Hays High sweeps Scott City

By Randy Gonzales
Special to Hays Daily News

Hays High boys basketball coach Alex Hutchins called it a business trip. It also was a homecoming for the Indians’ coach Tuesday night in Scott City.

Hays High, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, improved to 14-0 on the season with a workmanlike 57-35 win over the Beavers. Scott City played HHS close early, with the game tied 13-13 after the first quarter. The Indians trailed by 10 points early before going on a 24-5 run to take a 27-18 halftime lead.

“The game wasn’t too exciting either way,” HHS coach Alex Hutchins said. “I think our guys did a good job of locking in and taking care of business.”

The Indians were coming off a dramatic, last-second win over Salina Central on Friday.

“I think there is something to that, being a trap game or letdown game,” Hutchins said. “Play a team in your sub-state, have to battle like we did, then go to a 3A team on the road with a losing record, it is kind of hard for your guys to get up and be as excited as you would like for them to be.”

Hays High led by 12 after three quarters then pulled away in the final period for the victory. Junior forward Jace Linenberger scored a team-high 20 points and the Indians’ other big man, senior Dalyn Schwarz, added 10 points. Senior guard TJ Nunnery got into double figures with a season-high 13 points, including an alley-oop dunk to start the game.

“Jace and Dalyn are our most consistent offensive threats,” Hutchins said. “I think our guards have really taken a step forward this year with their production. It does seem we have about five different guards take turns on a given night.

“I thought TJ was huge for us on Friday and responded with another good game tonight,” he added. “I thought TJ did a good job tonight running the floor and cutting without the ball.”

Senior Josh Rosin swished seven 3-pointers and scored a game-high 23 points for Scott City (3-10).

Hutchins graduated from Scott City in 2010 and his younger brother Dylan, an assistant on the HHS staff, is a 2016 graduate. Another Indian assistant and former player for Fort Hays State University, Trey O’Neil, is a 2015 Scott City graduate.

“I expected it to be a little more emotional than it was,” said the HHS head coach, who brought his players over to his parents’ house for a postgame meal. “That probably was the best part, having that family atmosphere.”

Hays High Girls 38, Scott City 33

The Hays High girls led the entire game until Scott City tied it twice in the final quarter, but the Indians held on for the non-conference victory.

“I was happy to see our girls in a game like that,” HHS coach Len Melvin said. “We needed to see how we would respond in a close game.”

Scott City tied the game first at 31 then at 33 in the final two minutes. Hays High sophomore guard Carly Lang then put the Indians in front for good, driving to the hoop and banking home a shot to make it 35-33. Lang followed with three free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory.

“That shot that Carly made was a big-time shot,” Melvin said. “She made that drive at a really tough angle. It was a huge shot for us.”

Hays High (5-9) led 9-4 after the first quarter and 21-17 at halftime, making four of the team’s five 3-pointers before the break.

“We were just patient on offense, made some good passes, shot the open shot,” Melvin said. “Our first three minutes were really solid.”

Scott City (2-12) trailed by seven points after three quarters but a Hays High scoring drought to start the final eight minutes gave the Beavers a chance to knot the score.

“It’s a game of runs,” Melvin said. “We still have to respond better to the other team’s runs.”

Lang led Hays High with 13 points and junior Jersey Johnson added 11 points. Freshman Erika Felker scored nine points for Scott City.

Hays High returns to Western Athletic Conference action on Friday, at home against Dodge City.