Girls press right past Central Heights
Turnovers, offensive rebounds help Cardinals sink Vikings’ ship
If scored strictly by basketball buzzwords, Tuesday's second half was a disaster for the Central Heights girls basketball team.
Eudora dominated, nabbing 16 points off turnovers and eight more thanks to offensive rebounds.
Scored conventionally, the outcome was little different.
Eudora rolled over the Vikings to improve its league record to 9-1, rebounding from an ugly first quarter for a 61-45 win.
Erin Kracl led with 23 points and Carrie Lister joined her in double figures, scoring 14, but the key wasn't in any one person. It was in Eudora's devastating press.
Eudora scored just four points in the first quarter and, after rebounding with 19 in the second, held a slim three-point lead to start the third quarter.
The Cardinals never let Central Heights back on the court, however. Nikki Snider and Michelle Deluna each stole passes that were quickly converted into layups.
Lister stole a ball on the next possession, but missed the chance to score. She was quickly redeemed moments later when Kracl scored off a turnover.
The interceptions came on four-straight Viking possessions and allowed Eudora its first comfortable lead of the night, 30-22.
"That's how we get our points, with our defense," Eudora coach Ryan Luke said. "We would be a bottom tier team in our league, but when we turn the pressure on, we are probably one of the top teams."
Eudora was at times scary throughout the rest of the second half. Central Heights climbed back to within six, but Bailey Scott scored and Kracl hit a free throw and added another basket.
Two more buckets off turnovers, one an Emily Ballock basket accompanied by a foul and a free throw, and Eudora might as well have been enjoying the day on the playground.
It looked so easy, Luke couldn't help but wonder what exactly it is that continually plagues the team in the first quarter of games.
"At least we're getting better," he said. "We used to have problems in both quarters in the first half. We're going to continue to work on it. We're doing a good job. They fought hard in the second half."
With three games remaining -- none of which can be ignored -- Eudora can begin to focus on its postseason aspirations.
The Cardinals sit second in the league and can only hope for an upset, a game behind Paola, which beat Eudora 53-45 in January.
A stellar regular season hasn't set Eudora up for a dream run through a sub-state tournament either. The Cardinals will play in the Kansas City-Sumner sub-state and currently sit behind Tonganoxie -- 16-1 and the No. 2 team in Kansas Basketball Coaches Association Class 4A poll -- and Sumner, who is 16-2 and ranked No. 3.
Luke acknowledged he's glanced ahead at what may await, but he also cautioned that the next 10 days could easily wreck plans if his team gets caught with its eye on the postseason.
"We're playing Baldwin and De Soto, our top rivals, so next week is a big week for us," Luke said.