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Central Downs South Again

Mike Hammett - March 5, 2014 9:49 pm

photo by Yee Mar

photo by Yee Mar

For the 18th time in the last 19 meetings, and for the fourth time this season, the Salina Central boys basketball team knocked off cross-town rival Salina South 57-48 on Wednesday at Salina Central, advancing to Friday’s sub-state championship game at Andover.

In typical fashion, Salina South wouldn’t let Salina Central cruise to the victory.

After the initial basket for Salina South, Central would go in front on the game’s only lead change. Jordan McNelly tied the game at two, and then Central went in front for good on Rashun Allen’s three with 5:19 to go in the first quarter.

South would cut the deficit to two twice, at 5-3 and 7-5, but Central closed the first quarter with three free throws by Treyton Hines to lead 10-5 after one.

In the second quarter, Central would push the lead to eight at 13-5 on a three by Brayden Neuschafer. South would again make a push, getting within two at 14-10 on Zach Nachbar’s basket with 4:57 to go in the first half.

Central would have an answer, as the Mustangs closed the half on a 9-2 run. Neuschafer sunk another three to put Central ahead 23-14 at the break.

In the second half, Central scored the first four points to go up 13 at 27-14.

South started to answer, going on a 7-0 run to pull back within six at 27-21 on a three by Justin Stonebraker with 3:56 left in the third quarter. But Central was quick with an answer. The Mustangs scored eight straight, with five points coming from McNelly and a three by Hines to go up 14 at 35-21 with 1:49 left in the quarter. Central led 41-27 after three.

In the final frame, it appeared Central would cruise to the win. The Mustangs increased the lead to 15 at 53-38 with 3:29 left on a basket by Allen.

But South would not go away. The Cougars would go on a 10-0 run, getting within five at 53-48 with 55 seconds left on free throws by Nachbar. Central would miss the front end of a one-and-one, and South had a chance to get within a possession with under 50 seconds left, but the Cougars threw the ball away and gave it back to Central. South would not score again as Central hit its free throws and held on for the 57-48 win.

Central was led by McNelly with 18 points, while Hines added 14. South was paced by Stonebraker’s 18 points, while Nachbar had 13.

Salina Central is 12-9 and advances to Friday’s sub-state championship game at Andover. Pregame coverage is at 6:50pm with tip-off at 7 on SportsRadio 1150 KSAL. Salina South ends the season at 8-13.

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