GIRLS: SALINA CENTRAL 71, VALLEY CENTER 40
The undefeated Salina Central ladies returned home for the first time since December 16th on Tuesday night, hosting the Valley Center Hornets in an AVCTL matchup.
In the early stages of the contest, the Hornets would stay within striking distance of the #2-ranked team in 5A, despite Aubrie Kiersch tallying 20 points in the first half. The offense was firing on all cylinders for the Mustangs, but a lack of defensive intensity allowed Valley Center to stay within 15 points at the half.
In the halftime locker room Coach Chris Fear said he challenged its team to turn up the focus and intensity on that end of the floor, and that’s exactly what took place in the second half. The Mustangs allowed just 10 second half points, and routed the Hornets 71-40.
Salina Central’s offense was led by Aubrie Kiersch, who didn’t stop at the half in her scoring efforts. The senior guard hit 12 three-pointers in the contest, leading all scorers with 40 points, and according to Coach Fear, setting both the school record for points in a game, and made threes as well.
Junior Mykayla Cunningham also added 16 points in a dominating effort from the Mustangs, who improved to 7-0 on the season, and will head on the road to Goddard on Friday.
VALLEY CENTER – 13 / 13 / 6 / 6 – 40
SALINA CENTRAL – 18 / 21 / 25 / 7 – 71
BOYS: VALLEY CENTER 74, SALINA CENTRAL 54
In the boys contest, Salina Central would spin its tires out of the starting blocks and have fight from behind the rest of the night. Valley Center would lead 18-3 after the first quarter, and 40-20 at the half, seemingly having the game wrapped up.
In the second half, the Mustangs would come out with a purpose, specifically on defense, forcing turnovers on five of the Hornets’ first 7 possessions of the second half, and cutting a once 24 point Valley Center lead down to 7 at the end of the third quarter.
Early in the 4th, Salina Central would close the gap to just five, but from there Valley Center would begin to once again push the lead out, and eventually an undermanned Mustang squad would run out of gas.
Without both Ethan Waters and Micah Moore, who were out due to illness, the Mustangs relied on its youth late, but were unable to keep pace with a now 8-1 Valley Center squad.
The Mustangs were led by Sid Duplessis IV who scored 20 in the loss, as well as Nolan Puckett, who scored 13 for Central. Salina Central falls to now 3-4 on the season with the loss, but will take on the Goddard Lions on Friday before turning its attention to the SIT next week.
VALLEY CENTER – 18 / 22 / 10 / 24 – 74
SALINA CENTRAL – 3 / 17 / 23 / 11 – 54