The Abilene High School basketball teams picked up where they left off last season with dominant season opening victories against Smoky Valley at Abilene High School. The Cowgirls won their 12th straight game against the Lady Vikings with a 62 -21 victory. Tonight marked the coaching debut of Molly Burton as head coach. She had been the assistant coach for the Cowgirls for 17 years. The Cowgirls did not bring back a single starter from the 2016-17 team that went 16-7 and made a second consecutive trip to state. That did not seem to matter though, as Abilene led 17-2 at the end of the first quarter, and 34-7 at half. The Cowgirls were led by Junior Sydney Burton who poured in a career high 20 points. Abilene also got 16 points from Junior Hannah Willey, who is the team’s returning leading scorer.
The boys game was expected to be much closer, as the Vikings entered the game ranked 7th in 4A Division 2. However, the Cowboys were dominant from the tip-off as they built a 24-7 lead after the first quarter. In the second quarter, they were up by as much as 28 points on their way to a 41-21 halftime lead. The Vikings got within 11 points several times in the 4th quarter, but the large first half deficit proved too large to overcome as the Cowboys won 85-67. Smoky Valley was able to close the gap late with big second half performances by Seniors Brett Heitschmidt and Nick Reinert. Heitschmidt connected on seven 3-pointers on his way to a game high 28 points. While Reinert, who averaged over 16 points a game last year, finished with 27 points. Abilene was led by Senior Tucker Robinson, the team’s only returning starter, who finished with a career high 19 points.
Next Tuesday Abilene will travel to Rock Creek, then will return home Friday against Augusta. Smoky Valley will host Southeast of Saline Tuesday, and Concordia Friday.