GIRLS: Central 66, Ark City 12
Coming into first road trip of the season on Tuesday, Salina Central girls basketball coach Chris Fear didn’t know what to expect from the opponent on the first road trip of the season for the Mustangs, as they ventured to Ark City. The Bulldogs, due to COVID-19 concerns, had yet to play a game. But it did not take long to see that Coach Fear’s team was far superior.
Central had their way in nearly every aspect of the game. They started by collecting offensive rebounds for easy second-chance baskets and then used a full-court press to disrupt the Bulldogs, who were unable to take care of the ball for any period of time. The Mustangs got layup after layup on the fast-break and soon built an insurmountable lead.
The Mustangs held Ark City scoreless for the first 12:48 of game time. In that stretch, Central scored the game’s first 42 points. Finally with 3:12 left in the second quarter, Ark City’s Emma Badley banked in a three-pointer to make it 42-3. Central would score the final seven points to go in to the break with a 49-3 lead. By that time, eight Mustangs had scored, with six scoring at least six points. Defensively, Central held Ark City to seven percent shooting and had forced 21 turnovers, leading to 36 points off of those turnovers.
Coach Fear played his starters just two minutes to start the second half and then subbed them out for the reserves to play the remainder of the contest. That group also played strong defense and ran the offense to get several good shot attempts. Ten Mustangs would tally points in the 66-12 victory. Aubrie Kierscht led the way with 14, and six players scored between six and nine points. The Mustangs improved to 4-0.
BOYS: Ark City 52, Central 45
After starting the season with three home losses all under a ten-point margin, the Mustangs were hoping a change of scenery would help them find that elusive first win. Unfortunately, they ran into a tough-minded defensive team in Ark City, who would hold Central in check for three quarters before hanging on for a 52-45 win.
Both teams labored on offense in the first quarter. The Bulldogs couldn’t find a basket from their deliberate, half-court offense centered around perimeter passing and cuts to the rim. But defensively, they bothered the Mustangs into tough shots and loose balls that often led to turnovers.
Central led 6-4 after the first quarter, but Ark City began the second period with a 7-0 run to take a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way. The Mustangs’ turnovers began leading to transition opportunities for the Bulldogs, and the hosts took advantage. A three from Doug Stewart just before the halftime horn gave Ark City a 24-12 lead.
The Mustangs got a three from Kenyon McMillan to start the third quarter but for the rest of the period still found it hard to put the ball on the basket. They did limit Ark City on the other end, holding them to just five points in the quarter. Going to the fourth, the Bulldog lead was trimmed to seven at 29-22.
It seemed that a comeback was not in the cards for Central when Ark City began the fourth with a quick 7-2 run to lead 36-24. However, the Mustangs would not go down without a fight, and made things interesting down the stretch.
Central got as close as four points at 39-35 and with just under a minute to go, Central had the ball trailing 48-43. But, the Ark City defensive clamped down and forced a turnover, and they iced the game with free throws.
Reed McHenry battled in the post all game long and led the Mustangs with 16 points. Caden Kickhaefer had eleven, all in the second half. Central dropped to 0-4, with all four margins of defeat being nine points or less.