HUTCHINSON, Kans.—The 2012 Class 3A State Basketball tournament got underway at the Hutchinson Sports Arena with mostly expected results. The top-seeded Scott City Beavers opened defense of its title with a tough 72-63 win over the Beloit Tigers.
Beloit took the game to Scott City in the early going. The Tigers led briefly at 4-2, but stayed close in the first quarter, trailing 14-12 at its end.
Midway through the second quarter, the Beavers pulled to within three points, 26-23. Austin Budke hit on a three-point play by Austin Budke, and Brady True scored down low. Then Scott City started to put some distance between itself and Beloit.
Brett O’Neil hit a pair of free throws, making him six for six from the stripe in the quarter. Trey O’Neil and Austin Habiger both hit from behind the arc to push Scott City’s lead to 11 points, 34-23. The Beavers took a 10-point lead, 36-26, into the dressing room at halftime, hitting 10 of 11 free throws in the second quarter.
Scott City hit two more charities to start the third quarter for a 12-point lead. Beloit made a little push by scoring the next five points for a seven-point deficit at 38-31. That quickly fizzled as the Beavers closed the third quarter with a 17-9 run and led at the end of the quarter 55-40.
Beloit played perhaps its best basketball of the night in the fourth quarter as it outscored Scott City 23-17. But it was too little, too late as the Beavers held on for a 72-63 win.
The Beavers shot 45.7 percent from the field, including 42.9 percent from 3-point range. Beloit was 40.7 percent overall and 30.8 percent from behind the arc.
They had four players in double figures. Joseph Meyer led the way with 18 points, followed by Drew Kite with 13, Habiger had 12 and Trey O’Neil added 10.
Budke scored 19 points to lead Beloit. Zachary Brummer added a dozen and Tanner Finney has 11. The Tigers finished the year 17-7.
Nemaha Valley turns back Conway Springs
After a trio of fourth-place finishes in Class 2A, Nemaha Valley returned to the 3A wars this year. The second-seeded Raiders ran out to a big halftime lead, but had to hold on for a 51-46 win over Conway Springs.
The Raiders were up 15-2 at the end of the first quarter. They continued to push the ball and led by 19 late in the second quarter. Nemaha Valley shot 55 percent from the field and took a 30-15 advantage into the locker room at intermission.
The Cardinals made a run in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to seven, 35-28, at quarter’s end. A three-point play by Conway’s Ross Rasmussen made it a one-point game, 44-43, with 41.5 seconds to go.
Alex Hermesch countered with a three-point play of his own for a four-point lead with 27.5 seconds left. Nemaha Valley iced the win with four free throws the rest of the way.
Brady Bodine scored 11 to lead Conway Springs, which finished 18-6.
Hermesh led all scorers with 17 points for Nemaha Valley.
Central Heights advances with win over Pitt-Colgan
In the matchup between the three and six seeds, Pittsburg-St. Mary’s Colgan trailed Central Height most of the game. Although they came close, the Panthers never got over the hump and lost 61-50.
Up 15-7 after the first quarter, the Vikings moved out to a 23-10 advantage in the second quarter before the Panthers pulled themselves back into the game. They cut the deficit to seven, 31-24, at halftime and trailed by only three, 41-38, after three quarters.
Two free throws by Dyson Dechant pulled Colgan to 45-43 with 5:09 left in the game. Colgan got no closer as Central closed out the game with a 9-3 run for the final score.
Sam Leach had 25 points for Heights, and Dechant scored 13 for Colgan.
Moundridge falls short against Rock Creek
The nightcap was the matchup of middle seeds – No. 4 Moundridge Wildcats against No. 5 Rock Creek Mustangs.
Moundridge’s Trey Unrau, its leading scorer missed most of the first quarter with an ankle injury. Despite that, the Wildcats clung to a slim 13-12 lead at quarter’s end.
Six Mustangs put points on the board in the second quarter as they went up 29-25 at halftime. Down five to start the fourth quarter, Unrau scored all nine Moundridge points in the quarter on a trio of treys. Each Unrau score pulled the Wildcats to within either three or four points, but the ‘Cats could not get any closer.
Unrau had 15 points for Moundridge, which finished 20-4.
The Mustangs were led by Aaron Kuecker with 11 points and Dillon Johnston with 10
Friday’s semifinals are set. Nemaha Valley and Central Heights tip off at 4:45 p.m., while
Scott City and Rock Creek tangle at 8:15 p.m.