Tyler Deaton caught fire for a season high 32 points, but the Eldorado Eagles weren’t able to keep the West Frankfort Redbirds from beating them at home 81-71
However, offense wasn’t the Eagles’ biggest problem Tuesday night.
“You can’t play defense the way we did and expect to win ball games,” Eldorado head coach T.J. Zurliene said. “They just outworked us.”
Zurliene said his team came out slow and played a disconnected ballgame throughout.
“We scouted this team and knew that we had to stop backdoor cuts and limit turnovers but we just didn’t do it,” he said.
The Redbirds got possession off the tip but lost their leading scorer, 6-foot-3 sophomore guard Christian Dunning, within the first minute of the game after the first attempted shot.
So the Redbirds turned up the defensive pressure to substitute.
“Our guys played an aggressive game and were patient on offense.” West Frankfort head coach Dan Dewerff said. “It’s not easy to beat Eldorado on their home court and our guys are happy with this win.”
The Eagles were down five points, 13-8 at the end of the first quarter and foul trouble soon forced Zurliene to have to bench junior center Justin Wiseman and senior guard Joel Boulds as each picked up three fouls in the first eight minutes of action.
Without Wiseman and Boulds to start the second quarter — and in a similar fashion to Friday’s night game against Gallatin County — were unable to grab rebounds and stop offensive put backs in the paint.
Zurliene said his team had little intensity out of the gate, but Deaton began to turn it up for the Eagles in the second quarter, scoring 11 points, helping to cut the deficit to 10 at halftime.
Deaton came back for a big third quarter and scored 12 points, but the Eagles were down by eight going into the last quarter and were unable overcome, despite a pair of 3-pointers from Richard Graceffa and Brennan Unthank.
Zurliene has said throughout the season that the Eagles need to limit turnovers to win ball games and after his teams second straight loss at home, the Eagles need to do just that in order to beat Fairfield this Friday night at Duff-Kingston Gymnasium.
Eldorado JV 54
West Frankfort 28
Sophomore Richard Graceffa scored 18 points to lead Eldorado’s junior varsity to a 54-28 blow out win over West Frankfort.
Nathan Burnett followed with 11 points, while Eric Emery and Gavin Grisham both scored eight. Dylan Roberts pitched in four, Derek Mitchell and Derek Maybery tossed in two a piece. Adam Collier rounded out Eldorado’s scoring with one point.