DODGE CITY — Things started well for Macksville in its state Class 1A quarterfinal matchup against top-seed Central Plains at Dodge City’s United Wireless Arena.
But after Karson Waters got his Mustangs a 4-0 lead early, it was all Oilers after that as the undefeated and defending state 2A champions took out the eight seed, 55-30.
The Oilers (26-0) led 18-9 after the opening period, 31-16 by halftime, and rode a 24-14 second half to the semifinals.
“Karson Waters is a huge part of their offense,” Central Plains head coach Brett Rolfs said. “He’s really good about getting to the rim, and I was most pleased with our defense against him, for the most part.
“He still scored some points but we had three different guys guard him through most of the game.”
In the opening period, leading 7-0, Central Plains ran off an 11-4 run to close the quarter in the final 3:41.
The Oilers held the Mustangs to seven field goals in the first half while converting 13 of 20 themselves to take a commanding lead at intermission.
Waters started the second half with another pair of field goals, but Central Plains, the top-ranked team in the state, used a 12-0 run in the third to open a 45-23 lead heading into the final period.
The Oilers’ tenacious defense against their league rival had already forced 12 turnovers at that point, leading to 10 of their points.
Central Plains, which held a 45-20 lead at one point, had three players in double figures, led by Brett Liebl’s 20 points on a perfect 10-for-10 shooting. Miles Menges had 14 and Devin Ryan 11.
Liebl said his team expected Macksville to come out on fire, which they did.
“But after those first baskets, we settled down and started doing our own thing,” he said.
That includes a good defense, Liebl noted.
“We want to play fundamental defense, not get over-extended and let them back door us,” he said. “We like to make them shoot long twos.”
The 14 turnovers and 4 for 11 on free throws, though, are areas to clean up, Liebl added, as they head into Friday’s semis.
The Oilers (27-0) shot 24 for 43 from the floor (56 percent), pulled down 27 rebounds (10 offensive), and forced 18 turnovers on their way to the semifinals, joining the Oiler girls, who are also undefeated.
Macksville got 19 points from Waters and eight from Lickiss. The Mustangs finish their season 19-7.