#1 Liberal 51, #4 Salina South 26
Salina South made the first bucket of the game. The rest of the game was controlled by Liberal.
The No. 2 team in Class 6A scored the next eight points and cruised to a 51-26 victory over Salina South in the SIT semifinals at Kansas Wesleyan’s Mabee Arena Thursday afternoon. Liberal improved to 11-0 on the season and moves to the SIT championship for the third straight year. Salina South fell to 6-5 and plays for third place at 2 pm Saturday.
Following the 8-0 blitz, Liberal pushed the margin to 10 at the end of one, 20-10. Liberal had the final punch in the second period, outscoring South 16-4, grabbing a 36-14 cushion.
Machia Mullens paced the Lady Red with 13 points. Sydney Peterson led Salina South with seven points.
#2 Salina Central 36, #3 Buhler 33
The No. 3 Salina Central Mustangs didn’t register a single bucket in the fourth quarter. However, grit was enough.
Sophomore Hampton Williams poured in 14 points, senior Kadyn Cobb made clutch free throws, and the Mustangs outlasted the Buhler Crusaders, 36-33, advancing to the SIT championship. The Mustangs, who are now 9-1 on the season, square off with the Liberal Lady Red in the title match for the third consecutive season.
Neither team could gain control on the offensive end. Both teams traded blows throughout the contest. The first hit belonged to Central as the Mustangs didn’t give up their first bucket until the 2:45 mark in the first. After leading 10-8 after one, Central logged just two buckets, a pair of threes from sophomore Aubrie Kierscht. Buhler scored enough to tie up Central at 16-16 at halftime, despite fouls and turnovers combined totaled 35.
Williams provided a spark after intermission, scoring eight of her 12 points in the third frame. Buhler was up for a street fight in the fourth, though. The Crusaders took a 32-27 deficit and turned it into a 33-32 advantage with three minutes to play.
Cobb and Williams drilled crucial free throws to put the Mustangs on top by three. Buhler went for a three in the corner, but the shot was short as the Mustangs prevailed.
Girls Consolation Play
#8 Andover 53, #5 Abilene 33
#6 Wichita West 36, #7 Concordia 28
#2 Salina South 57, #6 Wichita South 52
AJ Johnson and the Cougars simply refused to lose.
The long junior matched a career-high 22 points, South hit nine gigantic free throws, and the Cougars pushed their way to the SIT championship, downing Wichita South 57-52. The victory increased South’s win streak to eight.
Wichita South commanded the contest early, using an 11-1 burst to grab a 14-4 advantage. Salina South fought back and capped the opening frame with a halfcourt heave from junior Colin Schreiber, cutting the deficit to 14-9. The Cougars attempted to crawl closer, bringing the margin down to five, but ultimately, Salina South was down 28-20 at the break.
The third period belonged to Johnson, who willed the Cougars to a one-point cushion. Salina South closed the third on an 8-0 spurt, rocketing the Cougars to a 37-36 lead heading into the fourth.
Wichita South’s final punch was a 8-0 run, handing the Titans a 45-40 lead. The Cougars scored the next nine, the last three from junior Devon Junghans. Junghans, Johnson and junior Josh Jordan made 9-of-11 free throws to seal the deal.
Johnson scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half. Jordan and Schreiber finished with 12 points each. Junghans added 10. Wichita South was led by Darryon Frierson, who scored 19 points.
#1 Andover 63, #4 Abilene 50
Boys Consolation Play
#8 Salina Central 74, #5 Liberal 61
It was an offensive showcase at the Brickhouse as the Central Mustangs were able to build a double figure lead by halftime, increase the lead to as many as 22 before resting the regulars down the stretch.
Central got quick starts from Christian Tedlock and Aaron Watson to off-set hot shooting from the Redskins early. The Mustangs led 19-17 after one quarter, and then leading scorers Reed McHenry and Jevon Burnett got going, and the defense stepped up to hold Liberal to only two field goals in the second quarter, and Central led 36-25 at the half.
After a Liberal flurry cut the deficit to six, Central responded with a 14-0 run to go up 52-32 in the third. They would lead by as many as 22, before coach Ryan Modin gave his regulars some rest in the fourth with another game coming up on Saturday.
Burnett hit five threes and scored 19 points, McHenry added 15, and Nolan Puckett scored 11 to lead the Mustangs, who improved to 4-6 overall.
#3 Buhler 65, #7 Concordia 20
Saturday girls schedule
#5 Abilene vs 7 Concordia at 11 am – coverage on The General 1560 KABI
#6 Wichita West vs #8 Andover at 2 pm
#4 Salina South vs #3 Buhler at 2 pm – coverage on Sports Radio 1150 KSAL
#1 Liberal vs #2 Salina Central at 5 pm – coverage on Sports Radio 1150 KSAL
Saturday boys schedule
#5 Liberal vs #7 Concordia at 12:30 pm
#3 Buhler vs #8 Salina Central at 3:30 pm – coverage on Sports Radio 1150 KSAL
#4 Abilene vs #6 Wichita South at 3:30 pm
#1 Andover vs #2 Salina South at 6:45 pm – coverage on Sports Radio 1150 KSAL