Three minutes might have played a key role in Friday’s rematch between Highway 4 rivals Hoisington and Central Plains. But nothing happened. Sporting a 33-25 lead after three quarters, Hoisington ran three minutes off the clock to open the fourth quarter. The home Cardinals went on to win 38-32 to take their fourth-straight game heading into the break.
“We figured out a way to beat a packed-in 2-3 zone,” said Hoisington Coach Kyle Haxton. “You have to have a lead to pull it out late in the fourth quarter.”
The Oilers eventually had to come out and guard. Six-foot-nine Cardinal senior Cody Stetler took advantage, getting to the rim twice for a 37-25 lead with 2:45 to play.
“We fought hard at the end,” Central Plains Coach Brett Rolfs. “We had trouble matching-up with them in man. We played zone the whole game and hoped that we were not down and fighting at the end trying to come back because we don’t match up very well with them. Everyone watching the game knew that, including Coach Haxton. That’s why he tried to stall there. He wanted us to come out. I was fine with that at a certain point, but not that early. I was willing to sit there and milk the clock a little bit. Eight points isn’t that much.”
Even trailing by 12 late in the contest, the Oilers would not go away. Konner Hickel hit a three, then the Oiler defense forced a turnover. Hickel’s subsequent three-point try rimmed out. Hoisington (5-2) again turned the ball over, this time on an offensive foul. A foul on the other end put Hickel at the line where he made one of two shots to cut the gap to 37-29.
The Cardinals were in the bonus for the final 43 seconds, but that mattered little as the team converted just 1-of-6 free throw tries in that stretch. Meanwhile, Central Plains sharpshooter Layne Bieberle woke up. After a relatively cold three quarters, the sophomore buried a long three for a 37-32 score with 32 ticks left.
That would be as close as the Oilers got. Bieberle turned the ball over near half court, and Cardinal senior Anthony Broeder hit a free throw. Bieberle again put up a long three. His swish would have made it a one-possession game with 10 seconds to play, but he was called for shuffling his feet before the shot.
In a win Tuesday against Ellinwood, Hoisington ran the floor and finished with 79 points. Friday, the Cardinals trailed 8-6 after one quarter.
“That packed-in 2-3 zone where they have five guys in the paint – your offense completely changes,” Haxton said. “They weren’t doing anything in the full-court. They were sprinting back to guard five guys in the paint. That means someone has to step up and knock down shots, penetrate the zone, or get ball movement to shift the zone. We did a lot of different things to find a way to score. The pace of the game was much different because of that.”
The Cardinals began to take over in the second quarter. Freshman Jacob Warnken hit two quick shots, and Trent Schremmer added a transition bucket for a 13-10 lead. Stetler scored seven points in the quarter and grabbed five of his nine rebounds in the frame. Hickel’s two treys were the only Oiler field goals in the quarter, and the Oilers trailed 22-18 at the break.
Broeder scored five points in the first 48 seconds of the second half, and Schremmer’s basket pushed the gap to 33-23. Hoisington still held the eight-point advantage with eight minutes to play.
With the win, the Cardinals avenge a 57-49 loss to the Oilers in game one of the season.
“We were really disappointed in our week one,” said Haxton. “We came out in that game and did not play very good basketball. We were trying to figure out who we were, still. Obviously, a couple of freshmen played a significant amount of time tonight. They have the last several games and are key to our guard play.”
“Part of it was home court,” Rolfs said. “It’s a pretty hostile environment here. Our kids knew that, I guess, at the same time. We’re young and when we play on the road it makes a difference.”
After going 14-of-14 from the floor in Tuesday’s win, Stetler again led all scorers with 15 points. He added a game-high nine rebounds. Broeder added eight points, and Schremmer finished with six points.
Bieberle still paced the Oilers (4-3) with 14 points. Hickel finished with 10 points, and Michael Lamatsch grabbed eight rebounds to go along with three points.
Central Plains girls 61, Hoisington 45
Even a 15-point margin does not represent how well the Lady Oilers played on the road Friday at Hoisington. Central Plains led by as many 19 points in the final quarter, downing the Lady Cardinals for the second time this year with a 61-45 final.
Central Plains, who finished fourth at the Class 2A state tournament a year ago and just dropped out of this year’s rankings, led from start to finish. Senior post player Jennifer Hitschmann scored four points as the Oilers built a quick 8-0 lead. Central Plains also grabbed the first four rebounds in the game, eventually winning that battle 31-18.
“I thought that first half we boarded real well,” said Lady Oiler Coach Pat Stiles. “Of course, we had the height advantage. That’s something we haven’t done real well the first part of this season, so I really like the way we attacked the glass.”
“That’s been a battle we’ve been fighting all year,” Hoisington Coach Mandy Mason said. “We’re undersized from the interior positions. We’ve talked about it, we’ve worked on it. It’s not an excuse to give up that many rebounds. Until we get the girls to realize how important that is we’re going to struggle rebounding the basketball.”
Leading 16-9 after one quarter, Hitschmann and junior Breanna Holmes took over in different roles. Holmes grabbed five of her game-high 11 boards in the second quarter, and Hitschmann hit all four of her field goal tries and two free throws.
“We need Jenni to score,” Stiles said. “On offense, we did a good job of getting her the ball on possessions so she could score.”
The Hoisington offense revolves around guard Jordin Greer. The junior did not disappoint on Friday, scoring 11 of 13 Lady Cardinal points early on. She remained hot the rest of the game, hitting five of her final nine shots, including a three-pointer, to lead all scorers with 28 points. She also grabbed nine of Hoisington’s 18 rebounds.
“We lost a nucleus of seniors last year so we knew at times it was going to be a challenge,” said Mason. “Jordin is a smart-headed player and knows when to attack the basket and pull up and shoot it.”
Central Plains (6-1) led 35-20 at the half, but Greer poured in six points in under four minutes to keep the game interesting at 40-28. Lady Oiler freshman Reagan Phelan took over from there, taking back-to-back steals for lay-ups and a 48-32 lead with 1:17 remaining in the third quarter.
The Lady Oilers needed just one field goal in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Hitschmann showed some range with a late three-pointer. Otherwise, Central Plains went 8-of-10 from the free throw line in the final frame to build a 19-point lead before Greer knocked down two more shots.
“We changed at the half and tried to contain Greer the rest of the game, but she’s just a great player,” Stiles said. “She did a really good job.”
Hitschmann hit all six free throws on the night and finished 9-of-11 from the floor for 25 points and five rebounds. Phelan added 10 points, and just three days after putting up 24 points in the first half, senior Janae Hekele added eight points.
Freshman Rylie Koester scored 11 points for Hoisington, who will hit the break with a 2-5 record.