LEON – East Union boys basketball (2-8) slipped away from Central Decatur (6-4) after a strong start to Tuesday’s game.
Coming off the team’s second win, the Eagles fell 57-40 to the Cardinals in their second matchup of the season. Central Decatur won 79-52 in the first meeting on Dec. 4.
Both sides opened up with a fast pace, pressing on defense and running the floor on offense Tuesday.
East Union won the tip, taking nearly one minute off the clock during its first possession. The patience paid off as Kael Seales knocked down the first shot of the game to go up 2-0. Central Decatur responded with two points of its own from two offensive rebounds.
Both sides continued to go back-and-forth throughout the first quarter as the pace picked up on scores.
“Especially in the second quarter we played into their hand,” East Union head coach Jared Carter said on how the pace affected the gameplan. “We rushed some shots, rushed a lot of layups when we probably should have pulled it back out and ran our offense.”
Central Decatur took a 14-12 lead into the second quarter, when the wheels fell off for the Eagles.
Tyke Hullinger and Jack Scrivner each knocked down 3-pointers to stretch Central Decatur’s lead to 19-10. East Union’s offense started to struggle throughout the second quarter, failing to capitalize on fast break opportunities.
“It was a 17-7 (second) quarter, and we were down four going into that. We were playing catch up after that,” Carter said. “A lot of missed layups, a lot of missed free throws. That’s really the difference in the game. When we ran our offense and were patient, we had success.”
East Union went 10-for-23 from the free-throw line Tuesday. The Eagles entered the night shooting 47.9% from the charity stripe.
Central Decatur took advantage of the missed layups by slowing down and running the offense or moving the ball up the floor to score in fast break.
East Union fell behind 31-17 as the Cardinals were able to take second-shot opportunities with one possession accounting for eight of their 13 offensive rebounds.
Coming out of the break, Central Decatur’s press didn’t let up as the Eagles rotated six throughout the lineup.
“It’s hard because (Central Decatur) is deep. We’re not deep yet,” Carter said. “We’ve got a lot of underclassmen that are suiting for us that are improving. We’re just not quite there yet.”
Scott Driskill and Cale Eklund led the offense in the third quarter as East Union’s success came from attacking the lane. The height Scrivner gave to the offense allowed him to contribute five points in the second quarter but also force contested shots in the lane.
Central Decatur head coach Curtis Boothe said Scrivner’s 6-2 frame forced East Union shooters to alter their shots.
East Union ended the game with a 13-point fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough as the group came up short against the Cardinals for the second time this season.
Carter said he’s looking for the group to clean up the inefficient rebounding as the defense played well.
UP NEXT – East Union takes on Nodaway Valley (6-4) at 8 p.m. in Afton Friday.
Central Decatur 57, East Union 40
EAST UNION (40) — (FG FT PTS) Totals — 17 10-23 40. Cale Ecklund 6 0-2 14, Kael Seales 5 0-1 10, Scott Driskill 2 2-0 6, Alex Carrigan 3 0-2 6, Wyatt Carlson 1 0-2 2, Gus McNeil 0 1-3 1, Sklyar Brunner 0 1-2 1. 3-point goals — 2 (Ecklund 2). Team fouls — 13. Fouled out — None.
CENTRAL DECATUR (57) — (FG FT PTS) Totals — 23 9-11 57. Cuay Masters 6 4-4 16, Jack Scrivner 7 1-1 15, Matt Boothe 4 2-2 10, Trey Hullinger 3 1-1 7, Gunnar Smith 1 0-0 3, Kyle Linhart 1 0-0 3, Tyke Hullinger 1 0-0 2, Kale Rockhold 0 1-2 1. 3-point goals — 2 (Scrivner, Linhart). Team fouls — 15. Fouled out — None.