ABILENE, Kan.—Thursday night it was a tale of two games in Abilene.
Both games appeared to have similar set ups on paper as they both featured teams that are currently sitting in second place in the North Central Kansas League basketball standings against teams sitting towards the lower half of the NCKL standings. They both had directly opposite outcomes.
The boys’ game appeared on paper much the same way as it featured the second-place Abilene Cowboys against the Tigers, who entered the contest with just one NCKL victory this season.
That game, however, was basically decided from the opening tip as Abilene scored the first 10 points of the game and cruised to a 60-35 victory.
“It was a good victory, we are happy and we will move on from here,” Abilene Cowboys coach Terry Taylor said. “It was a good win for the kids, like always. Any win, is a good win this time of year.”
In the girls’ game, the score was knotted 5-5 early before the Lady Tigers closed the first quarter on a 9-4 run to take a 14-9 lead into the second quarter.
Clay Center pushed that lead to 25-18 before the Cowgirls scored the final four points of the half to go into the locker room trailing just 25-22.
Abilene kept the charge on in the second half as the Cowgirls opened the third quarter with a 14-2 run to build a 36-27 lead.
Clay Center hit some three-point shots to make the score 40-37 going into the final quarter.
“They just outplayed us,” Clay Center Lady Tiger coach Mike Rothfuss said. “They came out ready to play more than we were. I don’t think we were focused at the first of the game. They just out played us for the first three quarters. Then we finally came around and finally started getting it right.”
The fourth quarter saw two ties and the lead change hands for the final time when Clay Center closed the game on an 11-2 run to earn the victory.
“This will help us a bunch,” Rothfuss said of the tight victory late in the regular season. “Abilene is a good team. They are well coached, we just had to come around and do our thing. We did good. Our senior leadership helped us out a bunch there.”
Clay Center was led by Alyx Bloom’s 17 points while Macy Franson pitched in 14 and Alyssa Steppe added 13. For the game the Lady Tigers scored eight 3-point field goals, led by Franson’s three long-range bombs while Steppe added a pair.
Belle Barberi led Abilene with 16 points while Nichole Taylor pitched in 12 for the Cowgirls.
Boys won 61-20 earlier this season; Girls lost 57-51