The Salina Central Mustangs opened the 44th annual Salina Invitational Tournament with a pair of matchups with the Buhler Crusaders. Salina Central would win convincingly in each game, pushing both Mustang teams to the semifinal round at Kansas Wesleyan on Friday night.
GIRLS: Salina Central 52, Buhler 20
A slow start offensively saw Buhler lead at the end of the first quarter 6-4, but Salina Central’s struggles wouldn’t last long on Thursday.
The Mustangs and their staunch defense took over the game completely in the second quarter, shutting out the Crusaders in the period and helping the offense take the lead for good. The Mustangs out-scored Buhler 13-0 in the second to take a 17-6 lead into the locker room. The run would continue in the second half as the Mustangs went on a 22-0 avalanche to lead 26-6 before Buhler would finally get back on the scoreboard mid-way through the third quarter.
Tyler Vidricksen led all scorers with 18 points, while Elle Denning also added 11 for Salina Central. Denning’s exemplary defensive effort helped lead the charge for the Mustangs’ big third quarter, earning her the Nex-Tech Wireless Player of the Game honors.
Charlize Waltman made her Varsity debut with the Mustangs on Thursday in the win, along with a handful of other Mustang underclassmen who came on in the onslaught; however, Waltman made her presence felt almost immediately, swatting a block on defense and earning the H&R Block of the Game.
Salina Central advances to take on the Liberal Lady Redskins on Friday night at 6 PM at Kansas Wesleyan.
Buhler – 6 – 0 – 7 – 7 / 20
Salina Central – 4 – 13 – 24 – 11 / 52
BOYS: Salina Central 66, Buhler 43
The Salina Central boys came in to Thursday night’s S.I.T. opener on a four-game losing streak, having not won since December 16th. They broke that skid for their first win in over a month with their best performance of the season to date.
Four Mustangs scored in double-figures and Central led wire-to-wire over the Buhler Crusaders, earning a rematch with the Andover Trojans on Friday night at 7:30 PM at Kansas Wesleyan.
Ethan Waters led Central in scoring with 13 points, while Dez Gibson added 12, Kaden Snyder had 11, and Dylan Puckett scored 10.
Central grabbed a 16-8 lead after the first quarter, and would build upon it in each period thereafter. Central held Buhler to nine or less in 3/4 quarters. The only time the Crusaders would surpass that mark was with 17 in the second quarter, in which Central tallied 15, to hold a six point lead at the break. The Mustangs out-scored Buhler 35-18 in the second half, and cruised through the final period on the way to their 4th win of the season.
Ethan Waters earned the Nex-Tech Wireless Player of the Game nod with his scoring efforts, while the tandem of Dylan Puckett and Dez Gibson each earned the H&R Block of the game honors, both having superb defensive plays for Central.
Buhler – 8 – 17 – 9 – 9 / 43
Salina Central – 16 – 15 – 17 – 18 / 66