The Dodge City Red Demons weren't going to lose their Western Athletic Conference boys basketball crown to the Hays Indians without a fight.
And although the Red Demons played made one final stand to keep the Indians from claiming the title, Hays was able to come away with a 55-47 victory to win the league title outright and end the Dodge City title streak at four.
Unlike the first game at DCHS Field House when the Red Demons charged ahead early only to see the Indians control the rest of the game in a 19-point loss; Dodge City never let the Indians get any huge run and stayed within striking distance the entire game.
"We had taken our lumps, but we were still in this thing," said Dodge City head coach Dennis Hamilton. "In a game like this, you can't cough the ball up 20 times and expect to win it. It's not from the lack of effort. Our kids played exceptionally hard.
"You have to give (Hays) credit. They have a good basketball team and (head coach) Rick Keltner gets them ready. There's a reason why they are 19-0 and Western Athletic Conference champions."
Austin Weiser led the way in scoring for the Red Demons with 19 points (5-of-8 from three-point range) while Noah Williams added nine and Jackson Oldham eight for Dodge City (8-11, 4-3). The Demons made eight of their 15 three-point attempts in the game.
"We had some big stops and people step up and hit some big shots," Hamilton said. "Austin played a heck of a game. It was just one of those that wasn't meant to be."
Jordan Windholz scored 26 points to lead the Indians (19-0, 7-0), while Brady Werth added 13 for the win.
The first quarter was very even with the Indians leading 14-13; before Hays came out in the second quarter by scoring 11 of the first 14 points to build their largest lead at 25-16.
Dodge City whittled the deficit down to three late in the stanza and trailed 32-26 at halftime.
The Demons continued to battle and took the lead in the third quarter, but Hays responded to regain a 42-41 lead going into the final stanza.
The Indians maintained the lead in the final eight minutes, but couldn't shake off the Demons. Dodge City trailed 49-47 with less than two minutes left in regulation, but Hays was able to hit eight free throws to seal the win and the conference title.
Dodge City's final regular season game will be Friday night at DCHS Field House against the Liberal Redskins. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:45 p.m.
DODGE CITY (47) — Dayton McGroarty 2, Bryce Unruh 2, Austin Weiser 19, Jackson Oldham 8, Caden Walters 2, Jace Larson 5, Noah Williams 9. Totals 17 5-7 47.
HAYS (55) — Kyler Niernberer 4, Isaiah Nunnery 3, Clayton Riedel 2, Jordan Windholz 26, Lane Clark 5, Brady Werth 13, Kade Parker 2. Total 17 15-20 55.
Dodge City 13 13 15 6 — 47
Hays 14 18 10 13 — 55
Three-point baskets — Dodge City 8 (Weiser 5, Oldham 2, Larson 1), Hays 6 (Nunnery 1, Windholz 4, Clark 1). Records — Dodge City 8-11, Hays 19-0.