For the second consecutive season, Salina Central and Andover met in the Salina Invitational Tournament finals. For the second consecutive season, the Mustangs prevailed over the Trojans with a 57-43 win.
In front of a packed house at Kansas Wesleyan’s Mabee Arena, Central would gain control early, leading 10-4 after one. However, Andover responded in the second quarter to tie the game at 23-23 at halftime.
The Mustangs’ Mark Grammer took over in the second half. The senior would hit two clutch 3-pointers to spark SC. Mark’s twin brother, David, would also connect on two second half 3’s to help Central gain a double-digit lead.
The Mustangs played smothering defense in the third quarter to outscore Andover 23-7 in the period.
Andover continued to fight in the final quarter but Central never relinquished their double-digit lead.
Andover (7-4) finishes second in the SIT for the second year in-a-row. Andrew Gagnon scored 13 points for the Trojans.
Salina Central (9-2) is now 88-32 all time in the SIT and collected their 14th tournament title and eighth under Doug Finch. M. Grammer scored 20 points and Brogen Richardson added in 10.
The Mustangs travel to Hays next week.
Liberal 59, SALINA CENTRAL GIRLS 48
2019’s SIT ended the same as the 2018 version: Liberal beating Salina Central in the finals.
Central raced out to an early lead and looked to gain control in the first quarter, leading 11-4 midway through the period. The Mustangs led 13-10 after one.
Liberal decided to change its defense to a 1-3-1 zone in the second quarter which bothered SC. The Mustangs could only muster five points in the quarter and trailed 21-18 at halftime.
The Lady Red dominated in the third quarter. Liberal would go on a 7-0 run to get up 42-25 midway through the period. Central scored the final four points of the quarter to get to within 13 but the deficit was too much.
A Central fourth quarter rally got them to within seven late, but Liberal held on to win its second SIT title in-a-row.
Liberal (10-0) was led by Katie Horyna and three others scoring in double-figures. Horyna led all scorers with 15.
Salina Central (7-4) saw Selah Merkle score 14 points, Aubrie Kierscht add in 12 and Kadyn Cobb finish with 10.
Salina Central travels to Hays next week.