Boys repeat dreams end early at Tongie Tournament
The De Soto boys basketball entered the Tonganoxie Invitational looking to defend last year’s tourney title.
But after beating Atchison in the first round, the Wildcats lost to Silver Lake and Eudora and finished the tournament in fourth-place.
The 44-37 loss to Silver Lake in the second round stung, but the 35-31 loss to the Cardinals Saturday probably hurt worse, considering De Soto beat Eudora last week on the road.
But while the Wildcats out-rebounded the Eagles and Cardinals by double digits, the Wildcats struggled from the floor all three games in the tournament. And against Silver Lake and Eudora, the Wildcats combined to shoot 15-of-67 from the floor.
“We’ve got to score more points,” coach Jim Bonar said. “Giving up 35 points is pretty doggone good defense. We out-rebounded them by 10, but when you shoot 8-of-40 for 20 percent, you’re not going to win many games. You’re not going to win many putting 31 on the board.”
Despite the lack of shooting success, the Wildcats played well defensively. De Soto held Eudora to just 13-of-46 shooting from the floor. De Soto’s defense also enabled the Wildcats to take the lead in the third quarter.
While De Soto trailed 15-13 at the half, the Wildcats soon retook the lead after opening the third quarter on a 7-0 run via five points from Joey Johnson and two from Daniel Peterson.
The Cardinals, though, answered that run with an 8-0 run and took the lead heading into the final quarter. De Soto, however, fought back during the final eight minutes, and Brandan Philbrook’s three-pointer cut the lead to one at 32-31 with 8.7 seconds to play. But Eudora made 3-of-4 free throws to secure the victory.
“They played good solid man,” Bonar said of Eudora. “We had some chances and didn’t make shots. They just play a tough, hard-nosed man-to-man defense. It was the same thing we did when we beat them the other night. It’s just one of those things where it’s up to us to fix what we’re doing more than anything. We just got to get healthy and get ourselves right.”
De Soto was without the services of starting point guard Mason Wedel and forward Jon Hastings who are both out with injuries. De Soto has since had to shuffle the lineup in effort to find one that is more cohesive.
“We’ve gone through everything, we’ve gone through everybody,” Bonar said. “It’s just a matter of finding the right five that work. And maybe we cut our rotations down. I don’t know. I do not know. It’s just something we’re going to figure out.”
Philbrook scored 11 points and pulled down seven rebounds, and Peterson added five points and eight rebounds against Eudora. Philbrook also was named to the All-Tournament team.
De Soto also traveled back to Tonganoxie Tuesday night to take on the Chieftains, and this time, the Wildcats walked off the court with a 63-57 road win.
Between Aaron Nutterfield, Peterson, Philbrook and Johnson, at times DHS had four players on the floor equaling the size of Tonganoxie’s tallest post player inside.
All of that length added up to a plus-10 rebounding edge for De Soto and 53 points between the four versatile big men.
Philbrook led De Soto with 18 points and Johnson had 17.
De Soto (8-5) will play Baldwin Friday at home.