The Salina Central girls basketball team has clashed with Liberal in the Salina Invitational Tournament championship for four straight years.
Now, an experienced Central squad is ready for the fifth showdown with the Lady Red.
Junior Aubrie Kierscht and sophomore Mykayla Cunningham each poured in 14 points, the defense forced 18 turnovers, and the Mustangs fended off a pesky Andover team, winning 48-34 Friday night at the Brickhouse. The 9-1 Mustangs move to the SIT title game, searching for their first championship since 2016-17.
Coming out of the winter break, Andover traveled to Salina Central and fell 57-29. Andover was locked in from the start, leaping out front 5-0. Central didn’t record its first field goal until the 3:00 mark on a Kierscht three. The avalanche soon followed as Kierscht added seven points en route to a 12-5 Central advantage after one.
Salina Central ballooned the margin to double digits, thanks to over 10 extra possessions from Andover turnovers and Central offensive rebounds. However, Andover’s Mallory Woolston hit her second three of the half before the buzzer, trimming the deficit to 23-14 at the break.
After building a 36-23 advantage at the conclusion of the third, Salina Central tried to put away the Trojans. They battled back within eight, 36-28, but the Mustangs kept Andover at bay to secure the win.
In addition to the 14 points by Kierscht and Cunningham, junior Hampton Williams scored eight points, pulled down numerous rebounds, and blocked multiple Andover shot attempts.
Salina Central faces Liberal Saturday afternoon at Salina South High School. Tipoff is at 1 pm. Coverage begins at 12:45 on Y93.7.