Twenty-four hours before Salina South’s showdown with Hutchinson, the Cougars had to find a way to grind out a victory at Ark City.
Turns out, the Cougars had plenty more in the tank.
The Salthawks struggled to get any offensive rhythm, Salina South juniors AJ Johnson and Colin Schreiber each had season-best nights as the Cougars raced past Hutch, 64-45, securing their fifth consecutive victory. Following the 1-2 start to the 2019-20 campaign, South is now 6-2, 4-1 in the AVCTL-I.
South set the tone early, holding Hutchinson (0-6, 0-2) to just one bucket with 45 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. On the flip side, Salina South built a 14-1 cushion before settling for a 14-3 margin after the first eight minutes of play.
Hutch didn’t go away, though, as the Salthawks trimmed the deficit down to five, 24-19. Salina South recorded the last make of the half, giving South a 26-19 advantage at the break. The Cougars pulled away for good with a 7-0 burst to close out the third, putting the Cougars on top 40-25.
Johnson and Schreiber scored 14 points each, good for season-high honors. Devon Junghans added 11 points while Josh Jordan provided 10. Weston Kraus paced Hutch with 14 points.
HUTCH 48, SOUTH 41 OT
After shooting lights out in the first three quarters, the Cougars ran out of juice as Hutchinson scored 14 straight to steal a road victory in Salina. Hutch improved to 4-2, 2-1 in league play while South dropped to 4-4, 2-3.
Hutchinson jumped ahead early, 11-5, relying on the post play of Mekenzie Hefley, who recorded eight of her 21 points in the opening quarter. South sophomore Sydney Peterson wasn’t too far behind, registering all seven of the Cougars’ points.
Reinforcements took over in the second for the Cougars, who started a three-point party. Four were made during a 16-1 burst, putting the Cougars on top 21-12. Hutch, however, nabbed the final seven points of the half, trimming the deficit to 21-19.
Hutch’s first half finish powered the Salthawks to a brief 31-28 advantage in the third period. South junior Mariah Janda answered with back-to-back triples, followed by a trey at the buzzer from freshman Acacia Weis, handing Salina South a 37-33 lead.
The final period was a struggle for both offenses. Peterson had the only two points for Salina South, making two free throws. South failed to put Hutch away as the Salthawks tied to game with 25 seconds left on a three from Tina Robertson. Salina South had a chance for the win, but turned the ball away with three seconds remaining.
Hutchinson dominated overtime, scoring the first eight points of the extra period. Salina South did get two points, but via the free throw line as the Cougars closed the game 0-of-14 from the field.
Peterson paced the Cougars with 14 points while Weis provided 11. Hutch’s Robertson added 11 points to go with Hefley’s 21.
Salina South stays in town Friday to battle Newton. Pregame takes place at 5:45 on Y93.7.