Moundridge’s fans gained bragging rights after the Wildcat girls knocked off Inman on Friday, but the Teutons took them right back in the boys’ game, so the night between these major arch-rivals was a draw.
The Wildcat girls were a 49-41 winner as they led 23-15 at the half and never gave it up. They avenged an earlier loss to the Teutons.
Bethany Stucky had a big game for MHS with 16 points, 10 of those in the first half. The key, however, was the support given by Ellen Durst and Hailey Unruh, both of whom chipped in with 11 to keep the pressure off Stucky.
Macy DeWitt topped the Teutons with 14 points. MHS coach Brian Holloway thought his team’s defensive work on the Teutons’ Olivia Clark and MaKayla Michael was a key as they combined for only 17 points.
• Inman boys 49, Moundridge 47 — You wouldn’t expect anything less from these teams, who always play a close game.
“We played well tonight,” Teuton coach Brett Froese said. “We tried to to lose it at the end as we couldn’t make a free throw. We should have won by 10-plus if we just make some of them. Give them credit, they battled back hard and made some crazy shots late.”
Inman’s Payton Froese scored 19 points and dealt 5 assists, Mason Thiessen had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, while Jaxon Eddy, who missed much of the season with an injury, has returned with a bang and had a line of 10 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals.
Brett Froese said a key was the Teutons’ defensive work on Noah Eichelberger, holding him to 9 and while Dillon Vogts scored 14, Froese thought his team didn’t allow him to get on a roll.
“Another great Moundridge Inman game,” Froese said. “The place was packed and a great environment for kids to play in.”
Jerod Kaufman tied Vogts with 14 points for Moundridge.
“The kids executed a defensive game plan well, but we didn't shoot it as well as we need to,” MHS coach Vance Unrau said. “Shooting in the 30s makes it difficult. Guys have to make shots and we missed open looks. We battled back from several 8-point deficits, but could never take the lead.”
• Solomon boys 57, Elyria Christian School 45 — When the KBCA rankings come out late Monday, there is likely to be a new No. 1 in Class 1A Division II.
Elyria, which entered the week undefeated and ranked No. 1, went on the road twice and lost, including Friday’s game against the Gorillas.
“We have hit the wall of a long season and hopefully we can get some things figured out the next two weeks,” Elyria coach Zach Goodrich said. “We have some injuries to key guys, so we have two freshmen stepping into those roles and they are doing a good job learning on the fly. I do like their progress and believe they will contribute in a huge way down the stretch.”
The Eagles were missing two starters, Aidan Fields and Jaden Starburg. They hung tough for a half, down 22-18, but Solomon gradually pulled away.
Caleb Froese scored 16 points for Elyria and Tyler Thiessen had 10.
“There was some good takeaways, Caleb Froese was able to get some post touches and get a rhythm on the block,” Goodrich said. “If he can continue to play with that type of aggressiveness, it will open up multiple looks for our team. Zach Stucky played with confidence and handled their pressure really well. We look to bounce back Tuesday and focus on one game at a time.”
• Elyria Christian girls 36, Solomon 24 — The Eagles are peaking at the right time as they moved two games over .500 at 9-7, avenging an earlier loss while running their winning streak to 5.
“I was very proud of the way our girls came out and competed tonight,” Elyria coach Greg Fields said. "They really came out determined in the second half. Solomon beat us a couple of weeks ago and one player did most of the damage against us in that game. Anna Shultz and Brekken Anderson had the assignment to shut her down and they did an outstanding job. Melea Redenbaugh and Christin Vetter played the way we've known they are capable of. They dominated the interior and both ended up with double-doubles."
Redenbaugh scored 16 points and dominated the glass for 13 rebounds, while Vetter had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
It was just a 14-12 game at the half, but Elyria outscored Solomon 22-12 in the second half.
• Little River boys 48, Rural Vista 37 — Little River’s boys picked up a key road win, using a 20-10 run in the third quarter to break open a close game.
There was no stopping sensational Little River freshman Jayden Garrison, who piled up 30 points. He was 9 of 18 from the field and made 4 3-pointers, while cashing in 8 of 12 from the foul line.
Graham Stephens was a monster on the glass with 10 rebounds.
• Little River girls 43, Rural Vista 37 — The Redskins appeared to be on easy street with a 26-12 lead at the half, but the Heat made a charge to make things interesting.
“Huge win for us tonight on the road against a really good Rural Vista team,” Little River coach Trey Look said. “Our defense the first half was tremendous. We moved the ball well and attacked from the start and that helped us get an early lead. We let them go on a little run in the third, but we’re able to keep the lead going into the fourth. Had a slow fourth quarter, but we had some girls hit some clutch free throws that sealed the win. I think the girls are playing with more confidence and figuring out how to play in tight situations. Very proud of my girls tonight and the way they played with some fire and grit. We’ll have to continue to keep this momentum going into next week as we have two tough games coming up.”
Melanie Renken fired in 15 points to lead Little River and Emma McBride furnished 11.
• Smoky Valley boys 60, Pratt 36 — What was certainly one of the best games for Smoky Valley this season, the Vikings went on the road and drilled Pratt, keyed by a 17-4 first quarter and 18-8 rush in the fourth quarter.
Ben Weldy was 6 of 8 from the field and scored 19 points to lead Smoky Valley. Nick Reinert tallied 13 and Brett Heitschmidt was in doubles with 11.
Reinert had a huge floor game with 7 rebounds and 4 steals.
• Pratt girls 47, Smoky Valley 36 — The Vikings looked good for a half, up 18-12, but the homestanding Greenbacks finally unlocked the basket, outscoring the Vikings 17-4 in the third quarter and then adding 18 in the final period for a 35-point half.
Jordan Otto topped the Vikings with 12 points.
• Hesston boys 53, Larned 39 — Normally known for their high-octane offense, the Swathers turned to their defense to defeat Larned.
Hesston only allowed Larned to score in double digits in one of the four quarters.
Reese Nebel and Cameron Cox carried the offensive load for the Swathers with 18 and 17 points, respectively. Cox was 6 of 6 at the line and Nebel was 3 of 3 as Hesston went 13 of 14 as a team.
• Hesston girls 54, Larned 22 — The Swathers were simply suffocating on the defensive end, allowing only 2 points in the first quarter and 9 for the half.
Elise Kaiser topped Hesston with 17, Kailey Jo Ince had 15 and Alaina Dunlavy chipped in with 11 for good balance.
• Note — Canton-Galva’s games at Herington were postponed due to a flu outbreak at Herington. The games will be played Feb. 19.