The Southern Plains Iroquois Activities Association boys basketball tournament at the United Wireless Arena in Dodge City got underway Wednesday after a one day weather delay for snow.

The first match of the afternoon pitted the Hodgeman County Longhorns against the Pawnee Heights Tigers.

The Longhorns dominated the game and came away with the a 56-26 win over the Tigers.

In the second game, the Kiowa County Mavericks got an exciting overtime 59-53 win against the Minneola Wildcats.

In the Hodgeman vs Pawnee Heights game, Hodgeman Coach Levi Salmans said team plays go through Isaac Salmans and he distributed the ball well through out the game. The team knocked down some early threes that gave the team a lead they didn't give up.

Salmans said the team needed to drive the ball better against the zone.

It was "sticking" as the team went down the court.

The defense was working and making the Wildcats shoot over the top.

"We had a very solid defense," Salmans said.

Ethan Burns stepped up his game especially on defense and was strong in filling his role as screener.

The combination of the Hodgeman defensive pressure and their ability to score against the Tigers defense gave the Longhorns a 56-26 victory over the Tigers.

The second afternoon game had the Kiowa County Mavericks taking on the Minneola Wildcats. The game went into overtime on a last second shot by the Mavericks who took the lead in overtime and finished with a 59-53 win over the Wildcats.

Kiowa County Coach Matt Hoffman said his offense had to attack the Wildcats box and one.

That, and getting to the rim, were keys to the Mavericks success. The defense didn't press as much as they like. When they did press, they kept putting pressure especially on Tuck Long who is a heck of a player.

"We were keying on Tuck and setting screens," Hoffman said. "The Wildcats have good shooters and kept the pressure on us so we had to put hands in their faces."

Brandon Boyles is the key to the Mavericks offense and when he fouled out, Cooper Zenger, Caydan Pore, Luke Ballard and Seth Lingafelter all stepped up especially Zenger who hit the last second shot that sent the game into overtime.

A team goal is to survive and advance. Ashlind Gumpenberger suffered and ankle injury but should be available for the next game.

With the injury and Boyles fouled out Caydan Pore stepped in as the eighth man and did an excellent job as he has done from that position all season.

The rest of the tournament will be like the Mavericks substate where they will have to play the same caliber of team.

They have to work hard here and will have to work hard there.

"Our boys don't back down from any challenge," Hoffman said.

At 1:56 left in the game the Mavericks' Brandon Boyles stole a pass and drove the length of the court to tie the game.

But Minneola answered to take the lead with one minute to go. Then Boyles fouled out.

James Brack hit an inside two pointer to cut the Minneola lead to one with 8 seconds to go. Then Tuck Lang hit a pair free throws and the Wildcat lead was three.

Cooper Zinger hit a last second three pointer for Kiowa County to send the game into overtime.

James Brack hit a pair of free throws to give the lead back to the Mavericks followed by two for Cooper Zinger who added a pair of free throws.

With 1:51 on the clock, the Wildcats Brayton Dewell hit a two for the Wildcats but Zinger answered again then Dewell hit a three.

Cooper Zinger hit a pair of late free throws to give the Mavericks a 59-53 victory.

The early game Wednesday was a "play-in" round robin game between the Satanta Indians and the Ashland Blue Jays. Satanta took a 65-50 victory over Ashland.

To contact writer, email grose@pratttribune.com