Eagles headed to state, continuing redemption tour

Abby McCoy and Ellie Stucky, Co-Editor-in-Chief and Sports Editor

The Red Dead Redemption tour continues.

The Eagles, who lost last year in the sub-state championship game, redeemed themselves Saturday with a 53-47 victory over Eisenhower.

Maize will play in the Class 5A quarterfinals Thursday in Emporia. It is the Eagles’ first state appearance since 2015.

The Eagles have worked all season to vindicate themselves after being upset last season, using the video game Red Dead Redemption as their theme. They’ve done it in style. They’re the only undefeated team in 5A and will be the top seed in the state tournament.

“It’s just awesome,” senior Caleb Grill said. “It’s what we’ve wanted to do all year. I’m just so happy that we battled through.”

Grill led the Eagles with 19 points. Senior Brandle Easter scored 14 points for Maize, all in the second half. Maize trailed 26-23 at halftime.

“I think everybody was a little bit nervous [in the second half],” Easter said. “I was a little nervous.”

Coach Chris Grill said he was happy the team pulled out a tough game Saturday after what happened last year.

“They’ve been working really hard,” Grill said. “We’re headed to state; we get to keep playing. And for me, it’s just awesome because I get to coach them three more games.”

The score was tied at 33 after the third quarter, but Eisenhower scored the first four points of the fourth. It was tied again at 39 with 4:35 to play.

But the Eagles turned it on from there, outscoring the Tigers 14-8 the rest of the way.

“I thought we did a really nice job of getting players in one-on-one situations,” Caleb Grill said.

Easter ended the game emphatically with a dunk as the clock was winding down.

Cade McGaugh and Chase Schreiner added nine points apiece for the Eagles. Devon Koehn scored two.

Jordan Vincent led Eisenhower with 22 points.

Even though the Eagles were excited Saturday, they know they still have work to do to reach their goal of a state title.

“We’re not done yet,” Easter said.

The Eagles will play St. James at 3 p.m. Thursday. Click here to see the state bracket.

If they win Thursday, they’ll play in the semifinals Friday. The championship game is Saturday.

“I hope I get another week with them,” Chris Grill said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”