Deluna, team’s effort fall short at Paola
Coach Kimberlin confident toughness will pay off
The Eudora girls basketball team lit up the scoreboard Monday night, scoring 65 points behind junior point guard Michelle Deluna. Unfortunately, Paola managed to do a little bit better, as the Panthers downed the Cardinals 81-65 at Paola.
"You'd like to think that when you score 65 points you'll win most of the time," coach Cara Kimberlin said. "They're one of the best teams in the league."
Both teams began the game a little sloppy as the Panthers went to the foul line three times in the first two minutes of the game. The Cardinals capitalized on a host of Paola turnovers to finish the opening period down by only three.
Then came the second quarter.
The Cardinal defense began to succumb to the inside game of the Panthers as the host team dominated the boards on both ends. Eudora gave up 26 points to Paola in the period as the Panthers' Brittany Miller emerged as a force the Cardinals seemed unable to stop. The Cardinals found themselves down at the half 43-29.
"We had some problems matching up with them size-wise," Kimberlin said. "(Brittany) Miller was just too athletic for us; she seemed to always find a way to be open."
Deluna, who finished with 18 points, stifled some of the Paola momentum by hitting the shot of the night for the Cards, burying a three-pointer with less than 10 seconds to play in the half. The shot came while the Paola student section counted down the clock 10 seconds early in an effort to confuse the visitors and force a premature shot.
"I couldn't have been more pleased with the way Michelle played," Kimberlin said. "She was driving and creating inside. She finally began to take some shots, which is something we've wanted her to do all year."
The Cardinals found themselves fighting to get back in the game in the second half. Senior Kayla Moyer played strong on the inside, adding 16 to the Cardinal's total and grabbing five steals.
That was the best all-around game that I've seen from Kayla," Kimberlin said. "She had good shot selection and great drives to the basket."
Despite the tough play, the Cardinals could not fight their way down to single digits.
"They always found a way to score when they had the opportunity," Kimberlin said.
The beginning of the final period seemed to illustrate Eudora's struggles.
The Cards opened the quarter by missing their first four shots. Most of these efforts were rushed attempts to get back into the game.
Eudora continued to play hard but could not overcome the deficit.
The effort didn't go unnoticed by Kimberlin.
"I told my players before the game that no matter what happens out there, just play tough," she said. "I was so pleased with the effort and the toughness of these players. They didn't let me down."
The Cardinals made the most of their trips to the free-throw line as well.
Eudora went 14-for-17, which helped keep them within reach. Junior Carrie Lister hit seven of her eight attempts from the charity stripe.