Lady Bulldogs ride winning streak

Paige Esry scored 28 points versus Warsaw in a win.

—Photo by Robert Jackson

El Dorado Springs Lady Bulldogs closed out a week in Clinton with a close win against Adrian.

The victory enabled El Dorado Springs to gain revenge for a loss to Adrian back in December.

The rematch with Adrian took place Friday, Jan. 26.

Last week, El Dorado returned to the court following the win over Adrian. The Adrian game gave the team the confidence it needed because the Lady Bulldogs won twice last week.

El Dorado Springs routed Osceola 56-39 Tuesday, Jan. 30, and then beat Warsaw 48-39 Thursday, Feb. 1.

The Lady Bulldogs will finish the regular season with three road games before playing in the district tournament Monday, Feb. 19, at Mt. Vernon High School.

Osceola game

It was senior night when Osceola visited El Dorado Springs, so coach Beau Swopes started five senior players and used a lineup with seniors for most of the game. This led to several players playing in positions they normally do not play, and several younger players seeing less action than they normally would see.

Still, El Dorado never trailed.

Paige Esry made a layup, sank a 3-pointer and assisted on a basket by Kelsey Thomas.

Another basket by Esry added to the El Dorado surge early in the game and a 9-2 lead.

Taylor Robison came off the bench to sink a 3-pointer and the first quarter ended with El Dorado Springs in front 14-2.

Several steals and defensive rebounds highlighted the first quarter for the Lady Bulldogs.

Esry made a 3-pointer, and then, following an Osceola turnover, El Dorado scored on a layup as the lead grew to 15 points, 19-4.

An impressive baseline move by Brittany Stevens led to a basket and free throw, giving El Dorado a 22-4 advantage.

Both teams began scoring as offensive play picked up; and by halftime, El Dorado maintained a 13-point edge 29-16.

The Lady Bulldogs added to their margin, pulling out to a 45-21 lead to end the third quarter, and rested their regular players during the final minutes of fourth quarter as they took their foot off the accelerator.

El Dorado ended the game with a 17-point margin, 56-39.

For three quarters, El Dorado appeared to play stingy, successful defense led by Esry, Keili Tough, Robison and Thomas.

However, Swopes said he got onto his players after the game telling them they could have played better defense.

Yet, he admitted, "they did a good job," when asked about the team's performance as it held Osceola two points during the first quarter and 16 in the first half.

"We had our moments," Swopes said.

He said of his press defense, "They came out and ran it well."

El Dorado's defense is often based on its offense. When the team makes its shots, it is able to set up its defensive alignment and handle opposing teams.

"That's been our Achilles heel, when we don't shoot well," Swopes said.

In her final home game, Esry scored 28 points. Robison, a junior, tossed in 6 points. Eight players scored for El Dorado Springs.

Normally foul shooting plays a role in the outcome of games, but not against Osceola.

El Dorado Springs struggled with foul trouble and sent Osceola to the foul line throughout the game. The Lady Indians attempted 34 free throws, making 18.

El Dorado Springs had only seven free throw shots, making five.

Despite being outscored 18-5 at the foul line, El Dorado won because Osceola committed numerous turnovers. The Lady Bulldogs were tough defensively and came up with several steals, El Dorado also hit several key 3-pointers on offense.

El Dorado is becoming a better team as its inside post players are developing and improving.

"Kraysen has played better," Swopes said of freshman Kraysen Leonard, then added, "I saw some nice things out of them (the younger players) the last 2 minutes."

Swopes then talked about senior Amy Ford.

He said she has improved her level of confidence and "has done a really nice job of battling for the ball. She works hard; she's a hard worker."

He said she has taken six or seven charging fouls during the season, but has not received the calls from officials.

Another senior cited by Swopes was Esry.

"She's done just about everything for us. She's going to be a tough one to replace."

Warsaw win

In the 48-39 win against Warsaw, El Dorado Springs once again kept the opposing team's offense in check.

After giving up only 39 points to Osceola, El Dorado Springs held Warsaw to 39.

Esry led the way with 28 points, Robison had 7, Stevens scored 7 and three players each scored 2 points — Ford, Thomas and Leonard.

The win was the 10th for the Lady Bulldogs.

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