Friday night brought new hope to nearly every team around the state of Kansas as it was opening night of high school basketball for many teams around the state.
Unfortunately for the Salina South girls’ basketball team, their optimism was dampened after an opening night loss to Andover Central, 61-44.
The Cougars couldn’t avoid the slow start as they struggled with turnovers early on and Andover Central was sparked by a freshman, Bailey Wilbern, who knocked down four first half 3-pointers on her way to a 20-point high school debut.
With the turnover issues for the Cougars and the hot shooting of the Jaguars, South found themselves behind 19-7 after the first period.
However, Salina South was able to rally in the second quarter, playing nip and tuck with the 4A DI state ranked Andover Central. South ended the first half on a 4-0 run to go in to the locker room down 35-21 at halftime.
The second half is when Andover Central’s Ryann Stearns took control. The senior guard–who will be attending UT-San Antonio next season on a basketball scholarship–squashed any hopes of a Cougar rally by netting 21 points for the night, 13 of which came in the second half.
South saw a balanced scoring attack all night from their group of experienced players, however, no Cougar was able to land in double-figures. South was led by Gretchen Cox with 9 and both Allie Valdez and Angie Hall had 8.
Salina South (0-1, 0-0 AVCTL-I) has their first home game of the year next Tuesday with Maize.
Andover Central 55, Salina South 28
The Salina South boys’ team opened up the year with a bang, after back-to-back Joey Wilson 3-pointers in the opening minutes against Andover Central. The Cougars were able to ride that momentum to an 11-9 lead after one.
However, the young South team was unable to hold that momentum as Andover Central would proceed to go on a 30-8 extended run to take control of the game.
South trailed 29-19 at the break, however, they ended the first half on a 4-0 run and had some momentum going in to the locker room. But on the other side of the break, the Jaguars would start the second half on an 11-0 run to break the game wide open at 40-19.
Andover Central was led by their smothering defense and the scoring of Brandon Belt, Easton Leedom and Nolan Crawford to run the Cougars out of the building.
Salina South (0-1, 0-0 AVCTL-I) struggled to take care of the ball all night, were led by Wilson with 9. Both Cougar basketball teams look forward to their home and league opener with Maize (1-0 girls, 0-1 boys) on Tuesday from South High.
Countdown to Tipoff starts at 5:45 p.m., with tipoff at 6/7:30 p.m.