Senior boys spark Cardinals past Wellsville, 72-51
In high school basketball, experience sure helps.
So when the Eudora Cardinals — who field eight seniors — traveled Tuesday to Wellsville to play a senior-less Eagles squad, they dominated.
Thanks in large part to fourth-year guys Justin Ballock, Coulter Vestal, Drew Noble and Evan Cleveland, the Cardinals dropped the Eagles 72-51.
The respective ages were not the only difference in the contest as Eudora out-sized and out-rebounded Wellsville for four quarters. The scoring, on the other hand, was nearly equal for 24 minutes.
The Cardinals and Eagles remained close throughout the first quarter and it appeared Eudora would take an 11-6 lead into the second period. Then, almost serving as an omen of what was to come, Ballock rebounded a Cardinal miss and put in a jumper at the buzzer to build momentum for his squad. The energy carried over into the second period — when the game was won — as Eudora sprinted out of the opening whistle en route to a 22-4 run.
“We scored some points there in the second quarter,” coach Kyle Deterding said. “That’s where we got it spread out. But it was pretty even in the second half.”
A full-court press to open the second quarter created several Cardinal steals that turned into easy buckets underneath. Vestal used his teammates’ court vision — particularly Ballock’s and Cleveland’s — and made good on four nice passes to tally a team-leading eight points in the quarter. With 3:05 remaining before halftime, Eudora had climbed to a 33-10 advantage.
“We work on the press during practice and that’s what we like to do,” Deterding said. “It helped us get some quick points.”
Whatever Wellsville coach Jared Schultz told his boys at halftime — when they were down 39-16 — worked in the second half as the Eagles matched the Cardinals stride for stride and point for point.
“Overall I was really pleased with the first half,” Deterding said. “But we would have liked to keep the intensity up for four quarters.”
Wellsville’s sophomore shooting guard Jacob Brown led the Eagles as they spent the second half trying to respond to countless big plays from Eudora. Brown ended the night with 13 points while his backcourt mate Trenton Meyer scored 16.
Ballock led Eudora with 20 points while Vestal knocked in 17. Noble and Cleveland went for 12 and eight, respectively.
“We’ve still got a ways to go and it’s still early in the season,” Deterding said. “There are still things we need to improve as we’ve got a difficult part of our schedule coming up.”
Eudora (5-2) will open league play against rival De Soto Friday at Eudora.