Salina Final Update: Concordia High 63, Eudora High 55:
Despite shooting 55 percent from the field, the No. 7 seed Eudora High girls basketball team lost its first-round state tournament game, 63-55 to No. 2 Concordia, Thursday afternoon in Salina.
Haley Epperson led the Cardinals (16-8) with 24 points on 11-of-17 shooting, while Bailey Scott chipped in 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Kendal Abel (4), Rachel Pyle (4), Evan Folks (2), Jennifer Bowser (2) and Mariah Webb (1) rounded out the Cards' scoring.
Eudora committed just two turnovers in the game — compared with 15 for Concordia — but was out-rebounded 22-17 and victimized by 81-percent shooting from Concordia. CHS hit 25 of the 31 shots it attempted, including an 11-for-11 showing in the first quarter.
Concordia also owned a 16 percent advantage in free throw shooting. CHS hit 13 of 18 free throws (72 percent) while Eudora cashed in on just 10 of 18 (56 percent).
Eudora trailed 23-12 after one quarter (despite hitting all six of its shots in the period) but cut the deficit to 32-27 by halftime with a 15-9 edge in the second quarter. Concordia continued its hot shooting in the second half and stretched its lead ever so slightly during each of the next two quarters.
Concordia (24-0) moves on to Friday's Class 4A semifinals.
Third Quarter Update, 4:25 p.m.
Eudora now trails Concordia, 49-43, heading into the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals shot 8-for-14 in the third quarter but Concordia shot 6-10 and outscored the Cards, 17-16, to take a six-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Halftime Update, 4 p.m.
The Eudora High girls basketball team trails Concordia High, 32-27, at halftime of their first-round, Class 4A state tournament game in Salina.
The Cardinals (16-7) trailed 23-12 after one quarter but rallied to outscore Concordia (23-0) 15-9 in the second quarter to cut the halftime deficit to five.
Eudora shot 6-for-6 from the floor in the first quarter but just 5-for-16 in the second quarter. Concordia, meanwhile, hit all 11 of its shots from the field in the first quarter and continued its hot shooting in the second, going 4-for-6 from the floor.
To no one's surprise, Haley Epperson and Bailey Scott led the Cardinals in scoring in the first half.
Round 1 Preview: Eudora vs. Concordia:
There are no easy wins at the state tournament, and the Eudora High girls basketball team has a tough task ahead of it in playing No. 2 seed Concordia at 3 today at the Bicentennial Center in Salina.
Concordia (23-0) is led by 5-foot-7 junior guard Karly Buer, who averages 19 points a game, and 6-foot senior post player Alex Muff, who averages 17 points per contest. Concordia beat the Lawrence High girls earlier in the season.
“They’re good,” Eudora coach Ryan Luke said. “But we played a tough schedule, and I think we’re prepared to play for another challenge. So I think we’ll be up for it; there’s no doubt about that.”
Luke said Buer liked to shoot off the dribble, and Muff, in addition to her height, also jumps well.
“It’ll be a tough challenge, but it’s pretty hard for me to believe that we haven’t seen good players,” Luke said. “I mean, we’ve seen a lot of good players this season. So we’ll be ready for them.”
Eudora is led by 5-foot-8 senior post player Haley Epperson. Epperson averages 14 points and seven rebounds per contest for the seventh-seeded Cardinals. Eudora (16-7) also has a good shooter in senior guard Bailey Scott, who averages 10 points per game. Senior point guard Rachel Pyle runs the EHS offense and chips in three assists a game, while senior Kendal Abel provides a lift with her relentless work ethic and energy.
Luke said the Cardinals would try to establish Epperson inside early, but said the success of his team’s defense would be a good indicator of how the game would go.
“I think the reason we’ve been doing really well is the fact that we’re playing really good defense,” Luke said. “So we’ve got to get that going again and put some stops together and execute on offense.”
Epperson said the squad was aware of the challenge it faces, but also warned against counting the Cardinals out.
“We know they have some really good players, but we can match up with them,” Epperson said. “I think we’re all really confident and ready to go.”
Eudora News sports editor Jeff Deters contributed to this report.