Girls: No. 1 Salina Central 55, Valley Center 44
A little more than a month ago at the Brickhouse, Salina Central shooting guard Aubrie Kierscht torched the Valley Center Hornets by hitting 12 three-pointers and scoring a career-high 40 points. On Tuesday night in Valley Center, the Lady Hornets were determined to not let that happen again. And they because they went so far out of their way to limit Kierscht’s production, it opened up opportunities for others to shine.
Kierscht was face-guarded from the opening tip, and often double-teamed whenever she touched the ball. She scored the first five points of the game for Central, but would not score again. The Mustangs were loose with the ball and struggled shooting it early on. However, they did make things hard for the Hornets as well, and the game was tied at 7-7 after the first quarter. Central would begin to execute better in the second period, but only led 20-16 at the break.
The Mustangs came out strong after halftime, and a pair of steals led to fastbreak layups and a 26-16 lead two minutes into the third. Central got the lead up to 14 before Valley Center ended the quarter on a 6-0 run.
In the fourth, the Hornets got as close as five but Central (17-0) immediately pushed the advantage back out. While Kierscht was taking up so much attention, Valley Center (7-11) had no answer in the post for Chaliscia Samilton. She consistently sealed her defender to get easy shots at the rim. She crashed the offensive glass and was a factor on the defensive end. Samilton led all scorers with 21. Mykayla Cunningham scored 14 and Landry Stewart put in 10.
The win clinched the outright AVCTL-II title for the Mustangs.
Boys: Valley Center 57, Salina Central 48
In a rematch of game in Salina where the Valley Center Hornets won by 20, the Central Mustangs fought off a second quarter run by the Hornets and were in position to win early in the fourth quarter. But another Hornet run down the stretch was too much for the Mustangs to overcome.
Valley Center took an 11-7 lead after the first quarter, and then put Central in a tough spot with a series of fastbreak scores after collecting missed shots, not turnovers. The Mustangs failed to get back on multiple occasions and it allowed the Hornets to build a 16-point lead. It was 29-16 at halftime.
Central would find a new level of energy in the third quarter. They contested everything on defense and at the same time, the lid began coming off on the offensive end. After getting within two, the Mustangs trailed 34-30 at the end of three.
An early basket in the fourth brought Central within a bucket once again, but this time Valley Center (14-4) responded with a 12-0 run. They would reestablish a lead as high as 15 halfway through the fourth, and while the Mustangs fought back to get it within eight, they would get no closer.
Sid Duplessis IV scored all 15 of his points in the second half, and Nolan Puckett added 11 for Central (8-9).
The Mustang teams will be back at the Brickhouse on Friday to face Andover.