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No. 4 Hoisington stuns Nickerson with wild comeback

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 11:16 PM CST
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HOISINGTON, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - A 29-point swing in the final 15 minutes. Fourth-ranked Hoisington (3A) found itself trailing 42-27 against a lights-out shooting performance by Nickerson Friday night. The Cardinals needed just four minutes to erase that deficit and roll to a 71-57 win.

“Our 1-3-1 three-quarter court press gave them fits,” said Hoisington coach Kyle Haxton. “They struggled with ball handling and passing and we knew that. We thought we could cause them fits with the half court defensively in man but we didn’t because we were overplaying them.

“Our zone gave them a lot of trouble. It was actually suggested by the players at halftime. That’s what it’s about. I trust what they feel and they trust what I say. We went with it and it worked immediately.”

Leading 34-24 at the break, Nickerson got a quick trey from senior Cristian Peterson to open the third quarter. Junior Carson Linn added a 3-pointer for a 42-27 score just 80 seconds into the second half. The Panthers opened the game 10 for 20 from the perimeter.

“We showed a lack of discipline defensively,” said Haxton. “In the first half against Hillsboro and in the first half again tonight. We weren’t getting out on shooters. It’s a lot easier to shoot the ball when you’re getting open shots. We were sagging in on help. They were taking shots without a hand in their face, and most kids are going to shoot a high percentage.”

The Cardinals switched up the defense and the rest is history. Turnover after turnover led to a Chase Robinson basket and 42-36 score at the 4:01 mark in the third. Then a Robinson offensive board led to points from Bralen Thompson, and Drew Nicholson scored for a 42-40 score. Nicholson’s putback with 1:42 left in the frame leveled the score at 42.

The Panthers got one final punch from senior Phillip Magana on a basket and foul, but Nicholson and Mason Haxton each popped threes in the final 42 seconds of the third for a 50-45 Hoisington lead.

Haxton proved brilliant down the stretch with 22 of his game-high 29 points coming in the second half. He also grabbed eight rebounds and had a hand in various assists and steals.

After their hot start, the Panthers missed nine consecutive tries from the outside before Linn swished another three. He paced the Panthers with 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting from downtown.

The game was tied at 22 midway through the second when Linn, Adan Garcia, and Raef Tatro hit back-to-back-to-back treys for a quick 31-22 lead. Tatro made three of his four shots from the outside in the second quarter for his 9-point total. Magana added eight points, and Peterson scored seven points.

Hoisington also got 22 points from Nicholson. Robinson scored six points and grabbed some timely rebounds. Thompson scored all five of his points in the second half.

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