The Kiowa County Mavericks boys basketball team won a heavily-contested affair Tuesday in the 2019 SPIAA League Basketball Tournament beating Ashland 48-41.
It was a back-and-forth game throughout. Ashland senior Cody Lohrding hit a 3-pointer to get the scoring started. He scored often in Tuesday. Similar could be said for Ashland junior Greysen Gardiner, Kiowa County junior Cooper Zenger and Kiowa County senior Camden VandenHoek.
Lohrding finished with a game-high 18 points for Ashland. Gardiner finished with 8. Junior Brennan Grady finished with 5 for the Bluejays.
Among Mavericks, Zenger finished with a team-high 15, while junior Brandon Boyles finished with 12 and VandenHoek had 8.
“Ashland’s a good team,” Kiowa County coach Matt Hoffman said. “They play really, really well and played a lot better this time. They shot a lot better than the first time we played them, and them knocking down 3s really put a crutch on us defensively.”
Ashland hit six 3-pointers Tuesday, twice as many as Kiowa County did.
The Bluejays’ effectiveness from range caused the Mavericks to have to guard closely on the perimeter, which opened up plays for them close to the basket, Hoffman said.
“I thought our guys stepped up and they played really well defensively,” Hoffman said. “We could have done better obviously, but when it came down to crunch time, we really stayed calm and kept our composure and finished the game how we needed to.”
Lohrding’s scoring didn’t make that easy to do.
“Cody was on fire and he did a really, really nice job for them,” Hoffman said. “He’s a heck of a player, and hard to stay in front (of) when you’re that quick and can shoot that well.”
Ashland took a 31-28 lead on a 3 by Gardiner to start the fourth quarter. Lohrding hit a 3-pointer with about 1:48 left to go in the game that cut Kiowa County’s lead to 42-40, but the Mavericks were able to score a layup on the next possession and close the game out by hitting final-minute free throws.
It was a team win for the Mavericks.
“We talk all the time with our team: We don’t feel like we have that one kid that’s always going to go out and be special all the time,” Hoffman said. “We’ve got five guys that are special and any given night they can really show up, and so we’re a really good team unit, we’re not a really good individual unit.”
The Mavericks will play at 6 p.m. Friday against South Central.
The Bluejays will face Pawnee Heights at 4:30 p.m. Friday.