Boys beat De Soto, Don Bosco to improve to 8-1
The ball spun through the air after taking flight from beyond the half-court line. All eyes watched as it drew closer to De Soto’s basket.
A late technical foul on De Soto and free throws by Eudora’s Justin Ballock and Evan Cleveland gave the Cardinals a two-point lead with less than three seconds to play. Cleveland made the first throw and missed the second. The ball bounced off the rim into the long arms of De Soto’s Jamel Townsend.
Townsend passed the ball to freshman Mason Wedel who dribbled and put up the long desperation shot that was perfectly on line. But it grazed the bottom of the net, falling just short at the buzzer.
The Eudora fans and players cheered while a collective groan filled the gym from the De Soto faithful. The Cardinals had escaped with a 53-51 win Friday at De Soto.
“I was just happy he missed it,” Cleveland said. “It looked good to me and it looked good to everybody else, but thank goodness he missed it because I would have felt pretty bad.”
Eudora was in a similar game two weeks ago at Baldwin, where Eudora came back to win. Senior guard Kyle Swanson said the Baldwin game helped the team prepare for the wild home crowd and student section at De Soto.
“Anytime you get more experience like that it’s a little easier in these situations,” Swanson said. “Playing these tough teams away is always hard. They’ve got a great student section.”
The student section was especially loud as Ballock and Cleveland stepped to the line at the end of the game. Ballock missed his first attempt but swished the second.
“I was really nervous at first,” Ballock said. “And after I missed the first one I just told myself to relax and just hit the second one, so I was pretty pumped about that.”
Cleveland, who made the first free throw and missed the second, said he was trying to block out everything and focus before stepping to the line.
“I got one and I should have got the other one,” he said.
The game was even throughout, with both teams retaking the lead often in the first half. Cody Carlson scored nine of Eudora’s first 15 points, while Townsend scored six of De Soto’s first 12. Both teams used full-court pressure and played ball-hawking man defense in the half-court. Townsend had two blocks in the first quarter for the Wildcats, who led 16-13 at the end of the first period.
Eudora soon retook the lead at 18-16 on a three-pointer, but Brandan Philbrook answered with a three of his own to give the Wildcats the lead right back.
Both teams traded punches the rest of the quarter, and De Soto went into the locker room ahead 26-25.
In the third, Townsend hit a field goal early to push the De Soto lead to three. That lead was wiped out as Swanson tied the score with a three form the left baseline early in the period. Eudora took a one-point lead on a layup by Brian Katzfey at 36-35 with three minutes to play in the quarter, and Eudora took a 39-37 lead into the final period.
Michael Bricker’s field goal gave Eudora a 41-39 lead, but De Soto tied the game again on two free throws by Wedel with just under six minutes to play. De Soto’s Brendon Hudson hit two free throws with 1:17 to give the Cats a 51-49 lead. But Eudora would answer again on a put-back by Bricker to tie the score with 30 seconds to go.
With less than five seconds to go, De Soto was called for traveling and turned the ball over. A player made a remark to an official and was called for a technical, setting up the wild finish.
“Both teams were making some plays to keep the thing interesting,” Eudora coach Kyle Deterding said.
Ballock led Eudora with 15 points and Drew Noble added 13 to lead Eudora. Wedel, Townsend and Philbrook scored 10 each for De Soto.
At the Tonganoxie Invitational Tuesday night, Bricker scored 17 points and pulled down six rebounds to lead Eudora to an 89-52 win over Don Bosco in the first round.
“Running the floor for us was good again,” Bricker said. “They weren’t getting back, and I kept getting down there. And if Ballock or Swanson or Katzfey didn’t have a layup or something, the high post would come trailing in again, and I’d either have them sealed or I was wide open.”
Eudora outscored Don Bosco 29-5 in the third quarter to blow the game open. Five players scored in double figures for Eudora (8-1).
“Our bigs, they gave us some layups,” Deterding said. “But in the halfcourt once we got it inside our bigs all scored a little bit.”
Carlson scored 10 and Noble added 11 for the Cardinals bigs. Ballock added 13 and Katzfey scored 11. Eudora will play Tonganoxie in the second round game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“We won this one and we’re moving on to Friday,” Bricker said. “Obviously we want to win. Coming up a little short at Paola, finishing second there, we want to finish this one and take it.”