Hays High boys rebound with win
By BRETT MARSHALL
Special to The Hays Daily News
GARDEN CITY -- Hays High School boys' basketball coach Rick Keltner harped on his team's rebounding ineptness enough since the Indians' loss on Tuesday to Abilene that it finally sunk in with his team.
Rebounding was the key factor in the Indians' 45-36 Friday night victory against the Garden City's Buffaloes at the New Garden.
The Indians were so dominant that 6-foot-6 sophomore Brady Werth's 14 rebounds nearly equaled the output of the entire Garden City team, which finished with just 19 caroms. Werth's total was part of a 41-19 dominance off the glass.
"The kids did the board work tonight," Keltner said in what might have been the understatement of the night.
"They're a good group of kids. We've had to overcome some things and I thought the kids who were out on the court tonight, played their tails off."
The Indians were without one of their top players in Jordan Windholz, sidelined with an ACL tear and they also were missing 6-5 forward Adam Deterding, who was on a recruiting trip for track and field to the University of Oklahoma.
"It was a much different type of game than when we played them at home," Keltner said of the 74-54 Hays High win on Jan. 11. "Defensively, I thought both teams played hard and got after each other."
Werth came up big, too, finishing with a double-double off 19 points and 14 rebounds.
"Werth is very solid and he knows how to post up and we didn't have much of an answer for him," Garden City coach Jacy Holloway said. "Hays did a better job on the offensive end, they were more aggressive and that was pretty much the difference."
Neither team showed much scoring inclination in the first half.
Hays High led just 8-6 at the first-quarter break, and it was a 17-13 ho-hum Indian advantage at halftime.
"We were able to get some things going better in the second half to get us a little bit of breathing room," Keltner said.
Indeed, the Indians equaled their first-half output in the third quarter alone, outscoring the Buffs 17-13 to take a 34-26 lead into the final eight minutes. After clinging to a 27-26 lead with 2:22 left in the third, the Indians closed out the period on a 7-0 run, five of those coming from Werth and Derek Bixenman nailed a runner from the baseline.
The Indians built their lead to 10 at 41-31 before Garden made its final push, cutting the lead to 41-36 with 42 seconds remaining. Kade Parker and Nick Petz, though, finished the win off by making two free throws each.
Petz joined Werth in double figures with 11 points. Caleb Tramp was the lone player in double figures for the Buffaloes with 10 points.
Hays High improved its season record to 12-6 overall and 4-2 in the WAC while Garden City slipped to 12-7 overall and 3-4 in the WAC.
The Indians are on the road Tuesday to league-leading Dodge City. The Red Demons have a one-game lead on the Indians. A win Tuesday would tie Hays High and Dodge City for the lead with one game left.