On Monday, the Salina South Cougar basketball teams made the lengthy trip down toward the Oklahoma line to take on the Ark City Bulldogs, in a make-up from Friday, when inclement winter weather forced a postponement. The teams were successful as the girls rolled to a decisive victory, while the boys had to grind their way to a win in a low-scoring affair.
The Lady Cougars began by jumping ahead of the winless Lady Bulldogs thanks to an 18-4 first quarter. Ark City failed to score until the 2:57 mark of the opening period, by then South had taken a 7-0 lead.
Ark City was able to hit some shots and play South evenly in the second quarter, and the Lady Cougars took a 29-15 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, six different Lady Cougars scored, helping to spread the lead further and leave no doubt heading to the final period.
Leading 46-25, the Lady Cougars utilized their reserves to close out the contest, and Ark City had to turn to outside shooting to try and comeback, but they were unable to find a rhythm and South coasted to a 56-28 win.
Sophomore Sydney Peterson led the Lady Cougars with 13 points, including a 6 for 6 performance at the free throw line. Senior Victoria Maxton scored 12, going 4 for 4 at the line. Sophomore Kalysa Hamel came off the bench and splashed home three three-pointers for nine points.
The win put the Lady Cougars back above .500 at 4-3, while Ark City fell to 0-7.
The South boys came out a bit slow, trailing by five on three occasions in the opening quarter, but they battled back to a 14-14 tie at the end of the period.
Then in the opening minutes of the second quarter, the Cougars were able to speed up the tempo and they went on an 8-0 run for a 22-14 lead.
From that point forward, it was very difficult to score. Ark City denied passing lanes well, and the Cougars only scored three points the rest of the half and the Bulldogs chipped the lead down to two at the break, 25-23.
It would remain nip-and-tuck the rest of the way. Neither team led by more than two in the third in quarter, both scored just seven points and South led 32-30 going to the fourth quarter.
Ark City would take a 34-32 lead, and would lead 35-34 before a mid-range jumper from junior Josh Jordan gave the Cougars a one-point lead. South would not lose the lead the rest of the way.
Colin Schreiber added a bucket for a 38-35 lead, but it was his defense that stood out. He blocked five shots and altered several others in leading the defensive effort throughout the night.
With 21 seconds left, and the Cougars leading 41-39, junior A.J. Johnson, who would be one of three Cougars to score in double figures, made the game’s biggest play by securing an offensive rebound off a missed free throw to prevent Ark City from getting an opportunity for a tying or go-ahead shot. He passed to Jordan who was fouled, and Josh would swish a pair of clutch free throws for a four-point lead.
The Bulldogs got a layup from Jamauri Jordan to get within 43-41 with seven seconds to go, but the Cougars got the ball inbounds to Jordan, who knocked in two more foul shots to seal the 45-41 win.
Jordan led South with 13 points, Schreiber added 12 and Johnson pitched in with 11. It was not the most aesthetically pleasing performance, but it is nice nonetheless to be able to win ugly, which the Cougars were able to do to improve to 5-2 overall. Ark City battled hard, but fell to 3-4.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Cougars as they will be back at home on Tuesday to battle the Hutchinson Salthawks.