Indian girls start strong, fall to Colby
By AUSTIN COLBERT
Kirk Maska has seen it -- the team that defends well and attacks the basket on offense. The Hays High School girls' basketball coach sees it daily in practice, and he saw it in the first quarter of Thursday's matchup with Colby at the HHS gym.
"I've watched them in practice and I know we can shot and I think we got out and we hit a couple and we had some confidence," Maska said. "Then, they started thinking about it when we started missing a little bit in the second quarter. But I was pleased with the progress we've made and I'm proud of how the girls played."
The Indians looked nothing like the team that went 0-3 at the Gerald Mitchell Hays City Shootout last week after taking a 9-2 lead on Colby, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A Division II. The defense forced a turnover on the first possession and the offense came right back with a quick basket, a driving layup by junior Mattison Schlaefli.
Schlaefli struck again a few possessions later with another basket and free throw, and sophomore Taylor Groen-Younger followed with a basket to give Hays High a surprising 9-2 edge.
Hays High led 11-10 after a quarter, but saw its offense come to a grinding halt the rest of the way and Colby escaped with a 32-22 win.
"I think we got a little bit tired," Maska said. "We got tired and made some silly mistakes and had some silly fouls. A team that shoots as well as they do, it's tough to get them in a situation where you foul them at the end because they don't miss. We just have to keep at it."
After scoring 11 points in the first quarter, Hays High (0-4) managed only three points in the second quarter and trailed 18-14 at halftime. The third quarter was woeful for both teams, with the Eagles outscoring the Indians 5-2 in the quarter.
Nonetheless, Hays High remained in striking distance down only 23-16 heading into the fourth quarter. But this changed quickly when Colby got a couple of 3-point plays in the early parts of the quarter, the first a 3-pointer by Jacquiline Paredes and the second a basket and free throw by Brandy Pfeifer.
Hays High scored six points in the final quarter but couldn't get enough shots to fall.
The Indians were 9 of 27 shooting for the game, 0 for 3 from 3-point range. Colby shot an even worse percentage, going 11 of 37 from the field, but did make four 3-pointers on 17 attempts.
The Indians were 4 of 14 from the free-throw line.
"If we had made free throws it probably would have been a little tighter ball game, but I was pleased that 80 percent of the time we took care of the ball," Maska said. "We just got to get better on the offensive end and we got to find some kids that will take the shot. I don't think we want to shoot right now."
Senior Haley Wells led the Indians with eight points.
Senior Haileigh Shull was the only player for either team in double figures, leading Colby with 13 points.
In four games this season, Hays High has only made it out of the 20s on one occasion, a 47-40 loss to Thomas More Prep-Marian on Saturday.
TMP was also the only team the Indians have faced this season that wasn't ranked. The other three opponents -- Riley County, De Soto and Colby -- are all currently ranked in their respective classes.
The Indians will play at Junction City on Tuesday, their first road game this season.
"We got to get our head up when we are dribbling the ball," Maska said. "We got to stop taking it into the talls and pull up and shoot the jumper. We got to make a little better decisions and the people without the ball need to start moving better.
"But I was pleased with their performance," he added. "I thought they made huge strides from the tournament."