Boys beat De Soto
The Eudora High School boys basketball team ended a three-game road trip and two-game losing streak Tuesday with a 41-35 win over De Soto.
"This is the time of year when you just want a win -- it was a good win," said Eudora head coach Scott Stein.
Eudora established a quick early pace and forced De Soto to run. The teams traded early baskets until De Soto sophomore Danny Brown connected on a long three-pointer, giving the Wildcats a 9-8 lead. De Soto never led again.
Eudora junior Tyler Cleveland and senior David Grote finished the first quarter with a pair of baskets giving the Cardinals a 12-9 lead.
The Cardinals began the second period with a set play for senior Kaleb Niedens, who came off a screen, hitting a long three. Eudora took complete control of the game's tempo as seniors Andrew Bell and Tyler Jackson capped an 11-0 run with fast-break layups.
De Soto aimed to control the Cardinals' attack by instituting a full-court press on made shots. Eudora handled the press fairly well, but the Wildcats managed to limit the Cardinal's transition game.
"They were patient, patient, patient -- they defended their own house well," Stein said of De Soto's efforts. Such patience was especially impressive with no seniors on the Wildcats' roster.
Brown hit back-to-back three-pointers to key the first of two second-half runs, bringing the Wildcats within four at 28-24. Eudora junior Chris Gabriel held off De Soto with a pair of tough shots in the post, finishing the third quarter with the Cardinals holding a 35-27 advantage.
Gabriel started the fourth quarter with another strong basket in the lane, and the Cardinals grabbed their second double-digit lead of the game at 37-27.
Eudora suffered a five minute scoring drought in which De Soto -- behind threes from juniors Josh Arnold and Pete Crall -- pulling to within two at 37-35.
Niedens steal along the baseline and Jackson's subsequent free throws iced the game at 39-35.
Eudora pulled off the win behind 12 points from Gabriel, seven apiece for Niedens and Bell, four for Jackson and two apiece from Cleveland, Grote, and junior defensive specialists Josh Brouhard and Jesse Montgomery.
Eudora entered its Friday match up at Paola hoping to rebound from a disappointing loss at Spring Hill. Victory would not be an easy venture as the Cardinals caught the Panthers on senior night. An energized Paola crowd and a dismal shooting display by the Cardinals cost Eudora its second straight as it fell 53-42.
In the game Feb. 18 at Spring Hill the Cardinals put together a lethargic effort against a team that was last year's 4A state runner-up.
"We did not play good defense, we did not keep them off the boards...that was really not very good basketball," Eudora head coach Scott Stein on the Spring Hill loss.
Against Paola, however, the defensive intensity and overall effort was vastly improved.
Paola started four seniors on senior night, including 6-2 sharpshooter Luke Goode. Goode started the game with two three-pointers that bookended a pair of Eudora turnovers.
Eudora, as they have all season, looked to a senior of their own to answer the early Panther burst. Niedens, who scored all of his seven points against Spring Hill in the fourth quarter, carried some of that momentum with him early against Paola.
Niedens followed a long three with a hard drive down the lane tying the game at eight. Paola guard T. J. Morris interrupted Niedens' run with a three of his own. Niedens again responded with a long three-pointer and a jumper from the baseline.
Paola connected on three three-pointers in the first quarter and seemed content on continuing a long-distance attack throughout the game. Eudora, on the other hand, had a more up-tempo game plan in mind.
"I want this group to push it all the time," Stein said.
"We played good enough to win, but our poor offensive execution cost us," Stein said. "We'll have to regroup and rededicate ourselves."
Niedens scored 16 on a difficult shooting night, Gabriel managed nine, Bell, Brouhard, and Cleveland added five each and Grote finished with two.