Boys satisfied with improvements
Going into the 2006-2007 Eudora boys basketball season, coach Kyle Deterding said he had some questions and concerns.
With the entire 2005-2006 starting lineup gone, Deterding said he was initially unsure how the team would band together and fill the huge void left by the 2006 graduates. Turns out there wasn't much to worry about. The result was a winning record of 11-10, just down from the 14-7 record from last year.
"We were pretty competitive," Deterding said. "We played everyone and stayed with them. We got pretty close to a few of them and beat a bunch of them. At the beginning, we had some bad games, but we got better by the second half."
Deterding said the team had some excellent showings during the second half of the season, namely in the Tonganoxie tournament. At the tournament, the Cardinals handily beat Pleasant Ridge and Tonganoxie, 62-49 and 67-58, respectively. Eudora lost in the finals against Atchison 51-42, but Deterding said the team fought hard the entire time.
Another game Deterding said he was exceptionally proud of was the winter homecoming 47-46 win against Baldwin -- a win made even more impressive when the Bulldogs streaked to the sub-state finals, only to fall to top-seeded Kansas City-Piper by two points.
"We got down by double digits and came back and got them," Deterding said.
Although he has no regrets about the season, Deterding said many of the losses came as a result of poor Cardinal decisions, which led to an excessive amount of turnovers.
"We probably just needed to make better decisions," Deterding said. "A lot of that comes from improving basic skills. When that is improved, then better decisions are made. We're not confident with the ball all the time, and we had too many turnovers."
Although that lack of confidence manifested itself in other games, like the 51-35 loss to Gardner, the final game of the season saw an energized team determined to win the first round of the sub-state tournament. Despite strong momentum generated by wins against Osawatomie and Wellsville just before sub-state, Bishop Ward crushed the Cardinals' hopes of making a state appearance in a close game that was decided only in the last seconds when Ward posted a four-point lead. The Cardinals lost 56-52.
Deterding said although he and the team would have liked to get another game or two out of the season, he hoped the close loss gave everyone a sour taste in their mouths, which would serve as motivation for next season.
The Ward loss wasn't just the end of the season for the team, but also the last game for five seniors. Kent Swanson, Todd Roberts, Mike Ortega, Tim DeArmond and Josh Turnbaugh are turning in their jerseys this week for the final time.
"We're going to lose a lot of scoring," Deterding said. "They brought experience and some leadership to the table. They had been through the ropes and led the younger guys a little bit."
Only one player--point and rebound leader, junior Kelson Boyer -- received an all-league honorable mention nod. He racked up 15.8 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game. Boyer is expected to return for another season next year.
Other varsity underclassmen that had significant varsity minutes this season and are expected to return next year are Matthew Abel, Brian White, Aaron Shockley and Morgan Abel.
In all, Deterding said Eudora overcame a lot by having to replace the starting lineup from the previous season. Sure, the season might not have finished with a sub-state championship, but it did end with a winning record. For that, Deterding said he was proud of his team.
"We got quite a bit out of our ability," Deterding said. "This year, we were predicted to finish lower in the league. We finished higher than most people thought.
"We had some kids that stuck it out and got pretty competitive by the end of the year."