ERIE — It was an uneven night on the hardwood for the Erie Red Devils as they were upended by the Sedan Blue Devils on homecoming night, 52-42.
Sedan entered the matchup 17-1, ranked ninth by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association.
Star forward Ethan Dillinger and point guard Reid Duff combined for 34 points, but free throw and foul woes proved to be too much for Erie to overcome.
Dillinger detonated for 13 points in the opening frame as the Red Devils held a 16-14 lead.
Erie head coach Wes Leach was impressed with his squad's fast start to the contest.
"I thought the first five to six minutes were really solid. We played well and were getting the looks we wanted," Leach said. "We meshed really well and were playing as one."
Sedan held Dillinger in check throughout the second quarter, outscoring Erie 8-2 en route to a 22-18 halftime advantage.
Sedan came out hot to open the second half, increasing its advantage to eight. In the closing seconds of the third quarter, Dillinger drilled a 70-foot bank-in at the buzzer, trimming the deficit to five.
The Red Devils were unable to capitalize on the momentum provided by Dillinger, with Sedan opening the fourth on a 6-1 run, capped off by Justus Norris' 3 for a 43-32 lead.
While they may have meshed well early, Leach said that there was not enough offensive cohesiveness in the second half.
"They've got to be able to read what their teammates are doing, and we're getting close to that," he said.
With Duff doing the heavy lifting offensively, Erie replied with a 7-0 spurt, slicing its deficit to 43-39 with two minutes remaining.
An inability to knock down free throws and a late technical foul proved costly for the Red Devils, as Sedan pulled away. The Red Devils concluded the contest 10-of-20 from the charity stripe, with eight misfires in the final frame.
Leach indicated that his club needs to show more mental toughness and not get down on itself after a miscue.
"We have to forget about the last play. That's what we talked about at halftime," he said. “We have to have some fight.”
Leach said that the technical assessed to his squad late in the fourth quarter was the correct call.
“The official made the right call. There was some unsportsmanlike behavior,” he said. “That’s part of forgetting about the last play and moving onto the next one.”
Erie (9-8) hosts Eureka (2-15) for a Tri-Valley League matchup on Tuesday.
Sedan: 14 8 14 16 — 52
Erie: 16 2 13 11 — 42
Erie: Ethan Dillinger 20, Reid Duff 14, Logan Ewan 4, Daniel Choi 3, Gavin Reisseg 1
Sedan: Lyndon Sears 13, Koda Blankenship 12, Justus Morris 9, Jeremiah Prince 9, Triston Wade 5, Jackson Dowell 4
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