Cardinals suffer 69-22 loss
The featured two of the Frontier League's most formidable inside presences. The Baldwin Bulldogs (19-1, 7-0), winners of 11 straight, boasted a 6-foot-2 junior in Emily Brown, while the Eudora Cardinals (5-11, 2-5) countered with 6-foot junior Lauren Kracl. But Kracl and the Cardinals couldn't topple Baldwin, losing 69-22.
Baldwin swept both of last season's meetings with Brown averaging 13.5 points in each contest. Kracl, despite her team coming up short, edged Brown with an average of 15.5 points in the same two contests.
Kracl looked to gain the early advantage and came out aggressively. She collected a defensive rebound on the game's opening possession and subsequently connected on her first field goal attempt, a driving jumper in the lane. Kracl followed with another defensive rebound and a baseline jumper.
Eudora jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Following a 7-0 Baldwin run, capped by an Anna Skaggs three-pointer, Kracl hit a baseline jumper, pulling Eudora to within one. Kracl had six points and four rebounds in the game's first five minutes. She wouldn't score again until a free throw at the 5:04 mark of the third period.
The game that had been tapped as a battle of post powers would be decided ultimately by each team's respective outside games. Baldwin would connected on 10 three-pointers in the game while Eudora failed to connect on any. A discrepancy that made a 30-point difference.
When junior point-guard Rachel Abel hit a floater in the lane, it marked the end of another 7-0 Baldwin run, marked the first by a Cardinal other than Kracl (team-high 7 points).
Skaggs responded to Abel's only basket of the game by scoring the game's next nine points on her own. At one point in this latest Baldwin run Brown found herself running point on a fast break that led to one of Skaggs' game-high 12 points (all of which were in the first half). The Brown fast break exemplified the Baldwin pace, which proved a step better than Eudora most of the night.
Skaggs' 9-0 run would spark an overall Bulldog run of 27-0.
Eudora freshman standout Michelle Deluna (three points) would finally bring the long Baldwin run to an end with a baseline jumper midway through the third.
Eudora was down only 8-6 in third period scoring when Baldwin sharpshooter Anna Gillispie sought to steal Eudora's moral victory. Gillispie connected on a three-pointer and a last second jump shot to close out the third period. Baldwin would claim a 13-6 third period advantage and enter the final period leading 50-14 overall.
The fourth quarter and the game came to an end with Baldwin claiming a 69-22 victory.
Being the contest was televised on channel 6 , and it was the night of Winter Sports and Valentine's Day.
"Embarrassing," was the first response of Eudora head coach Cara Kimberlin. "We played scared...the distractions are something you just have to overcome."
Kimberlin recognized Brown as significant force and expected Baldwin to be affective from beyond the arch. She did not, however, anticipate a 10-0 advantage in terms of three-point accuracy.
Eudora again was led by Kracl with seven points followed by senior Mallorie Cleveland with six points, Deluna with three points, and juniors Abel, Ashley Moran, and Jodi Wingebach with two points each.
The Lady Cardinals will have to live with the taste of this one in their mouths until a Feb 18 contest at Paola. Eudora will undoubtedly be hungry and very aware of its opponent's outside game.
Eudora bounced back from the Baldwin loss Friday night with an impressive road effort at Paola Tuesday. In a test of the team's character, Eudora responded with a significant 42-36 triumph.
"This was a huge win for us," Eudora head coach Cara Kimberlin said. "It was great to see the kids come back from the Baldwin game."
Eudora had to overcome an early 15-4 deficit by attacking Paola inside with junior Lauren Kracl. Kracl carried Eudora all the way back and on to victory with a game-high 22 points.
Kimberlin expects such efforts from Kracl and puts considerable emphasis on others raising their game. Junior Rachel Abel is one of those players.
"She is our most consistent player and is getting better and better", the coach said. "She played great (defense) tonight and all year and got the ball to (Kracl) well tonight."