The Ell-Saline Cardinals hosted bitter rival Sedgwick on Friday evening in a battle of the redbirds in Brookville. While the crowd came out in droves for the Sweetheart Night festivities, Ell-Saline fans weren’t left with much to cheer about outside of the crowning of the king and queen, Brandon Headlough and Sydney Watters.
In the girls’ matchup, Sedgwick raced out to a 29-12 hafltime edge, fueled by both a significant edge on the board, particularly on the offensive glass, along with a suffocating full-court press that forced 13 Ell-Saline turnovers over the first two quarters.
When Ell-Saline was able to get into their half court offense, each possession was a struggle against a tight half-court man-to-man defensive look from Sedgwick that warranted just three Ell-Saline field goals over the game’s first three quarters.
After outscoring Ell-Saline 13-7 in the third quarter to extend their lead to 28 points at 47-19, Sedgwick call off the dogs midway through the f9urth, coasting to a 54-30 victory.
Senior Macie McGinn – the Salina Ortho Player of the Game on the girls’ side – dominated the glass throughout the night, then caught fire in the third quarter, scoring ten points on her way to a game-high 15 points to pace the Sedgwick (8-8, 3-3) offense. Fellow seniors Sydney Hilliard and Valerie Chamberlain dropped 11 and ten, respectively to help the visiting Cardinals get back to the .500 mark in both league play and on the season.
Nine players from Ell-Saline (2-14, 0-6) found the scoring column Friday evening, however the home Cardinals lacked that dominant, go-to offensive threat. Senior Lexi Kochanowski joined freshmen Reece Ditto and Lakyn Short in leading Ell-Saline in scoring on the night, with each player finishing with six points.
Sedgwick Seals Sweep With Strong Second Half
In the nightcap, Ell-Saline appeared primed to split the Sweetheart Night doubleheader with Sedgwick. Senior Hunter Kindlesparger canned a pair of early treys, while sophomore Sawyer Kramer added five first-quarter points off the pine to help Ell-Saline out to a 12-5 advantage after the first quarter.
After extending the advantage to 16-5 early in the second period, Ell-Saline went cold from the field just as Sedgwick senior Neal Bever caught fire. Down 22-20 in the waning seconds before halftime, Bever banged home a long three from the right wing as time expired, giving him nine first-half points while putting Sedgwick up 23-22 at halftime.
The second half was all Sedgwick as the road Cardinals poured it on in the third quarter, outscoring Ell-Saline 26-11 in the period to take a 49-33 lead into the fourth on their way to a 62-48 win.
Bever finished with 21 points on the night to earn Salina Ortho Player of the Game honors. Sedgwick (9-7, 3-3) also received double-digit efforts from senior Brayden Francis and junior Hooper Schroeder, each finishing with ten points on the night.
Ell-Saline (4-12, 1-5) received 15 points on the night from Kindlesparger, while Kramer joined senior Tel Phelps in double digits with ten points each.
Ell-Saline hits the road next week, traveling to Sterling on Tuesday before a trip to Whitewater on Friday to take on Remington in a pair of HOA League matchups.