The Salina Central boys basketball team started 2019 off on a sour note with back-to-back losses to open up from break.
Central appears to have regained its mojo after back-to-back blowout wins, including a 69-23 victory over Concordia in the first round of the Salina Invitational Tournament on Thursday night at the Brick House.
Central played a sluggish first quarter, taking a 13-4 lead at one point. However, Concordia was successful in slowing the game down and Mustangs’ coach Doug Finch was not pleased with his team’s intensity after the Panthers ended the period on a 5-0 run to make it 13-9 going in to the second.
Coach Finch slapped on a 1-2-2 press to try and spark his team. That’s when the Mustangs responded with an 18-2 second quarter.
Harper Williams and David Grammer rained in 3-pointers to open up the Concordia defense. That’s when Caden Kickhaefer took over from the inside keeping the Panthers off balance.
Salina Central would use its defensive pressure to force Concordia to 18 turnovers on the game. The Mustangs took a 31-11 lead in to the break and never looked back as they would cruise to an easy first round tournament win.
Concordia (2-8) only scored 14 points through the final three quarters. The Panthers were led by Dyelan Reed with seven points. The Panthers will play the no. 3-seed Liberal tomorrow at Salina South High School. Tip time is set for 3 p.m.
Salina Central (7-2) played the entirety of the final quarter with a running-clock. Williams led the Mustangs with 17 points, while D. Grammer added in 15.
The Central boys now advance to the SIT semi-finals where they will play the no. 6-seed Wichita South at 3 p.m. from Kansas Wesleyan’s Mabee Arena. Live coverage starts at 2:45 p.m. tomorrow on Sportsradio 1150 KSAL.
SALINA CENTRAL GIRLS 64, Concordia 31
The Concordia Panthers were no match for mighty Salina Central on Thursday night’s first round SIT matchup.
The Mustangs led 16-10 after the first quarter, but used a 27-8 run in the second period to blow past the Panthers.
Salina Central led 43-18 at halftime and 58-29 after three. Central played most of the final stanza with a running-clock.
Concordia (1-9) was paced by Katlynn Miller with 15 points. Concordia plays the no. 2-seed Abilene tomorrow at Salina South High School. Tip time is set for 1:30 p.m.
Salina Central (6-3) had three scorers make it to double-figures with Kadyn Cobb scoring a season-high 15 points, Selah Merkle adding in 13 and Aubrie Kierscht scoring 12 points.
The Salina Central girls play the no. 7-seed Andover tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 p.m. from Kansas Wesleyan’s Mabee Arena. Live coverage tomorrow follows the Central boys’ game on Sportsradio 1150 KSAL.