Cardinals start vacation in style, blast through Bulldogs
It was a knock-down-drag-out type of game when the Eudora boys basketball team clashed with the Anderson County Bulldogs Tuesday night.
The referees let the teams play rough the entire game as the Cardinals saw their lead get sliced from 22 points to 10 in the fourth quarter. Eudora managed to land the last punch, however, eventually winning 62-49. The win puts the team at 3-2 on the season heading into a break that lasts until a Jan. 4 meeting at home against Baldwin.
"Hard fought wins are good," coach Kyle Deterding said. "We made that one a little more interesting than we would have liked."
Justin Ballock led all scorers with 24 points. The sophomore has led the team in scoring every game this season.
Dylan Rust and Kyle Swanson each added eight.
D.J. Fritzel contributed 10 rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter. He went down momentarily in the third after banging his head on the floor while battling for a loose ball.
After taking an 8-6 lead with just under four minutes to play in the first quarter, Eudora unleashed the biggest run of the game by either team.
Junior Cody Carlson started it off by scoring in the paint and getting fouled. Although he missed the following free throw, Eudora went on to reel off an 11-0 run that Anderson County would never recover from. The run eventually was snapped when Anderson County called a timeout and scored on their ensuing possession with 1:06 left in the first quarter, but at the end of the first stanza, Eudora led 21-11.
"We did have a good run there in the middle when we were taking care of the ball, getting good shots, and making them," Deterding said. "Then we just started not getting as many shots and not taking care of the ball."
To start the second period, Eudora's lead shrank to five, 21-16, within 30 seconds when Anderson County got a short basket in the paint, forced a Eudora turnover and senior Jacob Rhoades hit a 3-pointer. Rhoades would finish with 19 points to lead Anderson County, despite picking up his fourth foul in the third quarter and remaining in the game.
Eudora would recover nicely before the end of the half though, playing stingy defense to allow the Bulldogs to score 3 points the rest of the quarter and taking a 36-19 lead into the half. Ballock scored eight of his points in the second quarter.
The Cardinals would win the third quarter as well, 13-10 and went into the final period leading 49-29.
In the fourth quarter, Anderson County's half court trap gave the Cardinals fits at times. Up 53-31 with 6:45 to go, the Cardinals began turning the ball over and allowing easy layups on the other end. Deterding called a timeout with 1:08 to play to calm his team and discuss how to handle the pressure.
"It was good to get to work on that. These kids haven't been through a lot of that so all this stuff is a learning experience," he said. "They took advantage of us, and we turned it over quite a bit."
After the timeout, the Cardinals regrouped and came away with a 62-49 victory.
"It was good to get the win in this atmosphere," senior Aaron Shockley said. "We're not the tallest team, but Eudora is known to outwork everybody and that's the way we played."
The win was the third straight game in three school days for Eudora, meaning they didn't get a chance to practice or prepare much for Harmon - who it faced on Monday - or Anderson County.
The Harmon game was a make-up game concluding Eudora's season-opening invitational tournament. Eudora dropped a tough one there, 45-43, after Harmon junior Jermery Moore hit a 2-point shot at the top of the key with sophomore Evan Cleveland in his face. Ballock took the ball on the last-second possession and attempted a buzzer-beating 25-footer that banked off the backboard before rimming out.
"They were a tough match up for us because they were really quick and had a couple of guys who could create some stuff," Deterding said. "They made some tough shots, too."
Friday, the Cardinals handled Prairie View without a problem, leading the whole way and finishing the game up 65-41 after Deterding called the dogs off with around 4:30 to play in the game.
Next up for the Cardinals after a long layoff is a home game against Baldwin Jan. 4.
"We have to do a lot of things better, our half court defense, we have to block out, take care of the ball and get good shots every time," Deterding said. "But these kids will work at it, we'll get better."