On Tuesday evening the South Cougar basketball teams made the trip to Maize to battle the Mavericks of Maize South. It was entertaining and sometimes wild and controversial and ended with each school getting a victory.
In the varsity girls contest, Salina South had to fight back from a slow start and a double figure deficit throughout, but their valiant fourth quarter run was not enough in a 52-46 loss.
The Lady Cougars were without senior Lauren Raubenstine who sprained an ankle on Monday and the hope is that she will get back to action in one week. The plan was to use Raubenstine to primarily guard Lady Maverick senior star Katie Wagner, who went on to torch the Lady Cougars in the first half with a mix of inside and outside shooting and offensive rebounding. Wagner went off for 14 points as Maize South jumped ahead 15-7 after one quarter, and then took a 32-19 lead into halftime.
The lead would reach 15 at 41-26 in the third quarter and it felt as if the Lady Cougars were about to be put away for good. However, Coach Ryan Stuart’s team started to battle back. A 7-0 run helped get the deficit under ten, and Maize South would go into the final period up 43-34.
The deficit would slowly continue to shrink as Lady Cougar sophomore guard Sydney Peterson came alive in the fourth with a pair of threes, the last of which brought Salina South to within three at 49-46 with about 90 seconds to play. But immediately after that shot, the Lady Mavs responded as senior Kaydyn Davison broke free for an uncontested layup to get the margin back to two possessions, which is how it would end.
South sophomore Kylie Arnold led the Cougars with 15 points, and Peterson finished with 14. Wagner had 19 for Maize South who won their fifth straight to improve to 5-1 overall. Salina South dropped to 3-3 overall.
In the varsity boys game, it was the Cougars who would jump out to a double figure lead, only to see it nearly slip away. Junior big man A.J. Johnson got Salina South started with eight quick points, before coming out after being slapped with a technical foul after he contested a no-call on a driving layup. But the rest of the Cougars picked up right where he left off in building a 16-9 lead after the first quarter.
The Cougars had success offensively by spreading the floor and sharing the rock, leading to easy baskets at the rim. Defensively, they moved their feet well leading to missed shots and turnovers for the Mavericks. Salina South led by as many as 21 in the first half, and they would go into the locker room at halftime with a 32-15 lead.
The hosts though, would not give in. They chipped away at the lead slowly in the third, drawing to within 13 at 48-35 at the end of the third.
Then things would get dicey for the Cougars as they went five minutes in the fourth without a point. The Mavericks began the period with a 10-0 run before a basket from senior Colin Schreiber began to stem the tide. A series of defensive stops around clutch free throws from junior Devon Junghans allowed Salina South to spread the lead back to a comfortable margin by the game’s end as the Cougars took it by a final of 64-56.
Interestingly, the Cougars scored 16 points in each quarter, and were able to do it despite that cold stretch to start the final quarter. Junghans went 9 for 10 at the charity stripe on the way to a team-high 14 points. Johnson had 13 for the Cougars and senior Cade Hannert scored a dozen. Salina South improved to 4-2 overall while Maize South fell to 3-3 overall.
Next up is another road trip for the Cougar teams, on Friday they will challenge Arkansas City.