The flood gates opened not long after the opening tip.
When senior guard Ethan Nunnery sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key, it was the start of another big quarter for the Hays High School boys’ basketball team.
The Indians put up 32 points in the first period, then kept pressure on in an 84-45 victory that featured a running clock in the fourth quarter.
Nunnery’s triple was the first of six for the Indians in the first quarter. That output totaled half of the treys Hays High made in the game as they raced out to a 32-10 lead.
“It was really fun,” said senior Cole Murphy, who had eight of his 14 points in the first quarter — including two 3-pointers. “We got to get out fast and run, and it shows we are good shooters and everything.”
Murphy added two more triples in the game, one each in the third and fourth quarters. But he wasn’t the only Indian to score in double figures.
Senior Kyler Koenke added 14 points himself, and senior Peyton Kieffer and junior Tradgon McCrae each had 13.
“I like the way they’re playing, and they’re playing fast,” said HHS coach Rick Keltner. “I like to play fast. Some years you are pretty similar in size, but I think we have some kids that can get out and run. And we’ve got some big kids that can run well. We just have to get stronger.”
Kieffer and Koenke combined for 12 of the Indians’ 21 points in the second quarter as HHS raced out to a 53-27 lead at the break.
“I think we needed it after coming off a tough loss to Junction going into the second half of the season” Murphy said about a narrow defeat on the road Tuesday.
Nunnery, who finished with nine points, added a pair of 3’s in the third quarter, and McCrae scored seven of this points in the period as Hays High (4-2) led 77-37 entering the final period.
It was the largest lead of the game for the Indians, who are ranked No. 10 in Class 4A Division I in the latest KBCA poll.
“I’m excited with them,” Keltner said. “ … But I really am happy with the effort and progression. The kids have really bought in to playing fast. We want to be a dangerous team. I told the guys we don’t want to be boring. I’m not going to make any guarantees, but I know we’re not going to be boring.”
Thirteen different HHS players scored in the game.
Junior Xavier Slaven led Colby with 12 points.
“I was really glad. We’ve got good shooters, and I think we’ve played well on the road,” Keltner said. “But in the Shootout in our gym, we played Olathe North and they ended up being the eventual champion and beat Aquinas by 20 — proved they are a pretty good team. I didn’t think we shot that well that game, were trying too hard. Some of these guys are inexperienced at the varsity level, and they were trying too hard. Now we can be really dangerous on any given night. We’ve got some things to work on, but it’s awesome.”