Rally falls just short against Ottawa
Tense doesn't even begin to describe the mood at the Eudora High School basketball game Tuesday night.
After trailing by 13 points at the end of the third quarter, Eudora slowly caught up to Ottawa. With 30 seconds to go, the Cardinals tied it up at 59. All they had to do was keep Ottawa from scoring.
Ottawa's Victor Ojeleye scored 31 points to lead all scorers, but his two biggest points of the night came with less than a second remaining as he sank a shot to give Ottawa the lead.
The Cardinals called a time out, stopping the clock with just enough time left to throw the ball across the court. But Kelson Boyer's pass and Matthew Abel's desperate final attempt were for naught and Eudora lost the Frontier League contest, 61-59.
Eudora basketball coach Kyle Deterding said although the team lost, he was proud of how it played, especially at the end of the game.
"I'm proud of our effort," Deterding said. "We battled hard, but you can't get down by double digits and expect to win. We got back in because of our effort."
The Cardinals were disappointed with the loss, but it did come against some pretty hefty competition, namely in the form of the aforementioned Ojeleye. Standing at 6-foot-5, Ojeleye towered above Boyer, the tallest Cardinal on the court. With a hefty amount of points and rebounds, he was Ottawa's go-to guy.
Deterding said, though, he and the Cardinals were looking forward to squaring off against Ojeleye. He said he was excited to see how his team would compete against Ottawa's front-runner.
"He's a good player," Deterding said. "I was really excited to see how we'd play against him. I thought we battled well, but he's just such a good player."
Although Eudora battled hard in the first half, the team was playing catch up in the last quarter due to problems in the third quarter.
Ottawa managed to rack up three 3-pointers in a row, putting some distance between it and Eudora in the third quarter. The Cyclones scored 11 points in a row before Boyer finally answered.
Mike Ortega started the impressive fourth quarter off strongly with a basket. That energy continued throughout the quarter as Eudora went on a nine-point streak, which included the only Cardinal three-pointer of the night, courtesy of Abel.
The close Ottawa game came just on the heels of the equally as tense Baldwin game on Friday. Eudora bested its rival 47-46. Although he was proud of how his team battled in both games, Deterding said one primary problem permeates the team.
"We've been competing well," Deterding said. "We just have to work on competing for 30 to 32 minutes instead of 20 to 25 minutes if we want a chance to win."
Eudora is scheduled to play again 8 p.m. Friday at Prairie View and then again 8 p.m. Tuesday in Paola.