First-round ouster doesn’t cloud boys’ season
For the 2005-2006 Eudora Cardinals, the season was a combination of something new and something old.
First-year head coach Kyle Deterding helped bring together some new ideas to a veteran line-up, the result of which was an eight-win turnaround.
"We had a pretty good year," Deterding said. "The players had to deal with a lot of different things from last year and they bought into it. They really worked their tails off and the seniors were a great bunch of players to work with."
The Cardinal turnaround consisted of many high points. The team finished the season with a 14-7 overall record, an 8-4 mark that was good for fourth in the Frontier League and an early December tournament championship at the Eudora Invitational tournament.
The senior starting line-up, which consisted of Mark Abel, Luke Abel, Tim Moran, Guy Montgomery and Rodney Spillman, was helped out the entire year by a group of underclassmen who logged important minutes.
Juniors Todd Roberts and Mike Ortega helped supplement the perimeter and inside games for the Cardinals.
The underclassmen, which also included sophomore Matthew Abel, helped the team early in the season when the Cardinals really needed them.
"The younger players did a good job this year," Deterding said. "Especially when we had some injuries, those guys came in and stepped up and the experience helped down the line. Hopefully it will help them out next year."
Of all the players who donned the Cardinal red for the 2005-2006 season, none emerged with more authority than Spillman.
The senior, who played in limited minutes as a junior, became the squad's primary scoring source from game to game. He went on to score in double figures in 18 of the 21 Cardinal games this year.
Spillman, who garnered first team All-Frontier League honors, finished the season averaging 16 points a game to go along with seven rebounds per game. He added another dimension to his game by leading the team in steals.
Mark Abel, a constant threat from the outside, averaged eight points in his senior campaign while also leading the team in assists.
Abel, along with fellow senior Montgomery, was named to the All-Frontier League's honorable mention list.
Along with memorable individual performances, the Cardinals also had some big nights on the court as a team in 2006.
The Cardinals welcomed the then number-one ranked KC Sumner Sabres to Eudora High School in February for a rematch of a previous meeting the season before, in which the Cardinals were drubbed by 40 points.
The outcome this time around was more favorable as the Cardinals upset the Sabres 37-36 for one of the more high profile wins of the season. Eudora also notched tough road wins at Anderson County and Wellsville.
The highs of winning also came with the lows of defeat for the Cardinals.
Early in the year a quick 3-0 start was derailed by two defeats at the hands of the Silver Lake Eagles, a team, which has had the Cardinals number dating back to last season.
The Cardinals regrouped to go into the Class 4A sub-state tournament with some momentum, but ran into a streaky Kansas City Bishop Ward team, which ended Eudora's hopes for a state berth, 57-50. In the game, Spillman saved his best for last, scoring 30 points in a losing effort.
The end for the Cardinals this year will also be the beginning of next year's process of putting together a new team to follow the accomplishments of 2006.
"We lose our entire starting lineup," Deterding said. "Those were a great bunch of seniors this year, but now things are going to be wide open. The younger guys will have a whole lot of minutes to go after when things get going again."