The Abilene High School Basketball teams competed in the semifinals of the Salina Invitational Tournament today at the Salina Bicentennial Center. In the first game the Cowgirls fell to Liberal 47-41, and in game two the Cowboys pulled away from Salina South 68-54 to make it to tomorrow’s title game.
In the girls game, Abilene trailed 11-9 after one, led 19-17 at halftime and took a 29-25 lead into the fourth quarter. Abilene had a five point lead with 5:29 to play. They were ahead 35-30 after a pair of free throws from sophomore Hannah Willey. The Cowgirls though would not score again until the 0:34 second mark of the fourth quarter with a McKenzie Funston free throw. During the drought Liberal would go on a 12-0 run and take control of the game on their way to a 47-41 victory. Abilene was led in scoring on the night by Senior McKenzie Funston who finished with a game high 21 points.
The Cowgirls 7-3 will play Goodland 5-6 for third place tomorrow at KWU at 2:00pm. Goodland fell to Salina Central 66-32 in the semifinals tonight. Abilene defeated Goodland 43-26 for 5th place two years ago at the SIT.
In the second game of the day the Abilene Cowboys defeated Salina South for a second straight year in the semifinals. Abilene trailed 15-10 after one, 33-32 at halftime but took a 51-48 advantage going into the fourth quarter. Abilene put the game away with a 14-2 run to start the fourth on their way to a 68-54 victory.
Abilene was led in scoring with a career high from Senior Ben Veach who finished with 24 points. Senior Ryan Wilson scored 18. Abilene was also terrific at the foul stripe after struggling there all season. The Cowboys started just 3-10 at the line but then would hit 14 straight free throws on their way to a 20-29 performance at the line for the night.
Abilene improved to 9-1 on the season while South dropped to 4-7. The Cowboys will face Andover tomorrow for the championship. Andover defeated Salina Central 82-73 in OT tonight. It was the Mustangs first loss of the season. With this game, Abilene will be trying to win their first SIT title since the 2011-12 season. Tomorrow’s championship will take place at KWU at 7:15.