HHS boys win wild one on road
By AUSTIN COLBERT
SALINA -- Hays High School senior guard Lane Clark compared junior forward Brady Werth's second half to hitting puberty again. Indian coach Rick Keltner saw it as more of a Rocky Balboa situation.
After being held scoreless in the first half on Tuesday at No. 9 Salina Central, it was Werth's dominance over the final two quarters that rallied the Indians from a 13-point deficit to sneak past the Mustangs 51-50 in overtime to remain undefeated on the season.
"Brady is kind of like a heavyweight fighter. He gets worked over early and he got stronger as the game went on," Keltner said.
"I'm just proud of their heart and I'm sure going into the fourth quarter down nine there were some folks that wanted to count us out. Win or lose, I was proud of their effort in the fourth quarter. I'm very thankful we were fortunate enough to win."
Despite going 0-for-3 from the field in the first half, Werth finished with 12 points, eight coming in the third quarter. The Indians' largest deficit was 31-18 a couple minutes into the second half and it was an alley-oop dunk by Werth from senior guard Jordan Windholz that ignited a 13-3 Hays High run to get the Indians back in the game.
"We just had to keep our heads up and play smart. That will win you the game," Werth said. "We weren't running our offense in the first half. We weren't getting the ball inside and kicking it. The second half we ran set plays and just got the ball moving."
What really made the difference in the game was second-half defense for the Indians. Hays High trailed 44-36 with 3:02 to play in regulation before a pair of Werth free throws cut it to six points.
From there, the Indians' defense clamped down and led an improbable comeback over the final 90 seconds. Hays High scored six points in succession after forcing the Mustangs into multiple turnovers and in a matter of seconds had erased the deficit and forced overtime.
"We picked up our intensity," Clark said. "We marked some shooters. They hit some big shots in the first half -- and the second half -- but we did a better job of guarding the shooters. Inside they couldn't get past Brady."
A Windholz basket to open the overtime period gave Hays High its first lead since 14-11 late in the first quarter. The Indians' defense continued to stymy Central's offense until a 3-pointer by senior Max Kuhn -- one of nine made 3s by Central -- gave the Mustangs a 50-49 lead with 53.5 seconds to play.
Needing a clutch play, Keltner put the ball in the hands of his most clutch player. Clark, who has hit more than one game-winning shot in his career, was able to split a pair of Mustang defenders to put himself in position for any easy go-ahead layup.
"I was ticked at him because he missed a shot at the end of regulation," Keltner joked of Clark, who missed what would have been the game-winning 3-pointer at the end of the fourth quarter. "He's made a lot of game winners in his life so I was going to banish him from practice. Then he makes that shot ... what a competitor."
Central was left with 15.2 seconds following a timeout and tried to go inside with the ball, but back-to-back blocks by the Indians led to a deep, contested 3-pointer by freshman Brayden Neuschafer at the buzzer that never came close.
Windholz led Hays High, 14-0 and No. 2 in Class 5A, with 17 points, while Clark finished with 10.
Junior forward Jordan McNelly and senior guard Treyton Hines each had 15 points to lead Central (8-6).
Tuesday's game was the first for Hays High in 11 days after its Feb. 4 contest against Salina South was postponed to Feb. 22 due to weather. The rust showed early against Central, which finished the first half on a 21-2 run to lead 27-16 at the break after trailing 14-6 in the first quarter.
"You don't tell kids that layoffs scare you, but layoffs scare me. We came out and started OK, then the layoff hit us. We took horrible shots," Keltner said. "I thought the second half we definitely executed better and the kids did it a possession at a time instead of all at once. I'm very proud of them."
Hays High girls can't keep up with Central
The Hays High School girls' basketball team knew exactly what Salina Central, No. 1 in Class 5A, was going to do against them on Tuesday. The Indians emulated the Mustangs' pressure defense in practice over the last week and it paid off early in the game.
"I was proud of our girls in the first four minutes ... the girls did a nice job of breaking the press," Hays High coach Kirk Maska said. "We got down there and got a couple of shots, they just didn't go in. I think about the three or four minute mark it's still five to three and they change up things and we didn't adjust. But I thought our effort was good tonight."
However, the pressure would eventually get to the Indians. A 5-3 deficit midway through the first quarter quickly turned into 17-5 after a quarter and 36-11 by halftime. Hays High (0-14) committed 19 first-half turnovers and 32 for the game en route to an 83-19 loss to Central (14-0).
Sophomore Audra Schmeidler led Hays High with six points, four more coming from junior Mattison Schlaefli. Central had four players finish in double figures, led by senior guard Brooke Peters' 17 points. Shaelyn Martin and Emily Wood each had 16.
"They were so much quicker than us and they moved so much better than us. They are a fun team to watch," Maska said. "There is a reason they are as good as they are and they play hard and they work hard and it shows."
Hays High will dive back into WAC action on Friday with a trip to Liberal. The girls' game will start at 6 p.m., boys' game to follow.
Hays High 51
Salina Central 50 (OT)
HAYS HIGH (14-0)
Jordan Windholz 6-13 4-7 17, Brady Werth 5-11 2-4 12, Lane Clark 4-6 0-0 10, Niernberger 2-2 0-2 4, Parker 2-4 0-0 4, Dryden 1-1 0-0 2, Nunnery 1-3 0-0 2, Riedel 0-4 0-0 0, Rounkles 0-0 0-0 0, Berens 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-44 6-13 51.
SALINA CENTRAL (8-6)
Jordan McNelly 5-9 5-8 15, Treyton Hines 5-9 0-0 15, Brayden Neuschafer 3-5 2-2 11, Kuhn 1-7 1-2 4, Allen 1-2 0-0 2, Robl 1-1 0-2 2, Johnson 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 16-32 9-16 50.
Hays High 14 2 17 11 7 -- 51
Central 14 13 13 4 6 -- 50
3-point goals -- Hays High 3-14 (Clark 2-3), Central 9-19 (Hines 5-9). Rebounds -- Hays High 18, Central 16. Turnovers -- Hays High 9, Central 12. Fouls -- Hays High 19, Central 17. Fouled out -- Robl, Central.
Salina Central 83,
Hays High 19
HAYS HIGH (0-14)
Schmeidler 2-6 2-2 6, Schlaefli 2-9 0-1 4, Russell 0-2 3-4 3, Schoendaller 1-2 1-5 3, Becker 1-3 0-0 2, Wells 0-2 1-2 1, Pfeifer 0-0 0-0 0, George 0-0 0-0 0, Kleweno 0-1 0-0 0, Dinkel 0-0 0-0 0, Keller 0-2 0-0 0, Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Peckham 0-0 0-0 0, Younger 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 6-27 7-14 19.
SALINA CENTRAL (14-0)
Brooke Peters 7-12 2-2 17, Emily Wood 5-13 2-2 16, Shaelyn Martin 6-14 3-6 16, Bailey Driver 4-5 2-6 10, Mayfield 2-6 1-5 5, Hamilton 2-3 1-1 5, Morris 2-8 1-2 5, Bradshaw 2-4 0-0 4, Carlgren 1-4 0-0 3, Knoth 1-2 0-0 2, Myers 0-0 0-0 0, Hauserman 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 32-72 12-24 83.
Hays High 5 6 1 7 -- 19
Central 17 19 18 29 -- 83
3-point goals -- Hays High 0-4, Central 7-17 (Wood 4-8). Rebounds -- Hays High 23, Central 39. Turnovers -- Hays High 32, Central 9. Fouls -- Hays High 18, Central 15. Fouled out -- none.