The reigning Class 2A champion Lady Red survived an early scare in Friday’s season-opener. Not one of the eight schools in the MCL picked up two wins in the first week of action.

Smith Center

The Lady Red lost just two games all of last year en route to a Class 2A state title. In Friday’s season-opener, Victoria gave the champs a battle, coming up just short 42-39. Smith Center opened with a 16-8 lead, but held a slim 19-18 lead at the half. The Red pushed the lead back to six points heading into the fourth quarter where they held on for the win. Sierra Kuhn led the way with 11 points, followed by nine points from Colbie Decker, eight points from Lynzee Mace, and seven points each from Cheyenne Hileman and Drew Mann. Mace grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

The Redmen were not as fortunate. Despite a 14-6 lead early, Smith Center trailed 25-17 by halftime and full further behind in the final two quarters of the 53-40 loss. LT Meitler tied for game-high honors with 14 points. Taylor Zabel added 11 points, and Mason Buckmaster scored eight points.

Stockton

The Tigers got off to a winning start with a 45-39 victory on the road at Hill City on Friday. Stockton led 14-7 after one quarter, then trailed 24-21 at the half. The Tigers outscored the Ringnecks 23-15 in the second half to take the win. Junior Jaden Williams scored 21 points in the win, and junior Christian Hamel also reached double-figures with 11 points. Reed Stephens added seven points.

The Lady Tigers came up just short at Hill City. After falling behind 28-24 at the half, Stockton battled back for a 40-38 lead heading into the final quarter. Hill City’s 22 points in the frame proved to be too much. Freshman Cecelia Beck led the team with 14 points in her varsity debut. Senior Janassa Swaney added 10 points, and senior Caitlin Lingg scored eight points. Junior Morgan Beougher finished with seven points.

Ellis

Expectations are high for the Lady Railers in 2013-14. Friday night, the girls opened the season with a 57-47 win against Phillipsburg. Ellis trailed 13-11 after one quarter, then outscored the Panthers 30-19 over the next two quarters to gain command of the game. Sophomore Alexcia scored 19 points in the win. Sarah Mick added 16 points, and Stephanie Greenway scored 10 points.

The boys fell in a deep 20-5 hole after one quarter and never recovered. Ellis outscored the Panthers 26-12 in the fourth quarter but came up just short 61-58. Junior Brandon Bollig hit three threes and led all scorers with 21 points. Sophomore Brendan Brenner added 17 points and 11 rebounds, and senior Nick Gehring scored 10 points and pulled down eight boards. Only five Railroader players scored in the loss.

Hill City

The Lady Ringnecks used a big fourth quarter to secure a win in Friday’s season-opener against Stockton. The teams had battled back-and-forth for three quarters, with the Tigers leading 40-38 with eight minutes to play. Hill City piled on 22 points in the final frame to stretch out a 60-50 win. Four Lady Ringnecks reached double-figures, led by sophomore Lexie McDowell’s 14 points. Sophomore Amanda Conway and senior Maegan Gosselin each added 12 points, senior Tessa Reynolds finished with 10 points.

The Ringneck boys put together two solid quarters of play, leading Stockton 24-21 at the break. Stockton turned that into a 30-28 lead after three quarters, and used 15 points in the fourth quarter to keep Hill City at bay for a 45-39 win. Senior Shane Jones opened the season with 14 points. Junior Ethan Gansel added eight points, and senior Greg Billups finished with seven points.

Phillipsburg

Things were looking up for the Panther boys as they jumped out to a 20-5 lead on the road at Ellis. In the end, Phillipsburg had to scratch out a 61-58 loss after Ellis erased 14 points off that lead in the final eight minutes of play. The Panthers hit seven threes in the win. Senior Tristan Ratzlaff swished three of those triples en route to an 18-point game. Seniors Stephen Sage and Trey Ellis added 12 and 11 points, respectively, and junior Sam Sage scored nine points. Senior Tanner Crist pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.

The Lady Panthers could not quite keep up with the Lady Railers. Phillipsburg led 13-11 after one quarter but trailed 41-32 by the end of the third quarter. Mattison Dusin did most of the scoring for the Panthers with 19 points.

Norton

The Blue Jay basketball teams got off to a rough start on the road at Goodland on Friday. The boys lost their game 54-49, and the Lady Jays came up short offensively in a 42-25 loss.

For the boys, senior Drew Schrum had a big game with a trio of three-pointers to lead the Jays with 20 points. Junior Conor Cox added nine points, and sophomore Quinton Porter eight points. Senior Tanner Furbush pulled down 12 rebounds to go along with five points. The Norton girls trailed just 18-17 at the half but managed only eight points in the final two quarters. Eight Lady Jays scored in the loss, led by six points from freshman Caitlyn Fox, and four points each from seniors Darcy Bainter and Bailey Ambrosier. Fox also led the team with nine rebounds, and Katelyn Engelbert grabbed eight boards.

Plainville

Osborne has jumped ship to another league, but with one final dose of MCL foes in 2013-14, the Lady Cardinals were first to fall victim. The Lady Cardinals fell behind 31-16 by halftime, and after shaving a point from that deficit in the third quarter, gave up 17 more points in a 62-40 loss. Junior Brianna Casey made half of her shots from the floor to lead the Cardinals with 15 points. Sophomore Shania Werner hit two threes to finish with eight points. Senior Ashley Winters added seven points, and junior Kim Junkermeier scored six points and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds. Junior Mallory McQueen added seven rebounds in the loss.

The Cardinal boys followed with a 70-49 win to move to 1-0 on the young season.