Hutchinson is always known for physicality and toughness.
Salina Central had more grit Friday night.
Freshman Aubrie Kierscht nailed two huge threes in overtime, Salina Central connected on six free throws in the extra period, and the Mustangs powered past the Salthawks, 61-56.
Salina Central (5-3, 3-2 AVCTL-I) looked to be in prime position of blowing out Hutch, grabbing a 24-14 lead after one. The advantage grew to 13 late in the second frame, but Hutch hit a shot at the buzzer, trimming the margin down to 33-22 at halftime.
The Mustangs didn’t stop there, pushing the cushion out to 41-27 before settling with a 41-19 lead through three quarters.
Nearly two minutes into the final quarter, Salina Central’s hard work resulted in a 16-point lead on the scoreboard.
That’s when things changed as Hutch (3-5, 1-4) punched Central with a 16-0 blitz, led by Gabbie Posch who aided the comeback with a pair of threes.
After the 45-all stalemate with three minutes left, Central ended up with the final shot, but senior Selah Merkle couldn’t get the kind roll.
Posch drilled her fourth trey of the night to start the overtime period, giving Hutch a lead for the first time since 2-0. Central’s Kierscht had the answer, making back-to-back threes to give Central the upper hand for good.
Kierscht was the Salina Ortho Player of the Game, finishing with 21 points. Freshman Hampton Williams added 16 as well.
Salina Central now heads to the Salina Invitational Tournament. The Mustangs take on Concordia next Thursday at Salina Central at 6:30. Pregame at 6:15 on Sports Radio 1150 KSAL.
Salina Central 63, Hutch 42
Coming off two consecutive losses for the first time since February 2016, Salina Central boys basketball coach Doug Finch was searching for answers.
His team responded by grabbing an early 13-8 advantage through one quarter. All four field goals in the opening stanza were from deep.
That trend continued as senior David Grammer started the ensuing frame with three straight triples, pushing the margin out to 22-13. However, Hutch (1-7, 0-5) would answer by outscoring the Mustangs 13-2, taking a 26-24 lead into halftime.
Salina Central (6-2, 3-2 AVCTL-I) didn’t trail for long as the Mustangs sprinted past the Salthawks with a 9-0 spurt to put Central ahead 44-33. The Mustangs didn’t look back, finishing with 12 made treys after having 13 combined in the previous two defeats.
Hutch’s Tate Webster put 20 points on the scoreboard. Central’s David Grammer ended up with 25 points, matching a career-high set in the game against Derby.
Salina Central faces Concordia next at the SIT.