Close not enough as Cardinals fall twice in home tourney
It was one of those games that come down to the final few seconds.
Down 45-43, the Eudora girls basketball team had an opportunity to tie or win the game against Piper. There were just seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and Eudora had four free throws with which to make up the difference.
They missed them all, however.
"We're in a unique situation," coach Ryan Luke said. "I'm going to be talking to the girls about free throws and how important they are. That's because at any given time, they can be that person taking the shots."
Regardless of the troubles the team had in the fourth quarter, the first quarter of the game was a different story entirely. The team started the game off with a seven-point streak and ended the first quarter in the lead 11-4.
And each of those 11 points in the first quarter was scored by junior Emily Ballock and sophomore Haley Epperson. Luke said those girls just put themselves out there and hustled hard.
"Everybody has their role, and that's the role they've established," Luke said. "We're still finding ourselves and our position on the team. We need to find everybody else's position."
As quickly as Eudora acquired its resounding lead, the team lost it. Piper went on a seven-point streak, five of which came from free throws. The Cardinals soon found themselves losing and worked to re-establish their lead. However, that resulted in more fouls and as a result, more given free throws.
"We just need to be smarter and know situations better," Luke said. "Both teams didn't see the situation a lot of times. We can work on seeing things better."
The second half was very back and forth -- Eudora posted two points, then Piper posted two points. Regardless of how hard Eudora worked, it was not able to reacquire the lead until the end of the third quarter.
Just like the first half of the game was dominated by Ballock and Epperson, the second half saw the emergence of senior Allison Braden. At 5-foot-11, Braden was able to catch Piper rebounds easily and gain possession for Eudora, bringing the score at the end of the third quarter to 35-34 Eudora.
Braden said she was not the only factor in the team's offensive game, though.
"We got into some foul trouble in the second half, but our guards did a good job of getting me the ball," Braden said.
But regardless, the team was never able to re-establish the lead, which proved to be its downfall.
Luke said the tournament was really an early checkup point to see where the team was at play-wise.
"Right now we have a lot of things to work on offensively," Luke said. "We just have some work to do, and that's why this is a good weekend to find the positives and negatives and build on those things."
The game against Piper marked Eudora's second loss in the tournament. The first came to Bishop Ward, with Eudora losing 45-41. The team plays again at 4 p.m. Thursday against Turner for seventh place.
Despite the early season disappointments, Braden said the team was not getting too down about things just yet.
"We're not going to let losing two games get us down," Braden said. "We're going to go game by game and hopefully come out on top."