Back to even
Narrow victory helps Cardinals even record
It was rocky-going throughout the first three quarters of Eudora's Tuesday home game against Metro Academy. A strong fourth quarter vaulted the Cardinals past the Mavericks, 44-42, however, giving Eudora a two-game winning streak heading into its road clash Friday with Louisburg.
Coming on the heels of the Cardinals' 55-51 victory over Paola, the win against Metro Academy resurrected the Cardinals' record back to .500, at 7-7. It also signaled that Eudora is making the necessary strides to become a more competitive basketball team, Eudora coach Kyle Deterding said.
"It was a positive week, because of how we competed in the fourth quarter tonight," he said. "If we wouldn't have had a good fourth quarter, win or lose, it might have been a bad week. But the way we got after them in the fourth quarter and made enough plays to win, it really leaves a good taste in the mouth."
Senior Dylan Rust was the rock on a night when shots weren't falling and the Cardinals found themselves in foul trouble. Rust had a game high 22 points, while junior Justin Ballock added eight on a night when his shots - even layups - weren't falling.
It was obvious the Cardinals were headed down the wrong path right out of the gate. They were getting beat to rebounds even on the defensive, prompting Deterding to call a 30-second timeout a minute and a half into the first quarter. But, led by Rust's five rebounds in the first quarter, Eudora battled back and the game was even until Metro scored back-to-back baskets near the end of the quarter to take the lead, 10-6.
In the second quarter, Eudora got going a little on the offensive end. Rust scored five points and Ballock and junior Evan Cleveland each added four. Eudora entered halftime facing a four-point deficit, 23-19.
The Cardinals would not return to the court until about a minute before the second half resumed, instead spending the time on a much-needed discussion that in retrospect seemed to be more important than warm-ups.
"We just talked about playing basketball. We just didn't come out ready to play," Deterding said of the start of the game. "Finally, we got enough guys ready to go and got it done."
The four-point Metro lead would remain through three quarters, with the teams trading baskets. Again, it was Rust for Eudora who always seemed to find a way to score when Eudora needed it the most.
"He was kind of in a funk at the beginning," Deterding said. "But he was a big, big spark for us and got baskets when we needed it."
One difference in the two halves was how Eudora adjusted to the officiating. In the first half, Metro was in the bonus with 21 seconds to play in the first quarter. The Mavericks entered double bonus at the 3 minute, 6 second mark.
They never entered the bonus in the second half.
Rust put the Cardinals up for good with five minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Ballock scored, then stole the ball but missed a layup. Rust got the rebound and converted the stick-back to give Eudora a 38-37 edge.
Moments later Eudora forced a turnover and lined up for an inbounds pass under the basket. On one of the finest plays of the night, Cleveland slipped the ball through two Metro defenders under the basket where Rust waited, snagging the bounce pass and immediately taking the ball up for a three-point lead.
Cleveland again found Rust with a minute remaining, from the perimeter this time, setting the big man up with an uncontested layup, again giving Eudora a comfortable three-point lead.
"Evan Cleveland did a very nice job tonight," Deterding said. "He made several good passes, and some went through our hands that he made good looks on."
After the defense created an errant three-point attempt by Metro, junior Kyle Swanson was fouled and stepped to the line, hitting both free throws on a one-and-one to put Eudora up 44-39.
The Mavericks got a three-pointer to go in with five seconds remaining, but Eudora wisely didn't touch the ball after it went through the net and time expired.
Deterding said his team was more consistent throughout the game Friday in the win at Paola, though it didn't come on quite as strong in the fourth quarter.
"It was kind of similar, we got into some spurts," Deterding said. "But at Paola, we were a little more consistent the whole way through."
Ballock had 21 for Eudora and Rust added 12 against Paola.
Next up for Eudora is a 7:30 p.m. Friday game at Louisburg as it enters what Deterding sees as the toughest stretch of the season.
"It will be fun, the rest of the way out, to see how we compete and to see how much better we've gotten since the beginning of the year," he said.