The South Central Timberwolves boys basketball team’s season ended Friday night as they lost to the Macksville Mustangs 68-53.

It was a back-and-forth battle throughout the first half. South Central scored first and eventually took a 5-2 lead, but Macksville tied it at 7-7. Two straight 3s by junior Owen Alexander gave the Timberwolves a 13-7 lead, but the Mustangs later tied the score at 15-15.

South Central led 20-17 at the end of the first quarter and 29-28 at halftime, but in the third, Macksville took control. Down 39-38, a Mustangs 3-pointer with about 3:52 left in the quarter gave them a 41-39 lead.

That 3 was in many ways the game’s turning point. It was the first 3 points of what became an 18-0 run by the Mustangs that spanned into the fourth quarter.

By the time the Timberwolves scored again, their 2-point shot cut the Mustangs’ lead to 15. The score had become 56-41 after South Central’s first made bucket in the fourth.

“They showed a lot of heart, Macksville did,” Timberwolves head coach Roe Macias said afterward. “Their bigs ended up getting position on us, and that ended up being our downfall at the end, but they game-planned well and they executed their game plan. That’s what it comes down to.”

Owen Alexander had a game-high 23 points, but missed the fourth quarter and could be seen near the bench with ice on his leg.

“He’s one of those guys that even when we run bad offense he makes it look good,” Macias said. “He’s one of those guys that catches fire. He helps us a lot on the inside against those bigs. He’s a big part of what we do, and it sucks that he got hurt tonight.”

The team also was missing Xavier Frazier, another big element of their inside presence, who missed the game due to illness, according to Macias.

For Macksville, senior Kaleb Lickiss had a team-high 22 points. Senior Kody Mead had 14, and senior Karson Waters had 10.

Timberwolves junior Chayde Snyder had 10, and Daulton Warden, the team’s lone senior had 8 points in what proved to be the final game of his high school basketball career.

“We’ve only had him a year, and I wish I had him more, I wish we could have done a lot more with him but we didn’t,” Macias said about Warden. “He’s going to be missed. He’s a leader in the locker room, he’s a leader on the floor. We’re going to miss him tremendously.”

Asked what Warden’s biggest contribution was to the team, Macias answered immediately.

“He calms us down offensively. On the floor he’s the calming influence,” Macias said. “He has his moments, but all seniors do, and in the locker room he keeps us together. Boys love to get after each other, boys will be boys, he’s the calming influence. He keeps us under control, he keeps us under wraps without me having to be there.”

“He does a lot for us,” Macias said. “We’re definitely going to miss him.”

Macksville will face South Gray in the Sub-State Championship Game scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Saturday inside the Dodge City Community College Student Activity Center.