GIRLS: Central 62, Andover 30
There is an old saying in basketball that it is hard to beat a team three times in one season. Well, the Salina Central Lady Mustangs took that notion and tossed it aside as they left no doubt in defeating the Andover Trojans for a third time in 2021, this time on the road.
Aubrie Kierscht scored the first eight points for Central as the Mustangs built an early lead. Kierscht’s teammates then chipped in with scoring support. Mykayla Cunningham’s three put Central up 13-2 forcing an Andover timeout. The Mustangs kept their foot on the pedal, getting buckets from Chaliscia Samilton, Anyah Polk-Darby and Callan Hall to extend the advantage to 20-4 by the end of the first quarter.
The catalyst was defense. The Mustangs did a great job playing position defense and communicating off the ball to shut down passing and driving lanes, which led to Trojan turnovers. By halftime, Kierscht (15 points) was outscoring Andover by herself as Central led 36-13 at the break.
In the third quarter, the Mustangs got Samilton involved in the post as she took advantage of smaller defenders. She scored six points in the period as the Mustangs took a 50-24 lead to the fourth quarter, where they quickly pushed the lead past thirty points and triggering a running clock for the remainder of the contest.
Kierscht scored 24 points; she has scored 90 in this current four-game winning streak for the Mustangs. Samilton scored 16, and she has been in double figures in each game during this stretch. Central is now 14-4 overall while Andover fell to 7-11.
BOYS: Andover 80, Central 66
It appears that the lid is starting to come off for the Mustang boys, who coming into Friday’s matchup with Andover was averaging just under 49 points per game. Against the Trojans, the Mustangs played about as well as one can ask, particularly on offense for most of the way. However, despite their tremendous effort, their adversaries countered with division one talent Jack Johnson. He, along with a 15-0 Trojan run in the second half proved to be too much for Central to overcome.
Early on, it was the Trojans who were sputtering out of the gates and the Mustangs played with great rhythm. Central used a 14-4 run and built a ten point lead before a late three trimmed the lead to seven at 19-12 after one quarter.
Often times this season, Central would start games well, only to fall out of rhythm and labor going into halftime. That did not happen in this one. While the Trojans behind Johnson began to heat up from the field, the Mustangs answered shot for shot. Their largest lead was 11 at 31-20, before Andover began to chip away. Isaiah Maikori’s three at the horn cut the Central lead to 40-36 at halftime. Reed McHenry led Central with ten second quarter points and was a force around the rim.
The Mustangs picked up where they left off and had a 48-40 lead halfway through the third when Andover finally hit them with a run. The Trojans scored 15 straight to lead 55-48. It was 58-50 heading to the fourth.
Central was in a tough spot. While they were still finding ways to score and stay within range for a while, it was an impossible task to turn the Trojans over and keep the ball out of Johnson’s hands. The Dallas Baptist commit feasted on drives to the basket, turn around jumpers and free throws to help keep the Mustangs at bay. Johnson would finish with a career-high 41 points, which is also believed to be an Andover school record.
McHenry did what he could, scoring 27 for Central. Caden Kickhaefer had 15 in support and six other Mustangs scored in the contest as well. Central fell to 6-12 while Andover improved to 16-2.
The Mustang teams are scheduled to take on Newton and Arkansas City next week to wrap up the regular season.