Landry Stewart opened 2021 in the best way possible.
The Salina Central junior poured in 13 of her career-high 17 points in the decisive third quarter that propelled the Mustangs to a 57-29 victory over Andover Friday night inside the Brickhouse. Central improved to 5-1, 3-1 in the AVCTL-II. Andover fell to 2-5, 2-2 in league play.
Both teams had to shake off the cobwebs in the opening minutes. Salina Central pulled away at the tail end of the first eight minutes of play, leading 18-9.
Andover scored two quick buckets to start the second. However, the Mustangs responded, pushing the margin out to 32-18 at the break.
Then everything clicked for Central. The Mustangs outscored the Trojans 19-5 in the third, 13 of the points coming from Stewart, who only had one bucket in the first half. That set the tone as Central eventually enforced a running clock in the fourth period.
Stewart surpassed her previous high of 10 against Salina South last year. Sophomore Mykayla Cunningham chipped in 10 points.
ANDOVER 50, SALINA CENTRAL 44
Entering the game, Andover was down two starters – seniors Jack Johnson and Kaleb Gaddis.
That didn’t stop the shorthanded Trojans from increasing their win streak to 30 consecutive games, improving to 7-0 on the season. Central dipped to 1-5, 1-3 in AVCTL-II.
Despite missing a pair of key cogs, Andover came out with a run-and-gun mentality. Sophomore Eli Shetlar buried a pair of threes, helping Andover build a 19-11 advantage after one.
Salina Central used a 7-0 burst to crawl back within three, but Shetlar made another triple to give Andover a 31-25 advantage at intermission.
The Mustangs appeared to be running out of steam in the third, falling behind by 13 on two separate occasions. Still, Central found a way to close the gap to 43-35 approaching the final eight minutes.
Andover expanded the margin to 12, 47-35, before Salina Central came alive. The Mustangs relied on a 9-0 spurt, capped by a three for senior Caden Kickhaefer, to claw within three, 47-44. Andover missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Central the ball back. The Mustangs had a chance at a putback to cut the deficit to one, but they didn’t make the shot, allowing Andover to survive.
Reed McHenry and Kickhaefer combined for 32 of Salina Central’s 44 points. McHenry matched a season-high with 18 points.
Senior Jalen Beadles paced Andover with 13 points.
Salina Central hits the road Tuesday, facing Valley Center. The Freddy’s and Mokas Pregame Show begins at 5:45 pm on Sports Radio 1150 KSAL.