When Andover's defense made the switch to zone, it was a gift to Salina Central's Emily Wood.
“She's really good at finding those gaps. I think the rest of us are really good at swinging the ball across the court, or attacking an area and occupying two defenders,” said Salina Central head coach Geoff Andrews. “If she can get her feet set, she's probably going to make the shot.”
In the third quarter, Wood hit the shot. Then she hit it again. And again. And again.
Wood hit four 3-pointers in a row for 12 of her game-high 14 points in the third quarter, letting the Mustangs pull away with a 48-31 victory at Andover.
The squads were even early, with the game tied on seven different occasions. But with the score knotted at 17 in the second quarter, Salina Central's Shaelyn Martin swatted an Andover shot and found Brooke Peters with an outlet pass. The bucket put the Mustangs up 19-17, and sparked an 8-1 spurt heading into halftime.
Wood took over after the break. The last of her 3-pointers on the night was the punctuation on an 18-point lead that Andover never threatened.
“They switched to zone, and we were really moving the ball well,” Wood said. “It ended with some easy baskets for me – open shots for me – and my teammates, as well.”
While the Mustang offense was running efficiently, it was the defense that stifled any attempt at a comeback.
Andover shot 5-of-12 from the field in the first quarter, then went cold, going 5-of-32 the rest of the night. The Trojans missed all 19 of their 3-point attempts.
“We talked about it a lot in practice this week that we were going to play a different style of defense. Still man-to-man, which is kind of our bread and butter, but pack line defense,” Wood said. “A little bit less aggressive, not in the lane, back off to stop the penetration.
“That's something that Andover does well, is they penetrate and kick. Our goal was to stop that and force bad shots.”
Lexi Tilson led Andover (10-3) with 10 points off the bench. Jaylyn Agnew, typically the spark plug of the Trojan offense, was held to seven points as she battled foul trouble. That was not lost on Andrews.
“We know we don't want her on the floor. Just like we're better with Shaelyn out there, they're pretty good with Jaylyn out there,” Andrews said. “She's a great player.”
Along with Wood's output, Martin contributed 13 points and six rebounds.
The Mustangs (9-4) defeated Andover 44-37 a week ago at the Salina Invitational Tournament. The Trojans are ranked No. 6 in 5A.
“We knew that last week really didn't mean anything coming into today,” Wood said. “We knew that they were a good team, and they're ranked pretty high in the state. We wanted to prove we could come into their place and get a good road win.”
The Andover boys put the game out of reach before Salina Central ever found its flow on offense.
The Trojans powered their way to a 19-4 lead after one quarter. At halftime, Andover still held a 15-point edge. The Mustangs trailed by as much as 21 in the first half.
The final 16 minutes were no better for Salina Central.
A 3-pointer by Brady Carter with 6:12 to go in the contest put Andover up 50-24. They coasted to a 61-32 win.
Carter led the Trojans (10-3) with 15 points. Treyton Hines had nine for the Mustangs, who fell to 8-5.