Third place

The Abilene Cowboys went 2-1 at the Salina Invitational Tournament over the weekend to earn third place. Members of the team are front row from left, Kaden Coup, Jaylen West, Jayshaun Jones, Blaise McVan and Cooper Wildey. Back row, assistant coach Erik Graefe, Josh Stuber, Kieryan Anderson, head coach Terry Taylor, Grant Heintz, Kaleb Becker, Travis Beetch, assistant coach Kyle Taylor, Matt Davis and Avery Bryson.

SALINA – Trying to hold off a charging Wichita South team late in the fourth quarter, the Abilene Cowboys sighed a big breath of relief as they defeated South 50-47 to claim third place at the Salina Invitational Tournament.

The Cowboys led the entire game and even broke out to a 6-0 run in the first quarter that eventually built to 14-point lead early in the fourth. Abilene had a nice 13-1 run to end the first half and take a 38-24 lead into halftime.

“We were playing pretty well,” Abilene head coach Terry Taylor said. “The second quarter defense wasn’t our best quarter but we thought our man defense in the first and third was excellent.”

Abilene led 45-31 at the 5:05 mark but then the Titans rattled off nine unanswered to bring the score to 45-40 at the 2:18 mark in the game. The Cowboys only shot 50% at the free-throw line late in the contest that enabled the Titans to hit two field goals and a big three to pull within one at 48-47. South outscored Abilene 23-12 in the final eight minutes.

“The fourth quarter we scored quick and got out to the 14 or 15 point lead and then I think we relaxed a little bit,” Taylor said. “Things kind of went bad. We missed some shots and then they started making shots. Plus they had everything to gain and nothing to lose. They were shooting well then. The game was closer at the end than it should have been. Friday night we went 10 for 10 at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and tonight we shot 50 percent. We can’t do that.

“This is a good win over an athletic team. They are in the City League in Wichita and they are .500, a 6A school and for us to do that and come out of here with two wins this week, that’s a big tournament for us.”

With 16.4 seconds on the clock senior Travis Beetch netted two tosses from the line to push Abilene to the three-point advantage. South drove the ball the length of the court and following a time out, took a shot from the top of the key that bounced off the front of the rim into the arms of Abilene’s Josh Stuber, who held the ball securely until the horn sounded.

Abilene played solid tight defense throughout much of the game and their stifling man to man limited the Titans to five first-quarter points and only seven in the third period.

Beetch led all scorers with a game high 21 points. Sophomore Kaleb Becker finished with 12 for the Cowboys and junior Avery Bryson had seven.

Senior guard Makye Loggins led South with 14 points and sophomore Jamari Robinson ended with 11.

“I told the kids all week, this competition has got to prepare us for sub-state competition in Class 4A on the West Division,” Taylor said. “We are getting better but we still have improvement to do, we know that. The kids are buying into what we are trying to get accomplished.”

Following the championship game of the tournament Beetch and Becker were named to the All-Tournament Team.

The Cowboys (6-4) will be back home for two games this week by hosting Concordia (2-5) before facing Hays TMP (9-1) on Friday.

“It’s nice for our kids to get to play back at home again,” Taylor said. “We didn’t have a very good outing against Marysville on a Saturday when the crowd wasn’t great, so we are hoping to rebuild a little bit of the home floor advantage.”

Andover pulls away from

Cowboys for 63-50 Friday night win

SALINA – The Abilene Cowboys stayed with the number one seed Andover until midway through the third period in Friday night’s semi-final match up at the Salina Invitational Tournament. The eventual tournament champion defeated the Cowboys 63-50.

Opening the third quarter with a one-point lead, Andover finished with an 11-0 run to overcome an Abilene lead of 36-33 to go up 44 to 36. Senior Harper Jonas had back-to-back layups followed by a trey and then got help from two other scorers to take the eight-point advantage into the final period.

“With three minutes left in the third quarter we were up three leading 36-33 at that point,” Taylor said. “We were tired and made some mistakes and missed some shots. Andover is a team that gets on a run and they are tough to stop. That Jack Johnson is a great player. That spell in the third quarter and early in the fourth was the difference in the game. Other than that I thought our kids played very well against a quality 5A school.”

Andover went on to lead by as many as 15 points at 56-41 halfway through the quarter before the Cowboys made a six point flurry to get the score under ten points. Jonas and junior guard Jack Johnson ran off eight unanswered to close out the game for the 63-50 win.

Johnson led all scorers with 26 points with Jonas having 14. Sophomore Kaleb Becker with a career high 19 led the Cowboys while Travis Beetch finished with 12 and Avery Bryson had 10.

Contact Ron Preston at




Andover 63, Abilene 50

Abilene 14 14 8 14 – 50

Andover 17 12 15 19 – 63

Abilene – Stuber 1, Bryson 10, Beetch 12, Becker 19, Heintz 8. Totals: 13 (3) 15-18 50.

Andover – Henry 2, Gaddis 2, Hirt 6, Johnson 26, Gehring 4, Makori 6, Taylor 3, Jones 14. Totals: 17 (7) 8-15 63.

Third Place Game

Abilene 50, Wichita

South 47

South 5 12 7 23 – 47

Abilene 12 10 16 12 – 50

South – Loggins 14, Franklin 1, Collins 2, Jones 6, Robinson 11, Standifer 3, Townes 10. Totals: 14 (4) 7-14 47.

Abilene – Coup 2, Stuber 4, Bryson 7, Beetch 21, Becker 12, Anderson 4. Totals: 15 (4) 8-14 50.

Contact Ron Preston at

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