Cardinals get sub-state win, advance to second round
Grabbing an 18-9 lead and shooting 78 percent during the first quarter was a sure-fire sign of the type of fireworks the Eudora boys basketball team would display Monday night.
The Cardinals clobbered the Jefferson West Tigers in the first round of the Class 4A sub-state tournament by a score of 70-54.
"It's a great win for us to move on with," junior Wes Hinman said. "Now, we're hoping to win Thursday and just keep on advancing."
The Cardinals will play Atchison, who beat Maur Hill 69-31 at 6 p.m. Thursday in a sub-state semifinal at Topeka-Hayden.
Playing six games in the past two weeks has kept the Eudora boys on their toes.
"They don't even play this tough a schedule in the NBA," Coach Chad Eshbaugh said.
The tough schedule didn't slow down the Cardinals.
"They've just played a murderous schedule and were able to weather the storm through this stretch," Eshbaugh said.
Offensively, the Cardinals put together one of their strongest games of the season. Quick and crisp passes inside to Hinman early helped fuel Eudora's fire.
"I got some really great passes," the 6-foot-3-inch junior said.
Hinman paced the Cardinals with a career-high 22 points, hitting 10-for-10 from the floor.
"That's the most points I have ever gotten," Hinman said. "Lately, it seems like I've been missing some bunnies."
Eshbaugh said the passes inside to Hinman were vital.
It was not a perfect night for the Cardinals, however, who shot just 19-of-34 from the charity stripe.
"We won't get to state without hitting more of our free throws," Eshbaugh said.
With the exception of a few lapses, Eudora controlled the clock and the pace of the game.
Hinman opened scoring for the Cardinals 30 seconds into the game. Junior Zac Tyler scored next giving Eudora its first lead, 4-2. Dave Jensen answered back with a 3-pointer 1:24 into the game. A minute later he scored again for Jefferson West. It was tight in the first few minutes until seniors John Powers and Matt Fisher pumped in consecutive 3-pointers for the Cardinals to pull ahead 12-9.
Tyler was fouled by Jefferson West's Justin Patton and went to the line, hitting 1-of-2. Powers scored again with just over a minute to play, giving Eudora a 16-9 lead. After exchanging a fouls, the Cardinals gained possession again and worked the clock down to just a couple of seconds. Tyler slid a pass on the backside and Hinman converted it for two points at the buzzer for their 18-9 first-quarter lead.
About two minutes into the second quarter, Tommy Stein knocked in an off-balance shot to move the Cardinals ahead 25-14. On the other end, Stein fouled Farrant, who stepped to the line and hit 1-of-2.
Having no luck against the Cardinal offense, Jefferson West went into a full-court press. The plan worked for a while as the Tigers went from 11 points down to within three points in just under three minutes. With about two minutes left in the half, Fisher made 1-of-2 shots from the line. He scored again two seconds later.
The Cardinals made good use of the clock and took a 36-26 lead into the locker room at halftime.
By the end of the third quarter, Eudora had increased its lead to 15 points, 50-35. Hinman scored nine points in the third quarter.
The Cardinals almost lost control of the game early in the fourth quarter, when they allowed the Tigers to go on an 8-0 run. Eudora got back on track after Jefferson West's Dusty Hothan fouled Hinman. He went to the line and hit one of two free throws. Thirty seconds later, he knocked in another bucket giving Eudora a 10-point lead. Eudora maintained a double-digit lead for the rest of the game.
The Cardinals shot 56 percent for the game and had 34 rebounds. Tyler and Fisher each had eight rebounds. Hinman had six. Hinman's 22 points led all scorers. Fisher followed with 18 points, Powers added nine points, Tyler Cleveland finished with seven, Tyler notched six, Stein put up four and Tommy Shutt scored two.
The boys lost a close one to Prairie View last Thursday, 53-49.
Eudora was up 24-20, at halftime, but Prairie View came out hot in the second half, outscoring Eudora 33-24.
On Saturday, the Cardinals defeated Baldwin City, 57-45, in a make-up game at home. Baldwin finished third at the state tournament last year and returned four of its five starters.
"It was a really big thing for us to beat them," Eshbaugh said.
Eudora hopes to ride the momentum from the two wins this week into its semifinal game Thursday.
"Atchison is providing us with a great opportunity," Eshbaugh said. "They're quicker than anyone we've seen this season."