Archive for Thursday, January 17, 2008

The fly route

January 17, 2008

I've seen the Eudora girls basketball team play three times in the last 11 months.

The good news is I've yet to see the same team play. Yes, that is good news.

The team is improving every time I see it and the squad is still on track for one of its best years in recent memory.

There should be no week more telling than the current one. If the Cardinals can continue to come up with strong showings in the Tonganoxie Invitational, it is a good sign the team can realize its dreams at the sub-state tournament.

The most intriguing part about the team is its depth.

It has three legitimate players capable of going off at any time in Haley Epperson, Nikki Snider and Emily Ballock.

Having three scorers so adept at beating a defense is priceless. It's the best kind of insurance.

It doesn't stop there for the Cardinals, however. Watching the team beat up De Soto Friday in a 52-34 win, it seemed even some of Eudora's "role players" could rise to the challenge if the team asked.

Elaina Kouri, Rachel Pyle, Kendal Abel and Bailey Scott didn't ring up huge point totals against the Wildcats, but they weren't asked to.

Instead they provided the intense defense and the strong rebounding that helped Eudora separate in the De Soto game's second half.

The team also adapts well to an opponent.

Eudora didn't have an answer for De Soto's 5-foot-11 Barbara Hartz, a German foreign exchange student who is big enough to play well in the post and strong enough on the dribble to cut through the lane.

The Cardinals were quick to switch defenses after Hartz scored the Wildcats' first six points. Ballock latched on and Hartz slowed down. Hartz finished with 14, but was severely limited in the second and third quarters when the game was decided.

Eudora appears to have caught a break when it comes to sub-state assignments, as well.

The Cardinals will ship off to the heart of Frontier League country - Spring Hill - and will face Baldwin, Basehor-Linwood, De Soto, Piper, Bishop Ward, St. James and Spring Hill.

Eudora already easily topped Baldwin, De Soto and Piper, beating the trio by an average of 24 points.

Bishop Ward lost to Piper earlier this season and Spring Hill has struggled as well.

It'll by no means be an easy trip to state. Eudora will avoid powerhouses like Tonganoxie and Louisburg, but certainly Eudora teams have learned not to take Baldwin for granted. Plus, even though it lost big, De Soto had some early success against Eudora.

St. James doesn't appear to be able to reel off basketball wins at the same rate at which it produces volleyball victories, but that's still a talented group of athletes.

Basehor is the real deal, as well. The Bobcats entered the week undefeated, 8-0, with impressive victories over Tonganoxie (67-43), Mill Valley (52-40) and Lansing (54-35).

There are too many games remaining to guess about seeds and outcomes. Basehor will have the opportunity to prove its superiority to both Lansing and Tonganoxie in rematches.

Eudora could have a chance to do the same this week.

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