Indians protect the ball in blowout road win
By KLINT SPILLER
COLBY -- With the Hays High School boys' basketball team's fast-paced, up-and-down style of play, turnovers are practically inevitable.
In fact, the Indians (4-0) have averaged 19.3 turnovers per game, despite winning all of their games by an average of 21.3 points.
But that wasn't the case Thursday at Colby (0-4).
Hays High had just three turnovers in its lopsided 63-29 road victory.
It was a season low by a good margin. Hays High had 13 turnovers in its first-round 69-23 victory against Colby at the Shoot-Out and then had 20 and 25 turnovers in its next two.
"Like I said, 63 points and three turnovers, I'll take that as progress," Hays High head coach Rick Keltner said. "We just have to keep getting better."
The Indians dominated the contest from the get-go, making 6 of their first 9 shots to take an early 15-7 lead. Hays High never let up after that.
Junior shooting guard Lane Clark led Hays High with 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting and 3 of 5 from beyond the arc.
However, it was a team effort for Hays High.
With their fast-paced offense and aggressive defense, Keltner rotated his subs in frequently, and 14 Indians played and 11 scored.
Senior small forward Nick Petz, who started in place of injured senior Derek Bixenman (ankle), scored 11 points. Junior guard Jordan Windholz added 10, and sophomore center Brady Werth had nine on 4-of-4 shooting.
"We've got a great bench," Clark said. "Everyone can play to everybody's standards. We are well rounded. Everybody's good."
The Indians got out rebounded 27 to 24, but Hays High forced 21 turnovers and gave up only three, which allowed the Indians to take 15 more shots than Colby.
Keltner said the coaches have emphasized ball control.
"Without a doubt, the expression that I didn't author, but 'throw the first easy pass you see,' " Keltner said. "... Every time you have the ball, you've got options. You can try to thread the needle to someone, or you can throw the pass to the guy that is open."
Though Hays High got out rebounded, senior forward Adam Deterding had a solid day, grabbing nine boards.
"I've seen Adam make some pressure-performance plays in a lot of sports," Keltner said. "He's a guy I've told if he just gets rebounds for us, it will help our team."
Colby used much fewer players than Hays High. The Eagles' starters saw the vast majority of the minutes, and quarter by quarter, Hays High exponentially increased its lead.
The Eagles struggled with Hays High's size inside. They finished just 7 of 21 from 2-point range, and the Indians harassed them with five blocks.
Colby junior guard Luke Cox posted 11 points and a team-high six rebounds, and senior guard Todd Kane had 12 points.
Meanwhile, Hays High shot 21 of 45 from the field.
"This was our first experience as road warriors," Keltner said. "... I thought we traveled well, but we've got to keep getting better."
On Tuesday, Hays High returns home to face Class 6A Junction City.
Last season, the Blue Jays trounced the Indians 66-38 in Junction City.
Keltner just hopes their good habits against Colby stretches to Tuesday.
"We are going to try to be better than we were last year," Keltner said. "We turned the ball over way too many times last year."