HHS wins outright WAC title
By AUSTIN COLBERT
Hays High School boys' basketball coach Rick Keltner is afraid Jordan Windholz might never pass the ball again. But after what the senior guard did on Tuesday in a 55-47 win over Dodge City at the HHS gym, that might not be such a bad thing.
"If they left me open I was feeling I was going to hit it," Windholz said. "I was just in the flow of the game hitting shots. It was pretty cool."
Windholz led all players with 26 points -- 19 coming in the first half -- and carried the Indians to a win on senior night, a win that clinched the Western Athletic Conference title for No. 2-ranked Hays High (19-0, 7-0 WAC), a first since 2006.
However, Dodge City (10-9, 4-3 WAC), last year's WAC champion, refused to go down as quietly as it did in a 55-36 loss to the Indians on Jan. 31 in Dodge City.
"I think part of it was letting the wrong guy shoot it. We didn't do a good job of finding No. 11 (Austin Weiser) and No. 22 (Jackson Oldham). They made tough shots," Keltner said. "They were the defending WAC champs and didn't want to give it up."
The game featured hot perimeter shooting from both teams. Hays High made 6 of 12 shots from 3-point range, including Windholz's 4 for 6 night. Dodge City countered by going 8 of 16 from deep, five makes coming from Weiser, who finished with a team-high 19 points.
After fighting its way to a 32-26 halftime lead, Hays High looked like it was going to run away with the contest when it built its lead to 38-29 following a Windholz 3-pointer midway through the third quarter.
That's when Dodge City decided it wasn't quite ready to give up the conference crown. The Demons responded with a 10-0 run and took a 39-38 lead late in the quarter, their first lead since 11-10.
"That was kind of a defensive struggle there for a while," Windholz said. "They hit a bunch of shots and penetrated, but I thought the defense picked it up. They were just making plays."
Hays High took a 42-41 lead into the final quarter, where it found another gear. The Indians outscored the Demons 13-6 over the final eight minutes, finishing the game by going 9 of 10 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
As a team, Hays High was 15 of 20 from the foul line, while Dodge City was 5 of 7.
Hays High junior Brady Werth was the only other player in double figures behind Windholz and Weiser, finishing with 13 points after being limited to three points at halftime.
It is the sixth WAC championship for Hays High under Keltner and third since 2001. The Indians will finish out their regular season on Friday at Great Bend with a chance to be only the third Hays High team to go undefeated in conference play.
"We've won the WAC but we still have another WAC game," Windholz said, "so we want to sweep the WAC and win one game at a time and get to that big tournament at the end."
Hays High girls let first win slip away
It was the sort of environment usually reserved for the Hays High boys' basketball team and it nearly carried the girls' team to an upset of visiting Dodge City on Tuesday.
"That was neat that the crowd was into the game and kids were excited," Hays High coach Kirk Maska said. "I thought other than shooting quick three or four possessions when we were down three points, we did everything pretty good. Our pressure was good, we got back and we did control the boards a lot better there at the end of the game and gave ourselves a chance to win."
Dodge City (10-9, 4-3 WAC) needed a 9-0 run at the end of the game to hold off the winless Indians (0-19, 0-7 WAC) after Hays High freshman Talyn Kleweno had tied the game at 32 on a 3-pointer with less than three minutes to play.
The 41-32 loss was a fry cry from the Indians' 71-28 loss at Dodge City on Jan. 21.
"Part of it might have been that they didn't press us and the game didn't get going really fast," Maska said. "I thought we adjusted to things so much better than we have all year. It just seemed like a pace we could play."
The Demons' lead never reached double digits at any point in the game, although a small run toward the end of the first half gave the feeling of a game slipping away from the Indians, who trailed 24-18 at halftime.
Hays High's deficit was eight points after Dodge City got a quick bucket to open the fourth. Then the Indians went on a run of their own, with a basket and two free throws coming from junior Mattie Schlaefli, followed by an Audra Schmeidler 3-pointer to make it 30-29 Demons.
Dodge City's Baily Shelor ended the run with her own basket before Kleweno's 3-pointer tied the game at 32.
Despite numerous chances over the final 2:30, Hays High was never able to score again, the final seven Demon points coming from the free-throw line. As a team, Dodge City was 12 of 22 from the foul line, while Hays High was only 5 of 7.
Schlaefli led Hays High with 12 points. Sophomore Jessie Harshberger led all players with 18 points for Dodge City.
"It was a great game. It was fun to coach. I hope the girls had a good time playing the game," Maska said. "Our girls rose to the occasion and the crowd got into it and the energy level was good at the end."
Hays High will visit Great Bend, No. 5 in Class 5A, on Friday at 6 p.m., boys' game to follow. Great Bend already has clinched the WAC title with its 7-0 conference record.
Hays High 55, Dodge City 47
DODGE CITY (8-11)
Austin Weiser 6-11 2-2 19, Williams 4-8 1-2 9, Oldham 3-6 0-0 8, Larson 2-5 0-0 5, Walters 1-5 0-0 2, Unruh 1-1 0-1 2, McGroarty 0-0 2-2 2, Sands 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 17-38 5-7 47.
HAYS HIGH (19-0)
Jordan Windholz 8-14 6-7 26, Brady Werth 4-7 5-7 13, Clark 2-6 0-0 5, Niernberger 1-5 2-2 4, Nunnery 1-2 0-2 3, Parker 0-1 2-2 2, Riedel 1-4 0-0 2, Rounkles 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-40 15-20 55.
Dodge City 13 13 15 6 -- 47
Hays High 14 18 10 13 -- 55
3-point goals -- Dodge City 8-16 (Weiser 5), Hays High 6-12 (Windholz 4). Rebounds -- Dodge City 21, Hays High 22. Turnovers -- Dodge City 21, Hays High 11. Fouls -- Dodge City 16, Hays High 11. Fouled out -- none.
Dodge City 41, Hays High 32
DODGE CITY 10-9)
Jessie Harshberger 8-22 2-7 18, B. Bradshaw 3-8 2-2 8, Sain 1-8 3-3 6, Shelor 2-6 1-2 5, Durler 0-0 3-5 3, Nichols 0-4 1-2 1, Maple 0-0 0-1 0, T. Bradshaw 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 13-48 12-22 41.
Hays HIGH (0-19)
Mattison Schlaefli 4-11 3-3 12, Schmeidler 1-3 2-2 5, Wells 2-7 0-2 4, Kleweno 1-5 0-0 3, George 1-3 0-0 2, Groen-Younger 1-3 0-0 2, Schoendaller 1-2 0-0 2, Dinkel 1-3 0-0 2, Smith 0-6 0-0 0. Totals 12-43 5-7 32.
Dodge City 9 15 4 13 -- 41
Hays High 7 11 4 10 -- 32
3-point goals -- Dodge City 1-8 (Sain), Hays High 3-15. Rebounds -- Dodge City 34, Hays High 26. Turnovers -- Dodge City 14, Hays High 18. Fouls -- Dodge City 7, Hays High 20. Fouled out -- none.