Emotions were swirling around the Brickhouse as fans prepared to honor four seniors.
Feelings turned sour once the basketball was rolled out to the court.
Four technical fouls were issued, but No. 3 Maize (14-4, 9-1) stayed calm at the the foul line, sinking seven free throws down the stretch to tarnish Senior Night for No. 7 Salina Central, 49-42 Friday.
Maize and Salina Central embraced the slugfest from the start. The Eagles pushed their 11-7 first-quarter lead to 16-9 in the ensuing period. Central came back with a 7-0 run, sparked by a three by senior Sam Shaffer. The Eagles recorded the final bucket with two seconds left as junior Brandle Studevan Jr. reeled in an offensive rebound and banked in the shot to give Maize an 18-16 halftime lead.
Central (12-6, 5-5) grabbed its first advantage with 4:35 remaining in the third following a triple by junior Harper Williams to make it 25-24, but Maize recovered, going back out front by five, 31-26. That’s when the third technical took place as Maize coach Chris Grill screamed after a foul with 4.9 seconds left, allowing the Mustangs to trim the deficit to 31-28 through three periods.
SC’s Williams put the Mustangs ahead once again with a trey in the fourth, propelling SC to a 36-35 cushion. A few plays later, a scrum broke out, and once the dust settled, senior Ethan Speer was hit with the final technical foul of the contest. After falling behind 42-40, the Mustangs were forced to foul Maize senior Logan Schultz. Following the first free throw make, Schultz bricked the second, but Studevan Jr. chased down the ball, setting up more free throws, a trend SC couldn’t come back from.
Studevan Jr. had eight of his 13 points in the final period for Maize while junior Caleb Grill paced the Eagles with 14. Central’s Speer earned the Salina Ortho Player of the Game honors with his game-high 16 points. Shaffer provided 10 for the Mustangs, who match up with the Salina South Cougars on Tuesday. Pregame starts at 5:45 on Sports Radio 1150 KSAL.
MAIZE 55, SALINA CENTRAL 46
The technical tone actually started in the opener.
Central (13-5, 6-4) grabbed an early 6-4 cushion at the 3:36 mark in the first quarter when senior Myah Ward drilled a triple. Junior Holly Sanderson added to the margin by sticking a putback with seven seconds left, giving SC a 10-7 advantage after one.
Senior Elisa Backes made it a 15-11 ballgame following a triple from the top of the key, but Maize closed out the first half on a 7-1 spurt. After having all seven points in the first frame, junior Alexis Cauthon received help from sophomore Emily Laham, who poured in seven points in the second quarter, helping Maize grab an 18-16 halftime advantage.
Maize (13-5, 7-3) turned to the power of the three ball in the third quarter as the Eagles connected on three triples, ballooning the lead to 29-20. Central roared back after another three by Ward, allowing the Lady Mustangs to close the stanza on a 7-1 run to cut the deficit to 32-29.
The fourth featured the fireworks. Ward hit her third triple to bring the Mustangs within 36-35. While running back, Ward fell to the ground after a push by Maize’s Autumn Hanna, leading to a technical on coach Chris Fear. Maize didn’t cash in at the foul line, but the Eagles did push the margin to 41-35 with under 5:30 to play.
Central roared back after a three by sophomore Kadyn Cobb and the equalizer by Ward with 3:35 remaining knotted up the score at 41-all. Maize scored the next seven points before a double technical was whistled with a little over a minute to go. The Lady Mustangs couldn’t recover as Maize drilled free throws to ice the game.
Maize had three players in double figures, led by Cauthon with 17 points. Laham finished with 16 while junior Halie Jones provided 15.
Ward ended up with 12 points, but the Salina Ortho Player of the Game was Backes, who picked up 16 points.