Hoisington boys cruise in Keady Classic finale
LARNED, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Nine years in the making but Saturday’s Keady Classic championship may have felt a little anticlimactic for the No. 7 Hoisington boys. The Cardinals jumped out to a 28-8 lead after one quarter and continued to pull away from host Larned 76-40 to win their first Keady title in nearly a decade.
“I knew Larned would play hard,” said Hoisington coach Kyle Haxton. “They’re good kids that work hard and buy into a system. We had a lot of horses firing on all cylinders today.”
Four games into the season, Hoisington’s high-flying offense is averaging 74 points a game and has put up at least 27 points in the first quarter in three of those games. Saturday the Cards picked up two quick threes from senior Holt Hanzlick to lead 8-0 just 95 seconds in.
“The chemistry we have with our first eight guys is just incredible,” Haxton said. “They come out with a lot of juice, they play hard, they get the ball out in transition. I don’t think teams understand how fast we get the ball down the floor until they actually play us.”
Hanzlick added another trey three minutes later to finish the first quarter with eight points on perfect shooting. Sophomore Leyton Haxton also made both of his 3-point tries in the frame, including one just before the buzzer to put the Cards up 28-8.
Hoisington made 11 of its first 15 shots in the semifinal win against Bucklin Thursday. Saturday the Cards opened the game 12 for 17 from the floor, including a 5-for-8 effort from behind the arc in the first quarter.
“We get high-percentage shots in transition,” Coach Haxton said. “We even get high-percentage threes because it’s inside-out. The ball movement is great and we’re choosy with our shot selection. The defense is on its heels so we’re hitting shots with no hands in our face.”
The pace slowed in the second quarter as Hanzlick dropped in his 10th points of the game. Junior Noah Dolezal came off the bench and secured four offensive rebounds for the Cardinals, turning those into four points. The lead grew to 43-15 by halftime.
Larned doubled its halftime score in the third quarter thanks in large part to post play from Layton Crosby. The 6-3 senior scored nine points of 4-of-6 shooting. Senior Andreus Tucker also warmed with a pair of jumpers late in the quarter.
Cardinal junior Bralen Thompson scored late in the third quarter to push the lead to 62-31 and set up a running clock for the entire fourth. Crosby added seven more points to his stat sheet. He led all players and scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half. Tucker added six points for the Indians.
Hanzlick paced the Cardinals with 13 points. Leyton Haxton added 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the outside. Senior guard Mason Haxton added 10 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Seniors Drew Nicholson and Chase Robinson each put up eight points and grabbed eight boards, and senior Ryan Woydziak also scored eight points.
Hoisington moves to 4-0 on the season with three of those wins coming with a running clock in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve played four games and we’ve had seven practices,” said Coach Haxton. “To be doing what we’re doing with seven practices, that tells you these guys have played a lot of basketball together. We hit the ground running this year. We’re coming off a lot of momentum from the state championship game in football with a lot of these guys.
“We have high expectations for the season. Our only goal is to win every game we play. If we can do that, hopefully we’ll meet the ultimate goal of competing for a state title. Class 3A is really tough down the line. This group is going to give someone a tough out or fight to win one.”
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