Cardinals take one from Lansing
The important thing is the Cardinals found a way to win Monday after losing four games by five points or less this season.
Eudora's 54-50 win in the first round of the 42nd Annual Tonganoxie Invitational against Lansing puts the Cardinals on the winner's side of the bracket. Friday, they will take on Tonganoxie, who beat Oskaloosa 55-46 Monday night.
If Eudora wins Friday night, it will play at 7:45 p.m. Saturday for first place. If the Cardinals lose, they will play at 6 p.m. Saturday for third place.
After the first quarter of Monday's game, the score was tied at 6 and could have gone either way.
The Cardinals gained their first lead of the game with a jump shot by Lear Bowling 15 seconds into the second quarter. From that moment on, Eudora never let Lansing take the lead.Thanks to a six-point, two-minute run by Zac Tyler and John Powers, the Cardinals took a 16-9 edge with about 3 minutes remaining in the half. Lansing could only muster shots from the free-throw line during the second quarter. The Cardinals closed out the half with a 22-17 lead over the Lions.
"We spotted them too much in the first half," Lansing coach Don Allen said. "They played us far better defensively. They did a good job of not letting us score in the first half. We just got outplayed."
Allen said his team tried to pick up the pace a bit in the second half by applying pressure. That was countered with a foul-plagued second half. The Lions shot 23 from the free-throw line and Eudora shot 26. A combined 26 fouls were committed in the second half.
In the third quarter, Eudora outscored Lansing, increasing its lead to 34-23. The Cardinals kept a sizeable, six points or more lead until 41.5 seconds remained in the game. With the clock winding down, Lansing's David Jackson sunk a 3-pointer to pull within three points, 50-47. Fisher was fouled two seconds later and hit 1-of-2 from the line.
The Lions went back down the court and tried for another three, but weren't successful. Eudora's Kaleb Niedens was fouled by Joey McKee after pulling down a defensive rebound. Niedens didn't deliver any points from the line. Fisher was fouled next with about 22 seconds remaining and hit both to give the Cardinals a 53-47 lead. However, Lansing's Hunter Martin knocked down another 3-pointer with just 14.3 seconds left to pull within three again. Eudora kept possession for the rest of the game and hit one more free throw with 10 seconds left to close out scoring, 54-50.
"They got a little bit too close for comfort in the end," Eudora's Tommy Shutt said. "I'm not surprised we won, though. It was time for us to cash in."
Fisher led all scorers with 20 points and hit 7-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter, in spite of missing most of the second half Friday night because of a knee injury.
"I thought we played a lot tougher in the second half," Fisher said. "Coach always said we don't play very tough. If we play tougher, then we'll win more of the close ones."