A career-high night from Braden Attebury not only helped hold off Fairfield in the fourth quarter Tuesday night, but propelled the Eagles to their second straight regional title appearance after a 71-57 win over the Mules in the IHSA Class 2A Regional Semifinal at Fairfield High School.
Attebury had a career-best 29 points, 20 of which came in the second half and 11 in the fourth quarter as Eldorado held off a couple of rallies by Fairfield to improve to 28-2 on the season.
EHS head coach Josh Bradley said there was an emphasis to go down low to Attebury in the second half, this after the Eagles held a three-point 29-26 lead at intermission.
"We challenged (him) at half-time and told him that if he wanted to be the best player in the conference, there was no better time to go out and do it than in the regional," Bradley said. 'We got him the ball inside, he did a good job off the offensive glass and in the end that's our advantage. When we do that, we play pretty well."
Attebury was one of three players to score in double figures as Ray May, who was saddled most of the game with foul trouble, tacked on 13 points, while Jake Traxler tossed in 10 in the win.
Fairfield also put three players in double figures as Kobi Dagg had a team-high 16 points, while Brian Estes tossed in 13 points and Jayden Lewis finished with 10 for the Mules.
Fairfield got into single digits in the fourth quarter, making it a 49-41 game, but Eldorado went on a 7-0 run, four of those points coming from Attebury as Eldorado built a 56-41 lead.
The Mules, again, went on a 7-0 run to get to within eight at 56-48 with 4:22 to play, but that was as close as Fairfield would get, while Eldorado went 12-for-18 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
Bradley said the key to Tuesday night's win was sticking to the game plan.
"If we rebound and take care of the basketball and get it into our big guys, we have a chance to win. Fortunately, this year, we have been able to do that and hopefully we can do that one more time Friday night."
John Meredith scored seven points for Eldorado, while Kale Oglesby and Joe Mayberry each put up six points for the Eagles.
Michael Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.
Eldorado 14 15 20 22 -- 71
Fairfield 16 10 13 18 -- 57
Eldorado: Meredith 2 3-4 7, Oglesby 2 2-4 6, May 5 2-4 13, Attebury 8 13-15 29, Traxler4 2-3 10, Mayberry 3 0-1 6. Totals: 24 22-31 71.
Fairfield: Gilbert 3 2-4, Vaughan 1 0-0 3, B. Estes 6 1-1 13, Lewis 7 2-3 16, Hixenbaugh 1 1-2 3, D. Estes 1 0-0 2, Lee 1 0-1 2. Totals: 24 6-11 57.
3-point FG: EHS 1 (May), FHS 3 (Lewis 2, Vaughan). Team Fouls: EHS 16, FHS 23.