Hays High boys basketball wins Orange & Black Classic
To the victor go the spoils.
The Hays High boys basketball team not only swept its way through three games to win the championship of Colby’s 36th annual Orange & Black Classic, the Indians also took most of the awards handed out after Saturday night’s 56-47 victory over Colby in the title game.
The Indians landed three players on the all-tournament team in junior guard Carson Kieffer, junior forward Jace Linenberger and senior forward Dalyn Schwarz, and Kieffer was named tourney MVP. Junior guard Jordan Dale won the off-the-bench award and Schwarz also was selected to the all-academic squad.
“I think that stems from how unselfish everyone in our program is,” said HHS coach Alex Hutchins, who was named coach of the tournament. “It’s easy for a lot of different people to win awards because we rely on a lot of different people. There’s even more who are capable who didn’t win awards tonight. It’s awesome to see those guys get recognized.”
Hays High, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, scored the first 10 points of the game and led 18-8 after the first quarter. The Indians outscored the Eagles 17-11 in the second period to take a 35-19 halftime lead.
“We felt we were locked in for most of the first quarter tonight,” Hutchins said. “We got a little lax later on, but we’re thankful we were able to hold on.”
Sophomore guard Hunter Vaughn swished a 40-footer at the buzzer to get the Eagles within 13 points entering the final eight minutes. Another basket by Vaughn made it a 10-point game late and Colby started fouling. Hays High missed the front end of the one-and-one on three trips to the line in the final 56 seconds but the Eagles couldn’t capitalize, missing a pair of 3-pointers at the other end.
Vaughn canned five 3-pointers for Colby, which shot 63 percent from beyond the arc, making 10 of 16 attempts. After Vaughn’s game-high 19 points, Colby (6-5) got 13 from senior forward Payton Wahlmeier.
Kieffer led Hays High (11-0) with 14 points, and Schwarz and Linenberger added 13 points apiece. Hays High won its third Orange & Black Classic in eight appearances in the championship game, and first title since 2003.
“We’re really proud of the guys,” Hutchins said. “We felt like most of the weekend we were very focused and tuned in and paid great attention to detail, especially the first two games.”
The Indians have little time to rest on their laurels, with a rescheduled home game Tuesday against Pratt.
“We prefer rest,” Hutchins said. “I do think fatigue is a little concern. It’s something we’re going to have to be very aware of.”