Cardinals pick up pair of wins
After dipping below the .500 mark to start the new year, the Eudora girls basketball squad bounced back with a pair of resounding Frontier League victories to improve to 4-3 on the season.
The Cardinals handled the Prairie View Buffalos on Tuesday night 65-32, which followed an equally lopsided 55-26 win on the road at Anderson County.
Both games featured tenacious defensive efforts that produced a total of 58 opponent turnovers.
"We're getting better on the defensive end and on the ball pressure," Eudora coach Ryan Luke said. "They're starting to figure out that it's important, especially if we run up and down the floor and play in transition."
As good as the defensive effort was in each game, the same could not be said for the Cardinals' ability to shoot.
Eudora shot a combined 39 percent in the two victories, but was never threatened in either contest.
"We just have to work on finishing," Luke said. "We've had a lot of easy shots that we've missed. If we can work on that then we can be a tough team."
The Cardinals set the defensive tone early Tuesday against the Buffalos as sophomore Emily Ballock stole an early Prairie View pass and sailed to the basket for an easy score. The turnover was one of 11 forced by the Cardinals in the quarter.
But as the defense set the pace, the shooting woes continued. Eudora struggled early, going 4-for-15 from the field in the opening frame, which allowed the Buffalos to hang around by quarter's end, 10-7.
The Cardinals bounced back in the second quarter, however, forcing another eight Prairie View turnovers to fuel a 21-point effort for the period that carved out a 31-16 halftime lead.
Eudora tightened its shooting in the quarter by going 10-for-17. Junior Erin Kracl helped boost the Cardinal percentage by hitting five of her six shots in the quarter on her way to a game-high 16 points.
In the third quarter, the Cardinals cooled off once again from the field, shooting 30 percent. But the defense maintained its intensity and forced another nine turnovers, of which Eudora converted into eight fast-break points.
Eudora added 22 points in the fourth to seal the 33-point win.
Sophomore Nikki Snider was one of three Eudora players in double figures with 11, while senior Carrie Lister added 10 despite going 4-for-11 from the free-throw line.
The Cardinals traveled to Anderson County on Friday and left with a 29-point victory and their first notch in the league win column.
The Bulldogs scored the first basket of the game, but couldn't endure a 14-0 Eudora run that brushed aside the home team. During the span, Kracl scored eight of her game-high 18 points.
The Cardinals attacked the Bulldogs in every phase of the game during the first quarter, forcing seven turnovers and allowing only eight shots from the floor on their way to a 16-4 first-quarter lead.
"We just came out hard and we pressed," Luke said. "What you saw there was the kind of basketball we've been working for this season."
The tone continued in the second quarter as the Cardinals made it impossible for the Bulldogs to mount any kind of rally. Eudora clogged the lanes and smothered the perimeter, allowing the Bulldogs only seven shots from the field for a total of 15 for the half.
The effort netted Eudora a 34-10 halftime lead, despite going 12-for-33 from the field, including just 28 percent on 3-point attempts.
But the tone changed coming out of the locker room as the Cardinals missed their first six shots on the way to a 1-for-12 effort for the period.
Anderson County took advantage of the lull in the Eudora attack to outscore the Cardinals 14-2 and cut the lead to 36-24 at the end of the quarter.
"It was effort," Luke said. "We came out flat, maybe a little complacent. We talked about that afterwards, and we know we have to play four quarters every night."
Eudora quickly restored order and put the third quarter behind them in the fourth as a 12-0 run finished the Bulldogs for good.
In the win, Lister and Snider joined Kracl in double figures. Lister scored 15 points and Kracl added 10.