HHS boys roll in opener
By AUSTIN COLBERT
With 27 seconds remaining in the first quarter against Riley County on Thursday in the team's season opener, Hays High School boys' basketball coach Rick Keltner decided to call a timeout.
Despite a 25-5 lead, Keltner had a bone to pick with his offense. Keltner pointed out to the players how they had almost gone an entire quarter and the Indians' big men had essentially not touched the ball.
"A few times I was frustrated early because I don't think we were seeing our posts when they were open sometimes, and that will make us a better team," Keltner said. "I thought as the game progressed we did a great job of looking for our post guys ... I just think it's a matter of seeing and it's just part of coaching."
The Indians came out of the timeout and got a quick basket from Brady Werth, their best post player and the reigning WAC player of the year, to take a 22-point lead into the second quarter.
Despite the slow start, Werth finished with a game-high 15 points to help lead Hays High to an impressive 79-37 rout of Class 3A Riley County in the first round of the Gerald Mitchell Hays City Shoot-Out at the HHS gym.
The Indians will play Newton (1-0) in the second round tonight at 8:15 in the HHS gym. The Railers beat DeSoto 63-58 on Thursday to advance into the winners' bracket.
"I think we surely did some things tonight we need to improve on and learn from, but for an opening-night game I thought the guys played hard," Keltner said. "They tried really hard to do what we were asking them to do. I thought the effort was good. We just got to keep trying to clean things up."
The Indians blitzed the Falcons early, scoring the first nine points of the game. Most of Hays High's baskets came on easy transition plays. Keltner wants the team to play quick on offense, and the tempo proved to be much more than Riley could handle.
Hays High (1-0) kept the pace in the second quarter, outscoring the Falcons by 13 to take a 46-11 lead into the locker room.
"We've been working so hard in practice all year running and getting in shape to run," said Hays High senior guard Jordan Windholz about the brisk pace. "I like it. We score a lot of points that way and we are going to keep doing it."
Riley (0-1) was able to keep the game competitive in the second half, and was only outscored by four points in the third quarter and by three points in the fourth. The most impressive play of the game came from Riley, when sophomore Jackson Wagner hit a 3-pointer from half court at the final buzzer, which drew applause from the Hays High student section.
But it was little consolation for Riley, which will move into the loser's bracket of the tournament and face DeSoto tonight at 8:15 at Hays Middle School.
Hays High showed off its depth against Riley by having 13 different players score. The only other player in double digits after Werth was Windholz, who played in his first basketball game since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last winter.
"It was just a great feeling to have a lot of energy," Windholz said. He finished with 11 points, eight in the first half. "I didn't really think about anything. I just remembered tearing my ACL and bringing that energy into the game and just having fun."
Lane Clark and Isaiah Nunnery each had eight points for Hays High, Cash Hobson had seven, and Nathan Romme and Shane Berens had six. Wagner and Tyler Jordan each led Riley with eight points.
Hays High 79
Riley County 37
Riley County (0-1)
Wagner 2 3-4 8, Jordan 2 3-5 8, William 2 1-2 7, Nelson 2 0-0 5, Sager 2 0-0 4, Griffith 1 1-2 3, Brummett 1 0-0 2, Richard 0 0-2 0
Hays High (1-0)
Brady Werth 7 1-1 15, Jordan Windholz 5 0-1 11, Nunnery 4 0-0 8, Clark 2 2-2 8, Hobson 2 3-3 7, Romme 2 1-2 6, Berens 3 0-0 6, Niernberger 2 0-0 4, Riedel 2 0-0 4, Parker 1 1-3 4, Betts 1 0-0 2, Dryden 1 0-0 2, Jacobs 1 0-0 2
Riley County 5 6 13 13 -- 37
Hays High 27 19 17 16 -- 79
3-point goals -- Riley County 5, Hays High 5. Total fouls -- Riley County 15, Hays High 17. Fouled out -- none.