It may still be cold outside as we continue to slowly move through the month of January, but for the Eads Eagles their cold snap has been broken. They finally got that much-needed win, something they haven’t been able do since the very first game of the season in December, when they defeated Kim/Branson on Saturday, 69-60. The win came after a loss to a Wiley team they had a chance to beat but couldn’t contain Wiley’s junior baller Lawrence Lucero losing, 54-45.
Coach Gilmore, who is in a position not many people could handle, continues to be very positive about his boys. He knows they are young and at the precipice of becoming a very strong team. They just need some patience and time.
“We had a good weekend of basketball. We had a good first half against Wiley but a slow third quarter was the difference in the game. We were up by 9 at the half but were outscored 21-5 in the third. Kim is a decent team so that was a good win for us --- one we really needed.”
Wiley is a team that has a number of long, tall players. They towered over the Eagles as Gilmore struggled to find someone who could guard Lucero who poured in 16 points and had 16 rebounds on the night. When the only big man Eads has, Damien Barnes, went out of the game early in foul trouble, Gilmore elected to put a box-and-one defensive set on Lucero to see if the ploy could slow down the Panthers. It helped for awhile as Eads out-scored Wiley 12-5 in the second period and had a solid lead, 29-20.
But, as it has all season long, the third quarter was their Achilles heel as the young Eagles were not ready to continue to play ball walking onto the court to start the second half. They lost the game in the third quarter as Wiley outscored Eads 21-5. Another stat was in the rebounding department with the Panthers making a real difference down the stretch pulling down 47 boards to Eads’ 34.
Wiley’s Garrett Tyree also had a strong game for the Panthers scoring 16 points and pulling down 9 rebounds. Colton Mauch contributed 14 points.
For Eads it was the little guys that had to take on the big boys from Wiley as Barnes was handcuffed on the bench all night. The athletic sophomore did pull down 9 boards and had 3 assists and 4 steals in his limited time on the court. Not having Barnes on the court was detrimental in this game. The sophomore has to learn to stay out of foul trouble if Eads has any chance to continue to win some ball games.
Alex Schmidt had a strong game against Wiley with 14 points and 7 boards. Ty Wilson added 11 points. Blake Stoker also chipped in 11 points and had 6 rebounds.
Gilmore pegged the summary of the Kim/Branson game saying, “Against Kim we scored with the ball well most of the game. Our free throw shooting won the game as we went 20-for-24. We had the lead all game until the fourth quarter when they finally put together a good run on us to get up by two. We did a great job of managing the pace and hitting our free throws late in the final period to counter that run and win the game.”
The difference in this game to the night before was that Barnes stayed on the floor the entire game. As such he put in perhaps his best preps performance scoring 20 points and pulling down 22 rebounds. The sophomore is also a tremendous passer as he dished out 6 assists to his teammates.
Stoker, again, was tough hitting for 13 points, including three 3-balls, as well as pulling down 6 rebounds.
The Eads guards, including Schmidt and Wilson each had 10 points. Schmidt used his strength to pull down 6 boards.
Eads had 5 three balls on the night and pulled down 44 rebounds.
The Eagles have a challenging week ahead as they will host two strong teams. First, in a conference match up, Granada will come to town on Tuesday to try to get back on track after struggling the past few weeks. On Friday, the highly ranked Walsh team will be in town with game time starting at 4 pm.