One thing everyone inside of Kansas Wesleyan’s Mabee Arena learned on Saturday night: Salina Central’s Harper Williams can shoot the ball.
The Mustang junior guard would connect on eight 3-pointers to tie a SIT record–set back in 1995–and score 30 points to pace Central on their way to a 65-51 over Andover.
In the last three games for Salina Central, the starts have plagued the Mustangs as they had to mount comebacks. This time, Central would come out swinging in the first quarter, even without their floor general, Sam Shaffer, who was out with an injury.
Central would be led by Williams’ 3-pointers, Ethan Speer’s continued consistency and stellar defense on their way to a 21-9 first quarter lead.
The 3-pointers continued to get deeper and deeper for Williams, who at one point was 5/7 from behind the arch in the first half after burying a near 30-foot jump shot. Central led at the break, 38-23.
Andover would not go away. The Trojans would start the third with a run to get to within eight of Central, capped off with an Andrew Gagnon layup.
It was too much Williams though for Central. He continued to rain in 3-pointers up to his eighth make on the night in the fourth quarter. Central’s supporting cast would also step up with the likes of Speer and Brogen Richardson.
Salina Central (9-3, 3-2 AVCTL-I) won a SIT record 13th team title. The Mustangs had three in double-figures as Speer scored 16 points and Richardson chipped in 10. Williams finished with a new career-best and is the Salina Ortho “Player of the Game.”
The eight 3-point makes tied a SIT record of 3-point makes in a single game, which was originally set back in 1995 by Kyle Reynolds of Abilene.
Andover (6-6, 3-2 AVCTL-II) was led by Gagnon’s 19 points. Salina Central moves on to play at Hays on Tuesday night.
Liberal 57, SALINA CENTRAL 53
Disappointment showed on each Salina Central player’s face as the Mustangs girls’ basketball team came up just short in the SIT finals on Saturday night.
Liberal would dominate the first quarter, leading 17-8 after one. The Mustangs would then come right back and dominate the second quarter to lead, 22-21 at halftime.
Central though, would struggle in the third quarter with Liberal’s Katie Horyna dominating the game. Liberal at one point led by 16 points but their lead after three was 42-32.
Salina Central would launch a miraculous comeback attempt in the game’s final quarter. The Mustangs would force several Liberal turnovers as the Mustangs’ Kadyn Cobb would will Central back in to the game.
With less than 20-seconds remaining Cobb drilled a 30-foot 3-pointer to pull Central to within two points. Unfortunately, the Lady Redskins would go 4/4 from the FT line in their last two trips and Central ran out of time.
Liberal (11-1) won their first ever SIT championship. They were led by Horyna’s 16 points, along with Machia Mullens scoring 13 points and Ali Lucero scored 10.
Salina Central (9-3, 3-2 AVCTL-I) had two scorers in double-figures including Elissa Backes with 23 points and the Salina Ortho “Player of the Game,” K. Cobb who finished with 14 points and some huge 3-point makes.
Salina Central plays at Hays on Tuesday night. Game times are 6/7:30 on Sportsradio 1150 KSAL.