Hays High girls lose track of Hugoton after solid start

Rick Peterson Jr.
rpeterson@dailynews.net
Hays High's Morgan Engel looks to score inside on Thursday against Hugoton.

New Hays High girls basketball coach Len Melvin entered his first game confident the Indians would play with energy and enthusiasm.

That was evident early, with Hays High playing Hugoton to an 8-8 tie after the first quarter play.

The Eagles, ranked No. 6 in Class 3A, proved too much for Hays High in the second half, pulling away for a season-opening 47-26 win on Thursday in the Gerald Mitchell Shootout.

But Melvin couldn’t fault his team’s effort.

“I had a good feeling the kids were going to work their tails off, and I knew we were going to play with a lot of energy,” Melvin said. “Sometimes you get too caught up in the moment to start doing the right things, and that’s really what it boiled down to

“(Hugoton’s) a really good team.”

The Indians’ contained the Eagles early, tying it up at 8 after back-to-back buckets from Morgan Engel. Hays was within six (21-15) at halftime.

However, the Indians struggled all night to gain offensive traction, and Hugoton caught fire offensively to pull away.

“We were down 23-17 and we had three possessions to chip away and we had some bad passes, traveled once,” Melvin said. “We just started hanging our head a little bit and didn’t respond to that adversity. But you know what, they played their tails off.”

Overall, Melvin thought the Indians turned in a strong showing defensively.

“Two and a half to three quarters, I was ecstatic,” Melvin said. “The other part I thought we just had some silly breakdowns that I fully expect to happen for a month or two. They’re learning a whole new system defensively.”

Engel, a 5-foot-6 sophomore, was a bright spot offensively, scoring 10 to lead the Indians.

“I was excited about Morgan,” Melvin said. “She didn’t do anything that surprised me because I know what she’s capable of, and she’s going to get better along the way.”

Hays High’s bench remained highly engaged the entire game, something Melvin said the team is stressing.

“We’re really trying to change a culture,” Melvin said. “We’re after developing a culture of people that believe in themselves and believe in each other, and that’s what that environment was about.”

Sophomore Mikyn Hamlin scored a game-high 25 points while sophomore Summya Adigan added 11 points.

The Indians will play Life Prep at 6:30 p.m. Friday at HHS.

Hugoton girls 47, Hays High 26

Hugoton;8;13;12;14;—;47

Hays;8;7;5;6;—;26

Hugoton (1-0) — McClure 2 0-2 6, Mc. Hamlin 0-0 0-0 0, Vos 1 1-2 3, Beard 1 0-0 2, Mi. Hamlin 8 5-5 23. Slocum 0 2-2 2, Amerin 0-0 0-0 0, Sdigun 0-0 0-0 0, Haar 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16 10-17 47.

Hays (0-1) — Lang 1 1-2 5, Humphrey 0 1-4 1, Ruder 2 1-5 5, Lummus 1 0-0 2, Engel 5 0-0 10, Green 0 0-0 0, Flax 0 0-0 0, Ke 0 0-0 0, Dotts 0 0-0 0, Melvin 0 0-0 0, Sennett 0 0-0 0, Zimmerman 1 0-0 2. Totals 11 4-14 26.

3-point goals — Hugoton 5 (McClure 2, Hamlin 2, Adigun). Total fouls — Hugoton 12, Hays 15. Fouled out -- none.