El Dorado boys close out Clearwater, pick up win

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette

CLEARWATER—Jaydon Sundgren scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and the El Dorado Wildcats overcame a tough fight from the Clearwater Indians to pick up their second win 51-43 on Friday night. 

The Wildcats showed real maturity as they never trailed in the second half and when Clearwater tied it, they quickly put the game back in their favor.

“This is a big confidence boost for us,” Sundgren said. “We’re trying to control what we can control and execute what we can execute.”

El Dorado’s eight game losing streak comes to an end. It’s a streak that felt as if El Dorado should have won time and times before but youth at times had gotten the best of them. They had four losses by five or less points.

“I think it was sick of losing those games,” first year El Dorado head coach Drew Culbertson said. “On the verge of winning those games and tonight’s we had some guys in the huddle saying they’re not going to lose this game and willed themselves to win.”

Everything El Dorado (2-10) did on Friday night was about efficiency. They pressed on the defensive side to force Clearwater into bad shots. They took their time on offense, moving the ball with a swift pace, moving well and creating holes in the defense. It led to the Wildcats getting to the line 18 times on the night. 

After Clearwater took a 14-11 lead, it was Zach Wittenberg who spurred El Dorado back into the lead on an 8-0 run. He hit a corner three and then had a nice turnaround jumper at the foul line to pull the Wildcats within one. 

“When we do the little things right, we show we can be a really good team,” Culbertson said. 

It was Jaydon Sundgren who gave them the lead with 5:22 remaining in the half.

Jake Wellington would score eight straight points for Clearwater (4-8) as they retook the lead but it was a three by Gannon White and a flurry of free throws by Kemboi that gave the Wildcats a 30-23 lead at the break.

El Dorado held a nine-point lead early in the third quarter but the Indians chipped away at the lead. They got to the line and found their way to score with the clock stopped. They were able to tie it at 34-all with 3:29 remaining in the third. 

Wittenberg’s jumper at the block put the Wildcats back in front by two and then he would score on a weakside layup. That was followed by another Sundgren three as the Wildcats took a 42-36 lead with 6:45 remaining in the game. 

Sundgren would do it again from deep with 2:15 remaining as the Wildcats pushed their lead back up to seven. Sundgren would have a steal and an easy layup a minute later to ice the game with 49 seconds remaining.

“There is where I thought we clinched the game,” Culbertson said. “We were patient and took some smart shots.”

He would finish with 15 points, 10 coming in the fourth quarter. He was 3 of 4 from beyond the arc and perfect at the line, 2 of 2. 

“He’s a leader and a team guy,” Culbertson said. “He won that game for us.  Him and Zach [Wittenberg] won that game.”

El Dorado is back on the court on Tuesday, Feb. 2 against county foe, Rose Hill at El Dorado High. 

“I think we can be one of the dangerous teams down the stretch,” Culbertson said.

El Dorado;10;20;7;14;—51

Clearwater;8;15;13;7;—43

ELDO: Sundgren 15, Kemboi 11, Berkstresser 11, Wittenberg 9, White 3, Clausing 2 CW: Wellington 14, Gibbs 14, Ankerholz 7, Trotter 3, Hastings 3, Cash 2

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.