GIRLS: Central 66, Eisenhower 45
Aubrie Kierscht hit six threes and scored 26 points, and she got 40 points of support from her teammates as the Central girls (No. 8 in 5A), in need of a win after losing three of their last four games, made a resounding statement with a convincing road victory over No. 4 Eisenhower.
Hampton Williams led off with a three-pointer and the Mustangs got treys from Kierscht and Mykayla Cunningham for an early 9-5 lead. The Tigers would score five straight to take a one-point lead before Kierscht scored to wrap up the first quarter and Central led 11-10.
The game remained nip and tuck to the halfway point of the second quarter, and then Kierscht took over. She scored 13 points in the period, as the Mustangs fueled a surge with defensive stops leading to run-outs and Kierscht’s teammates found her on the break on multiple occasions. She finished with 18 first half points and Central took a 35-25 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, Kierscht hit two more threes and the Mustangs got Chaliscia Samilton established in the post. On the other end, Eisenhower (11-4) was only able to get scoring from Kennedy Nicholson. She would finish with 21 points, but no other Tiger scored in double figures. Meanwhile, the Mustangs (11-4) continued to roll and would lead by as many as 26 on their way to their second victory over the Tigers this season. Cunningham scored 14 and Samilton had 11.
BOYS: Eisenhower 48, Central 47
Tuesday’s narrow loss to Eisenhower played out in an unfortunate familiar theme for the Mustangs. They got off to a quick start, built a ten point lead, but were not able to make it stand in the end as the Tigers escaped with a one-point win.
Caden Kickhaefer, just four days after scoring a career-high 27 points against Andover Central, scored ten points right out of the chute as the Mustangs took an early 14-4 lead. Eisenhower coach Stephen Blue burned two timeouts in the first five minutes and his would establish itself after the second timeout.
The offense, which came easy for Central at the beginning, grinded to a halt and the Mustangs also got into foul trouble. Leading scorer Reed McHenry picked up three fouls and had to sit the final three minutes of the half. But, thanks to a boost from Micah Moore off the bench, Central would remain in front at the half, 23-22.
Eisenhower would take its first lead with 4:55 left in the third on a basket by David Brogan. That was part of an 11-0 run which gave the Tigers a 33-26 lead. Kickhaefer would help bring Central within three heading to fourth.
Central would regain the lead on two occasions, the last coming on Kickhaefer’s three to make it 42-40. But the Tigers would go back in front for good moments later.
Down 47-44 in the final minute, the Mustangs were needing to foul to put Eisenhower at the free throw line. They thought they had forced a turnover when Kickhaefer dove to the floor to grab a loose ball. As he established possession, he signaled for a timeout, but the official instead whistled him for traveling. Eisenhower’s Nick Hogan would make of one of two foul shots for a four point lead. With ten seconds left, the Mustangs took their final timeout. They set up a shot for McHenry, who banked in a three with just under five seconds. But because Central was out of timeouts, the clock kept running and the Tigers did not have to inbound the ball. Time expired and the Mustangs dropped to 5-10 on the season while Eisenhower improved to 4-11.
Kickhaefer’s career high he set last Friday did not last long as he set a new high mark with 28 points. But the rest of the Mustangs only scored 19. McHenry had nine in support.
The Central teams will be back in Goddard on Friday to take on Goddard High.