EUDORA — The Ottawa and Eudora high school girls basketball teams are capable of ruining the party for the higher seeds in next week’s sub-state.
Both teams gave teams such as Paola, Baldwin and De Soto fits this season. Ottawa needed a win Tuesday over Eudora to start building momentum for the postseason.
The Cyclones’ defense was all over the Cardinals in their 37-26 victory in Eudora.
“That was a must win for us,” Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said. “We knew it would not be easy. Eudora is the hottest team in our league right now. They have pulled some big-time upsets. They are not afraid of anybody.”
The win put Ottawa as the sixth seed in the sub-state bracket and plays 7 p.m. Tuesday at De Soto.
McCullough said Ottawa feels it can do some damage in next week’ sub-state.
“All those other teams are sitting back and saying ‘I don’t want to play Ottawa ... I don’t want to play Eudora for a third time,’” McCullough said. “It is crazy. We knew our league winner could have three or four losses. They feel they could do this.”
The Ottawa defense limited Eudora to three points and 1-of-16 from the field in the first half.
“We played really, really good defense in the first half,” McCullough said. “That took some wind out of their sails. We know we can play good defense. We can’t score all the time. That was evident when we put up just 13 in the first half.”
Eudora attempted to make things interesting in the fourth quarter by hitting three treys, a couple from long distance.
“They hit some major threes,” McCullough said. “They outscored us in the third quarter.”
Ottawa kept its cool in the fourth quarter and shot free throws with confidence. Ottawa hit 15 of 21 free throws in the fourth quarter.
“We won this game on free throws,” McCullough said. “It is great. We have struggled so much from the free-throw line. For us to come out and get a game from the free-throw line has to give them tons of confidence.”
McCullough hopes Ottawa can ride a momentum boost into the postseason.
“We have been playing better,” McCullough said. “We have not gotten that momentum on our side.
“Right now we are 1-0. Now we can start a winning streak.”
Alexis Roecker paced the Cyclones with 11 points. She went hit all five free throws in the fourth quarter.
Ottawa (9-10) closes the regular season today at home against Spring Hill.
Eudora (26) — Webb 9, Maring 1, Beck 7, Topil 5, Garcia 1, Richeson 3.
Ottawa (39) — Lyday 8, Bones 4, Roecker 11, C. Fischer 7, Lewis 7, Moore 3.