The Southern Plains Iroquois Activities Association boys basketball tournament at United Wireless Arena in Dodge City got underway Wednesday after a one day weather delay for snow.
The first evening match pitted the South Gray Rebels against the Spearville Royal Lancers.
The Rebels had a strong game and took a 61-43 victory over the Lancers.
In the second game, the South Central Timberwolves took on the Bucklin Red Aces.
The Red Aces couldn't find the shooting range and only scored 10 points in the first half. Timberwolves dominated the Aces and took a 70-52 victory.
South Gray coach Mark Applegate said in the first half, his team did not play well. They were taking shots that were easy rather than run their offense.
Instead of trying to make the offense work, the team was settling for three pointers. They didn't come out playing as hard as they can play.
"We were just not in our rhythm," Applegate said. "We didn't play well the first half. We should have been ready to come out and play at the start of the game but we weren't."
Then they started to run their offense and executed better in the second half.
Storm Flores was making three pointers. Carter Riley was getting good assists and put backs. Aaron Skidmore has been playing strong every game. Their team is young and starts three sophomores, a senior and junior.
Kiowa County is up next for South Gray. They are a dangerous three seed and it will be a tough game.
To win, the Rebels will have to come out and play hard at the start and not wait a whole half. That just doesn't work.
The Rebels relentless pressure on defense limited second shot chances for the Lancers. Easton Shenk kept hitting shots form outside but Arron Skidmore kept answering for the Rebels.
The Rebels kept up the aggressive defense and it led to offensive points.
But the Lancers kept looking for the open man and driving the basket as they struggled to make a dent in the Rebels lead.
In the end, the Rebels had too many weapons and took the victory, South Gray 61, Spearville 43.
The second evening game had the South Central Timberwolves taking on the Bucklin Red Aces.
The Red Aces had a very tough start and were in a deep hole they couldn't climb out of against a team the was taller at every position. The Timberwolves took a big 72-52 victory over the Aces.
Bucklin coach Derek Bevan said the Timberwolves have big athletes that got after it on defense and the Aces had a hard time bouncing back. But in the second half, the Aces found their range and started trimming on the Timberwolves lead.
The team played well in the second half but it was just too big of a lead to get close.
At half time, they took the game to them on defense and defended them well. Now, they have to get more offense. The players relaxed a little after half and started making points after only scoring 10 the entire first half.
"It's easier to get back on defense after you score," Bevan said.
Besides being shorter then South Central, they are a much younger team that starts three sophomores, one junior and one senior.
South Central coach Roe Macias said when his team stays on the other teams hip, they are good defensively.
If they get into a run and gun like they did against Bucklin, the team gets sloppy. In the third quarter, the Timberwolves got out of what they usually do when Bucklin got in the run and gun and they are good at it. They are also a young team and they are going to get better at it.
"I don't like getting caught in a run and gun," Macias said. "If we control the tempo, we'll be fine."
On offense, the Timberwolves always like to hit the post as their first option then kick it out to the shooters.
They get a lot of rebounds that way and limited Bucklin to just one shot each time, Macias said.
When the team plays good tough defense, they force their opponent to make mistakes.
Although Bucklin is much shorter, when the Timberwolves brought out their big guy, Bucklin was ready for him.
Colton Stein found a way through the Timberwolves defense and were the Aces best weapon but the Timberwolves speed and height led to blocks and steals on defense and the offense was able to penetrate the Aces aggressive defense and score both in close and from outside, limiting the Red Aces to four points in the second quarter.
In the end, the Aces found their game but the first half lead was just too much to overcome and the Timberwolves took a 72-52 victory over the Red Aces.
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