Hesston’s boys and Buhler hooked up in an old-fashioned shootout Friday night in the basketball season opener for both teams.
Tied 51-all going into the fourth quarter, the defending Class 3A champion Swathers outscored the Class 4A Crusaders 25-20 for a 76-71 victory.
Grant Raleigh made 10 of 13 free throws on his way to 24 points for the Swathers. Scott Duerksen, moving into a starting role this year, added 16 and Tyler McCartney tallied 15.
Hesston, 26-0 last year, found itself down 38-31 at halftime as the Crusaders came out firing. Duerksen’s nine third-quarter points pulled the Swathers into a tie by the end of the period.
• Hesston girls 54, Buhler 38 — Tremendous defense by the Swathers on Buhler’s probable All-State guard Jessica Steffen keyed the victory for the defending Class 3A champions.
Steffen managed only one field goal and six total points.
Kelsey Unruh scored 22 points for Hesston, including 8 of 8 at the foul line. Caylee Richardson chipped with with 16 and Jessanna Nebel supplied 10.
Hesston led 30-23 at the half and went up by 10 going into the fourth quarter.
• Moundridge boys 50, Little River 38 — Colton Frazer is expected to be one of the area’s top players and he showed why in the Wildcats’ season opener.
Frazer scored 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds as the Wildcats pulled away to the win after leading 31-22 at the half.
Freshman Noah Eichelberger added 11 points and Alejandro Jimenez supplied 10.
Little River was paced by Zach Galyon with 13 points, while Chord Zeller and Grant Harvey added 11 and 10, respectively.
• Moundridge girls 51, Little River 14 — The Wildcats scored the first 29 points of the game, including 21 in the first quarter.
Ashley Holler’s 16 points propelled Moundridge to the victory. Three players scored four points for Little River.
• Canton-Galva boys 49, Elyria Christian School 25 — A 20-6 second-quarter run was the difference in the first of what is two straight meetings between the teams as they play each other next week at Goessel.
C-G featured nice balance, as Trey Moddelmog and Nick Bray scored 11 points apiece and Travis Unruh had 10. Klingensmith was a terror on the boards with 11 rebounds and he also came up with six steals.
C-G coach Shane Duncan was pleased with the second-quarter defense, noting it turned the game in his team’s favor. He also lauded the play of Moddelmog, who is in his first year as a starter.
Spencer Kaufman led Elyria with nine points.
• Canton-Galva girls 34, Elyria Christian 28 — Canton-Galva led by as many as 16 before Elyria staged a nice rally.
Scoring for C-G was not available. Anna Adamyk was tough to stop for Elyria as she scored 17 of the Eagles’ points.
“I was very pleased with the effort our girls gave tonight,” ECS coach Greg Fields said. “We had a couple of breakdowns defensively, but I really liked the intensity they showed. We still need to reduce our turnovers and get our shooting percentage up. I was very happy with the shots we took, but they just weren't falling for us tonight. I'm excited to get a chance to play C-G again this Monday night. They are a solid, athletic team.”
• Abilene boys 73, Smoky Valley 55 — The Vikings were outscored by just one point in the second half, but the Cowboys had sprinted to a 42-25 halftime lead.
Cole Norberg scored 12 points for the Vikings. Nine Smoky Valley players in all made the score sheet.
• Abilene girls 51, Smoky Valley 25 — A 20-3 third-quarter burst for Abilene opened up what had been a competitive game.
Smoky Valley coach Bill Nelson said his team played hard, but struggled to put the ball in the basket.
Hannah Hattabaugh topped the Vikings with 12 points. Kelsie Anderson had a strong game on the boards with nine rebounds to go along with her eight points.
• Inman boys 66, Goessel 48 — It was a successful start to the season for the Teutons, who are having to replace basically their entire starting lineup.
Blayne Konrade scored 19 points to lead the Teutons to the win.
• Goessel girls 44, Inman 35 — Goessel took a 10-point halftime lead before the teams played nearly on even terms in the second half.
The Bluebirds were up 24-14 at the break.
Naomi Williams led the Teutons with 16 points.