Win garners girls third-place seed
Eudora edges De Soto in 50-44 win
The Eudora girls basketball team lost its third game in a four-game stretch Feb. 13. The momentum of the team's record-breaking 10-2 start had stalled. Included in those three losses was a pair of disappointing defeats at the hands of archrival Baldwin. The team faced a critical crossroads.
They chose the high road.
Since that point, Eudora (14-5) has gone 3-0, including Tuesday's monumental contest with De Soto (17-2).
The Cardinals rode a gutsy senior night effort to defeat the Wildcats 50-44.
With the win, Eudora secured a third-place seeding in Monday's sub-state match-up. De Soto remains the top seed. Tonganoxie (14-4) will claim second and Bishop Ward (12-6) fourth.
"I felt it was really important for us to win tonight for two reasons," Eudora head coach Cara Kimberlin said. "You go into sub-state beating the first-place team, so you know that if you get them in the championship you can beat them."
"Secondly, by getting third it kept us away from De Soto and Bishop Ward. As far as I'm concerned, those are the top two teams."
It looked early as if De Soto would cruise to its 18th win and spoil the senior sendoff in the process. The Cats clawed their way to a 9-2 lead with less than two minutes to play in the opening quarter.
Lauren Kracl and Erin Kracl each connected on long-range jumpers, pulling the Cards to within 9-6 at the end of the period.
De Soto failed to take advantage of Eudora's early shooting difficulties. As a result the Cards were able to climb back into the game relatively easily.
The Wildcats' frustration and the Cardinals' rejuvenation helped Eudora to a 10-0 run at the onset of the second quarter. With less than five minutes to play in the half, the Cards led 16-9.
"I think part of the difference is we relaxed a little bit," Kimberlin said. "When we came out we were a little wound-up and nervous. Lately we seem to be coming out and building a hole to pull out of, and we do."
De Soto displayed some resiliency of its own with a 6-0 run, cutting the Eudora advantage to one. The Cardinals held on for a 20-17 halftime lead.
The Wildcats came out strong in the second half with an 8-2 run reminiscent of the beginning of the game. The spurt established a 25-22 De Soto lead just more than three minutes into the half.
The Cards again responded with a fierce rally -- a 12-2 run over the next three minutes, regaining the lead 34-27.
Eudora remained in control of the contest until the final horn. It was a statement game for the Cardinals following previous big-game bummers.
"We know we're a good team but it just depends on what team shows up that night," Lauren Kracl said. "We played a very good team with very good players. We'll see them again at sub-state."
The conclusion of the game greeted Lauren Kracl with a special tribute. Activities Director Dave Durkin honored Kracl with words of appreciation and approbation. Durkin read off a list of the eight school records Kracl has amassed. He also summoned a challenge to the youth in attendance to follow Kracl's example in the present and the future. It all came unbeknownst to Kracl."I had a whole bunch of emotions going at the time," she said. "I was ecstatic about the win. It got us third at sub-state, and that's going to help a lot.
"It was a complete shock, and it just made me appreciate my teammates that much more."
Lauren Kracl finished the night with a game-high 26 points. Her freshman sister, Erin, made noise on senior night with 10 points of her own.
Senior Jodi Wingebach tossed in six points, junior Carrie Lister netted five, senior Ashley Moran delivered a pair of free throws and junior Kayla Moyer added a point.
Senior Rachel Abel didn't attempt a shot but was honored along with the rest of her senior teammates.
"This group of seniors is a close-knit group, so there are a lot of emotions there," Kimberlin said. "The best thing and the bottom-line is you walk away with a win. That kind of tops the evening for them."
Lauren Kracl echoed her coach's thoughts.
"This is going to be really hard, because we are always together," she said. "We're like each other's clones. We just follow each other around."
Eudora will look to clone its De Soto effort Thursday at Gardner-Edgerton in the regular-season finale.
The girls enter sub-state play at home 7 p.m. Monday against Lansing.