HHS wins, will play for sub-state title
By AUSTIN COLBERT
Hays High School senior guard Kyler Niernberger called the Indians' first quarter performance against visiting Wichita West "soft," with junior forward Brady Werth being the most yielding.
"Then coach got on him a little bit and told him to be tougher, and post up stronger," Niernberger said. "Once he did that, he figured it out and played his game, got his points."
Werth had 15 points by halftime and finished with a game-high 19 to lead the Indians past West 68-43 on Wednesday in the their Class 5A sub-state semifinal game at the HHS gym.
The win advances top-seeded Hays High (21-0) into Friday's sub-state championship game against fourth-seed Wichita-Bishop Carroll (8-13). Carroll is coming off a 67-41 win over Great Bend on Wednesday.
Game time is 7 p.m. at Hays High School.
The Indians will likely need a better performance against Carroll than it had against West (3-18) on Wednesday. Hays High needed two and a half minutes to score its first basket, committed 18 turnovers and gave up eight 3-pointers to the Pioneers.
But once they got over their early nerves, the Indians were able to control most of the game.
"It's time to quit being nervous, that's for sure," Hays High coach Rick Keltner said. "I thought we turned it over, but in tournament play it's about trying to get better as the game progresses. And I thought we did that."
West managed to hang right with the Indians late into the first quarter, trailing 14-11 after a Chaz Capps 3-pointer. Then Hays High went on a 10-0 run straddling the quarters, including four points in the final 2.2 seconds of the first quarter.
Werth scored 11 of his 19 points in the second quarter and by halftime Hays High had built a 41-23 lead.
"I think we were just a little nervous coming out. It was our opening game, but once we got all the jitters out of us we started showing that we can play," said Hays High senior Clayton Riedel, who finished with 13 points off the bench.
"Anything I can contribute to the team. Coming off the bench, I think it's a big boost to the team if I score points and get rebounds. Help the team out in any way I can."
Hays High outscored West 13-5 in the third quarter and took its largest lead at 56-28 a Werth basket into the fourth quarter.
The Indians shot 56.5 percent (26 of 46) from the field, compared to 25.9 percent (14 of 54) by West, including 5 of 10 from 3-point range. The Pioneers were 8 of 20 from deep.
West was missing four players, which had been suspended for taking part in a brawl during the team's last game.
Outside of Werth and Riedel, senior Jordan Windholz also finished in double figures for Hays High with 15 points. Capps led West with 10 points.
"I think we were a little bit anxious to come out and play. We really didn't show up and play to what we thought we were going to, but we settled down later and played our game," Niernberger said.
"It feels good (to win). It really boosts our confidence knowing that it's just one less game to get to the goal, which is state. It feels great to always win."
Hays High 68, Wichita West 43
Chaz Capps 4-11 0-0 10, Farris 2-4 3-4 9, Moore 2-8 2-2 8, Money 2-14 2-4 6, Rodriguez 2-6 0-0 6, M. Mitchell 1-6 0-0 2, T. Mitchell 1-3 0-0 2, Mboob 0-1 0-0 0, Horton 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-54 7-10 43.
HAYS HIGH (21-0)
Brady Werth 9-13 1-3 19, Jordan Windholz 4-10 4-6 15, Clayton Riedel 5-10 2-3 13, Nunnery 3-4 2-4 8, Clark 2-4 2-2 7, Niernberger 2-2 0-0 4, Parker 1-2 0-1 2, Rounkles 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 26-46 11-21 68.
West 11 12 5 15 -- 43
Hays High 20 21 13 14 -- 68
3-point goals -- West 8-20, Hays High 5-10 (Windholz 3). Rebounds -- West 28, Hays High 33. Turnovers -- West 20, Hays High 18. Fouls -- West 21, Hays High 8. Fouled out -- none.