5A West Playoffs: #6 Kapaun Mt. Carmel 75, #11 Salina South 61
The Salina South Cougar boys took the court in Wichita on Tuesday night, hoping to begin a postseason run to the state tournament. But those hopes were dashed by an impressive offensive display from host Kapaun Mt. Carmel, as the Crusaders built a double-figure lead and then held off multiple rallies by the Cougars, ultimately securing a 75-61 win. Kapaun moves on in the 5A West substate bracket where they will host #14 Valley Center, who upset #3 Goddard Eisenhower, 55-52.
The Crusaders made it a point to push the pace to get a quick look at the basket, but even when they had to go up against a set defense, quick ball movement got the Cougars off balance and Kapaun was able to take advantage and get high percentage shots. The Crusaders led 13-7 in the opening quarter, before a South flurry tied the game at 13 at the end of the quarter. Colin Schreiber, who had missed the previous three games due to ankle injury was back in the lineup and sparked the end-of-quarter run with a pair of field goals. But Kapaun responded immediately in the second quarter, building a lead again and extending it to as many as ten before a Cougar bucket at the end of the half cut the Crusaders’ lead to 32-24.
The second half was made up of each team going on their own runs. Kapaun led 39-28, then South went on a 9-2 run and only trailed 41-37. The hosts then punched back with an 11-1 run to build a 14-point lead. Josh Jordan tried to keep South close, hitting a three-pointer at the end of the third quarter and South trailed 52-41. That bucket started a 9-0 spurt that brought the Cougars within five. But once again, Kapaun had an answer. Leading scorer Blake Danitschek, who had been quiet through three periods, swished a pair of threes to help extend the lead back out to double figures and this time, South could not punch back.
Jordan led the Cougars with 22 points, including four threes. A.J. Johnson battled well in the post, tallying 13 points and Schreiber added 11. Senior Cade Hannert scored six, he along with Jace Varela and Koby Ratcliff played their final basketball games for South, who concluded the season at 11-10 overall.