The Cardinals wanted to the pace to be slow. Mission accomplished.
The Cyclones could not get the pace up to their speed. Still Ottawa led 46-33 with five minutes left.
Eudora made a push and came within six points and even fouled out Ottawa’s Semi Ojeleye.
Ottawa persevered and advanced with a 51-42 victory. This will be Ottawa’s 13th straight sub-state championship game and 15th out of the past 18. It was the 25th straight postseason home victory. The Ottawa seniors improved to 30-0 on its home floor and extended the Cyclones’ homecourt winning streak to 33.
The Cyclones (21-0) play 6 p.m. today against De Soto, 48-33 winners over Louisburg, in the sub-state championship game.
Ottawa saw a determined team in Eudora.
“They guarded us better than they have,” Ottawa senior Kaden Shaffer said. “They played with a lot more intensity. It is hard to beat a team three times. Spring Hill showed us that last year.
Ottawa coach Jon McKowen knows postseason is about surviving.
“We don’t care how we win,” he said. “We just want to find ways to win. Teams win for a reason.
“Most of [Eudora] guys played in state championship game in football two years in a row. They know how to win. It resonates both ways.”
Ottawa’s basketball team has experience and been in tough situations like the big hole the Cyclones climbed out of to beat Spring Hill last year in sub-state.
“Last year at sub-state was really crazy,” Shaffer said. “We have experienced this before. Nobody lost their focus. It definitely helped us down the stretch.”
Ottawa did not play its style of basketball.
“Things off the ball was not great,” McKowen said. “We were good defensively on the ball. We were great with the ball in our hands. We were a little flat.”
The Cyclones scored the first nine points of the game.
“We scored seven early, but it was all on jump shots,” McKowen said. “We started relying on that jump shot, sitting back and not attacking off the ball. It was tough to get out of that mode.”
Ottawa shot just 16 of 37 from the field.
“The timing is off because of lack of practice time,” McKowen said. “We are used to going six days. The past two weeks we went four. That is tough. You have to grind a little bit.”
Ojeleye paced the Cyclones with 25 points. Alex Hasty and Dallas Natt had 11 points each.
Eudora (42) — Ballock 19, Becker 12, Hadl 9, Shockley 1, Elston 1.
Ottawa (51) — Ojeleye 25, Hasty 11, Natt 11, Boeh 2, A. Blaue 2.