May 21, 2024

Demons Outplayed in Fourth, Lose TOC Opener to Maize

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Charles Sharp watched in anticipation as his three-point attempt hung on the rim for what felt like minutes before falling in to give Maize a five point lead against the Demons that they wouldn’t give away. Sharp finished with 18 points, making 8-of-9 field goals to power the Eagles to the second round with what finished as a 44-36 victory.

The Red Demons came in hoping to build on a three-game winning streak, but a slow start halted any momentum they had from their 19-point win against Liberal on Jan. 12. The Demons made just six field goals in the first half and scored only four second quarter points.

Maize entered with some momentum as well, having won each of their previous two contests entering the tournament. The Eagles also struggled offensively to start the game but they shook out of their funk during the second quarter to turn a three point deficit after one quarter into a 20-15 halftime lead.

Dodge found their offensive rhythm during the third quarter. Anthony Perez scored all eight of his points in the second half including a pair of threes that helped the Demons tie the game at 29 entering the final quarter.

That positive offensive momentum faded though in the fourth quarter, as Dodge couldn’t find open looks against the zone defense of Maize. Sharp took over in the fourth quarter, scoring seven of the final eight points for the Eagles and the Demons couldn’t keep up despite an 11-point, eight rebound effort from senior Tochi Okoro.

“When we play with energy, and we play with fight and were playing tough, we can play with anybody. But we also know when we come out and we are satisfied and kind of comfortable, we can lose to anybody. It’s just a big wide range of who we can be…we had a bad practice and it bled over and we tried to flip the switch and change it and couldn’t quite do that in the middle of it,” coach Shane Traughber said following the loss.

The 44-36 win for Maize moves them to the second round where they will face 2022 TOC Champions, Wichita Heights. The Falcons took down Goddard Eisenhower earlier in the day 67-37. The loss for Dodge drops them to 4-5, they will play Eisenhower in the consolation bracket at 6 p.m. Friday. The game will be broadcast live on Z98 with pregame coverage beginning at 5:40.

 

Shane Traughber Postgame Interview