BUHLER – It is a game that will live in the memories for a while as the question will come, what if? The Buhler Crusaders edged the Abilene Cowboys 56-54 in the Class 4A Sub-State Championship Saturday night at Buhler.
It was a tight contest throughout the first eight minutes as there were eight lead changes with Buhler leading by one 14-13 after one.
Buhler stretched the lead to six to end the first half as they shot and made straight three-pointers to open the second quarter.
Abilene’s Avery Bryson and Josh Stuber answered right back with threes of their own but the Cowboys were held scoreless for the final 1:52 of the first half and Buhler made a pair of buckets.
Buhler increased the lead to 10 points twice in the third quarter but the Cowboys continued to work hard and got threes from Stuber and Blaise McVan to pull with seven headed to the fourth.
McVan opened the scoring for Abilene with a swisher from the top of the key and then Stuber and Kaleb Becker added old-fashioned three-point plays as they Cowboys pulled with five.
Abilene finished on a seven to zero run to get within two at 52-54 with just over a minute to play. The Cowboys had to foul to send the Crusaders to the line where they made two of three and Bryson had the final bucket if the season for Abilene with 1.8 seconds on the clock.
Abilene had one final chance after Buhler missed two free throws but the full court pass went out of bounds just as the horn sounded.
Abilene finishes 14-8 on the year while Buhler goes to 15-7 and will represent Class 4A West next week in Salina at the State Tournament. Other West qualifiers were Rose Hill (12-10) after upsetting Clearwater in overtime and Andale (16-6) and Augusta (18-4).
The East qualifiers were Parsons (21-1), KC Piper (21-1), Bishop Miege (18-4) and Ottawa (16-6).