The Salina Central boys basketball team ended last season for Maize.
The Eagles didn’t forget.
Brandle Easter Jr. poured in 17 points, the Maize defense bottled up the Central attack, and the No. 3 Eagles defeated No. 6 Central, 55-43, in the Mustangs’ first home game of 2019. Salina Central has lost back-to-back games for the first time since February 2016.
Despite missing their first seven threes, the Mustangs (5-2, 2-2 AVCTL-I) hung tough with the Eagles with both teams settling with an 11-all tie after one.
Central had a couple chances to push the cushion to double-digits, but Maize only trailed 23-18 at halftime.
Maize (8-0, 6-0) quickly erased the deficit at the start of the third frame, en route to grabbing a 41-32 advantage through three quarters. Easter Jr. scored 11 in the period alone. Salina Central clawed to within five midway through the fourth, but Maize sealed the deal, nailing 10 of 11 free throws.
Salina Central senior David Grammer was the lone Mustang in double figures, recording 11 points to grab the Salina Ortho Player of the Game. Central heads to Hutchinson Friday. Pregame starts at 5:45 on Sports Radio 1150 KSAL.
No. 4 Maize 68, Salina Central 52
The Lady Mustangs (4-3, 2-2) claimed an early 6-3 cushion before Maize started rolling. The Eagles (7-1, 5-1) scored the next 18 points, holding Central without a point for nearly a quarter.
Central crawled back to within nine after back-to-back threes, but the Eagles increased the advantage to 13 at the half, 29-16.
Salina Central didn’t get blown out in the ensuing periods after half. Neither did Maize let the lead dip below 10 points. Four of five Maize starters were in double figures, led by Halie Jones’ 16 points.
SC had three with double-digit outings. Selah Merkle and Hampton Williams paced the Mustangs with 13 points each. Kadyn Cobb connected on four triples.