The Salina South varsity basketball teams tasted victory on the road on Tuesday with a sweep of AVCTL foe Newton. Teamwork was the key as both girls and boys teams used balanced scoring and solid defense to post the victories.
In the opening contest, the Lady Cougars had to face a desperate Newton team still seeking its first win, and they had to do it without the services of star freshman point guard Acacia Weis who was unable to play due to illness.
Getting things started was senior Lauren Raubenstine. She had scored only two points from the free throw line in the first three games of the season, but began the contest with a three-pointer and soon after nailed another trifecta. She would score all seven of her points in the opening period as the Lady Cougars took a 14-9 lead after one quarter.
In the second quarter, sophomore Sydney Peterson and junior Mariah Janda added three-point shots, and the guards also got senior forward Victoria Maxton involved. Maxton was the beneficiary of dribble penetration and great interior passing from the guards as the she tallied six of her ten points in the period. South led at the break, 28-17.
Newton came in averaging just over 21 points per game, and while they improved upon that average on Tuesday, they were not able to put much of dent into the Lady Cougar lead. Yanda splashed home a three at the end of the third quarter as South maintained a double-figure advantage of 41-30 heading into the final eight minutes.
South would go to stretch the lead to as many as 20, eventually taking home a 57-44 victory, improving to 3-1 overall. Four Lady Cougars would score in double figures. Sophomore Kylie Arnold led the way with 13 points, Peterson had a dozen, Yanda put in 11 and Maxton had ten. Jenisa Cornejo led the Lady Railers with 13 points.
The varsity boys contest posed this question: Would South be able to slow down the run-and-gun pace of the Railers who entered the contest averaging 85 points per game? The answer would be a resounding yes as the length of the of the Cougars would bother Newton into tough shots and then the Cougars would go and secure defensive rebounds.
With the frenetic pace employed by the Railers, turnovers were an issue for both sides. Neither was able to establish a great offensive rhythm throughout most of the first half.
South led 15-14 after the first quarter, and then while still struggling a bit to handle the constant trapping and speed of the Railer defense, the Cougar defense held strong as Newton only scored six points in the second period. The game was still close until the end of the half when junior Josh Jordan, who had been held scoreless to this point, came alive in the final thirty seconds with back-to-back threes from the left corner to put the Cougars up 31-20 at the half.
In the third quarter, any hope for a Newton comeback was put to rest as South began to pass and operate much more effectively against the Railers’ full-court press. Junior Devon Junghans came back from early foul trouble and helped facilitate the offensive attack which resulted in several easy layups after breaking the press.
South led 52-36 after three quarters, and would stretch their lead to as many as 22 on the way to a 70-52 win. The Cougars (2-2 overall) held the Railers to 33 points under their season scoring average and they themselves easily set a new season high in points. They got it done with balance. Five Cougars scored in double figures: Jordan and senior Cade Hannert each had 13, Junghans and senior Koby Ratcliff had 12 apiece, plus junior Colin Schreiber had ten.
Right before the semester break, the Cougars will meet their cross-town rivals, the Central Mustangs at South High on Friday.