Archive for Thursday, January 26, 2006

Boys bounce back in Tonganoxie tourney

January 26, 2006

After dropping the tournament opener to Silver Lake, the Eudora boys basketball team bounced back with two-straight wins last week to take fifth-place at the Tonganoxie Invitational.

Eudora snapped a two-game skid on Thursday with a hard fought 53-45 overtime victory against the Lansing Lions, which was followed by a last-second win over Leavenworth Immaculata, 53-52, Saturday to secure fifth-place.

The wins helped get the team back on track after a rough week of close defeats to the Eagles and Spring Hill.

"It helps us see where we're at," Eudora senior Rodney Spillman said. "It tells us that we can bounce back and go out there with enthusiasm and give all we've got."

The Cardinals rode a 21-point performance from Spillman on Saturday while withstanding a 25-point showing by Immaculata's David Beck.

After leading 13-11 after one, the Cardinals were blitzed by Beck and the Raiders 23-12 in the second quarter for a 34-25 halftime deficit. Fifteen of Beck's game-high 25 came in the quarter.

"(Beck) made some nice plays," Eudora coach Kyle Deterding said. "But he also made some open ones. We just needed to get in his face and make him earn his points. We did a pretty good job of that in the second half."

That effort began in the third quarter as the Cardinal defense held the Raiders to under 40-percent shooting, which allowed the Cardinal offense to keep pace with Immaculata by being outscored 11-10. The Raiders also cooled off from beyond the arc by going 0-for-4 in the third quarter after going 6-for-15 in the first half.

Despite the cold shooting, the Raiders were able to stretch their lead to 10 points going into the fourth quarter, 45-35.

The Cardinals saved their best for last as they outscored Immaculata 18-7 in the fourth.

Senior Mark Abel's two 3-pointers, which helped pull the Cardinals within one as time ticked away, fueled the run. Immaculata helped matters by continuing to draw blanks from outside, finishing 0-for-7 in the half.

However, Mark Abel wasn't finished firing from downtown. With less than 10 seconds to go, Abel heaved an in-bounds pass to an open Spillman under the basket, who scored the go-ahead bucket.

"We practice that play quite a bit," Spillman said. "We have Mark throw in the ball to me with a guy covering him on the play. We executed that play pretty well."

Mike Ortega joined Spillman in double figures by finishing with 10 points for the game, going 4-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line.

The thrilling finish against Immaculata was set up by a tough overtime win against Lansing in the first game of the loser's bracket.

The game began in sluggish fashion for both teams as both missed easy shots to open things up.

But the slow start didn't seem to affect Lansing's Jeff Slater. The senior forward hit four of his five first-quarter shots on his way to 22 points for the game. His start helped the Lions carve a 10-7 lead at the end of one.

Eudora bounced back in the second with a 5-0 run for its first lead of the game, 12-10, with help from a Matthew Abel 3-point play.

Lansing shot 50 percent from the field in the first, but managed to go only 2-for-8 in the second, including 0-for-4 from 3-point range.

The Cardinals went on to outscore Lansing 16-7 in the quarter to take the lead into the locker room, 23-17.

The teams went on to play even basketball throughout the third quarter, both shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor.

Mark Abel hit his second and third 3-pointers in the quarter to help the Cardinals keep pace and take a 36-30 lead into the fourth.

But the Lions made a run in the fourth behind the hot shooting of guard David Kern. His 10 fourth-quarter points helped Lansing take its first lead, 41-40, since early in the second.

Eudora's Mark Abel answered the Lions charge with a 3-pointer with less than four minutes to go to give the Cardinals a 43-41 lead.

Down the stretch, each team hit free throws, but it was the Lions' Kern that missed a potential go-ahead charity shot that helped the teams go to an extra frame tied at 45.

After the Lions' Slater opened the overtime with a basket and a foul shot, the Cardinals took over.

Eudora attacked Lansing on the inside drawing, seven foul shots in the period. The Cardinals went 6-for-7 from the line in overtime, including Mark Abel's perfect four-for-four to finish out the game.

The overtime win came on the heels of two close defeats for the Cardinals.

"I think that's going to be a theme for us for the rest of the year," Deterding said. "We're going to play in a lot of tight games down the stretch, so maybe we're learning how to win those games."

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