Brian Katzfey scored seven to lead the Cardinals in scoring.
De Soto’s Brandan Philbrook scored 11 points and pulled down seven rebounds for the Wildcats.
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