The El Dorado Wildcats boys basketball team came within a game of earning a berth in the state tournament as El Dorado fell to #1 seed Coffeyville in the substate semifinals 62-54 Thursday night in Independence.
"I was proud of our competitiveness and fight. We played pretty much even the first half, but they came out of the locker room for the second half and got us on our heels. By the time we were able to respond, we had gotten a little too far behind," said coach Gary Melcher.
The Wildcats were down by a bucket after a quarter at 15-13 but outscored Coffeyville 12-11 in the second to go to half time down only 26-25.
Coffeyville came out on fire in the third quarter and seized control of the game outscoring El Dorado 19-8 in the frame and taking a 45-33 lead into the fourth quarter.
"Defensive boards in the end were the deciding factor. They were just a half a step quicker than what we were used to, and we just weren't able to board as well as we needed to," said Melcher.
The Wildcats fought back in the fourth quarter erupting for 21 points in the final 8 minutes but Coffeyville added 17 to maintain their lead onto the victory over El Dorado.
"We thought that we could win the game at the FT line, but when you combine their offensive rebounding with the numbers from the line - they just didn't add up in our favor," said Melcher.
El Dorado was 15-26 from the line and Coffeyville was 19-30 from the stripe.
"I was proud to have had the opportunity to coach this group of young men. They were good representatives of the school and community and were able to accomplish a great deal," said Melcher.
El Dorado was led offensively by Jared Haury with 16 points a three pointer and going 3-6 from the line.
Travis House had 15 points including two three pointers and going 5-6 from the line.
Trevor Crain added 8 points including a three pointer. Johnstone Scott had 6 points, Aaron Riffel had 5 points, Sam Haines had three points and Alec Hildreth added a point.
"We will miss our graduating seniors, but have a good core group returning which hopefully will allow for continued success," said Melcher.
El Dorado finished 14-7 overall.