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Central Splits as Girls Rally for Last Minute Win

Mike Hammett - January 14, 2014 10:13 pm

Salina Central pulled out a dramatic win in the girls game, 49-46, but Maize ran away with the boys game in the second half, 57-36, as the two split on Tuesday night at Salina Central.

In the girls game, the 5A No. 3 Mustangs and 6A No. 2 Eagles played a close first half. Maize built an early 7-2 lead on buckets by Brayden Byrd and free throws from Keiryn Swenson, but Central answered. The Mustangs tied the game at seven thanks to four points from Bailey Driver and a free throw by MacKenzie Morris. The two would not allow much separation for the rest of the quarter, as Emily Wood hit a three with 10 seconds left in the quarter to give the Mustangs a 15-14 lead.

In the second quarter, Central used a 9-0 run to build an eight-point lead at 24-16 on a basket by Hailey Mayfield. Maize would close the half on a 7-0 run, pulling within one on free throws Taylor Holmes, to make 24-23 at the half.

In the third quarter, Central would score the first five points on baskets by Shaelyn Martin and Wood to lead 29-23. Maize would answer in a big way, going on a 13-2 run, capped by a basket by Brianna Johnson to lead 36-31 with 19 seconds to go in the quarter. Wood hit a three to end the quarter to make it 36-34.

In the fourth, Maize would push the lead to seven at 41-34, but Central would slowly rally. Trailing 46-41 with under 1:30 left, the Mustangs caught fire. First, Wood sunk a three, making it 46-44 with 1:16 left. Then, Brooke Peters came up with a steal, setting up another three by Wood, giving Central a 47-46 lead with :36 seconds left.

Maize had a chance to take the lead, but Daley Handy’s lay-in missed. Martin secured the rebound and was fouled. Martin missed the front-end of the ensuing one-and-one free throws, but secured a steal on Maize’s outlet pass. Wood was fouled with three seconds left, and connected on both free throws. Martin then stole another Maize pass to seal the win.

Wood led the way for the Mustangs with 20 points. Handy led Maize with 11 points.

The Mustangs improve to 8-0 on the season and 5-0 in AVCTL Division I. Maize drops to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the league.

In the boys game, Maize took control early and never looked back.

The Eagles took an early 4-0 lead, and the Mustangs would get within one on a Max Kuhn three at 4-3, and a Treyton Hines basket at 6-5, but would never tie or take the lead. Connor Eleeson’s three gave Maize a 9-5 lead after one.

In the second quarter, the Mustangs used a 6-0 spurt to get within three at 14-11 on a basket by Jordan McNelly. Maize would respond with two quick baskets by Aaron Shaw, and eventually built an 11-point lead. Hines scored the final points of the half to bring Central within eight, 28-20, at the break.

In the second half, Maize built a 10-point lead at 32-22, but Central started to rally. Back-to-back buckets by McNelly pulled the Mustangs within six at 32-26. However, after the second basket, McNelly was whistled for a technical foul. Central never had the momentum again.

The foul sparked a 13-2 run by Maize, giving the Eagles a 45-28 lead early in the fourth quarter. Central would get no closer than 14 down the stretch, as Maize pulled away for the win.

McNelly and Rashun Allen led Central with nine points each. Maize was paced by 16 points from Jacob Horsch and 12 from Shaw.

The Mustangs drop to 5-3 overall and 4-1 in AVCTL Division I. Maize is 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the league.

Salina Central plays at Derby on Friday.