Middle school basketball wraps up
The seventh-grade varsity boys basketball team lost a heartbreaker Tuesday night in their final game of the season. After a 12-point deficit, the Cardinals came back to within one, but it was too little, too late, losing to De Soto's Lexington Trials Middle School, 25-24.
The Cards jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead in the first quarter, and went to sleep in the second, trailing 13-8 at the half. The third quarter again was dominated by Lexington Trails, but a solid bench effort by Ian Scrimsher, Hawley Montgomery, Brandon West, Sean Moran and Mack Hartwell helped to keep the game within reach.
With four minutes to play, the starters were reinserted into the game, and cut the lead. With eight seconds to play, the Cards trailed by one, and had a chance to erase the bad memories of the second and third quarters.
A spread 2-3 zone defense by Lexington Trails did not allow the team to get off a quality shot, ending the season with a 4-11 record.
Christian Richardson and Caleb Clayton-Molby led the team with six points apiece. JT Sellers and Hartwell had four each. Tyler Miller and Austin Vickers finished with two each.
The team used a ?-court press that resulted in turnovers and easy baskets during its game Feb. 7 against Baldwin, but fell apart in the fourth quarter and couldn't wipe out a five-point halftime deficit, falling 36-24.
The Cardinals were led by Caleb Clayton-Molby's 11 points. Mack Hartwell and Christian Richardson had four each. Jordan Plaice and Austin Vickers each had two and Brandon West scored one.
After a seven-game losing skid, the seventh-grade varsity played one of its best games of the year Feb. 13, winning 36-31 at Central Heights.
The game included several clock foul-ups, including giving the host team a 1-and-1 after six fouls and assessing Clayton-Molby with his fifth foul, after only committing four. The Vikings brought the score to within one with two minutes left to play, but it wasn't enough as the Cardinals played tough down the stretch.
Clayton-Molby led with 13 points. Plaice had nine, Vickers and Richardson each added five and Hartwell had four.
In the season finale, the seventh-grade junior varsity came out with a slow start against the visiting Panthers, but closed the gap going into halftime, only down 12-8.
On a night where the Cardinals managed to go 4-for-4 from the free-throw line, they lacked control of the ball and on several occasions, mistook a black jersey for a white one.
Good defense on the parts of Tyler Stover, Ryan Mendel, and Josh Bakarich led to some hard-earned shots from the Panthers, but in the end, Lexington Trails capitalized on some second- and third-chance shots on offense. The final score was 28-14.
Scoring for the Cardinals were Sean Moran and Brandon West with four points each. Ivan Espinosa, Cody Bryant and Clay Hamilton each chipped in two.
The seventh-grade junior varsity red squad participated in a tournament Feb. 18 at Gardner Elementary School.
In Eudora's game against Wheatridge, a scoreless first quarter by the Cardinals allowed Wheatridge to build a 21-2 lead at halftime. The Cardinals managed to get some looks at the basket, but a stifling Wheatridge defense gave Gardner the 39-5 victory.
Sean Moran and Brandon West had two points each. Ivan Espinosa had one.
In the second game of the tournament, the seventh-grade junior varsity white squad met up with Louisburg.
Despite playing great team defense and helping to stop a dribble penetration by Wildcat guards, the Cardinals could not pull out a win, dropping one 32-16.
Some great hustle and defense on the parts of Clay Hamilton, Jacob Beck, Jared Bruner, and Chad Wilson helped create several turnovers, but the Cards could not capitalize by making any baskets on offense.
Scoring for the Cardinals were Clay Hamilton with six points, Darren Nabus with four and Daniel Nabus, Jacob Beck and Jon Murray with two each.
In the first-ever basketball game played by a Baldwin school at Baker University, the Eudora Cardinals seventh-grade junior varsity team began a game Feb. 7 that, at times, could have been mistaken for a track meet. The Cards managed to run the home team from one end to the other, but failed to hit any of the open looks at the basket.
Great post play from Ryan Mendel, Anthony Mersmann and newcomer Brandon West gave the Cards plenty of looks, but couldn't convert or manage to reach the free-throw line very often.
In the end, the Cardinals stifling defense allowed too many Baldwin buckets, while also getting beat out at the free-throw line by a Baldwin squad that shot 40 percent compared to the Cards 14 percent from the line. The final score was 27-15.
Scoring for the Cards were West with six, Ivan Espinosa with four, Sean Moran with three and Ryan Mendel with two points.
In the first of two games Feb. 9 against the Piper Pirates, the junior varsity white squad managed to take a one-point lead into halftime and add to that lead in the second half, holding on for a 26-21 victory.
Newcomers West and Clay Hamilton helped add a spark, and Hamilton, along with Kelby Foos, managed to hit some key free throws in the closing minutes of the game to help the Cards hold on to the win.
Throughout the game, the white squad managed to run Piper up and down the floor, getting plenty of opportunities for layups.
Scoring for the Cards were West and Jon Murray with six points each, Danie Nabus with five points, Hamilton with three points from free throws and Darren Nabus, Jacob Beck, and Foos with two points each.
In the nightcap, the red squad allowed Piper to hang 16 points on the board in the first half and never managed to mount a big enough comeback to gain the lead.
A hustling Cardinals squad managed to force the Pirates into foul trouble, but could never capitalize from some Piper miscues.
Despite being 2-for-13 from the free-throw line, the Cardinals managed to do some good things on defense in the second half, becoming more aware of where the basketball was at most times.
The return of Tanner Sorenson to the squad gave the squad another presence at the post position in addition to the usual Ryan Mendel, Josh Bakarich and Sean Moran.
The final score was 22-12
Ivan Espinosa had five points. Sean Moran ended with three and Branden Elliott and Mendel had two each.
Hamilton led the seventh-grade junior varsity team with four points in a 23-12 loss Feb. 13 at Central Heights.
Darren Nabus, Daniel Nabus, Beck and West each had two points to round out the scoring for the Cardinals.
The eighth-grade junior varsity won its last game of the season Feb. 21 on the road at Lexington Trails Middle School in De Soto.
The Cardinals jumped out to an early lead, but saw that lead slip to three points at the end of the third quarter. However, the boys took care of business down the stretch, pulling away once again and securing the victory, 36-25.
Caleb Hines finished with 13. Alex Cox had eight and Jeremy McClellan had six. Josh Ricley ended with three and Trevor Shepley, Matt Jump and Tanner Byrne had two each.
The eighth-grade junior varsity lost a tight battle, 26-21, Feb. 7 against the visiting Baldwin Bulldogs.
The Cardinals overcame a dismal first half and pulled within three points of the Bulldogs late in the fourth quarter, but the boys could not quite catch up.
Todd Graff and Matt Jump led the team with four apiece. Wil Wierman had three and Nick Mills, Josh Ricley, Alex Cox, John Woodgate and Casey Boone had two each.
The eighth-grade varsity lost a tough match up against the Panthers of Lexington Trails Middle School Feb. 21, 43-39.
In what proved to be a very physical game, the Cardinals had to battle back from a pair of 10-point deficits to pull within a point of the Panthers. But the boys could not get any closer than 4 points in the final minutes of the game.
Justin Ballock led the team with 19 points. Joel Lauer finished with eight. Brian Katzfey had four and Evan Cleveland and Reece Long each had three. Drew Noble ended with two and Connor Scott had one.
The team overcame a poor shooting first half Feb. 7 and a lead of 20-17, to put the visiting Bulldogs away 53-24.
Ballock led the team with 26 points. Scott and Cleveland finished with five each. Matt Schultz and Katzfey had four each. Lauer ended with three and Noble, Kyle Snow and Josh Ricley had two each.