Wilson’s late three sends Bennington to state


On Saturday night in Hillsboro, the stands were packed, and split right down the middle with fans from Salina and Bennington.

The #2 seed Bennington, fresh off its convincing win over Ell-Saline, and the #4 seed Sacred Heart, off wins over the two-time defending state champions Hillsboro, and top-seed Chase County, squared off with a trip to Manhattan on the line.

Both teams struggled offensively early, seemingly tight given the high-stakes, but both would settle in to a back and forth affair, with both teams holding leads in each half, but neither team would have an advantage greater than seven points.

Sacred Heart, giving up a significant bit of size on the interior to Bennington, relied as it often does on the three point shot, and Maxwell Ehrlich delivered, hitting six shots from the outside, and scoring 20 points on the game to lead all scorers. However, it would be Ehrlich who would miss the front end of a one and one in the final minute, allowing Bennington a chance to win the 2A Hillsboro Sub-State.

The Bulldogs, down just one with under 30 seconds to play, could have gone inside, as they did all night, through wither Eli Lawson, who finished the night with 18 points, or with Mister Smith, who tallied 12 in the game. Instead, guard Talan Pickering would drive inside and kick the ball out to the wing to a wide open Kian Wilson, who hit his second three of the game, giving Bennington a two-point lead with eight seconds remaining.

The Knights would counter with a guarded three point attempt from Ehrlich, and a last ditch effort from the baseline by Jason Marrs, but both shots would fall off and the Bennington Bulldogs would advance to the 2A State Tournament for the first time since 2008.

The Sacred Heart Knights season comes to a close at 13-10 on the year. Bennington improves to 19-4.




Nex-Tech Wireless Player of the Game: Eli Lawson

H & R Block of the Game: Eli Lawson



(2) Bennington – 14 – 9 – 11 – 18 / 52

(4) Sacred Heart – 12 – 7 – 19 – 12 / 50


Bennington –

Eli Lawson, 18

Mister Smith, 12

Kian Wilson, 11

Talan Pickering, 8

Payge Rodenbeek, 3


Sacred Heart –

Maxwell Ehrlich, 20

Jason Marrs, 12

Michael Matteucci, 8

Evan Bogart, 6

Jett Samuelson, 4