A 9-0 third-quarter run enabled the Goddard Eisenhower boys’ basketball team to outpace and outscore Hutchinson, winning the game 77-68.
Eisenhower junior Trevon Evans kept up the energy and intensity for the Tigers, and went on to score 39 points and make 14-of-16 from the free throw line.
“It feels really good to start out 2-0,” Eisenhower coach Steve Blue said. “We feel pretty good about the season right now. I was really happy with our offense tonight, as far as pushing the ball. But, in the long run, we’re going to have to do a better job on defense.”
The game got out to a fast-paced, shootout start, as neither team could muster more than a one-possession lead. Eisenhower’s defense forced a few Hutchinson turnovers, but the Salthawks drew the fouls inside. The Tigers had a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
Eisenhower opened the second quarter with a momentum-swinging three-pointer from junior Brennan Stemple. Hutchinson responded with more turnovers, but Eisenhower was unable to convert those Hutchinson turnovers into points. Evans, at one point, gave Eisenhower a six-point lead, but the Salthawks cut that to four on their next possession, when they drew the foul and had the chance for a four-point play. Eisenhower led 38-34 at the half.
The Tigers’ 9-0 run opened the third quarter. Hutchinson got into foul trouble early, and Eisenhower players capitalized at the free-throw line, and opened up a 14-point lead. Hutchinson’s Jezel Parra and Trevor Turner kept the Salthawks offense alive, taking midpoint jumpers and perimeter shots. But, Eisenhower led by 15 points at the end of the third, after senior Dylan Kuhn hit a three-point shot.
With five minutes left in the game, Hutchinson was down 62-49, and began full-court pressure. The Salthawks forced several turnovers, steals, and stops, and were able to cut Eisenhower’s lead to eight, with four minutes left. But, the Tigers went on a 6-0 run with 2:30 left, and—despite a critical Parra three-pointer—Hutchinson wasn’t able to overcome Eisenhower’s momentum.
“I encourage teams to press us,” Blue said of his Eisenhower team. “Our post depth inside is probably our biggest weakness, but if teams were to press us, I think we would have a great opportunity, because our guards are definitely our strength.”
The Salthawks, who are now 0-1, had a good scoring spread on the night. Turner and Parra scored 15 and 14 points, respectively; and Tanner Higgins went three-for-three from behind the arc.