By William / www.mcpherson-county-ks.com
GOESSEL – It was truly a battle of Eagles as the Elyria Christian Eagles and the Canton/Galva Eagles battled each other on Saturday for the Bluebird Classic Championship with the Elyria Eagles coming out on top with a 42-33 victory and first-place trophy.
Elyria jumped out and took an early five-point, 14-9 advantage in the first quarter before pushing it out to eight points at 24-16 as the two teams headed for the halftime break.
While Canton/Galva came out in the second half and played better ball, they were never able to whittle any points off the lead by the end of the game to give the Eagles the final eight-point win.
“It’s always good to get back into the championship at the Goessel Tournament,” noted Elyria head coach Zach Goodrich. “I was excited to compete against a tough, athletic, and physical team like Canton/Galva. They put up over 80 points in their previous game so we knew defense and staying disciplined would be especially important. This was a total team effort.”
Both teams struggled at times from the field with Canton/Galva finishing the game hitting on but 28% of their shots while the Elyria Eagles were able to connect on 39%. Elyria also held an edge in the rebounds with 34 while Canton/Galva recorded 29.
One area both teams had major struggles with came in ball handling as the Eagles turned the ball over 21 times while Canton/Galva gave it up 19 times for a total of 40 turnovers in the game.
Leading the way for the Elyria Eagles was Keyan Wiggers, who finally got untracked as he recorded a double double by leading the team in scoring with 13 points and in rebounds by pulling down 12. Wiggers also found time to block three Canton/Galva shots on defense.
Also reaching double figures in the scorebook for the Eagles was Caleb Laney who finished with 12 points while Ben Unruh proved to be a strong support player by leading the team in steals with seven and putting five rebounds by his name in the stat sheet.
Coach Goodrich concluded his post-game reflections by adding, “Keyan (Wiggers) finished well around the basket and led us in points and rebounds. Caleb (Laney) gave it his all while we have had different guys step up each game which I think will be valuable for us as the season progresses. Still, we have lots to work on moving forward but I am proud of the guys for the fight they displayed tonight and happy that they could experience a big win in the championship game.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE ELYRIA EAGLES?
This victory gives Elyria a three-game win streak and a 3-1 record overall for the young season as they prep to play host to Sedgwick on Tuesday.
SCORING: 1 2 3 4 FINAL
Canton/Galva 9 7 12 6 34
EAGLES 14 10 11 7 42
TEAM STATS: Canton/Galva EAGLES
Shooting 14/50 (28%) 15/38 (39%)
3-Pointers 3/22 (14%) 2/16 (12%)
Free Throws 3/8 (37%) 10/15 (67%)
Rebounds (Off/Def) 29 34
Assists 8 7
Turnovers 19 21
Steals 9 13
Blocked Shots 2 4
Personal Fouls 16 10
ELYRIA CHRISTIAN EAGLES INDIVIDUAL SCORING & STAT LEADERS:
Scoring (42 Total Points): Keyan Wiggers – 13; Caleb Laney – 12; Ty Romero – 5; Josh Allen – 4; Ben Unruh – 4; Johnny Unruh – 2; Andrew Huxman – 2.
Three-Pointers Made (2): Caleb Laney, Ty Romero – 1.
Rebound Leaders: Keyan Wiggers – 12; Ben Unruh – 5; Johnny Unruh, Josh Allen, Ty Romero – 3.
Assist Leader: Caleb Laney, Josh Allen, Ben Unruh – 2.
Leader in Steals: Ben Unruh – 7; Josh Allen – 2.
Leader in Blocked Shots: Keyan Wiggers – 3; Ty Romero – 1.