Coming in to the first round of the Salina Invitational Tournament, the Sslina South boys’ basketball team had lost five-consecutive games and was the bottom seed of the tournament.
No one told the Cougars, as South would dominated the second half on their way to a 55-44 win over top-seeded Goodland.
Salina South would follow the same game plan all night: use their athleticism on defense to create offense. However, South would also be successful in half court sets as well for most of the night.
South would get out to an early lead in the first period, however, led by Peyton Sieck of Goodland, the Cowboys would tie the game up after one at 11 a piece.
South continued to play good ball in the second quarter, but the Cowboys held a one point halftime advantage at 26-25.
The third period is when Salina South began to take control. The Cougars were able to speed up Goodland and force several turnovers. When the Cowboys did hang on to the ball, they would struggle from the floor and weren’t able to make enough shots to keep up with South.
Salina South would see momentum build and culminate in an eight point lead after an A.J. Johnson two-handed dunk to bring the South fans to their feet.
Salina South would control the final stanza led by the four-headed monster of Johnson, Joey Wilson, Isaac Mitchell and Elex Banks. The Cougars were having success on both the inside and perimeter all night.
With the win, Salina South (2-8, 1-5 AVCTL-I) moves on to the semi-finals of the SIT to face the 5-seed, Andover from Kansas Wesleyan University on Friday. The Cougars were led by four scorers in double-figures, led by Wilson’s 12 points, Mitchell and Johnson had 11, while Banks finished with 10 points. 44 points was the lowest point total that South held an opponent to this season.
Goodland (7-3) were led by Dawson Raymer’s 12 points. The Cowboys face Abilene tomorrow at Salina Central High School in the consolation bracket. The Salina Ortho “Player of the Game” for Salina South was A.J. Johnson who really brought some much needed athleticism to the Cougars’ game tonight.
SALINA SOUTH 52, Andover 46 OT
The Salina South girls’ basketball team would rally emotionally to advance in the SIT bracket with a hard fought win over Andover.
After the Trojans got out to an 8-3 lead after one, Salina South would dominate the second quarter, 16-4 and lead 19-12 at halftime.
Salina South would push their lead to 11 after three, with a 33-22 lead. The Cougars were led by their stifling and timely baskets on offense. It looked like South was in complete control.
However, Andover began to chip away in the final quarter. Led by South turnovers and missed FTs, Andover trailed just 40-37 with 10-seconds to go and the Trojans would make South pay by sinking a Shanti Henry 3-pointer to tie the game up.
Still, South had a chance as the Cougars raced the ball up the floor and got the ball to Allie Valdez. The senior would be fouled with 2-seconds left and just needed one FT make for the lead. Unfortunately, Valdez came up long on both attempts and the game went in to OT.
It appeared that Andover had all the momentum, however, Salina South was able to regroup and get to the foul stripe at win in the extra period.
Valdez would atone for her misses with a pair of makes. Sydnee Connell and Camdyn Schreiber–who both were big all night–continued their good play in to OT and South would eek out the win to advance to the semis of the SIT.
Salina South (3-6, 1-5 AVCTL-I) was led by Gretchen Cox with 12 points in the game.
Andover (4-6) was led by three scorers in double-figures including, Hayley Jones with 14 points and both Henry and Isabelle Reynolds with 11 each. Reynolds also had 21 rebounds. Andover faces the bottom-seed Goodland tomorrow in the consolation bracket.
South’s Salina Ortho “Player of the Game” was Schreiber who played excellent defense and finished with 9 points–a new career high–one shy of double-figures.
Both Salina South teams are in action tomorrow and are in the winner’s bracket of the SIT. The South girls’ play at 3 p.m. tomorrow against top-seed, Liberal, while the boys’ play immediately after against Andover. Both games are at KWU’s Mabee Arena and can be heard on Y93.7.