Hays High boys use big second quarter to power past Liberal

Special to Hays Daily News

The Hays High boys basketball team used a big second quarter to pull away from Liberal in Friday night’s Western Athletic Conference opener. The Indians then poured it on in the second half for a 62-34 win at the HHS gym.

Hays High's Jace Linenberger shoots inside on Friday during the Indians' win against Liberal.

Hays High led by a single point after the first eight minutes but outscored the Redskins 25-7 over the next eight minutes to take a 36-17 halftime lead. Junior forward Jace Linenberger scored 18 of his game-high 20 points in the first half.

“That wasn’t a point of emphasis or a matchup we wanted to attack,” Hays High coach Alex Hutchins said of Linenberger’s fast start. “We really believe in playing through our posts. We really believe in them getting touches inside, and think that creates a lot of good things for us. Jace took advantage in the first half.”

Senior guard Embry Williams hit four 3-pointers for 12 points for Liberal (2-3).

Junior guard Carson Kieffer added 14 points as HHS remained unbeaten through five games entering the holiday break.

“We feel pretty good, we’re glad to be 5-0,” Hutchins said. “More than anything, we’re just thankful for the opportunity to play all of our games thus far. Given the circumstances, that’s something we can be happy about, be really grateful for.”

Liberal Girls 54, Hays High 23

The Hays High girls played Liberal tough for the first half, then had a tough second half in losing 54-23 in both teams’ conference opener.

Hays High led 11-9 after the first quarter and trailed by just four points against Liberal, 26-22, at the halftime break.

The second half was all Liberal. The Indians failed to score in the third period, missing all 12 of their shots from the floor, and Liberal hit a pair of late 3-pointers in the quarter to take a 36-22 lead. Hays High managed to make just a free throw in the final eight minutes, getting outscored 28-1 in the second half.

Liberal made a dozen 3-pointers for the game, five each from freshman guard Hailey Contreras and junior guard Ashley Carillo. Contreras led all scorers with 22 points and Carillo netted 17. Liberal improved to 5-0 and has now won 28 straight games.

Senior Re Green led Hays High (1-4) with nine points.