Eagles place third following record-breaking season

The Eagles have never finished their season with a win.

At least they hadn’t.

Maize defeated Bishop Carroll 68-49 Saturday in Emporia to finish third place in Class 5A.

Despite their loss to Andover Central in the semifinals, the Eagles have had the best season in school history, finishing 24-1.

Coach Chris Grill said he was happy his team could finish the season with a positive experience.

We had a pretty amazing season,” he said. “We finished on a win, and not very many teams get to finish the year on a win. I’ve never done it, and it’s pretty good. It’s fun. I’m happy for the kids. It’s pretty special.”

Ten seniors played their final high school basketball game, many having played together as far back as fourth grade.

“We’ve been together so long, it’s just nice to finally go out,” senior Eli Owings said. “We had a lot of fun staying in hotels and in practice. There are a lot of moments that you wouldn’t be able to get back, and that’s what I’ll miss the most.”

Senior Christian Sampson also mentioned how much he will miss playing with his teammates.

It’s been really great to play with the guys on this team and all of our success is credited to the chemistry off the court,” he said. “I love every one of these guys, and that’s the reason we are where we are right now.”

The seniors made it clear that their chemistry followed them off the court.

It was just super fun because we’re all pretty close friends so it’s just a good time,” senior Cameron Grimes said.

After a close first quarter, the Eagles led 13-11. Maize came back strong in the second quarter, scoring the first 12 points.

The Eagles then held a large lead in the second half, with Carroll trailing 53-33 at the end of the third quarter.

Senior Caleb Grill scored a game high of 23 points. Senior Devon Koehn added 17.

I feel pretty good right now,” Koehn said. “I just wanted my last game ever to be a good one. Going into the game I knew it would be my last time ever playing, so I just tried my hardest.”

Several seniors commented on their positive attitudes coming into their final game at Maize High. They were obviously loose and having a good time, especially in the second half.

We were just going out there and having fun because we knew it was going to be our last game together,” senior Caleb Grill said.

Chris Grill said he was proud of the team for coming out and playing a good game following a tough loss the night before.

We had some guys who were kind of banged up, but they sucked it up and they still played well,” he said. “We went a little bit further on our bench earlier than we normally do, and those guys stepped up and played really, really well. I was proud of everybody, all 12 guys. They thought ‘We’re ready to go,’ they played well, and they did a great job.”

While the seniors were happy with their win, the victory was bittersweet for the group that just played its final game together.

“We’re just a family,” senior Chase Schreiner said.