Last postseason, the Salina Central girls basketball team saw its season come to a disappointing end.
Central used that as motivation to take care of business Tuesday night.
Salina Central (17-4) limited Hays to just three buckets in the first half, the defensive effort continued in a decisive 13-4 final period, and the Lady Mustangs advanced to the 5A #1 Sub-State championship with a 52-29 victory over Hays inside the Brickhouse. Central hosts second-seeded Salina South Friday with a trip to state on the line.
Both teams were extremely physical and defensive-minded all night. Central set the tone in the first eight minutes, giving up just one Hays bucket with three minutes to play in the first.
After grabbing a 12-3 advantage, Central pushed the margin to 14. Sophomore Mykayla Cunningham connected on a jumper to make it 24-10. However, Hays didn’t go away, logging a pair of buckets in the final 40 seconds, trimming the deficit to 25-14 at intermission.
Hays (6-15) had numerous opportunities at the free throw line to climb back into the contest. Instead, Central junior Aubrie Kierscht drilled her only three of the night, keeping Hays at bay with a 14-point cushion after three.
Salina Central caged Hays in the last eight minutes of the night, surrendering just two field goals.
Kierscht paced the Mustangs with 13 points. Junior Landry Stewart chipped in 12 points, seven in the fourth.
Central and South tip off Friday at 7 pm with pregame at 6:45 on Sports Radio 1150 KSAL.