It was a tough Tuesday night in AVCTL-I play for the Salina South Cougars as they took on Maize at the Eagles Nest.
The girls contest was a bit of a strange one. Early in the season at Salina South, Maize rolled to a 45-point victory. But in this meeting, the Cougars came out strong, hitting four three-point field goals and building a 13-6 lead at one juncture. Maize would respond to take a 19-18 lead at the end of the first quarter. From that point on however, the offenses went colder than the temperature outside.
The Lady Eagles led 27-21 at the half, getting 18 points alone from Sydney Holmes. Both teams primarily stuck with 2-3 zone defenses and neither could shoot the opponent out of their zone.
While Maize was far from shooting the lights out, they did build a 37-22 lead after three quarters. South made only one field goal in the second and third quarters combined after making seven field goals in the first quarter. The Lady Cougars would get jump shots from Mariah Janda and Kalysa Hamel in the final period, but would fall by a 41-28 final despite a fine defensive effort.
South freshman Acacia Weis nailed two threes in the first quarter and led South with 12 points. Kylie Arnold also hit a couple of early treys, she finished with seven points. South dropped to 9-10 overall while Maize improved to 14-5.
In the boys game, South was hoping to beat Maize for the second time this season. They slipped past the Eagles 53-51 in the first meeting on Dec. 10. However, the Cougars came out sluggish offensively and trailed 10-6 after the first quarter.
Things only got worse in the second stanza as Maize began to get out and run the floor for easy baskets. K.J. Hampton nearly kept pace with the South team on his own, scoring 13 first half points as the Eagles took a 31-14 lead at the half.
Maize would extend the lead to as much as 21 at 39-18. Then all of a sudden, South came to life. Led by steals and buckets from Josh Jordan, the Cougars went a 14-2 run to trim the deficit to 41-32. Maize would respond with a flurry of their own to lead 51-35 at the end of the third quarter.
The Cougars tried to make one more run, getting within nine early in the fourth, but having to press and gamble allowed Maize to get more fast-break opportunities and the Eagles pulled away for a 73-52 win.
Jordan led South with 19 points, Devon Junghans had 12 and A.J. Johnson chipped in with 11. Maize’s Jacob Hanna went off for 29 points including seven dunks. The Cougars dropped to 11-8 overall while Maize improved to 11-8.
The Cougars will head to Derby on Friday to wrap up the regular season.