The 1A DII high school state basketball tipped off Wednesday in United Wireless Arena in Dodge City.
Wednesday’s action included four games on the boys side of the bracket.
No.1 Almena-Northern Valley versus No.8 Waverly.
In the first game of the day, the Almena-Northern Valley Huskies beat the Waverly Bulldogs 63-22.
Waverly scored first, but Northern Valley took the lead at 5-2 then led 5-4 after a Waverly bucket. Northern Valley answered, going on an 8-0 run to take a 13-4 lead before Waverly got a late shot in the first.
The Bulldogs again opened the scoring in the second quarter. The Huskies bit back though, outscoring the Bullodgs 17-6 in the second quarter to take a 30-12 lead into halftime.
Northern Valley head coach Chuck Fessenden sad the team didn’t play very well in the first half offensively.
“We just didn’t shoot well there in the first half, but we still had a lead,” Fessenden said.
At halftime, the Huskies changed up their press-defense, Fessenden said.
The results were immediately apparent, if only on the scoreboard.
The Huskies came out and scored the first 18 points on the second half, outscoring the Bulldogs 21-3 in the third quarter, expanding the lead to 51-15 to end the quarter.
“That was huge,” Fessenden said. “Riley (Sides) kind of got hot here. He started shooting well, and got comfortable and they made turnovers.”
Huskies junior Riley Sides led all scorers with 22 points on 8 of 19 shooting from the field and 6 of 12 shooting from 3-point range. He also had a game-high five assists. Fellow junior Caden Bach had a game-high 10 rebounds for the huskies.
For the Bulldogs, sophomore Jolon Lacey had a team-high nine points and five rebounds. Bulldog junior Drew Pyle had a team-high two assists.
The loss means the Bulldogs’ season is over. The Huskies advance and will play at 4:45 p.m. Friday. All 1A DII state tournament games take place in United Wireless Arena.
No.4 Kiowa-South Barber versus No.5 Otis-Bison
The Kiowa-South Barber Chieftains overcame a 12-0 deficit in the first quarter to beat the Otis-Bison Cougars 51-42.
It was far from the first time the Chieftains have had to overcome a slow start, head coach Tim Carey said. They trailed 12-4 at the end of the first.
“We’ve been down 10, 12 points in first quarters before this year and come back, so I wasn’t too worried,” Carey said.
In the second quarter, the Chieftains fought their way back into it, going on an 11-0 run starting with 5:35 left in the second and lasting until 1:18 remained in the first half. They scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to expand their lead to 29-17.
“The second and third quarter we played well,” Carey said. “Sometimes we get caught where we’re used to attacking and if we want to try to slow the game down a little bit, then we get caught whether ’should I go or I could come back,’ and that’s what happened a couple times there at the end when they got back into it a little bit.”
The Cougars closed the gap to 49-42 late in the fourth quarter, but the Chieftains were able to preserve the win.
South Barber junior Cole Coggins led all scorers with 20 points on 8 of 15 shooting. He also had a team-high eight rebounds.
Otis-Bison junior Maitland Wiltse led his team with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
They Chieftains take on Almena-Northern Valley at 4:45 p.m. Friday.
No. 2 McPherson-Elyria Christian versus No. 7 Axtell
It took the Elyria Christian Eagles some time, but once they got going, the flew to victory Wednesday night.
The Axtell Eagles took a 2-0 lead early, which they held until five minutes remained in the first. That’s when Elyria Christian got on the board with a 3-pointer.
They never looked back. Elyria shot 60.5 percent from the field and led by as many as 18 points in their victory Wednesday night.
Senior Tyler Thiessen led Elyria with 16 points, and was one of three scorers for his team in double-digits. Junior Aiden Fields had 14 points and junior Caleb Froese had 13.
Playing in United Wireless Arena was quite the change for the Elyria Christian, head coach Zach Goodrich said.
“It’s our first time here and (in) the bigger gym,” Goodrich said. “We play in maybe a 800 (capacity) gym, and so (I) definitely was anxious to see what we would do. I think we came out a little nervous and kind of settled in after we hit a of couple shots and got a few stops.”
He said he told his team it was OK to be a little nervous but hoped they could overcome it early.
Elyria took a 45-27 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Axtell made 11 straight points to cut the deficit to just nine points before Elyria took a timeout with 5:46 remaining.
That run came largely off the hands of Axtell sophomore Quinn Buessing. He had a game-high 26 points, and 10 rebounds, shooting 9 of 15 from the field and 4 of 7 from 3-point territory.
“We watched him on film and he just has that nice, quick release,” Goodrich said. “One thing we wanted to do (was) just make it hard on the catch. With a young man like that, they’re gonna hit shots; he’s a fine young player, and so there’s some times you can do things and some times we weren’t doing our job of being there on the catch and he was able to get a clean look.”
That was something the team talked about not allowing, Goodrich said.
“Two of ‘em we did have a hand in his face, but you give a player like him a clean look then he starts rolling and you saw him hit three in a row,” Goodrich said.
With the win, Goodrich’s Eagles will play in the game scheduled for 8:15 Friday. Goodrich said he’d like to see his team come out a little better in that game despite the atmosphere of United Wireless Arena.
“I think we can pass the ball a little bit better,” Goodrich said. “Give Axtell credit: They put some pressure on us, but we have some guys that are a little bit taller and have some size so I would like the passes to be in the post, find cleaner looks and when people dive find that cutter and then you get the easy two.”
No.3 Moscow versus No. 6 Sharon Springs-Wallace County
The Sharon Springs-Wallace County Wildcats battled the Moscow Wildcats in a hotly-contested battle in the final game Wednesday night, winning 58-54.
It was a game that came right down to the wire.
Sharon Springs outscored Moscow 16-5 in the third quarter.
“It came down to that little spurt in the third quarter where we kind of hit some shots and we came back out in our 3-2 and they missed some shots and we kind of got up,” Sharon Springs head coach Larry O’Connor said. “They’re a good team. (Moscow head coach) Brett (Harp), he’s got a good team, he coaches well and I knew they’d make a little bit of a comeback.”
Moscow got as close as three with 8.4 seconds left in regulation.
“We’re kind of hitting our stride,” O’Connor said. “We’ve kind of went through some bumps and we’ve got 11 loses, but we play in a pretty darn good league. Six of our eight schools in our league are playing for state championships. That’s pretty good. That gets us tournament-ready.”
Moscow senior Kage Allen led his team with 15 points. Senior Jaylen Mendez had a team-high nine rebounds for Moscow.
For Sharon Springs, junior Trever Medina had a game-high and 10 rebounds.
The win means the Wildcats will take on McPherson-Elyria Christian Friday. That game is scheduled for 8:15 p.m.