The only blemish for the Hesston girls during last year’s Class 3A state championship season was a loss in the Hillsboro Classic semifinals to Wamego.
The Swathers erased the bad memories of their Hillsboro experience on Saturday by knocking off Clay Center 53-31 for the championship as they continue their season of perfection.
Defense once again keyed Hesston’s drive to the championship, allowing just six points in the first quarter and four in the second to build up a 24-10 halftime lead.
Caylee Richardson was sensational for the Swathers with 21 points and 10 rebounds. She was 7 of 11 from the field and 7 of 8 at the foul line.
Cami Richardson furnished 13 points and pulled down six rebounds. Hesston dominated the glass with a 30-16 rebounding advantage and turned it over only 12 times in an efficient performance.
The Swathers are now 13-0.
• Holcomb boys 61, Hesston 56 — The Longhorns denied the Swathers of a Hesston sweep at Hillsboro by ripping it up for 29 fourth-quarter points to rally for the win.
Hesston led 34-32 going into the fourth quarter before the game opened up into a point-fest as the Swathers scored 22 of their own.
Tyler McCartney led Hesston with 19 points. Holcomb limited Grant Raleigh to 12 and Garrett Roth came off the bench for 10. Hesston shot just 20 of 59, well off its normal standards. The Swathers also were an uncharacteristic 4 of 17 from 3-point and 12 of 20 at the line.
The Swathers are now 11-2.
• Berean boys 61, Little River 53 — In the finals of the Burrton Invitational, Little River couldn’t make it two straight overtime victories.
The Redskins, who upset Central Christian in overtime in the semifinals, took a one-point lead into the fourth quarter in the back-and-forth game.
Chord Zeller scored 15 points for Little River, which was outscored 10-2 in the extra session. Grant Harvey scored 13 and Cordell Moore had one of his best games with 12.
• Inman boys 68, Fairfield 32 — After an admitted clunker against Pretty Prairie in the consolation bracket, Inman bowed up and played perhaps its best game of the year to take seventh place at Burrton.
Inman sped to a 21-7 first-quarter lead with some of its best shooting in quite some time. It was 35-18 at the half.
Blayne Konrade tossed in 18 points to lead the Teutons and Hank Thiessen furnished 11 more.
• Centre girls 40, Elyria Christian School 35 — The Eagles appeared to be on their way to the championship of the Cougar Classic, up 13-2 after a quarter and 22-15 at the half, but the hosts came roaring back.
Addison Fields scored 15 points for her best game of the tournament and Rachel Adamyk scored 12. The Cougars were able to hold Anna Adamyk to four points. Both Adamyk sisters made the All-Tourney Team.
“This was a tough loss to a very good Centre team,” said ECS coach Greg Fields, whose team is now 8-4. “We definitely had our opportunities at the end, but missed free throws and some easy looks under the basket that bounced out really determined the final outcome. Addison came up big for us tonight going 5 of 8 from outside, and Rachel Adamyk had another solid game. Our girls really played hard all night and the entire tournament. I was very proud of them.”
• Elyria Christian School boys 56, Centre 44 — Break up the Eagles!
After going 0-21 last year and 0-10 to start this season, the Eagles made it back-to-back wins in the fifth-place game of the Cougar Classic.
Elyria had to overcome a slow start as it trailed 19-11 after a quarter. But a 20-8 second quarter righted the ship and the Eagles played with confidence from there.
“Another tremendous team effort,” ECS coach Ben Starburg said, adding that his team didn’t panic when it got down early and continued to execute to get back in the game.
Matthew Gemmer’s 19 points led the Eagles, while Spencer Kaufman and the emerging freshman Tyler Thiessen added 11 apiece.
• Moundridge boys 66, Rose Hill 64, OT — At Halstead, the Wildcats recorded maybe their most impressive win of the year, taking down Class 4A Rose Hill to finish the Adolph Rupp Invitational with a 2-1 record.
Alejandro Jimenez’s driving layup won the game in the final 2 seconds.
“Resilient would be the word to use tonight,” Moundridge coach Vance Unrau said. “We were up by as many as 16 in the third (quarter) only to see the lead evaporate and even be behind by two with less than 2 minutes to play. It was a lot more exciting than it needed to be. We executed in the halfcourt game, whether against their 2-3 zone or man in the first half about as well as we have all year. Nice to get two wins at the Rupp.”
Colton Frazer returned to his regular form with 22 points (including 12 of 16 at the line), six assists and five rebounds. Jimenez scored 16 and Anthony Otte hit 7 of 11 shots to finish with 15 points.
• Smoky Valley boys 36, Goodland 21 — The Vikings turned to their defense to win the seventh-place game of the Salina Invitational.
The Vikings won for the second time this year. Scoring was not available.
• Salina South girls 42, Smoky Valley 30 — A 16-8 second quarter provided the impetus for the Cougars in the seventh-place game of the Salina Invitational.
Hannah Hattabaugh’s 11 points led the Vikings, who were hampered by just a four-point third quarter.