After winning two of three games at the Salina Invitational Tournament over the weekend and bringing home third place, the Abilene Cowboys were afraid of a little let down in a Tuesday game against Concordia. The Cowboys started flat and sluggish but rebounded with a 25-0 run to end the first half and begin the third quarter on its way to a 60-38 win.
That would complete the season sweep over the Panthers as Abilene won 74-37 back in December before the holiday break.
Tuesday, the shooting percentages were not pretty, but the Cowboys bounced back to overwhelm the North Central Kansas League opponent. Both team struggled early to get the ball through the hoop as Abilene led 9-4 after one.
“That’s pretty typical of what happens after playing three games in the Invitational Tournament,” Abilene head coach Terry Taylor said. “They were kind of hyped up to play three games in three days and we kind of had a let down mentally. Come home on a Tuesday night it is hard to have that same adrenalin flow that they had. Two good wins over in Salina, it took us a while to get started tonight.”
Junior Kieryan Anderson opened the second quarter with a sparkling reverse layup that would propel the Cowboys to a seven-point lead early in the second quarter.
Concordia’s Jacob Rosenbaum connected on a pair of three’s wrapped around a bucket by Chas Calgren and the Panthers took a one-point lead at 12-11 at the 5:24 mark. The lead would change hands three times over the next two minutes before Abilene senior Travis Beetch tied the game at 20-20 with the back end of a two-shot foul shot. From there Beetch jumped started the Cowboy scoring machine with a trey at the 2:02 mark followed by three of four from the line and a Grant Heintz field goal and Abilene pushed ahead 28-20 at the break.
Senior Avery Bryson opened the scoring for the Cowboys in the second half with a basket and a free throw followed by a Beetch bucket that forced a Concordia time out with the score 33-20. Following that time out, Beetch rattled off three buckets, Bryson had a steal and a layup and Josh Stuber hit a charity toss and the Cowboys had run off a 14-0 run against Concordia. Jayshaun Jones hit a bucket to end the Cowboy scoring in the third but Concordia then rattled off seven unanswered to make the score 44-27 after three.
“We played over six minutes in the third quarter and they never scored,” Taylor said of his defense. “That was really the difference in the game. I put in our second group and they got seven points in less than two minutes and it looked closer than it should have been. First quarter we held them to four points but our offense wasn’t very good. We only had nine. We would run a good play but then miss a shot.”
Bryson, Heintz and Stuber all made shots and the Cowboys were up by 20 at 50-30 with just over five minutes to play. Stuber’s slashing layup was set up perfectly by an assist from Beetch. Kaden Coup, Jaylen West and Matt Davis all came off the bench to score for the Cowboys as Abilene led 56-35 with three minutes to play.
Concordia senior Bradley Cleveland had a bucket and a free throw to end the Panthers scoring and Anderson, Jones and Blaise McVan all scored for the Cowboys to get to the final at 60-38.
“Give Concordia credit,” Taylor said. “Those kids are competing. They didn’t do that back in December. They competed tonight and I give them credit for that. They are headed in the right direction. We were fortunate tonight to play a lot of kids. We got all 12 in the game and they all contributed some way. It was good to do.”
Beetch led all scorers with a game high 17 points while Bryson added 10 for the Cowboys. Coup and Heintz finished with seven points each for Abilene. Carlgren had 10 points to lead the Panthers.
Abilene improved to 7-4 and is currently tied with Marysville at 4-1 in league play and they will rematch a week from this coming Friday at Marysville.
The Cowboys host 10-1 Thomas Moore Prep of Hays this Friday and then will meet up with Clay Center on Monday in a makeup game.
“TMP is ranked in 3A, so that’s going to be a battle for on Friday night,” Taylor said of the next opponent for the Cowboys. “Hopefully we will have a good crowd and we will come out and take care of business.”
Contact Ron Preston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abilene 60, Concordia 38
Concordia 4 16 7 11 – 38
Abilene 9 19 16 16 – 60
Concordia – Cav. Carlgren 5, Atwood 2, Cleveland 3, Owen 3, Rosenbaum 9, Hobrock 4, Chas. Carlgren 10, Parker 2. Totals: 11 (5) 1-8 38.
Abilene – Jones 4, Coup 7, Stuber 5, McVan 1, West 4, Bryson 10, Beetch 17, Davis 2, Heintz 7, Anderson 3. Totals: 18 (3) 15-26 60.