The Salina Central basketball teams were not able to taste victory in the season finale at Andover Central on Thursday. In the girls game, the Lady Mustangs fell behind by 26 in the first half as the hosts cruised to victory while the Mustang boys hung tough for three quarters before the Jaguar stars took control to allow them to pull away.
GIRLS: #3 ANDOVER CENTRAL 63, #8 SALINA CENTRAL 42
The first half was a case of Murphy’s Law for Salina Central. Andover Central hit three quick treys to build a 9-2 lead. Hampton Williams hit a pair of free throws to make it 9-4. The Lady Jags would go on a 21-0 run to lead 30-4. Coach Chris Fear burned timeouts but nothing stopped the onslaught until a Sara Opat three made it 30-7. Andover Central led 34-9 at the half.
The ship was righted in the second half, but not enough to threaten a comeback. Williams, Aubrie Kierscht and Mykayla Cunningham combined for 24 points in the second half, but Andover Central maintained a healthy lead throughout, thanks to nailing 13 three-pointers. Five came from Ellie Stearns who led all scorers with 21 points. Williams and Kierscht each had 11 to lead Salina Central, who ends the regular season at 15-5 overall. Andover Central improved to 19-1.
BOYS: ANDOVER CENTRAL 56, SALINA CENTRAL 39
The final score does not accurately portray how the majority of the game played out. The Mustangs led most of the way in the first quarter before the Jaguars moved ahead 11-10 at the end of the period. Three Salina Central starters, Reed McHenry, Jevon Burnett and Caden Kickhaefer each were saddled with two fouls in the opening quarter and sat the rest of the first half. Coach Ryan Modin was able to do that because his reserves stepped up along with the other starters to keep the Mustangs close. Andover Central took a 22-19 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Jaguars got 18 first half points from top scorers Xavier Bell and Jerome Washington. That duo continued to provide the bulk of the scoring for the hosts, including all 15 Jaguar points in the third quarter. The Mustangs only made one field goal in the period, a McHenry three. The rest of the points came at the free throw line and Andover Central led 37-29 going to the fourth quarter.
Bell and Washington each hit a pair of threes early in the fourth to build a comfortable lead going into the final minutes. The Mustang offense just was not able to keep up. Bell finished with 31 points and Washington had 18 for the Jaguars. Ten different Mustangs scored, but none reached double figures. Logan Losey led the team with a pair of threes and eight points. Salina Central ends the regular season at 9-11 overall while Andover Central improved to 12-8.