The Salina South boys’ basketball team hung around for three-plus quarters on Friday night, however, the Maize Eagles proved to be too much as they dominated the fourth quarter on their way to a 64-47 victory, closing out both team’s regular season campaign.
South would start the night well on both ends of the floor. Maize came in with arguably the best player in the league, Caleb Grill, who has received a Division-I basketball offer. However, South made him look uncomfortable at times for most of the night.
The Cougars started the game pounding the ball inside with their two bigs, Isaac Mitchell and Elex Banks. Banks would terrorize the interior of Maize in the opening quarter as he would score six points. Unfortunately, Banks also picked up his second foul around the three minute mark in the opening quarter. At that point, South led 12-6.
From that point on, Maize would gain control. The Eagles ended the first quarter on a 10-0 run to take a 16-12 lead.
Maize would outscore South in the second quarter 19-12 and led 35-24 at the break. It appeared that Maize was ready to fly away with the game.
However, Salina South would come out of the locker room refocused and re-energized. The Cougars started the quarter on an 11-4 run to pull the game back to within four points.
South hung in the game until the four minute mark of the fourth quarter. The Cougars’ A.J. Johnson would convert on a layup to make the game 49-45 and make the Maize fans nervous. Unfortunately for South, the Cougars would only score one more time as Maize ended the game on a 15-2 run led by Grill’s 23 points, seven of them coming from the foul line in the final quarter.
Maize (16-4, 11-1 AVCTL-I) won the AVCTL-I outright with the win. The Eagles also saw Brandle Studevan score 12 points and Devon Koehn added in 11 for the league champs.
Salina South (4-16, 3-9 AVCTL-I) ends their regular season on a four-game slide. Johnson was the only scorer in double-figures for the Cougars, but had a career night with 16 points, with the last six coming from the FT line. He was named the Salina Ortho “Player of the Game.”
Salina South will travel on the road in the first round of substate action for 5A. The Cougars await their draw.
Maize 46, SALINA SOUTH 33
The story was very similar for the Salina South girls’ as their boys’ counterparts. South would play well at times in the game, however, two dry spells doomed the Cougars as Maize was just too much.
South led 5-3 towards the end of the first, but Maize’s Bailey Miller scored at the buzzer to tie the game going in to the second quarter. That was the only lead of the game for South.
The Cougars kept in close in the first half, only trailing 18-14 at halftime. However, Maize came out hot in the third quarter to take a double-digit lead.
South continued to hang tough in the final quarter, never allowing the Lady Eagles to fully pull away. But, with a nine point cushion and time running out on South, a Haile Jones 3-pointer was the final dagger the Eagles needed for the win.
Maize (14-6, 8-4 AVCTL-I) will be a top-four seed in the class 5A West substate. They were led by Jones’ 13 points, while senior, Autumn Hanna added in 10.
Salina South (7-13, 3-9 AVCTL-I) could face either Maize or Newton in the first round of substate on the road, depending on a coin-flip between the Eagles and Railers. South was led by Gretchen Cox, the Salina Ortho “Player of the Game,” with nine points.
KSAL.com will update when the official 5A substate brackets come out on Saturday, February 24.