Defensive difficulty cripples Cardinal boys against Piper
The Eudora High School boys basketball team fell to Piper 71-61 in its opener Monday in the opening round of the Paola Invitational Tournament.
Coach Scott Stein cited many problems that contributed to the loss.
"We just had poor execution all night," he said. "We weren't very good on the inside. We gave up way too many second-chance points.
Eudora gave up 18 offensive boards, something a team with a lack of size cannot afford to do. That lack of size also translated to the offensive end as well. Eudora made only one trip to the free-throw line the entire game.
The Cardinals played from behind most of the night. The team seemed to come together in the second period by scoring 21 points. Senior Joe Kaup scored 10 of his 15 points in the period. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the defense wasn't there, as Piper answered with 24.
"We really have to make more of an effort on defense if we're going to compete," Stein said.
The poor defense landed Eudora in a hole late in the game as Piper ended the third period with a 60-45 lead. The Cardinals fought hard in the fourth period, out-scoring Piper 16-11. Eudora managed to cut the deficit to seven on two occasions -- once with three minutes to go -- but saw poor execution doom the comeback attempts.
"We had chances," Stein said. "We just made some really bad decisions down the stretch. We made bad passes and allowed them to really dominate the boards."
Despite falling short in the fourth quarter, there were some positives.
Senior Jeremie Bryant was consistent from the field with six points inside the arc and three three-pointers. Bryant made Eudora's only trip to the free-line of the game.
Junior Mark Abel continued his strong outside shooting from a year ago, hitting five three-pointers. Abel finished as the team's high scorer with 19 points.
Another junior, Luke Abel, contributed five points, including a three-pointer. Nolan Smith added four.
The Cardinals tried to regroup and work out some of their problems as the tournament went on, but Stein knew there was much to do.
"You can say, 'Well if a couple of those go in, and all of that, but we've really got to work some things out."
On Tuesday the Cardinals fell to Paola 51-44. Despite the loss Stein saw a little of what he was looking for on Monday.
"We were much better on offense than we were in the first game," he said. "Our defense was better, but we still need to tighten things up on the backboards."
The Cardinals showed improvement on the inside, limiting the number of offensive rebounds.
In the loss, Kaup added eight points to back the 15 he threw in on Monday. Junior Rodney Spillman scored 12 points to lead the team.
Although there were improvements, Stein saw one of his preseason worries come to life.
"Our inexperience is manifesting itself in periods in whichwe struggle on offense," he said.
The Cardinals (0-2) will face Bishop Ward at 4 p.m. Friday in Paola.