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Central Stuns Andover, Advances to State

Mike Hammett - March 7, 2014 9:15 pm

Rashun Allen hit the game winning shot , banking in a long 3-pointer at the buzzer. (file photo by Yee Mar)

After it appeared Andover would hand the Salina Central boys’ basketball team another heartbreaking sub-state championship loss, the Mustangs turned the tables. Rashun Allen took a three-quarters court pass from Tanner Robl, turned up the floor, and banked in an off-balance three-pointer from the right wing as time expired in overtime, giving the Mustangs an improbable 62-60 win in overtime in Andover on Friday night.

In a back-and-forth first half, Central had an early lead after Treyton Hines’ first three put the Mustangs up 3-2. With Central ahead 5-2, Andover went on an 8-0 run to lead 10-5 with 1:27 to go in the first quarter. The two sides would trade buckets to end the quarter, with Central trailing 13-10 after one.

In the second quarter, Central would get back within one at 15-14 on a free throw by Jordan McNelly, but Andover would push the lead right back to five at 21-16. Central closed the half strong, scoring 11 of the final 15 points. Central took a 24-23 lead on a basket by McNelly, but Andover answered with a shot from Zach Barclay. Central took the halftime lead on a last second three-pointer by Brayden Neuschafer, going up 27-25 at the break.

In the third quarter, Andover would take the lead by hitting 7-of-10 shots in the frame, going up nine at 44-35 entering the fourth quarter.

In the final quarter, Central took advantage of a couple Trojan turnovers, as Hines buried back-to-back threes to bring Central within three at 44-41. Andover went back up five, but Central would tie the game at 48 on a free throw by Neuschafer with 2:38 left.

Three straight free throws from Andover’s Adam DeKoning put the Trojans up 51-48, but Central tied the game on Hines’ sixth three of the night. Andover would turn the ball over, and Central was fouled. Hines hit two free throws to put Central up 53-51 with 38 seconds left.

Andover would turn it over again, and Neuschafer was fouled with six seconds left. However, Neuschafer would miss the front end free throw in the one-and-one. Andover secured the rebound, and Ryan Bezdek went coast-to-coast, hitting a running shot at the buzzer from the baseline to force overtime, tied at 53.

The Mustangs faced the prospect of overtime without Jordan McNelly, who fouled out with 3:49 left in regulation. But Rashun Allen took over. The junior hit two lay-ups, and gave Central a two-point lead at 59-57 with 1:58 left in overtime.

Andover tied the game at 59 on a basket by Austin Brown with 1:20 left in overtime. After Central missed an opportunity to take the lead, Andover ran the clock down before DeKoning drew a foul with 2.1 seconds left. The senior big man missed the first free throw, but hit the second, setting up Allen’s winner.

Central was led by Hines’ 20 points, while Allen added a career high 14 points and McNelly had 12. Andover was led by DeKoning’s 16 points. Bryant Klusener added 11 and Ryan Bezdek had 10.

Salina Central, which had lost three straight sub-state championships at the buzzer, advances to next week’s Class 5A state tournament at the Expocentre in Topeka. The Mustangs are 13-9. Andover had an 11-game winning streak snapped and finishes the season 15-7.

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