Cards lose to top-ranked Spring Hill, 80-60
The Eudora High School boys' basketball team showed the top-ranked team in class 4A that it wouldn't go down without a fight during Tuesday night's 80-60 loss at Spring Hill.
Eudora (3-3) (1-1), played the undefeated Broncos (6-0) (2-0) in a non-league game for the second time this season. EHS began the game with the intent of avenging a 68-48 loss in the finals of the Cardinal Invitational in Eudora.
Although both contests against Spring Hill resulted in 20 point losses, Coach Scott Stein said he was impressed with the team's effort in Tuesday's game, especially with the stellar first-half effort. Stein gave the Cardinals a grade of "C" through their first six games but said that Tuesday's first half was an indication that the team can compete with Spring Hill when the Broncos visit EHS on Friday, Jan. 11 for a Frontier League matchup.
"We worked on shooting our free throws and we executed better," Stein said. "But boy do they crash those boards."
The Cardinals played Spring Hill close in the first quarter as senior Zac Tyler, who finished with 13 points, held Spring Hill senior Paul Ray to only two first half field goals. After Stein, put in five bench players, the Broncos went on a 7-0 run. Until the starters returned, it looked like the game would have followed a similar pattern to the previous meeting.
But with the starters back in the game, the offense started to heat up and the reserves came in one-by-one to contribute.
Senior Wes Hinman played a wonderful all-around game with 11 points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks while junior center Kaleb Niedens, five points, beat the first-quarter buzzer for his second three pointer of the season, pulling the Cards to within four.
Senior center Tommy Stein, five points and three rebounds, played aggressive on both sides of the court. Junior Dustin Moyer, three points and five rebounds, gave the Cards some good minutes with Hinman in foul trouble. Moyer also played in the junior varsity's loss to Spring Hill Tuesday night.
"Wes is playing pretty well," Stein said. "Tyler Cleveland did a heck of a job; Lear Bowling and Zac Tyler broke the press well. We just gave (Spring Hill too many opportunities and wide open (fast) breaks."
Sophomore point guard Tyler Cleveland, three points and one assist, controlled the tempo for Eudora in the second quarter and silenced the Broncos faithful when Eudora went ahead 34-29, its largest lead of the game.
"We were up at halftime (34-32) and I guess we were more ready this time," Cleveland said. "We wanted to beat them at their house but I guess our defense wasn't as strong as the first half."
Because of Spring Hill's arsenal of players at 6-3 or taller, Eudora had a difficult time rebounding in the second half.
After the halftime break, Ray started connecting on outside shots and finished the game with 19 points.
The Cardinals kept themselves in the game with some outside jumpers from seniors Bowling, 11 points and three rebounds, Tommy Shutt, two points, and Jason Burrous, seven points. Eudora concluded the third quarter down 57-47 and the Broncos never looked back in their 80-60 victory over Eudora.
The Cardinals will have a 17-day break before they resume their schedule with a Frontier League game on Friday, Jan. 4, at Anderson County. Eudora will wrap up its four game road trip in Louisburg on Tuesday, Jan. 8.