The streak is over.
Salina South senior Sydnee Connell poured in a team-high 14 points, classmate Angie Hall made four huge free throws, and the Cougars snapped an 11-game losing streak to cross-town rival Salina Central, 45-43 Tuesday.
FINAL: @SouthCougars 45, @We_Are_SC 43. South snaps 11-game losing streak to cross-town rival. Sydnee Connell w/14 points, Gretchen Cox w/11. Elisa Backes w/20 points for SC. pic.twitter.com/GOLFyotn5y
— Pat Strathman (@PatStrathman) February 21, 2018
After a 5-0 start by Central, South tied up the score at 7-all, despite having seven turnovers. Central senior Elisa Backes answered, recording the final four tallies in the final 50 seconds to give SC an 11-7 advantage.
Salina Central (13-6, 6-5) ballooned the lead out to 10, 19-9 with 4:50 to play in the first half after a triple by senior Myah Ward. After trailing 21-9, South responded with an 11-0 spurt to close out the half. Senior Allie Valdez sparked the charge with five points while Connell knocked in a three and two free throws to put the Cougars behind 21-20 at the half.
South (7-12, 3-8) would grab its first advantage on a jumper by junior Camdyn Schreiber with 6:12 to go in the third. Central reclaimed the lead, 25-24 when sophomore Kadyn Cobb connected on a trey with 4:10 remaining. Down the line, Connell matched Cobb’s three with one of her own, handing South a 28-26 cushion with 1:37 on the clock. South’s advantage grew to four after two free throws were made by senior Jacie Marcotte following a technical foul on Central junior Holly Sanderson.
SC didn’t flinch, getting a pair of free throws from senior Elisa Backes and a jumper from Ward to knot up the score at 30-apiece through three frames.
The fourth quarter featured 28 combined free throws, but down the stretch, both teams struggled to excel at the foul line. With 1:23 left to go, Central’s Salina Ortho Player of the Game in Backes recorded a key stick to give SC a 43-42 advantage.
Twenty-three seconds later, South’s Hall nailed two freebies to put the Cougars back out front. In the last minute, a combined 11 free throws were missed, including four-straight by Backes with chances to either take the lead or tie up the game. South failed to put the game on ice, but held on for the win.
Connell ended up as the Salina Ortho Player of the Game for South with those 14 points. Junior Gretchen Cox chipped in 11 points with huge block with 18 seconds left.
Central’s Backes finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds for her 10th double-double.
Salina Central heads to Newton on Friday to wrap up the regular season. Pregame starts at 5:45 on Sports Radio 1150 KSAL. South has a quick turnaround with a trip to Maize on Thursday. Pregame at 5:45 on Y93.7.
SALINA CENTRAL 41, SALINA SOUTH 22
Central boys basketball coach Doug Finch issued a challenge to his squad.
The answer was on the defensive end. The Mustangs set the tone on the game’s first possession. SC picked up five offensive rebounds before getting a three from sophomore Quin Stewart.
That bucket resulted in three of the combined 17 points put up in the first quarter with Central grabbing a 10-7 advantage after one quarter. South’s offense didn’t pick up in the second as the Cougars turned the ball over eight times in the second stanza. Central (13-6, 6-5) wasn’t much better, scoring seven points, leading to a 17-9 halftime cushion.
Salina South (4-15, 3-8) started to get the offense going in the third. Salina Ortho Player of the Game Elex Banks racked up six of his team-high 15 points in the third, cutting the deficit to 21-17 with 3:58 to play. The Cougars’ next bucket took place at the 5:55 mark of the fourth, trimming the margin to 29-19.
Central junior Mark Grammer drilled two threes to spark a 10-0 spurt, ballooning the lead to 20. Grammer was the Salina Ortho Player of the Game, finishing with 10 points. Junior Harper Williams added 11 points.