Overtime boosts team to 55-51win
For the second time in two weeks, the Eudora and Louisburg girls basketball teams needed an extra session to settle a game.
"I think it was a huge motivational boost for us to play that hard," coach Cara Kimberlin said. "This is by far the best we've played as a team. When they figure out we need to do that consistently, we'll win more games."
The Cardinals (4-6) (2-3) gave up a fourth quarter lead and lost 49-44 (OT) in a Frontier League contest Jan. 7 at Louisburg. Eudora held a comfortable second half lead Tuesday, but they were able to finish the job in a "non-league" game and win 55-51.
Eudora jumped out to an early 11-4 lead over the Wildcats, but Louisburg's Jennifer Donner kept her team in the game. Louisburg rallied in the second quarter with a full-court press. They drew foul number three on Eudora freshman Michelle Deluna (eight points, five rebounds and three steals) and took a 24-22 lead late in the second quarter.
The teams were tied at 24 going into the break. Junior Lauren Kracl (game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds) and senior Mallorie Cleveland (eight points and four rebounds) led a strong Eudora rally after halftime.
Eudora out-scored the Wildcats 7-2 before Louisburg went on a 5-0 run of its own, knotting the score.
Eudora ended the third quarter on an 8-4 run, helping the home-standing Cards to a 39-35 lead. Senior Tina Lauber, two rebounds and an assist, and sophomores Alissa Hamilton, two assists, and Joni Ridinger, a steal and a rebound, played solid defense in the third quarter for Eudora.
Eudora's offense came to a screeching halt in the fourth quarter.
"We didn't take care of the ball -- someone didn't catch it or it was thrown out of bounds," Kimberlin said.
Neither team scored a field goal until the 3:46 mark of the fourth quarter, but Louisburg made four free throws to tie the game at 39. Kracl scored Eudora's first field goal of the quarter, giving the Cards a 41-39 lead with 3:46 in the game.
Donner put the Wildcats ahead 43-41 with 1:14 in the game. Then Deluna, who had been quiet offensively since the first quarter, rebounded a Kracl miss and was fouled after making the shot. She converted on the three-point play, giving the Cards a one-point advantage with 30 seconds to play.
Junior Rachel Abel (eight points and seven steals) made one of two free throws with 9.4 seconds left in the game.
Kimberlin said Abel played one of her best games of season.
"Rachel Abel is a defensive player," the coach said. "She's said to me before that she wishes she could just play defense."
Then, Louisburg's Amanda Creamer, whose missed free throws in the last meeting between the teams, allowed Eudora to play in overtime, calmly sank both shots.
Cleveland completed a cross-court pass to Kracl, whose layup bounced off the rim and out.
During the last meeting, Louisburg sophomore Lauren Westhoff was the star of the extra period eight-of-eight free throws. This time, the extra session's star was a sophomore who wore red and white.
Sophomore Kayla Moyer (eight points, two rebounds, and two assists) scored six of her eight points in the extra session.
"Kayla Moyer hit two huge shots in the overtime," Kimberlin said. "They didn't respect her, she got wide open looks, and she sunk them."
Moyer forced a jump ball with 3:25 in overtime, giving Eudora possession. Kracl's free throws with 2:43 left, were the first points of overtime.
Moyer's second jumper gave Eudora a presumably comfortable 51-47 lead, but Louisburg's Erin Gettler nailed a three-pointer. Moyer's steal with 12 seconds left in the game sealed the victory for Eudora.
The Cardinals will face class 5A Gardner-Edgerton in the first round of the Wellsville Top Gun Tournament at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Eudora will face either Anderson County or Baldwin in the second round of the tournament next Thursday.
"I've got a tape on them (Gardner) from Louisburg," Kimberlin said. "They have a pretty good sophomore point guard, Amanda Stewart. Our entire league with the exception of Spring Hill is pretty balanced."