Eudora Basketball teams that turn the ball over 31 times in a game usually don’t win.
But Veritas Christian School’s boys, thanks to a solid first half and stout defense, hung on to beat Whitefield Academy, 38-33, Saturday at the Eudora Recreation Center.
The Eagles had trouble protecting the ball, sure, but two starters on offense — including its main ball-handler —were not playing. Eric Shin and Elijah Penny were out of town, so younger players played more minutes.
Veritas (4-3) jumped to a 21-6 lead and looked like it was going to roll.
“Our big lead in the first half won the game for us,” coach Gary Hammer said.
But turnovers stalled the offense while the defense held the Lions in check, so the Eagles were able to maintain a double-digit lead for most of the game.
At the end, though, the Lions heated up and started making shots. They came within three, but sophomore Brody Robinson, who started for Chin, hit a wild, falling-away shot while drawing a foul.
That basically saved the game for Veritas.
Junior Thomas Bachert also had a huge game for Veritas with 12 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.
Junior Andrew Currier, who led the Eagles with 16 points, said he was impressed with the bench players who played a lot of minutes.
“Like coach always says, we learn what we practice,” he said.
Even though it was a sloppy win that almost got away from them, Hammer said this was good for the young Eagles.
“That’s what I want,” Hammer said, “for them to gain experience in a way where we still win.”
Veritas will play host to Cornerstone Family School Jan. 3.
Olathe Christian girls 33, Veritas 29
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Veritas girls experienced a minor momentum change and couldn’t recover.
Veritas fell at home to Olathe Christian, and coach Kevin Shelton said it was a game his team should have won.
“It seemed like once they got ahead of us, we didn’t know what to do,” he said. “We couldn’t ever get over that hump.”
The game was tied in the closing seconds of the third quarter until Olathe hit a basket at the buzzer to take a 25-23 lead.
Junior Madison Bennett tied the score with a couple of free throws, but the Warriors responded with a three, and it was all they needed.
The offense for the Eagles (2-5) sputtered and every shot seemed like a struggle just to get off.
“We’re not executing on offense at all,” Shelton said. “When you don’t execute, you let teams stay with you, and they get confident.”
Olathe’s Ali Cowan scored all eight fourth-quarter points for the Warriors.
It didn’t help that the Eagles missed free throws in the final minutes that could have changed the outcome. For the night, Veritas hit nine of 25 of its free throws.
Senior Ellen Phillips led Veritas with 11 points. Junior Kristen Finger had eight, and Bennett had six.
The Eagles won’t play until Jan. 3 against Cornerstone Family School.
“It’s a tough way to go into your Christmas break,” Shelton said.