It has a been a long break for area preps fans who left 2017 watching a high level of play at the 54th Annual Lamar Holiday Basketball Tournament. Now that all the teams have gotten some much-deserved rest, relaxation, and good home cooking they hit the hardwood once again to begin the grueling main basketball season that will run right up to March. In the first weekend back, the Eads Lady Eagles used their defense to get a key conference win, 35-24, over a good Cheraw group on Friday night in Eads. They then turned around and traveled to Stratton where they easily took care of the Knighted-Eagles, 53-17. Eads is now 6-2 overall after the first weekend back.
Coach Trey Eder was overall happy with his team’s performance in the first weekend after break. “It started off well. We started 2018 with a tough league game against a good Cheraw team and got an important district win. We didn’t play our best offensively having lots of missed shots, but we came through on the defensive end and held them to just 24 points.” That fact was key as the defense was the difference in the game.
Cheraw is well coached and has a continuing tradition of putting athletic and aggressive girls on the court. Friday night was no exception as they had a couple of girls, including Joss Groves and Kodey Hoss, who were not afraid to take it strong to the hoop. However, the long and defensive pressure put on by Eads bothered Cheraw resulting in the Lady Wolverines shooting a dismal 3-for-52 from the field which mathematically comes out to a disappointing 15% shooting average on the night. Give credit to the strong Eads defense.
Eads used a smothering second quarter to beat Cheraw as they only led by two, 7-5, after a low-scoring first period. But on Eads’ first possession in the second quarter junior Kaylee Wilson stepped up and hit a motivating 3-ball. On the next possession, senior Brenna Rouse followed Wilson’s lead with her own 3-ball. All of sudden, Eads had jumped ahead and Cheraw struggled to keep up. Eads would outscore the Lady Wolverines 16-8 in that second period. Wilson would hit another long ball, and a fourth 3-pointer was added by junior Miranda Mitchek. Eads was in control 23-13 at half. The entire second half saw both team struggle offensively, although Rouse hit another three, and Cheraw’s Groves hit a couple long ones, to boot. But the Eagles continued to control the narration of the game and never let Cheraw make any effective move on them.
Wilson led all scorers with 12 points and pulled down 7 rebounds. Rouse had 10 points; while senior post Mariah Smith hit for 8 points and pulled down 12 boards. One sore spot was that Eads was out-rebounded by the Wolverines, 34-33.
Eads then traveled to Stratton to take on a struggling Stratton-Liberty group. The Eagle starters had their way with the Knighted-Eagles on both sides of the ball scoring 35 points in the first half behind two long balls from both Wilson and Rouse and a slew of paint points by Smith. The Eads defense was live and well as they held the S-L group to a goose egg in the second quarter.
Coach Eder took the opportunity to play his deep bench. “We traveled to Stratton and got a win there-- and with no JV girls game we suited up all 15 girls and took care of business and got lots of playing time for everyone. The starters did not play in second half, so we gained some good depth and experience.”
Nearly all 15 players registered production in the scorebook. Wilson led in the scoring department with 10 points, while Madison Kelley added 8, and Smith chipped in 7. Freshman Ally Spady pulled down 7 boards from her guard position and contributed 2 assists. Junior Emily Gyurman had 5 rebounds for Eads.
“Coming up we have Idalia and Otis. I don’t know too much about them, but we need to play to our level of basketball and get 2 wins to keep some momentum going into the next week with two district opponents including Cheyenne Wells and Granada.”
Coach Eder’s plan is to continue to get better in practice as his girls settle into their roles and gain the confidence they need on the offensive side of the ball. The Idalia game is in Eads starting at 4 pm on Friday. Eads will be on the road to Otis on Saturday for a 2 pm start.