It was a battle of ranked girls basketball teams Tuesday night and the rankings held true.
Moundridge, ranked No. 8 in Class 2A, sped away from No. 10 Bennington 50-34 in a matchup of Heart of America powers.
“We knew coming into this contest that it was going to be a battle,” Wildcat coach Vicky Kessler said. “Our finish in both the second and third quarters was the difference in the game. Points usually come in bunches and we had some great defensive effort to gain the momentum on the offensive end. I was excited that all eight players that played in the game scored.”
MHS' Ashley Holler continued her fabulous season with 24 points, making 10 of 16 floor shots.
“This was a great contest to start off the new year and it won't get any easier on Friday as we face Berean Academy,” Kessler said.
• Bennington boys 45, Moundridge 39 — The Wildcats couldn’t shake off the first-quarter rust and spent the rest of the night playing catch-up.
Moundridge was down 10-2 after a quarter and 27-13 at the half before putting on a furious comeback in the fourth quarter with 22 points.
The loss spoiled a 24-point, 6-rebound effort by Colton Frazer. He was 9 of 14 from the floor while the rest of the Wildcats were just 5 of 30.
“Pretty simple story tonight,” MHS coach Vance Unrau said. “We didn't play inspired basketball. Gotta play with effort and purpose the whole game. Playing soft won't get it done. We didn't help ourselves much tonight missing numerous scoring opportunities and not playing hard-nosed defense for three quarters. We had a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, but too little, too late.”
• Little River boys 45, Rural Vista 27 — The Redskins turned to their defense for a 2015-opening victory.
Little River allowed only 11 points by halftime to improve to 3-4 on the season. Grant Harvey and Chord Zeller scored 12 points apiece. A 14-4 third-quarter run tore a hole in the game.
• Little River girls vs. Rural Vista — No game information was available.
• Marion boys 44, Canton-Galva 30 — The Eagles were minus two starters, which took away some of their perimeter game. It was just the second loss for C-G this year.
Marion led only 19-17 at the half, but the game turned with a 15-3 Warrior explosion in the third quarter.
Travis Unruh scored 11 points to lead C-G, while Tanner Klingensmith pulled down 10 rebounds.
“Our defense was solid. Can’t complain about giving up 44 points,” C-G coach Shane Duncan said.
• Marion girls 57, Canton-Galva 49 — The Eagles hung tough throughout the night, including a 19-point third quarter that put them in the lead 39-38.
But C-G could manage only 10 points in the final period to suffer the loss.
Cassidy Enns poured in 23 points to lead the Eagles and Kelli Nightingale chipped in with 18.
• Berean boys 47, Inman 36 — The Teutons continued to struggle on the offensive end, but coach Brett Froese liked the fight his team showed.
“We played much better in the second half, much tougher and more physical,” Froese said.
Hank Thiessen led the Teutons with 10 points. Keaton Case was lauded for his ballhandling against the pressure defense that Berean applied.
• Berean girls 38, Inman 29 — The Teutons played a terrific defensive first half, leading the favored Warriors 14-13.
But Berean finally broke out of the Teutons’ spider web for a 15-6 advantage in the third quarter that turned the tide.
Abby Ropp had a nice game for Inman with 14 points.
• Elyria Christian girls 41, Wakefield 28 — The Eagles went on the road to improve their record to 4-2.
After starting slowly, down 7-6 after a quarter, Elyria exploded with one of its best quarters of the year to lead 21-10 at the half.
Anna Adamyk poured in 19 points, while Rachel Adamyk had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“We had a very slow start tonight on both ends of the court,” ECS coach Greg Fields said. “Our girls battled back in the second quarter to get some separation. All of the girls played great team defense.”
• Wakefield boys 67, Elyria Christian 28 — Wakefield was up 20-11 after a quarter and then took the suspense out of the game with a 16-4 second quarter.
Spencer Kaufman and Jordan Unruh led the Eagles with six points apiece.
• Smoky Valley girls 47, Larned 28 — The Vikings moved closer to the .500 mark with their second win in five games.
Katie Bellah and Katie Deterding funneled in 12 points apiece to lead the attack. Deterding made 6 of 10 floor shots.
• Larned boys 56, Smoky Valley 41 — The Vikings are still searching for their first win. No game information was reported.
• Hesston girls 69, Nickerson 24 — The Swathers scored 47 points during the middle two quarters to bury the Panthers.
Nine players scored for Hesston, led by Caylee Richardson with 15 points. Kelsey Unruh scored 12 and Kateluyn Hageman had her best game of the year with 11.
• Hesston boys 71, Nickerson 56 — The Swathers showed no signs of layoff rust in rolling past Nickerson.
Grant Raleigh fired in 29 points to lead the Swathers, while Scott Duerksen and Tyler McCartney added 18 and 11 points, respectively.