HAYS – The young Hays High Indian basketball team put together a terrific game plan that included a swarming shut down zone defense on the Abilene Cowboys Tuesday night in Hays. The Indians won the contest 56-46 to stop a four-game win streak by Abilene.
Junior Avery Bryson had a hot hand early for the Cowboys as he connected on seven of his game high 15 points in the opening period. A trey by Bryson followed by a jumper gave Abilene a 7-5 lead with under five minutes to play in the first. Hays took a brief lead before senior Travis Beetch netted two charity tosses to regain a 9-8 Cowboy advantage with three minutes left.
Bryson answered on a jumper after a Cowboy time out with 2:32 to go in the period. That was Abilene’s last points for nearly the next six and one half minutes. In the meantime, Hays rambled off 10 unanswered to end the first and begin the second quarter to take a seven-point lead 18-11 at the 5:34 mark of the second period. Hays junior Jace Linenberger got three relatively easy buckets in the paint during that stretch.
“Give them a lot of credit,” Abilene head coach Terry Taylor said. “Their defense messes us up with their match-up zone. Everything you try to run they are standing in your road and they are so tall inside that after you beat somebody then you have to deal with a 6-6 or 6-8 shot blocker.”
Bryson hit another three and Beetch and junior Grant Heintz along with sophomore Kaleb Becker scored for the Cowboys to draw within five at the end of the first half 20-25.
Bryson opened the second half scoring for the Cowboys with a jumper and his third trey of the game. Beetch hit two from the line and followed with a driving layup that forced a 29-29 tie with 2:44 remaining in the third.
The two teams alternated the lead throughout the remainder of the third with Hays taking a 38-31 lead after running off a 9-2 run late in the period. Becker hit back-to-back period ending shots including a three to bring Abilene within two 36-38 headed to the fourth.
“We were right there where a shot or two here or there things might have been different,” Taylor said. “We didn’t get over the hump. That’s a tough match-up for teams to play that. You have to shoot well against that defense and we didn’t.”
Junior Josh Stuber opened the fourth with a game tying steal and layup before Hays answered right back with a 6-0 run to go up 44-38. Stuber swished a three to inch the Cowboys back within three but then the Indians had a mini spurt with a six-point run to go up nine points.
“Proud of our kids for the way we fought back,” Taylor said. “We were down seven and come back and get it tied. With four minutes to go in the game we get back close again and then we had to foul at the end. They are not a good team to foul because they make free throws.”
Abilene closed within four late in the game but then had to foul to stop Hays from dribbling out the game. Hays made four of seven from the line to go along with Dylan Ruder bucket to stretch the Indian’s lead back to 10 points for the final 56-46.
Bryson led the Cowboy attack with 15 points while Beetch finished with nine.
Linenberger came off the bench to lead the Indians in scoring with 12 points. Jason Krannawitter finished with 11 and Dylan Ruder had 10.
Abilene falls to 11-6 on the year and will return to NCKL action on Friday as the Cowboys travel to Clay Center.
“Clay Cent on Friday and Chapman at home Tuesday,” Taylor said. “The next two games are conference games and if we want to be league champions, we obviously need to win both of them. If we don’t we’ll be sharing it with somebody.”
Contact Ron Preston at email@example.com.
Hays 56, Abilene 46
Abilene 11 9 16 10 – 46
Hays 12 13 13 16 – 56
Abilene (11-6) – Stuber 7, Bryson 15, Beetch 9, Becker 7, Heintz 8. Totals: 12 (5) 7-9 46.
Hays (11-6) – Krannawitter 11, Kieffer 4, Nunnery 5, Linenberger 12, Dale 5, Ruder 10, Schwartz 9. Totals: 17 (4) 10-17 56.
Augusta 69, Circle 45
Clearwater 56, Rose Hill 53
Hays 56, Abilene 46
McPherson 54, Buhler 51
Phillipsburg 61, Concordia 46
Rural Vista 48, Hartford 40
Rock Creek 58, Chapman 43
Solomon 66, Herington 35
Wamego 33, Clay Center 29
Wellington 67, Mulvane 61
Winfield 65, El Dorado 62
Wichita Collegiate 66, Andale 54
Chapman 38, Rock Creek 37
Beloit 57, Sacred Heart 55
Hays 47, Abilene 44
Herington 45, Solomon 27
McPherson 62, Buhler 34
Nickerson 52, Smoky Valley 35
Phillipsburg 57, Concordia 33
Riley County 45, Council
Rural Vista 61, Hartford 20
Wamego 35, Clay Center 34