MAIZE SOUTH—The Maize South High School girls completed their sweep of Valley Center this season, beating the Hornets 41-28 on Friday, Feb. 22.
Some anticipated a close basketball game since the Mavericks edged Valley Center 28-25 on Jan. 29. After the Hornets won four of their last five games, coach Daniel Smith said he expected them to continue to play at a high level.
“A lot of it comes from the passion we play with and the energy we play with,” said Smith.
Maize South led 10-9 at the end of the first quarter Friday. The Mavericks’ biggest lead of the first half occurred with 1:19 left until halftime, when they held a 21-13 advantage.
Valley Center junior Shelby Bosken drained a three-pointer near the one-minute mark and then senior Madison Anderson followed up with a basket. That brought the Hornets within three, 21-18, but Maize South junior Mariah Suchan picked up a bucket to close the half. The host led 23-18 at the break.
Maize South opened the third quarter with a 6-1 run and, as a result, the Mavericks achieved a 29-19 advantage. They were ahead 30-21 heading into the fourth quarter.
Maize South started the final stanza by scoring eight unanswered points, including six from Suchan. Valley Center finally responded on the board with freshman Kyli Webber’s three-pointer. The Hornets trailed 38-24 with just more than five minutes left.
Valley Center resorted to fouling, which could have been an effective strategy since Maize South finished the quarter with a three-for-12 performance at the stripe. However, the Hornets could not capitalize on the offensive end. Smith remarked that his players’ lack of passion had, at times, been “embarrassing.”
Maize South was scrappy and aggressive defensively, grabbing steals and contesting rebounds. The Mavericks boosted their record to 11-9 overall.
“Clearly they play with more passion than anybody we’ve seen all year long,” said Smith.
Valley Center’s loss resulted in a 12-8 record. Its recent games include a victory over Andover Central – ranked No. 9 in Class 5A, according to the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association – and a single-digit loss to eighth-ranked Andover.
Hornet senior Madison Wedekind scored a team-high eight points Friday. Suchan anchored Maize South with 21 points.
Class 5A sub-state action will start next week. Smith said one of the Hornets’ goals all season was to advance from the first round of sub-state play.
“You can’t do that right there,” he said, alluding to Valley Center’s performance Friday, “and achieve some goals that you have.”