All the way to state
Eudora girls top St. James to win sub-state championship
The celebration started a little early. With 30 seconds to go in the game, the Eudora student section couldn’t wait any longer and chanted, “Sub-state champs!”
The Eudora girls cruised to a 42-25 win over St. James in the 4A girls sub-state championship game Saturday in Eudora. The Cardinals will play next week in the 4A state tournament in Salina.
“Obviously that was the No. 1 goal for the season,” Eudora coach Ryan Luke said. “Now we just got to look and see who we play, and we’ll take it one game at a time. That’s our philosophy from here on out. You just never know when you get to the state tournament. Anybody can do it. If we continue to play as well as we are defensively, we’ve got a great shot.”
Eudora senior Haley Epperson scored a game-high 14 points on seven field goals and pulled down nine rebounds. Epperson was double-teamed much of the night but still hit turnaround jumpers from the low block.
“We just stepped up to the challenge, all of us,” Epperson said. “And it felt good the whole game. We never let our guard down and it was just really nice to have everyone playing on the top of their game. And right now, it’s indescribable the feeling. It’s amazing.”
Eudora led 18-13 at halftime and 24-19 at the end of the third quarter. Eudora turned the ball over late in the third, but St. James turned it over right back on the in-bounds play. With just six seconds to play in the third, St. James went to a full-court press, but Eudora used quick passing to beat the press, and freshman Jennifer Bowser streaked down the court for a layup to give Eudora a five-point lead and momentum heading into the final period.
“I like the fact that she’s a freshman and took the ball right to the basket,” Luke said of Bowser. “She’s not afraid. It was awesome to see. That was a huge play and it got us back to a five-point lead. It got us back to where we want to be.”
In the fourth quarter, Eudora’s defense swarmed and held the Thunder six points, while Eudora countered with 18. Eudora junior guard Evan Folks hounded St. James’ top shooter Mica Spradlin all game long. Spradlin, who hit four threes against K.C. Sumner Friday night, went scoreless in the game.
“Evan Folks played great defense,” Luke said. “She’s tough, just gritty and a competitor. That was huge for us tonight not letting No. 13 (Spradlin) have easy, open looks.”
Eudora (16-7) advanced to the sub-state title game the last two years, but now the Cardinals have a shot at the state title.
“We’ve come a long way since Day One,” Epperson said. “Coach Luke has done a great job with us. Now it’s up to us to see if we can be state champs.”
1 2 3 4 F
Eudora 11 7 6 18 42
St. James 8 5 6 6 25
Eudora: Bailey Scott 5, Evan Folks 9, Jennifer Bowser 2, Rachel Pyle 7, Mariah Webb 2, Kendal Abel 3, Haley Epperson 14.
St. James: Bridget Blowey 7, Bethany Smith 6, Tess Smrt 4,Erin O’Brien 4, Maggie Blowey 4.