View and purchase more photos from this event by clicking here.
ERIE — A stellar double-double performance from junior Ethan Dillinger led the Erie Red Devils to a 48-41 victory over the Neodesha Bluestreaks here Tuesday.
With the Humboldt Cubs defeating the Cherryvale Chargers simultaneously, Erie and Humboldt were named co-champions of the Tri-Valley League at the conclusion of the night.
“It says a lot about our boys’ work ethic. The right people took the right roles,” Erie head coach Wes Leach said. “We’re young so it took us a while to figure out who we are, but we figured that out and now we’re here.”
Erie actually trailed for a majority of the matchup, as Neodesha led 12-7 after a quarter. The Bluestreaks would have taken a six-point advantage to the locker room, but a Dillinger 3 before the halftime buzzer left the score at 19-16.
“I thought we were being too passive,” Leach said of the first half. “I told the boys we need to play like we’ve played before, go be loose and have fun.”
Some of that passive nature came thanks to a slow-and-steady approach by the Neodesha offense. Regardless of the speed at which Erie was moving, the Bluestreaks spent over a minute at times setting up their offensive plays.
“We were getting frustrated, because we’re used to playing a little bit faster,” Leach said. “We finally figured it out and went with it.”
Neodesha tried to hold on to their advantage, but Dillinger bookended the third quarter with a pair of 3s to give his team a 27-26 lead heading into the final frame.
The Red Devils began to find the cracks in the visiting team, as they forced five turnovers and opened up an 11-1 run in the fourth quarter for the first sizable lead of the matchup.
Dillinger took control of the contest in the second half — and especially the fourth quarter — with 11 of his game-high 26 points coming in the final frame. The star center also notched 12 rebounds and six blocks on the night.
“He’s playing like he’s 6-foot-8 or something,” Leach said with a laugh. “He was kinda forced to grow up a little faster than you’d like, so for him to get big on the glass tonight was huge for the team.”
Despite not shooting like he would hope from beyond the arc, Reid Duff found his stride late to boost his squad inside the paint. The sophomore point guard finished with four assists and a pair of steals to go with 11 gritty points.
“For him to step up and take on the role he’s in, is huge for this team. Shots weren’t falling, but they don’t have to fall to be a playmaker, and I keep preaching that to Reid,” Leach said.
Senior Logan Ewan provided a spark throughout as well, moving the ball without mistake, grabbing eight rebounds and adding nine points in the scoring column.
“Logan is our X-factor,” Leach said. “When Logan shows up and plays well, it changes our entire team; he gives us some swagger. He sets so many tones for us offensively and defensively because he plays with his heart.”
Ewan, Juan Hernandez and Gavin Ressig were honored before the game for the annual senior night tradition.
“I can’t thank them enough,” Leach said of his trio of seniors. “They’ve offered so much leadership and value to this team.”
Junior Daniel Choi added two points to round out the scoring attack for Erie.
Neodesha did benefit from a pair of double-digit scoring outings, as Andrew Heck netted 11 and Mason Springer scored 10.
Erie (12-8) landed the No. 3 seed in the KSHSAA Class 2A sub-state, with a home matchup against Northeast (10-10) likely for Monday.
Neodesha: 12 7 7 15 — 41
Erie: 7 9 11 11 — 48
Neodesha: Andrew Heck 11, Mason Springer 10, Rylan Allen 7, Krewe Johnson 5, Colten Roebuck 5, Wyatt Songer 3
Erie: Ethan Dillinger 26, Reid Duff 11, Logan Ewan 9, Daniel Choi 2
Post a comment as anonymous
Watch this discussion.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.