Girls ante up for Eagles rematch
The first two rounds of the 12th Annual Top Gun Tournament at Wellsville High School have turned into rivalry week for the Eudora High School girls basketball team.
After falling to Baldwin 58-33 on Tuesday night, the Cardinals will play host to Wellsville (4-8) in a rematch of a Dec. 11 Eagles victory in Eudora.
"I'm excited," Eudora Coach Gretchen Schreiner said. "I think we could have beaten them the first time."
The Wellsville game will begin a brutal stretch of four games in six days for the Cardinals. They will play either 3A St. Marys (4-5) or 5A Gardner-Edgerton (3-6) Saturday afternoon at Wellsville. Monday the Cardinals will play Frontier League powerhouse Spring Hill, the team that handed them a 30-point loss of the season, before returning to Eudora for a Tuesday game against 3A Oskaloosa.
Schreiner said the team should benefit from playing several games in a short period of time.
"This is the part of the year that they don't like to practice every day or several days in a row," Schreiner said.
Eudora (3-7) (1-4) used an aggressive zone defense to hold Baldwin (9-2) to four points in the first three minutes of the game. The defensive pressure forced the Bulldogs to shoot from beyond the arc, which they did efficiently throughout the game.
"We played really well defensively," Schreiner said. "They have a lot of weapons from a lot of different areas."
Sophomore Lauren Kracl, 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks, and senior Jill Woodward, five points and two rebounds, played well on both sides of the ball while junior Tina Lauber, four points, provided some relief off the bench by creating her own shot.
The Cardinals will meet Baldwin City, one of the top teams in 4A, Feb. 8 at Baldwin in a Frontier League matchup.
"Offensively, we need to handle pressure better, set things up and be aggressive," Schreiner said.
For the third consecutive year senior Sarah Katzfey, two points and four rebounds, participated in the tournament free throw shooting contest during halftime. Last season she placed third in the competition by making 23 of 30 free throws.
Eudora picked up its third win of the season and completed a sweep over Frontier League rival Louisburg with a 49-30 road victory Jan. 15.
"We've been having good practices and people are working hard in practice," Schreiner said. "This was the first night I can say we played a complete game."
Eudora dominated Louisburg (1-9) defensively and on the boards. The Wildcats only had one offensive rebound in the first half and failed to score until three minutes into the game.
Louisburg, whose only victory came against Wellsville Jan. 4, connected on several shots from the outside and the foul line to pull within 22-16 at halftime.
The second half, however, belonged to Eudora, as the Wildcats made only one field goal in the first nine minutes of the third quarter.
Junior Mallorie Cleveland, seven points, eight rebounds and four assists, played her best game yet of the season. She ran the offense effectively, created her own shots and found Kracl, 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocks, in the low post.
Many of the Cardinals weren't afraid to shoot the ball or take it to the basket to draw fouls on the Wildcats.
Senior Brandi Abel, 11 points and two rebounds, was the hero of the last meeting between the two teams as she sank two free throws for a 44-42 win Dec. 18. Brandi Abel managed to go on a scoring spree in the most recent Louisburg game with most of her points coming in the second half.
Sophomore Rachel Abel, two points and two assists, pulled down four rebounds against the Wildcats. Woodward, seven points and two rebounds, found her outside shot while Katzfey, the team's best free-throw shooter, connected on four of five shots from the stripe.
Juniors Jenny Durkin, one point and four rebounds, Lauber, two points and one assist, and senior Krystal Spence, two points and one rebound, gave the Cardinals some quality minutes off the bench.
"Our rebounding was exceptional and we handled the full-court pressure well," Schreiner said. "We wanted Mallorie Cleveland to score. We had a lot more people attacking the basket."