After losing to Salina Central twice earlier in the year, Salina South won the one that counts, playing their way into the state tournament.
"It's the greatest thing you could ever imagine," Salina South junior Justin Stonebraker said. "We wouldn't want it any other way."
"This win is important because it's against Central, but we get to keep playing" Cougars head coach Matt Renk said. "We get to keep coming to practice."
In the first half, the two teams hung tight. The Stonebraker was solid scoring 12 points, 6 of them from behind the arch.
Salina Central big man Justin Bengston was unstoppable under the bucket scoring 10 in the first half alone.
"We got great minutes out of our bigs and great production out of our bigs once we started going inside," Salina Central head coach Doug Finch said. "It took us a while to go inside. I thought we played into their hands by walking the ball up the court and not attacking."
Going into the locker room at half, the mustangs had just a a 3 point lead, up 26-24.
Salina Central dominated the beginning of the third, leading by eight with 1:23 left to go in the quarter, but the Salina South boys didn't give up.
"These guys have stayed in games the entire year," Renk said. "Whatever the margin was, they just kept believing. They did it tonight."
The Cougars outscored the Mustangs 17-10 in the fourth. Towards the end of quarter, they were able to force Salina Central to turn the ball over down the stretch. A Salina Central turnover that turned into a Stonebraker layup just under the minute mark would tie it up 49-49.
With about 15 seconds left in the game Salina South had the ball in their hands. It took them about 13 seconds to finally get the ball off, but it was nobody other than Justin Stonebraker who hit a three just before the buzzer to win the game.
"I just knew how bad out team wanted this win and I just wanted to put it in for them," Stonebraker said. "They got me there and I just wanted to do everything I could to get that win for our team."
Stonebraker had a game high 26 points.