The absence of senior leader Selah Merkle was evident as the Lady Mustangs led early, but fell late to the hands of the home town Lady Indians by a final score of 73-65.
Both teams were hot out of the gates offensively, with Central leading at the end of the first 21-16. The pace slowed to start the second frame, but the Lady Mustangs would catch fire again, using a 12-4 run the final 4:15 of the first half to take a 39-26 lead into the halftime break.
In the second half, Salina Centrals offense would go cold from the floor. Hays used a 18-2 run to begin the third quarter to take their first lead at 44-41 with 3:15 to go in the stanza, and would close out the quarter on top 48-45.
Central used a 6-2 run to open the fourth to retake the lead at 51-50, but a stymie full court press implored by the Lady Indians wreaked havoc on their offensive attack late, with Hays pulling away in the end by a 73-65 final.
Savannah Schneider lead all scorers with 26 for Hays. Aubrie Kierscht had 18 for Central with Kadyn Cobb supplying 16 and Hampton Williams 14 respectfully.
The loss drops the Lady Mustangs to 7-5 overall, while the Lady Indians improve to 8-3.
In the nightcap, a stout defense was the emphasis as the Mustangs knocked off Hays by a 52-39 final.
Both teams traded blows in the early minutes, but Salina Central used an 8-3 run to close out the first quarter on top 19-8. A slower paced second quarter favored the Mustangs as well. Hays would not hit a shot in the final 3:40 of the first half, with Central on top at the break 32-18.
The stout Central defense would dictate the tempo in quarter number three as well, but Hays would pull within 10 with the score 42-32 at the end of the period. But that’s as close as the Indians would come, and the Mustangs would go on to win their fifth straight of the season.
Harper Williams led the way for Salina Central with 15 points while Braiden Meyers had 12 in the loss for the Indians.
The Mustangs improve to 10-2 overall while Hays drops to 6-5.
Salina Central will get back into AVCTL play next week, as they travel to Newton to take on the Railers.