CHENEY, KANSAS – The ‘El Dorado’ mentality is a thing we’ve heard about. Maybe it means hardware more than it did in the past. On Saturday, the attitude so many had talked about was starting to change and you could tell from the start. The Wildcats fell behind early and there was no panic.

The El Dorado Wildcats overcame an early 8-point deficit to finish third place in the 25th annual Cardinal Classic on Saturday afternoon by beating Chaparral 60-39 in impressive fashion.

“We're not used to winning trophies here,” Senior Jake Johnson said. “We're changing the mentality here in El Dorado.”

El Dorado (2-1) fell behind 16-8 and things appeared the Wildcats were in for another nail biter, as if they were back playing Hutchinson Trinity on Tuesday. The Roadrunners went on a 10-0 run before Jayden Sundgren made a three-pointer to keep the Wildcats in contention.

 “I thought our guys responded unbelievably well,” El Dorado head coach Jordon Regehr said.

That’s really all El Dorado needed. To just wait out of the bad stuff. They used a 14-5 run to end the half with a combination buckets from players as a team. Chaparral made a bucket at the buzzer to bring it to 22-21 at the break.

“I take the blame for those four minutes,” Regehr said. “I had us in our most aggressive defense and they broke us early. When we stopped doing that, they couldn’t score on us.”

Jake Johnson had a steal and a lay up out of the half, to help El Dorado increase their lead to 32-23 with 4:32 to go in the third.

“I told them to just keep doing what we’re doing,” Regehr said. “I thought we were the better team and through the duration of the game on, you saw that.”

The rest of the team answered a fourth foul on Zach Wittenberg. Garrett Meyer hit a three and Sundgren had a coast-to-coast layup that put El Dorado in front 37-25 with 2:06 to go in the quarter and the rout was on.

“We're a fast team, we like to outrun teams,” Johnson said. “We just had to execute and run the floor.”

The fourth quarter resembled much of the third quarter. A fast paced offense that was predicated off the defensive turnovers.

Johnson hit a three in the fourth quarter, and Meyer hit another one, giving El Dorado a 59-34 lead with 2:11 remaining in the game.

The Wildcats now have won two in a row and will take home a plaque for finishing third place.

The whole process in which El Dorado came to the third place is unlike what they are used to. The 11-0 comeback to end the game against a Hutch Trinity that drubbed Pratt by 50. The never say die personality that seems to exude from almost every player on the bench.

“That’s one thing we can hang our hat on is that we never give up,” Regehr said.

El Dorado has two games remaining as they travel to Winfield (0-2) on Tuesday night to take on the Vikings. They’ll play Circle (0-3) to round up the first semester on Friday in El Dorado.

“Our schedule is usually tough, but we want wins and we expect to get wins,” Regehr said. “Things are changing in El Dorado.”

Chaparral – 16; 5; 8; 10 – 39
El Dorado – 12; 10; 19; 19 – 60

Chaparral – Swartz 9, Plaff 6, Wootoon 6, Mace Atkins 6, McKeegan Francis 3, Harding 4, Yoder 2, Raiden Atkins 2, Jack Francis 1
El Dorado – Sundgren 14, Meyer 12, Johnson 11, Clausing 9, Fowler 7, Wittenberg 7