The Dodge City Red Demons girls and boys basketball teams lost to the Maize Eagles Friday night.
In the boys game, the Red Demons shot only about 29 percent from the field, while the Eagles shot about 58 percent. That difference manifested itself as an 86-49 victory for the Eagles.
Noah Sowers had a game-high 25 points, and both John Johnson and Cody Ibarra had seven points. For the Eagles, Brandle Easter Jr. had 24, Davon Koehn had 22 and Caleb Grill had 21.
The Red Demons lost to Maize last year 98-71.
“We did a better job on Caleb Grill, who is obviously a(n) extremely good player, I thought,” Red Demon head coach Tony Starnes said. “We did a good job early in attacking them.”
Both Easter Jr. and Koehn, however, were able to essentially have their way, Starnes said, and the team has to figure that out.
“We’ve got to be more solid at the basket, we gave up the basket too much, and we’ve got to hit shots,” Starnes said. “We just weren’t shooting the ball very confidently, for whatever reason.”
Starnes gave the Eagles credit as well, saying they did a good job defending the Red Demons.
Grill had torched the Red Demons for 38 points the last time the two teams had meant in the opening round of the Tournament of Champions last season, and for much of the night Grill guarded Sowers when the Eagles were on defense.
He had two blocks and two steals early, but in general Sowers probably won the matchup Friday night, outscoring Grill 25 to 21 and outrebounding him 7 to 5.
Grill turned the ball over just one time compared to Sowers three turnovers, but Sowers played over three minutes more of game time, in part because Grill got into foul trouble late, finishing with four.
“Noah’s a really good player,” Starnes said. “He’s a different player than (Newton’s) Ty Berry, he’s a different player than Caleb Grill, but he’s really good.”
The Red Demons walked away with the loss, but early in the season like it was makes this a game they will use to learn from.
“We’ve just got to learn from what we didn’t do right, as in take advantage of opportunities,” Starnes said.
From extended possessions to rebounds the team had in their hands only to get stripped, to loose balls, the team has things to work on.
“We’ve got to make those plays to beat a good team like that,” Starnes said.
In the girls game, the Red Demons fell too far behind early, ending the opening quarter down 23-4 on the way to a 61-44 loss.
Sophomore Kisa Unruh had 19 points for the second straight came, and pulled in a team-high matching seven rebounds. Junior Chidera Okoro had 14 points and matched Unruh’s seven rebounds, but two other Red Demons scored four points apiece, one scored two points, and another scored one to round out the total scoring for the Red Demons girls team.
Like in the boys game, Maize massively outshot Dodge City, hitting nearly 48 percent of their shots while Dodge City only hit about 36 percent of theirs.