The quarterfinal round of the Class 3A Boys State Basketball Tournament in Hutchinson ended up providing no shocking results, as all high seeds advanced to Friday’s semifinals.
However, while there were no upsets, each game provided its fair share of drama.
Beloit 52, Wellsville 46
In the opening game of the tournament, No. 2 seed Beloit had all it could handle with upset minded Wellsville.
The Eagles were on fire from the opening tap, canning 5 first quarter treys, including three from Shamus Kearney to give the 7th seed a 20-9 lead heading into the second quarter.
Wellsville was able to add to that lead in the second, at one point holding the largest lead of the game at 17, before eventually settling for a 34-21 halftime edge.
But, this game was a tale of two halves as the Trojans made some key second half adjustments in an attempt to corral the Eagles.
“They started hitting shots and we switched to man-to-man defense and we were able to get traps on them to get turnovers so that lead to buckets at the other end,” said sophomore guard, Bailey Vetter.
Slowly, but surely Beloit began to whittle away at Wellsville’s cushion and took the lead on a Vetter elbow jumper with under three minutes to play.
The Eagles regained the lead at the other end, but Colson Reames proceeded to hit a corner trey to push the Trojans in front 47-46 and they held on for the win.
Bailey Vetter led all scorers on the day with 17, while Reames added 10 for the Trojans.
Wellsville’s top point getters were Carter Mann with 16 points and Kearney with 11.
Nemaha Valley 76, Holcomb 66
The story of the tournament’s second game could be found at the charity stripe.
Nemaha Valley and Holcomb combined to take 66 free throws in the game, but unfortunately for the Longhorns, 44 of them went to the Raiders, who promptly took advantage of just about every one, knocking down 89 percent of them (39-44).
“We hit a lot of free throws tonight and that’s something we have not done well this year and in fact we were shooting about 59 percent on the season and to step up and be composed and shoot free throws that well is a big deal for us,” said Jon Thomas, Nemaha Valley head coach.
Senior big man, Caleb Meyer had nearly half of the Raiders tally connecting on 17 of his 20 tries. It was just a part of his dominating performance as he also hit 7 of 8 from the field for 31 points in all.
Holcomb trailed for most of the game, but did cut the lead to just three with just over six minutes to play in the game on a Conner VanCleave triple to make it 50-47.
However, the Raiders and Meyer proved too tough inside and the foul game didn’t pay off for the Longhorns as they fell by 10.
While Meyer had his share at the line for the Raiders, so too did Justice McKernan hitting 11 of 12 for 17 points on the night.
Heath Tucker hit 21 points for Holcomb and Trey Sleep also reached double figures with 12.
Hesston 61, Wichita-Collegiate 53
When the No. 1 and No. 8 teams match-up, it’s usually a near cinch that the No. 1 moves on, but for an early stretch in the first half it looked as if we might see the rarity.
Wichita-Collegiate built a 10-6 first quarter lead before Hesston figured things out, holding an eight point lead before a Cameron Christian runner for the Spartans made it 27-21 at the break.
The second half is where the Swathers made their move, starting the half on a 7-0 run to distance themselves from its feisty counterparts.
“I think we just adjusted defensively, did a lot better job on their dribble drive and not let them get in the lane so much and getting a little bit better help and I think we rebounded the ball much better because I think of their first 12 points, 6 of them were offensive boards and stick backs,” said Hesston head coach, Greg Raleigh.
Despite falling behind by as much as 15, Collegiate never went away, making the Swathers earn every bucket and free throw down the stretch, but Hesston was able to maintain its perfect record (24-0) with a strong finish.
Hesston had three players reach double digits on the night, Tyler McCartney with 15 and seniors Ryan Schadler and Wyatt McKinney each adding 11 to the mix.
Collegiate was led by two players with 11 points, Austin Waddell and Christian.
Riverton 58, Rock Creek 50
In the quarterfinal finale, Riverton used a huge fourth quarter to overcome Rock Creek.
The Rams trailed Rock Creek by just two heading into the final stanza, but managed to outscore the Mustangs 21-11.
The game was tight throughout, featuring 8 ties and 10 lead changes.
Landon North led all scorers for the Rams with 18 points. Grant North and Gavin Forbes chipped in with 14 and 12 respectively.
Rock Creek was led by a pair of 15 point producers, Carson Becker and Jared Garcia.