DODGE CITY — Well, it was just a matter of which dog had a bigger bite.
And in this case, it was the No. 1-seeded Northern Valley Huskies that sent the Waverly Bulldogs back home to their kennel.
Yes, it was just that kind of lopsided dogfight.
From 13-6 to 30-12 and beyond, Northern Valley’s Huskies just about did anything and everything they wanted en route to a 63-22 rout of Waverly to open their quest for a Class 1A Division II state crown.
The victory improved the No. 1-seeded Huskies record to 23-1 and they will advance to Friday’s semifinals, a 4:45 p.m. match-up with the winner of the South Barber-Otis-Bison game.
There wasn’t much that went right for the Bulldogs and there wasn’t much that went wrong for the Huskies.
Junior Riley Sides, the Huskies’ long-range bomber, had his sights set in as he bombarded the Bulldogs with 22 points, including going 6 of 12 from behind the arc, short of his career best nine treys during his sophomore season.
“It didn’t feel that much different than some of the places we’ve played,” Sides said afterward of the spacious United Wireless Arena. “I thought we’d play well, but I don’t think you expect this.”
Unlike the regular season games, there was no running clock when the Huskies went up 42-12 with just more than five minutes left in the third quarter when, who else, Sides hit one of his deadly trifectas.
“We were able to start hitting our shots and got the jitters out,” said Sides, who was 8 of 19 from the field overall. He was the lone Husky to be in double figures. Eight different players got into the scoring column for coach Chuck Fessenden.
“Offensively, we didn’t shoot the ball all that well in the first half, but then we got off to a good start in the third quarter,” Fessenden said of the Huskies’ 18-0 start to the second half. “We switched up our press and were able to get some turnovers and turned them into easy points.”
Fessenden, who had expressed concern about Waverly’s height and a tough regular season schedule, was stunned at the lopsided victory.
“Couldn’t have imagined this at all,” he said. “Real surprised. I thought we’d have trouble with their big kids. Now that we’ve gotten familiar with the big arena, we can relax and get ready for Friday.”
Waverly’s scoring troubles were really exhibited when they went from the 4:52 mark of the second quarter to the 2:12 mark of the third without a point. It was a free throw by Jonathan Lee that broke the drought. By then, though, it was just a matter of how big the margin would grow.
Jolon Lacey had 9 points to lead the Bulldogs.
The Huskies finished the game hitting 21 of 49 shots for 42.9 percent, including 12 of 21 (57 percent) in the second half. Waverly finished 9 of 37, a chilly 24.3 percent and were 0 for 8 from behind the arc.
Northern Valley finished with a 36-23 rebounding advantage as Caden Bach pulled down 10 boards. Waverly turned the ball over 18 times which converted into 37 points for the Huskies. The Huskies, meanwhile, committed just 8 turnovers. Of the 21 made baskets, Northern Valley assisted on 14 of them, with Sides accounting for 5 of those.
It was pretty much all Huskies from the opening tip as they jumped out to a 5-1 early advantage and then went on an 8-0 run and eventually finished the first quarter up 13-6.
Waverly, coming in as a decided underdog as the No. 8 seed and an 8-14 record, hung around early in the second, trailing just 16-10 and 19-12.
Then the Huskies took command, scoring the final 11 points of the period and went in at intermission in control by a 30-12 count.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well in the first half, the Huskies going 9 of 28 for 32.1 percent while the Bulldogs were just 5 of 15 for 33.3 percent.
Turnovers played a big role as the ‘Dogs coughed it up 10 times to just two for the Huskies. Northern Valley turned those 10 turnovers in 17 points.
Sides also came up big for the Huskies to give them command, hitting a trio of treys and scoring 11 points to lead the team. Had Drew Pyle not hit three baskets, the Bulldogs might have trailed by even more. Northern Valley also was dominant on the boards, owning a 19-12 margin.
Waverly ends its season at 8-15.