Wellsville If a team is only as good as its last game, as the saying goes, then Eudora High's basketball team is approaching greatness.
The Cardinals used hot shooting and a tough zone defense to beat Baldwin, the state's top-ranked Class 4A team, 46-34 in the semifinals of the Wellsville Invitational girls tournament on Thursday night.
"Baldwin is a great team. When we play great teams like that, we have to step our effort up a notch. That's exactly what we did tonight," Eudora coach Don Grosdidier said.
Baldwin beat Eudora, then top-ranked in Class 3A, 50-48, earlier this season at the Osawatamie Tournament. However, Grosdidier stressed revenge was not a factor Thursday.
"MORE THAN anything, we were disappointed in ourselves after the first loss. We committed a lot of turnovers and we didn't feel like we played our best. The difference was that our kids showed confidence tonight. We knew we could win," Grosdidier said.
Eudora held Baldwin's Bonnie Butell, who scored 32 points in the earlier meeting, to just six points.
"Normally, we don't play as much zone as this. Tonight, we decided to keep the ball out of the middle and away from Butell. She really hurt us the last time we played," Grosdidier said.
The Cardinals pieced together a 9-1 run near the end of the first quarter to open a six-point lead behind Gretchen Freeland's 11 first-half points.
Junior Shannon Douglas led the Bulldogs with 10 points. She helped keep Baldwin close in the first half, closing the score to 16-15 with just over five minutes left in the half. But the Cardinals' defense responded with an 8-0 run to end the half, holding the Bulldogs scoreless for the final 5:22.
"We were taking some wide-open shots. They just weren't falling for us. That's very frustrating," said Baldwin coach Ted Zuzzio.
PERHAPS EVEN more frustrating for Zuzzio was the loss of point guard Kelly Flory, who fouled out with 4:21 left and the Bulldogs trailing 35-25.
"Losing her was big. She is our floor leader. In a game of this magnitude, we couldn't afford to lose a player of her caliber," said Zuzzio.
Freeland scored the Cardinals' first seven points of the second half, and finished with a game-high 25.
"We wanted to get back at them pretty bad, so this is a big win for us. We feel really good about it," Freeland said.
The Cardinals improved to 11-2 and will face Santa Fe Trail on Saturday night for the championship. The Bulldogs fell to 10-2 and will play Garnett Saturday for third place. EUDORA (46)
Gretchen Freeland 10-18 4-5 25, Jenny Alvarez 1-3 0-0 2, Janna Garrett 1-3 0-0 2, Maribeth Malburg 2-4 2-2 6, Tracy Ruggles 2-4 1-2 5, Amy Black 0-2 0-2 0, Amy Gordon 2-3 0-0 4, Annette Yeager 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-38 9-13 46. BALDWIN (34)
Shannon Douglas 4-12 0-0 10, Kelly Flory 4-9 0-0 8, Sarah Becker 0-3 0-0 0, Kristin Flory 1-3 0-0 2, Bonnie Butell 3-8 0-0 6, Lacey O'Neil 1-4 0-0 2, Emily Hanny 0-1 2-5 2, Jennifer Moore 0-1 0-0 0, Heidy Hoffman 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 15-43 2-5 34. Eudora--14 10 9 13 -- 46 Baldwin-- 8 7 8 11 -- 34
Three Point Goals -- Eudora 1-2 (Freeland 1-1, Alvarez 0-1), Baldwin 2-4 (Douglas 2-4); Total Fouls -- Eudora 9, Baldwin 13; Fouled Out -- Ke. Flory, Baldwin.