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Santa Stash 2017

Ell-Saline Falls in Opening Round of Amos Morris/George Stevens Classic

staff - December 6, 2017 1:52 pm

The Ell-Saline Cardinals tipped off tournament play at the Amos Morris / George Stephens Classic in Lincoln Tuesday night against basketball powerhouse Central Plains.  Both the Oilers’ boys and girls squads came into play last night ranked second in the state in class 2A, and both teams left the gym at Lincoln Elementary last night proving to spectators that they were deserving of all the preseason praise.

In a bit of roll reversal, the boys game tipped off first, with Central Plains racing out to a 44-21 lead at halftime as junior duo Brett Liebl and Alex HIckel combined for 27 points over the first two quarters to pace the Oiler attack.

In the third quarter, Central Plains closed the door on any potential Cardinal comeback, outscoring Ell-Saline 17-4 to take a 36-point advantage into the fourth quarter on their way to a 73-31 victory.

Liebl led all scorers on the night with 27 points, while Hickel finished with 17 for Central Plains (2-0.)

Ell-Saline (0-2) was led by senior starter Tel Phelps who finished with eight points, while fellow seniors Hunter Kindlesparger and Mason Farrell finished with seven and six, respectively.

Things did not improve for the Cards in the nightcap as a young, inexperienced Ell-Saline squad met up with an Oiler squad led by sensational sophomore Emily Ryan, who is currently being recruited by a number of top-tier NCAA Division I programs.  Ryan put on a show, lighting the nets aflame for 35 points in the game’s first two quarters, as the drama was over by halftime with Central Plains in command 54-12.  By the end of the third quarter, Central Plains had extended that lead to 89-16 before calling off the dogs in the fourth on their way to a 94-16 victory.

Ryan finished the night with a whopping 49 points, all coming in the game’s first three quarters.  Sophomore Delaney Rugan added 14 points while juinor Avery Hurley chipped in 12 in the Central Plains (2-0) effort.

Ell-Saline (0-2) was led in scoring for the second-consecutive game by sophomore Ashton Travis who finished with 10 of Ell-Saline’s 16 points.

Both Cardinal squads will face off with Ellsworth on Friday in the consolation semifinals in Lincoln, with girls’ action slated for 4:00pm with the boys’ battle to follow at 5:30pm.

By Morgan Lillich

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