Ellis boys win rematch of unbeatens in Ellinwood
ELLINWOOD, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Ellinwood’s successful 18-5 season a year ago largely began on a December night when the Eagles dropped then-No. 5 Ellis 47-43 to open the year at 5-0. Friday night the tables turned. The teams again met with perfect records. This time, the Railers led by as many as 16 points and hit the break at 6-0 after a 56-44 win over No. 8 Ellinwood.
“Last year we were both sitting in the same spot and they knocked us off,” said Ellis coach Mark Eck. “They came in and really took it to us. We really struggled with their length that game, and I really felt like we settled for a lot of shots early on in our offense.
“That was one of emphasis in this game was to try to be patient offensively and see what we could get. It’s always going into the break on a win. Last year, that was a really long break after a loss.”
The Railers dominated the first half to a 25-15 lead. Ellinwood was able to cut the gap to 35-26 by the end of the third quarter.
Ellis’ Matthew Bieker had a quiet first three quarters with just three free throw makes. He opened the fourth quarter with a baseline drive. He did it two more times in the final eight minutes to end his night with nine points.
“When we have Matthew in we try to keep him in the post,” Eck said of his 6-1 senior. “I felt like our guards did a great job of dribble-penetration and getting him the ball. That was emphasis we had all week in practice. We have some really quick guards who are able to get to the hole. They made some plays for Matthew and he finished.”
Still, the Eagles made a game of it late despite missing some key players due to quarantine. Sophomores Tyler Stuhlsatz and Brit Dutton each hit threes for a 42-34 score with 5:04 remaining. Ellinwood eventually cut it to seven points but never fully got over that hump.
On the other end, the Railers began to speed up the game with long possessions. Twice, senior Daniel Eck provided daggers with 3-pointers from the corner.
“I just told Daniel how big those shots were in that juncture of the game,” Coach Eck said. “We were wanting to run some time off the clock. I felt like we somewhat quit attacking, not just on the offensive end, but I felt like defensively we had some lapses. I told the kids to be patient and run the offense and play out of it.
“They were big shots, and to have a senior step up in that situation, that’s what you expect out of him.”
Railer junior Tyson Jimenez tripled his season averaged with a game-high 22-points on the night. The 5-6 guard scored eight points in the opening frame as Ellis pulled ahead 13-7.
Dutton, coming off a 38-point performance in virtually three quarters at Fairfield, scored 10 of his team-high 18 points in the second half for Ellinwood. Stuhlsatz finished with 13 points, and sophomore Parker Scheck added eight points and nine rebounds.
Bieker scored six of his nine points in the final quarter for Ellis. Junior Samuel Honas finished with eight points, and Eck added the six points on clutch 3-point shooting late.
Ellinwood drops its first game of the season to fall to 4-1 heading into the break. Ellis takes a 6-0 record into the New Year.
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