Hays High boys move to 6-0; HHS girls fall at Liberal

By Randy Gonzales
Special to Hays Daily News

The Hays High boys basketball team beat Liberal the last game before the holiday break behind a big night from junior forward Jace Linenberger inside. Liberal looked to take away the Indians’ inside scoring in Friday night’s rematch at Liberal in the first game of second semester.

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The 6-foot-6 Linenberger, who scored 20 points in the first game against Liberal, was held to eight points, but guards Jordan Dale and Carson Kieffer combined for 23 points for the Indians to take a 72-45 Western Athletic Conference victory.

“I think they spent a lot of time preparing for our post, trying to deny them easy baskets,” Hays High coach Alex Hutchins said. “I thought they did a good job, too. Credit to them.”

Dale came off the bench to score 10 of his 12 points in the first half to spark the Indians, who are ranked third in Class 5A.

“They put pressure on us to get buckets somewhere else,” Hutchins said. “I thought we had some guards who did a good job of stepping up, Jordan Dale, especially. Good to see him get a little hot streak going.

“Some contributions all over offensively,” he added. “We feel every guy we put on the court is skilled enough to do that for us.”

Kieffer scored nine of his 11 points before intermission, as Hays High (6-0 overall, 2-0 WAC) took a 34-18 lead. The Indians led 15-8 after the first quarter, highlighted by a steal and tomahawk dunk by guard TJ Nunnery.

Forward Dalyn Schwarz scored nine of his 13 points in the third quarter to give the Indians a 54-30 lead going into the final eight minutes. Embry Williams led Liberal (2-4, 0-2) with 13 points. AJ Ramirez added 12 points and Alex Lopez scored 11.

Liberal girls 42, Hays High 26

Scoring woes again plagued the Hays High girls in their loss to Liberal, but not like the first game between the two WAC teams. The Indians scored just one point in the second half in the teams’ first meeting in December. HHS, which trailed by nine points at the break on Friday, managed 12 points in the second half in the rematch.

“I thought the first time we played them, the second half we just shut down, didn’t respond,” HHS coach Len Melvin said. “At least this time we still went at the basket, still getting shots. We’re just not shooting the ball very well right now.”

Hays High (1-5, 0-2) led 10-8 before Liberal scored the final five points of the first quarter. Liberal  hurt the Indians inside to take a 23-14 halftime lead.

Liberal, ranked No. 10 in Class 6A, beat the Indians from the perimeter in the first matchup, canning a dozen 3-pointers in a 31-point victory in the conference opener. This time around, 5-10 senior Aubrey Warden dominated in the paint. Warden finished with a double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. She had 12 points and eight rebounds in the first half for Liberal (6-0, 2-0).

Hays High got six points from Morgan Engel.

The Hays High boys and girls continue WAC action on Tuesday at rival Great Bend.