The Hesston boys brought home the championship of the Hillsboro Invitational on Saturday by fending off the challenge of the homestanding Trojans.
The Swathers turned to their defense for a 53-41 victory, allowing just 5 points in the first quarter and 15 for the half.
Big man Cole McCreary stepped up big for the Swathers with 15 points, while Zach Vogt scored 14 and Zach Esau added 12.
• Clay Center 34, Hesston 28 — In a defensive slugfest, the Swathers were denied the Hillsboro championship by the Tigers.
Hesston could never get going offensively, never scoring in double digits in any quarter. The Tigers led 20-13 at the half and kept the clamps on all night.
Elise Kaiser led Hesston with 8 points.
• Solomon boys 41, Elyria Christian School 38 — The Eagles couldn’t quite pull off the championship of the Centre Classic even after a good start.
Elyria jumped out to an 11-4 lead and still was up 21-16 going into the break. But the Gorillas erupted for 15 points in the third quarter.
Tyler Thiessen led Elyria with 15 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double and Aidan Fields pulled down 11 rebounds.
“Tonight was a game we were looking forward to, it being our first championship game this year,” ECS coach Zach Goodrich said. “We put a big emphasis on building from the previous game and I believe we did that for the most part. Solomon is a really good team and I felt we lost a lot of 50-50 balls down the stretch. They hit a big shot at the end and I felt like we made a lot of big plays down the stretch as well, they just made the last one.”
• Herington girls 43, Elyria Christian School 40 — For the second time this week in the Centre Classic, the Eagles lost in overtime in what was the fifth-place game.
“Two overtime losses in one week made for an exciting tournament at Centre,” Elyria coach Greg Fields said. “Our girls really struggled to score again in the first half, but I was thrilled with the way they played in the second half, especially the fourth quarter. We were definitely short-handed with one of our starters out for this game and several bench players sick, but I thought our girls stepped up and finished the game with confidence.”
Christin Vetter had a career night with 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Eagles. She scored 20 of her points in the second half.
• Inman boys 59, Burrton 52 — At Burrton, the Teutons took third place by knocking off the home team.
The Teutons started in quicksand, down 26-16 at one point. But they dominated the rest of the game, though they were just 11 of 23 at the line.
Payton Froese scored 16 points, Lucas Barlow had 14 and Mason Thiessen 12 for the winners.
• Goessel 29, Little River 27 — Also at Burrton, Little River and Goessel engaged in a low-scoring defensive battle for fifth place.
The game was tight throughout. Clay Zeller did yeoman work for Little River with 18 points.
• Moundridge boys 44, Douglass 31 — The Wildcats salvaged their final game to take seventh place in the Rupp Classic at Halstead.
The Wildcats’ scoring came primarily from three players — Anthony Otte (15), Noah Eichelberger (10) and Lantonio Unruh (10). The Wildcats really were honed in defensively and also outscored the Bulldogs 16-7 in the final period.
“It's the game nobody really wants to play in, but both teams want to win,” Wildcat coach Vance Unrau said. “I was happy with how inspired we played and pleased that we were able to come away with the win. I told the kids that we had to stop dribble penetration better and had to get on the glass and we did both on Saturday.So we were able to end our 10-year run at the Rupp with a win. The tournament has a rich tradition and is so well run. But the size of schools that make up the tournament, 3A and 4A schools, left us being the smallest by far.”