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Central Girls Shine Defensively, Boys Struggle Offensively vs. Eisenhower

Ethan DentonDecember 8, 2020

GIRLS: Central 52, Eisenhower 42

The Salina Central girls basketball team had no shortage of motivation going up against the Goddard-Eisenhower Tigers on Tuesday at the Brickhouse. It was the same match-up in the same building where the Lady Tigers ended Central’s 2019-20 season with a 57-51 upset in the first round of the 5A playoffs.

This time, the Lady Mustangs made sure they were the ones to get the upper hand. They started the game with a tremendous display of team defense, holding Eisenhower to just four first half field goals on their way to a 52-42 victory. Central led by as many 20 early in the fourth quarter and were never threatened, leading from start to finish.

Both sides got after it defensively early on, as the Mustangs forced the Tigers into several turnovers. On the other end, Eisenhower made a concerted effort to limit the touches and looks for sharpshooter Aubrie Kierscht. But that allowed sophomore guard Mykayla Cunningham to feast on open driving lanes and she helped Central take a 9-3 lead after the first eight minutes.

Kierscht would get on track with a three-pointer on the fast-break, one off a broken floor play, and another from the set offense as the Mustangs went into halftime with a 24-10 lead.

Eisenhower would find some success on offense in spurts in the second half, but it was countered by the Mustang offense also increasing its production. Central led 41-25 after three and coasted from there to improve to 2-0, dropping the Tigers to 1-1. Cunningham (nine two-point field goals) and Kierscht (six three-pointers) each finished with 18 points.

BOYS: Eisenhower 45, Central 36

Following a tremendous effort in their opener, a 65-58 loss to Campus last Friday, the Central boys did not bring that same energy and focus on Tuesday, laboring from start to finish as they spun their wheels to a 45-36 loss to Eisenhower.

Neither side was effective on the offensive end early on, but Central took a 4-0 lead before Eisenhower finally made a shot six minutes in. The Tigers would find a rhythm which spurred them to an 11-0 run to close the first quarter.

The Tigers would stretch their advantage to nine at 19-10 in the second, before Reed McHenry found some success driving to the basket and his scoring punch helped bring Central to within three at the half at 21-18.

However the second half saw more of the same in terms of offensive struggles. Head coach Ryan Modin was visibly frustrated with how his team operated on offense. Plays were not run in sync and often times poor decisions were made that led to turnovers.

Still, to the Mustangs’ credit, they stayed within striking distance with a solid defensive effort. Eisenhower led 29-24 going to the fourth, and with just over two minutes to play, the Tigers’ lead was just one possession at 35-32. Central had chances to draw closer or tie, but back-to-back turnovers led to fouls and the visitors were able to pull away and ensure the victory.

Eisenhower improved to 1-1 while Central dropped to 0-2. Reed McHenry was the lone Mustang in double figures as he put in 18 points. Caden Kickhaefer was the next highest scorer with nine. Only five Central players got in the scoring column.

Next up for the Mustangs, on Friday is the first of two scheduled match-ups with rival South.

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2021. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.

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