The Elyria Christian School boys not only made their basketball season debut on Tuesday, but their debut with their first-ever state ranking.
The Eagles, No. 5 in Class 1A Division II, lived up to their billing with a 44-31 victory over Little River behind 13 points by Caleb Froese, and 12 apiece by Tyler Thiessen and Aidan Fields.
The Redskins, losing their first game after two wins, were paced by Jace Garrison with 12 points.
Elyria was down 12-9 after a quarter, but dominated the rest of the way and really were in shutdown defensive mode.
“I felt we had some first-game jitters, but were able to find our composure midway through the first quarter,” Elyria coach Zach Goodrich said. “Little River is well coached and plays extremely hard and I felt if we matched their intensity we would have a chance. There was a good team effort tonight, going for loose balls and team rebounding. Tyler and Aidan were solid taking care of the ball and gave us good perimeter play. Caleb Froese gave us great interior play, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He really anchored our defense tonight against a solid penetrating team.”
• Little River girls 35, Elyria Christian 31 — The Redskins improved to 2-1 as perhaps having played two games already to none for the Eagles helped them.
“This was a good opening game for us to get a chance to see where we are as a team,” Elyria coach Greg Fields said. “We took the inside shots that I was hoping for, but unfortunately we just couldn't connect, especially in the second half. Eleven of 25 free throws should definitely be improved on as well. Bailey Unruh was solid for us all night and Christin Vetter was outstanding on defense. I was very happy with Till Burton. She was aggressive on both ends of the court which is what we were needing from a young post player.”
Unruh led the Eagles with 13 points. Elyria played without standout post player Melea Redenbaugh, who is out with an injury.
Little River was led by Emma McBride, who scored 12 points. Little River again played without standout senior Melanie Renken, out until after Christmas with a foot injury.
“I thought we played OK tonight,” Little River coach Trey Look said. “Due to injuries we are down two girls that really help us out. We played just well enough to win against a good Elyria team. We got into some foul trouble early and had some girls step in and give us some good minutes. Now we have a couple of days to rest and work on some things to get ready for Saturday.”
• Hillsboro boys 52, Moundridge 51 — On the opening night of the Moundridge Tournament, the Wildcats and Trojans played a barnburner as the teams could have played this one in a phone booth.
Hillsboro led by a point after a quarter, it was tied at the half and the Wildcats were up one after three quarters.
“Great game,” Moundridge coach Vance Unrau said. “The kids played their tails off. I’m only disappointed in the final score. (Elias) Werth hit a 25-foot 3-pointer with 4 seconds left after Noah Eichelberger gave us the lead with 24 seconds left on an old-fashioned 3 point play. These kids play hard, they are coachable and they accept their roles.”
Dillon Vogts and Eichelberger were sensational for the Wildcats with 28 and 21 points, respectively, as they combined for all but 2 of the MHS points. Vogts had 18 of his points in the first half, while Eichelberger had 15 of his points in the second half.
• Hillsboro girls 41, Moundridge 33 — The Wildcats got off to a nice start with a 10-3 lead after a quarter, but Hillsboro outscored them 13-4 in the second quarter and 13-8 in the third quarter to take command.
Bethany Stucky scored 16 of her 20 points in the second half to lead the Wildcats, who are now 1-1 on the year.
• Hesston girls 67, Chanute 38 — The Swathers paraded to the foul line throughout the game, making 27 of 41 to knock off the Class 4A Comets.
Elise Kaiser, coming off a 25-point game, was again solid with 20 points. Kailey Jo Ince made her return after missing the season opener and contributed 10. Nine Swathers in all scored.
• Canton-Galva boys 50, Goessel 48 — The Eagles broke into the win column after two losses to open the season.
The first quarter ultimately was the difference as the Eagles doubled the Bluebirds 18-9. Goessel had a couple of chances to win the game at the end.
Nick Pearson, after scoring 22 points on Monday, was even more special in this one, burying 5 3-pointers and scoring 26 points, making 10 of 16 shots overall. Landon Everett, a 5-9 guard, wiped the glass for 13 rebounds as he made up the absence of Dylan Wood, who missed the game due to sickness.
“After playing a tough late game last night, we had just enough legs left to hold on for the win,” C-G coach Shane Duncan said. “For the first time this year, we came out in the first quarter and executed our offense. I felt we ran the floor well in the first half and got some easy buckets in transition. Nick played very well on the offensive and defensive end tonight. When he fouled out in the fourth (quarter), we lost our composure a little bit. This was a good experience tonight with a young team. Landon Everett really picked up the slack with the absence of Dylan Wood. His 13 rebounds and 4 steals were key.”
• Goessel girls 55, Canton-Galva 31 — The athletic Bluebirds overwhelmed the Eagles with a 26-8 first quarter, then the game was more competitive the rest of the way.
Alexa Bell led C-G with 11 points, one more than Taylor Everett.
• Smoky Valley boys 58, Southeast of Saline 52 — The Vikings evened their record at 1-1 as they held off the Trojans, who put up 22 points in the final period.
Smoky’s 19-9 advantage in the third quarter turned the tide in their favor.
Brett Heitschmidt led the Vikes with 15 points, one more than Nick Reinert. Ben Weldy furnished 11.
• Southeast of Saline girls 35, Smoky Valley 22 — The Vikings are still looking to find their offense as they have struggled from the field the first two games and in this one they did not score in the fourth quarter.
Jordan Otto paced the Vikings with 9 points.
• Inman boys 52, Lyons 34 — For the second straight game, Inman was in lockdown mode.
The Teutons relied on their solid defense, while the offense continues to be a work in progress. Mason Thiessen had a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Payton Froese had a nice line with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.
Inman coach Brett Froese said it was a good win, noting Lyons had some athletic players. Ethan Stubbs and Jack Doerksen contributed good games as well, Froese said.
• Lyons girls 55, Inman 42 — Lyons got out to a 15-7 lead and never looked back.
Inman was down 32-23 at the half, but never quit as it outscored the Lions 15-12 in the final quarter.
MaKayla Michael and Macy DeWitt tallied 10 apiece to lead the Teutons.
• Note — No score available on the Hesston-Chanute boys game.