Tough to keep up with Wallace County; Wildcats win
Published on -3/3/2013, 3:29 PM
By KLINT SPILLER
COLBY -- It's a rare night when a player scores nearly 30 points and grabs nearly 20 rebounds, and his team loses by 24 points.
That's what the Sharon Springs-Wallace County boys' basketball team does to teams, though. The Wildcats' high-tempo, electric pace puts up huge numbers and wears teams down.
Wallace County, ranked No. 5 in Class 1A Division II, simply outran Weskan on Friday at the Colby Community Building, winning 79-55.
Weskan senior forward Samuel McKinney put up prolific numbers: 29 points and 18 rebounds, but so did Wallace County. Four Wildcats reached double figures, and two scored nine.
"We can put some points up," said Wallace County head coach Larry O'Connor.
Bird City-Cheylin won the nightcap Friday, defeating the Triplains-Brewster Titans 41-26, and was set to face Wallace County for the sub-state championship Saturday night in the Colby Community Building.
Cheylin head coach Anthony Blair said it will be a challenge to keep up with the Wildcats, but one he thinks his squad is prepared for.
"If we can shut them down and make them shoot shots they usually don't shoot and contest every single shot, we can take them out of their game and make them play ours and we'd have a much better chance," Blair said.
Wallace County used fast breaks and dribble drives to find easy baskets, mixing in short-range jumpers to keep Weskan off balance. The Wildcats ended the night, making 25 of 50 shots and 27 of 30 free throws.
Senior guard Gavin Mote led Wallace County with 21 points and 10 rebounds -- both team highs. Junior Cayden Daily added 15 points, and senior Eli Kuhlman and sophomore Nate Klinge added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Mote admitted the pace can be exhausting.
"I'm tired, but the excitement of winning a basketball game overrides the tiredness right now," he said.
Weskan made 75 shot attempts but only converted 22 of them. However, the Coyotes got that many attempts because of how well they did on the offensive glass. Of Weskan's 40 total rebounds, 25 were offensive rebounds.
McKinney had a tremendous game, but the rest of his team struggled to score. Only junior Hayden Walker joined him in double figures, adding 10 points, but it took a 3-of-16 shooting day to do it.
Mote said it's because of their pace that makes it difficult for opposing teams to be efficient.
"That's the coach's philosophy," Mote said. "He wants to get up and down the floor and run people out of the gym. Come that second, third, fourth quarter, people are starting to wear out and jump shots aren't falling. That's why we like to run it."
In Cheylin's victory, the Cougars took a different approach. They were cautious and utilized set offenses and a firm zone defense to throw off Triplains-Brewster.
Cheylin held the Titans to 10-of-55 shooting, and Cheylin senior guard Kenan Reeh, senior center Joshua Keltz and junior forward Walker Janicke had solid games.
Keltz led the way with 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting, 11 rebounds and five blocks -- all game highs. Reeh scored 17 points, and Janicke added six points and 11 rebounds.
"We came off a week and a half of not playing," Blair said.
"We played last Tuesday. I tell you what we are playing really well. I just told the kids to execute. I thought we did a pretty good job."
After the game, Cheylin met at halfcourt and had a post-game huddle -- a tradition the team has created this season.
Reeh said though they played well Friday, his team spoke about how they needed to play better Saturday.
"We haven't played anybody quite that fast," Reeh said. "We've played Weskan, but Sharon, you can see even tonight they were just that much quicker getting down the floor. It is really going to test how fast we can go."