EL DORADO, Kan.—The Wellington Crusaders put up an offensive first half and then played a defensive third quarter to beat the El Dorado Wildcats 48-36 at Alumni Court in El Dorado.
Levi Gurley led the Crusaders by finishing with 23 total points including three 3-pointers from the first half alone. He finished with four total.
“I’m really happy, especially after our performance last weekend,” said Wellington Head Coach Brian Buchanan. “Overall, the kids came out and held the other team scoreless for a quarter and that’s kind of the whole difference from the game. I’m just proud of our guys and we were able to hit some shots and defensively we played pretty well,”
Both teams shot nine 3-pointers in the first half alone. There were 11 total shots from outside the arc. The second half, however, saw a masterful defensive effort by the Crusaders by not allowing a single Wildcat basket in the entire third quarter.
“Anytime something like that happens in varsity basketball you have to be very excited about, especially for your kids,” said Buchanan. “Our kids really were the ones that took ownership in that, they figured that out about two minutes left (in the third quarter) they said ‘we’re not allowing them to score,’ so that’s been very nice to see them take that ownership,”
The Crusaders built up a 12-1 lead in the first quarter, thanks to two early outside shots from Gurley.
However, the Wildcats were not about to go down without a fight.
Travis House, Aaron Riffel and Michael Ridel all made shots from beyond the arc to put the Wildcats on a 9-2 run to make it a four-point deficit at the end of the first quarter.
In the closing minute of the second quarter, Gurley, made an out of the ordinary basket from 3-point land as his shot bounced high off the rim and then hit the top of the backboard to fall in the basket to give the Crusaders a 27-19 halftime lead.
When asked if some of the superb outside shooting was a little bit of luck, Buchanan did not doubt it but also said that both teams had the potential to shoot that well.
“It could’ve been (luck),” said Buchanan. “We’ve got some good shooters, El Dorado’s got some good shooters, but each team is capable of putting up big numbers like that. It’s nice for the fans to enjoy that a little bit more instead of just seeing a defensive battle.”
The Wildcats tried to make a comeback by scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter but the damage from being held scoreless in the third had been done.
House was the leading scorer for the Wildcat, finishing with 12 points.
The Wildcats fall to 6-7 for the season while the Crusaders improved their record to 5-8.