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Rough start for HHS girls

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

Maybe it came against the bulk of Riley County's bench, and maybe the Falcons had let off the gas pedal quite a bit, but the Hays High School girls' basketball team found something to grasp ahold of by only being outscored by a point in the second half on Thursday in the first round of the Gerald Mitchell Hays City Shoot-Out.

"I was pleased with the way we came out the second half and had good effort," Hays High coach Kirk Maska said. "We were just trying to make it closer and get on the board and get some kids to relax a little bit. I thought we had a better second quarter. The second half was a nice surprise."

The first half was a whole different story. Hays High only had one field goal in the first quarter -- a basket by junior Mattison Schlaefli -- and it came nearly five minutes into the game. The Indians trailed 16-2 after a quarter and 34-8 after a half and fell to Riley County, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A in the preseason KBCA polls, 54-27 in the season opener at the HHS gym.

Maska was hoping for a better start from his players, but knew nerves had a chance to get the best of them. With virtually no experience to lean on against one of the better teams in the state, the Indians played timid early on and it cost them in the first half.

"I thought we passed up shots early and kept moving the ball and had some turnovers that we probably shouldn't have had because we probably should have put up a shot before then," Maska said. "The hustle was there in the first period. A lot of it was wasted effort doing things they didn't necessarily need to do."

The Indians were able to make the game more competitive in the second half by getting aggressive and attacking the basket. Five of the Indians seven points in the third quarter came from free throws, while eight of their 12 fourth-quarter points also came from the foul line.

Hays High (0-1) only made six field goals in the game.

"I really thought we were going to take the ball to the hole and shoot a little bit more like we did in the second period," Maska said. "We've been shooting free throws good so we've been stressing to get the ball to the hole and get fouled. And it was evident in the second half. We took it and got some free throws and it got us creeping back into the game a little bit."

Schaefli led the Indians with nine points, seven of which came from the free-throw line. Hays High was 15 of 25 from the foul line.

Riley County (1-0) was led by Madison Vargo and her 15 points on five made 3-pointers. The Falcons made nine 3-pointers as a team. Makayla Vargo also finished in double digits with11 points for Riley County.

The Indians will play DeSoto tonight at 6:30 at Hays Middle School in the loser's bracket. DeSoto lost to Newton 46-44 on Thursday. Riley County moves on to face Newton in the winner's bracket tonight at 6:30 at Hays High School.

"I expected us to kind of do what we did," Maska said about the start of Thursday's game. "But the last three periods I thought everybody came in and had some bright spots and contributed a little bit. We just got to get kids more into roles and figure out exactly what their jobs on the court are and I think we will be competitive."

Riley County 54

Hays High 27

Riley County (1-0)

Madison Vargo 5 0-0 15, Makayla Vargo 5 1-2 11, Clouse 2 2-2 7, Oliver 2 0-0 6, H. Prockish 2 2-5 6, Thomson 2 0-0 5, T. Prockish 1 0-0 2, Kulp 1 0-2 2

Hays High (0-1)

Schaefli 1 7-12 9, Wells 2 0-0 4, Younger 1 2-5 4, Dinkel 0 3-4 3, Schoendaller 0 2-2 2, Peckham 1 0-0 2, Smith 1 0-0 2, George 0 1-2 1

Riley County 16 18 8 12 -- 54

Hays High 2 6 7 12 -- 27

3-point goals -- Riley County 9 (Madison Vargo 5), Hays High 0. Total fouls -- Riley County 19, Hays High 15.