By RON PRESTON
CLAY CENTER – Domination. Complete domination at both ends of the court led the Abilene Cowboys to a 61 – 29 defeat of the Clay Center Tigers Friday in the Clay Center gym.
Abilene’s defense didn’t allow the Tigers to score until midway through the first quarter while opening up a quick 12 – 0 lead. They would finish the first quarter up 16 – 8.
“We had a good run early, holding them scoreless for about four minutes and then kind of let up,” Abilene Coach Terry Taylor said after the game.
“We basically exchanged baskets for the rest of the first half, our intensity had left,” coach Taylor added. “We talked to the team about that at half and our kids responded. We held them to 9 points in the second half.”
The Cowboys were able to empty their bench a couple of different times during the game and all players saw action during the contest.
“All 12 got to play. The second team got to play a lot in the second half, they were told they could play until Clay Center scored, so they got to play for 2 or 3 minutes at one stretch. It was nice having the depth and getting everybody in for some playing time,” commented coach Taylor.
Senior guard Andy Wilson scored 20 points for the Cowboys, including shooting four treys. Senior center Jacob Harms added 14, including a perfect six for six from the charity stripe.
Tanner Hoekman scored 8 points off the bench in the second half while Jesse Patrick added 7 points for the Cowboys.
Next up for the Cowboys, (8-1) will be the Salina Invitational Tournament. The number two seeded Cowboys will face the number seven seeded Salina South Cougars in their home gym on Tuesday night, Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
“They are a 5A team and it’s their home gym, so this will be a challenge for us. We will have to have the same intensity and focus on their guards, who should be their best players. This is a good tournament. It gives us a chance to play teams we normally don’t see during the season and a chance to play two or three 5A teams during the week,” added coach Taylor as he looked forward to tournament week.
Abilene 16 15 20 10 - 61
Clay Center 8 12 4 5 - 29
Abilene: Barlow 2, Wilson 20, Anderson 2, Hockman 8, Kelly 4, Patrick 7, Gonzales 2, Harms 14, Witt 2.
Clay Center: Blake 2, Greggory 3, Wilson 3, Haist 2, Scott 6, Carson 9, Hammel 4.