Girls: No. 1 Salina Central 69, No. 4 Andover Central 55
In what may wind up being the toughest test in the regular season for the Salina Central Lady Mustangs, the experienced and talented group once again left the floor with a win, this time on the road against the 4th ranked Andover Central Jaguars.
The first quarter was a marvel for basketball fans in general. A quick pace, and both teams knocked down shots. The Mustangs jumped ahead 6-0 but the Jaguars came right back to keep the game tight early. The teams combined to make nine three-pointers in the opening quarter and Salina Central got the last one from senior Aubrie Kierscht to go ahead 22-21 at the end of one.
Both teams focused more on the interior part of the game in the second, and scored ten points apiece. Salina Central led 32-31 at the break.
The Mustangs started quick in the third and built a nine-point lead at 42-33. Andover Central would answer with a 10-3 run to get within two, but Salina Central pushed it back out to a six-point advantage at 52-46 heading to the fourth. Kierscht hit three treys in the period.
To win on the road, you have to get stops. And that’s exactly what spurred the Mustangs (14-0) on in the final quarter. They held the Jaguars scoreless for more than four minutes to start the period and coupled with patient trips on the offensive end, made it impossible for Andover Central (10-4) to threaten down the stretch.
With a short bench due to injury, Coach Chris Fear used only six players in the game, but all six delivered. Kierscht was marvelous once again, hitting seven three-pointers and making 8 of 8 from the free throw line. She finished with 33 points, marking the fourth time this season she has eclipsed the 30-point mark. Chaliscia Samilton played well in the post, finishing with 14 points. Mykayla Cunningham scored 13 and Hampton Williams had nine. The most impressive part of Williams’ night was her defense against Jaguar leading scorer Brittany Harshaw. Harshaw was stymied throughout and held to only five points.
BOYS: No. 5 Andover Central 42, Salina Central 34
The first time the teams played in Salina, it was all Jaguars as they won by 30 points at the Brickhouse. Friday’s rematch was much closer. It was a defensive battle from start to finish as both teams labored offensively. But a couple of Jaguar runs coupled with some missed opportunities for Salina Central down the stretch made the difference.
Andover Central came out with a 2-3 zone which made life on offense very difficult for the Mustangs. They were unable to make anything in the first quarter other than a free throw from Micah Moore. Sid Duplessis IV made a layup for Salina Central’s first field goal at the 7:15 mark of the second. Just prior to that, the Jaguars had built a ten-point lead. The Mustangs would battle to get within two at one point, and went into halftime trailing 16-11.
A couple of transition baskets in the third quarter helped draw the Mustangs even closer in the third. Andover Central took a 27-24 lead in the final period. Duplessis hit a three at the top of the key to tie the game moments into the fourth, but the Jaguars responded with a 10-2 run to take back control. Duplessis hit another three to bring the Mustangs within 38-33 but that was as close as they would get in the final minutes.
Salina Central made only 10 of 18 from the free throw line, and a couple good looks from the perimeter late did not fall. Duplessis led the Mustangs (6-8) with 15 points. Andover Central (12-2) was led by Kobe Smith, who scored 16.
The Mustang teams are back at home next week, where they will next play Goddard-Eisenhower on Tuesday.