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Central Boys Roll into SIT Title Game

Mike Hammett - January 23, 2014 8:07 pm

The Salina Central Mustangs rallied from an early hole, then steadily pulled away from Concordia, picking up a 77-60 win in the boys semifinals of the Salina Invitational Tournament on Thursday night at the Bicentennial Center.

In the first quarter, Concordia was hot out of the gate. The Panthers hit on four of their first five shots, racing out to a 9-4 lead on a basket by Cooper Holmes.

Central would score the next two baskets with Jordan McNelly and Tanner Robl to get back within one at 9-8. But Concorida answered with five straight points to regain a 14-8 lead on Grant Holmes’ three-pointer with 3:34 to play in the first.

Central would then go on a 9-0 run, tying the game at 14 after a quarter on McNelly’s bucket, and taking their first lead on Treyton Hines’ three to start the second quarter.

Concordia went back in front on back-to-back baskets from the Holmes brothers, but Central then scored eight of the next 10 points to go up 25-20 on a basket by Brayden Neuschafer with 2:26 to go in the half.

After a Concordia basket, the Mustangs scored six straight points again, pushing the lead to 9 at 31-22 with 1:38 to go in the half on a three by Max Kuhn. Central would lead by seven at the half after Neuschafer hit three free throws.

In the second half, the Mustangs continued to pull away, as Concordia never threatend. The Mustangs stretched the lead to as much as 15 in the third quarter, and Concordia was never closer than nine. Central led 56-41 after three.

In the fourth quarter, Central led by as much as 18, and closed out the 77-60 win.

Central was led in scoring by 22 points from Jordan McNelly. Treyton Hines added 17 points, while Brayden Neuschafer had a career-high 16 points.

Concordia was led by 24 points from Cooper Holmes and 19 points from Grant Holmes.

Salina Central will play for the SIT championship at 7:15 on Saturday, while Concordia plays for third at 3:45 at the Bicentennial Center. The Mustangs are 7-4, while Concordia drops to 8-3.