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Hesston claims 4th title in school history

Published: Mar. 14, 2021 at 12:27 PM CDT
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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The Hesston Swathers jumped out to an immediate 8-0 lead Saturday and never looked back, leading wire to wire to defeat Galena 45-36 for the Class 3A State Championship.

The title is their 4th in school history, and first since 2014.

Mar 13, 2021; Hutchinson, Kansas, USA; during the 3A state championship game between Hesston...
Mar 13, 2021; Hutchinson, Kansas, USA; during the 3A state championship game between Hesston and Galena ©KellyRoss(©KellyRoss)

After that quick 8-0 lead, Galena’s Brett Sarwinski scored 6 straight to get the Bulldogs right back in it, then both offenses went cold. The second quarter saw Hesston held to just 2 points, but Galena scored just 5 of their own for a 2 point halftime game.

“That first half was a little rough, shots weren’t falling, that zone kind of destructed our flow of the game, and we just went into halftime and said ‘hey, this is not who we are,’” said senior Ben Bollinger.

The second half saw the Hesston offense we’ve seen all season come together more. Cason Richardson, who scored 36 points in Friday’s semifinal game but was held to just 4 in the first half, started to see his shots fall, with he, Brayden Schilling, and Nick Arnold all making two field goals in the third where they more than doubled their first half point total. But even with the lead never completely slipping, Galena stuck with them. Sarwinski added 9 points in the quarter including a buzzer beater, part of a game high 19 for the Bulldog junior.

Then in the 4th, the spread never got closer than five, the Swathers hit their foul shots, and Hesston locked in to stake claim to the state championship.

Mar 13, 2021; Hutchinson, Kansas, USA; during the 3A state championship game between Hesston...
Mar 13, 2021; Hutchinson, Kansas, USA; during the 3A state championship game between Hesston and Galena ©KellyRoss(©KellyRoss)

“Ever since probably middle school, this group of guys just bonded, playing rec league, MAYB, AAU together--and just saying hey, when we get to high school, our one goal is to win that state ring,” said Bollinger. “Last year, that sub-state finals loss hurt deep, we worked, went to the offseason, we grinded and said we’re gonna be back here.”

Richardson finished with a game best 16, including going 5/5 at the foul line in the final quarter. Schilling added 9, and Arnold 8 for the Swathers.

“You know it never gets old,” said Hesston head coach Greg Raleigh, “We played a lot of tough teams along the way, it’s been seven years since we won one and we’ve been back a few times and never got it done. The kids have worked hard, put in lot of time. They were all little the last time we won it, now they get to come in here and get it. It’s pretty cool.”

The Swathers finish the year with a 23-1 record.

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