Boys take Tongie tourney title
Van Horn's Michael Lang carried the Tonganoxie Invitational's Most Valuable Player award under one arm and his team on his back, but Lang didn't have room for the team trophy.
Lang scored a game-high 22 points Saturday against Eudora in the tournament finals, but four Cardinals scored in double figures as Eudora won 62-39. It was the Cardinals' second consecutive tournament championship. Eudora also beat Van Horn (Independence, Mo.) for last year's title.
Lang was spectacular against Bonner Springs on Friday, scoring 38 points in a 69-66 overtime win. Fellow senior Charles Davis had 21 against Bonner Springs, but only four against Eudora.
Lang's lower output surprised Eudora coach Scott Stein, but he thought his team followed its game plan.
"We did what we wanted to do stop their dribble penetration," Stein said.
Lang had six of the Falcons' eight points in the first quarter and Eudora led 9-8 going into the second. Van Horn's closest deficit after that was five in the second quarter.
The Cardinals didn't have too much trouble attacking the basket. Zac Tyler led the team with 19 points 14 in the paint and five from the free-throw line. Kaleb Niedens (16), Wes Hinman (13) and Lear Bowling (10) were also in double-figures. Bowling's duties included defending Lang.
"I thought Lear did a great job of guarding him," Stein said. "It was an excellent team defensive effort."
Niedens started all three games in the tournament and connected from behind the three-point line throughout.
"Kaleb has come in and done a good job shooting the ball," Stein said. "He gave us a lift offensively in the tournament."
With the shorter Tyler Cleveland dominating the inside, Niedens has been able to play on the perimeter, something he couldn't do under former coach Chad Eshbaugh.
Van Horn coach Phillip Bullocks said his team was flat after substantially more offensive production one night earlier.
"Sometimes it's like a lake and sometimes it's like an eye of a needle," Bullocks said.
Eudora made the final round by beating host Tonganoxie. For most of the Tonganoxie-Eudora game Friday the game was tied six times before halftime, and Eudora had a 24-22 lead going into the break.
But the Cardinals (6-5), who have had recent problems in the third quarter, led by as many as nine in that period. Eudora maintained the lead and advanced to the tournament finals with a 53-42 win against the Chieftains (5-6).
"I thought we played pretty well defensively," Eudora coach Scott Stein said.
Eudora, though, had trouble with Tonganoxie senior Bryan Gurss early. Gurss had eight points in the first five minutes, but as the game progressed, the Cardinal defense improved, and the offense eventually handled the Chieftains' zone.
Eudora was 41 percent from the field (21-of-51), compared to Tonganoxie's 36 percent (16-of-45). The Cardinals defense was most potent outside the Chieftains made just 1 of 19 three-point attempts.
Bowling led Eudora with 16 points while Hinman was in double-figures with 13. Gurss led the Chieftains with 16 as well.
Friday the Cardinals play host to rival Louisburg, a team that claimed a 47-45 victory over the Cards Jan. 8 at Louisburg.
"We're glad it's at home," Stein said. "I think we're playing better offensively, and hopefully we'll play better defense."