Hoisington boys seek first Keady title in 9 years

Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 4:22 PM CST
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LARNED, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - In a 27-4 game after one quarter, one bit of mystery remained early on during Thursday’s Keady Classic semifinal game: when would Hoisington’s Drew Nicholson reach 1,000 career points? The Cardinal senior reached the landmark before the half as Hoisington rolled Bucklin 67-33 to advance to Saturday’s championship game against host Larned.

No. 7 Hoisington (3A) entered the night with 27 or more points in three of its first eight quarters of the season. In the first three minutes Thursday, senior Ryan Woydziak fired in seven points. Nicholson added four points and senior Mason Haxton dished out four assists. The result was a quick 13-2 lead.

“Mason’s a playmaker,” said HHS coach Kyle Haxton. “He could easily average seven or eight assists a game for us this year and he can score. That’s the message our team sends night in and night out – unselfish play and we play to our individual strengths and what will help the team be successful. That’s what’s fun about this group is how unselfish they are.”

That unselfish play led to a handful more assists in the opening frame. Hoisington finished the quarter 11 of 15 from the floor to pull ahead 27-4.

Nicholson needed just seven points in the game to reach 1,000 career points. He made his first two field goal attempts and added a pair of free throws in the first quarter before missing his next three field goal tries. Finally, with 1:46 to play in the first half, Nicholson’s jumper pushed him over the mark.

“He had 17 points in the first half last game and he can score in bunches,” Coach Haxton said. “I was hoping it would fall pretty quick so we could put it behind us. It’s a great accomplishment for Drew, and it’s a great accomplishment for everyone who has played with Drew.

“It takes more than one person to get something like that. He’s a great player and has a lot of great players around him who know what his strengths are.”

Bucklin went just 2 for 24 from the floor in the first half, including a 1-for-15 effort from behind the arc. Accordingly, Hoisington led 40-8 at the break.

The Red Ace shooters finally warmed up in the third quarter with nine points in less than two minutes. Junior Scott Price canned a pair of threes early on as Bucklin opened the half with four treys on five attempts. That pace eventually cooled to 5 for 13 in the quarter.

Hoisington kept plugging away with a 3-pointer from senior Dylan Richards as part of four consecutive points. Mason Haxton’s trey with 3:02 to play in the third pushed the Cards back into a 30-point lead to set up a running clock in the fourth.

Nicholson grabbed seven rebounds to go with his 14 points. Haxton added 12 points and six assists, and Chase Robinson finished strong with 11 points and seven boards. Woydziak scored seven of his nine points in the opening quarter, and junior Bralen Thompson scored six of his eight points in the first quarter for the Cards.

Junior Nate Bowman paced the Red Aces with 10 points. Price added seven points, and senior Josh Stout scored six points. Bucklin made just four shots from inside the arc, including two in the running-clock fourth.

Larned defeated St. John 46-44 in the other semifinal. St. John had accounted for six of the last nine Keady titles, and Larned enters Saturday as the reigning champion.

“We’ve won first-round games almost every year,” said Haxton. “Second-round games have been our nemesis in several of those years. We feel like we’ve competed with the top teams in this tournament for quite a while. It’s time to win one.”

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