Macksville wins first Keady title since 2017

Macksville freshman Hector Gomez goes up against Hoisington’s Leyton Haxton in Saturday’s 56-42...
Macksville freshman Hector Gomez goes up against Hoisington’s Leyton Haxton in Saturday’s 56-42 win over the Cardinals in Larned. (photo by Mike Courson)(Mike Courson)
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 6:31 PM CST
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LARNED, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - It was a close game and then it wasn’t.  Hoisington drew to within two of Macksville midway through the third quarter of Saturday’s Keady Classic championship game at Larned Middle School. Then the Mustangs went on a 17-2 run over the next five minutes to pull away for a 56-42 win, the school’s first Keady win since 2017.

“It’s been a while,” said Macksville coach Jeff Kuckelman. “It’s a good tournament with a lot of good teams so any time you can come out on top here, it’s a pretty big feather in your cap for the rest of the year.”

The teams hit the half tied at 19-19 and the Mustangs scored the first four points of the second half. Cardinal senior Bralen Thompson scored on an inbounds play with 3:35 to play in the third for a 23-21 score.

Then Macksville (4-0 overall) simply heated up. Junior Rogelio Ibarra and freshman Hector Gomez each hit threes over the next 65 seconds. Six-foot-six junior Ryan Kuckelman added a putback, then junior Alvaro Ibarra and Gomez connected on threes. The Mustang advantage grew to 38-23 with a quarter to play.

“We have good shooters, we just didn’t hit shots in the first half,” Coach Kuckelman said. “We talked at the half about possibly looking for the next best shot because I thought we shot a little quick in the first half. We did a good job of swinging the ball side to side and knocked shots down.”

Alvaro Ibarra took a steal the distance just 13 seconds into the fourth quarter, then freshman Diego Esparza capped a 5-for-5 streak from behind the arc with another trey to put Macksville ahead 48-27.

Hoisington did battle back, running out of time after cutting the deficit in half. After a relatively slow three quarters, Thompson scored nine of his team-high 16 points in the final quarter.

All game long the Mustang defense wreaked havoc to the tune of 13 turnovers in the first half. Hoisington made just two field goals and scored four points in the decisive third quarter.

“Our defense has been excellent,” Coach Kuckelman said. “It gives us a chance. I told them at half time for it being 19-19, I didn’t think we played very well offensively but we played good enough defense to give ourselves a chance and be in the game. It was still tied, we still had the whole game to go.”

Thompson grabbed 10 rebounds to go with his 16 points for Hoisington (3-1). Junior Leyton Haxton added 12 points and six rebounds, freshman Jason Robinson finished with six points, and sophomore Caiden Hoffman grabbed eight rebounds to go with his five points.

Rogelio Ibarra came off the bench to lead all players with 19 points, including a 4-for-12 effort from behind the arc. He finished with five rebounds. Ryan Kuckelman, the tournament MVP, was especially active early on to finish with nine points and 12 rebounds and a few blocked shots. Junior Alexis Barron had eight points, including a jam, and Gomez scored seven points.

Kuckelman was joined by Barron and Gomez on the all-tournament team. The rest of that list included Hoisington’s Haxton, Thompson, and Noah Dolezal; Kinsley’s Xavier Holguin, Spearville’s Joshua Cox, St. John’s Elijah Delp, Bucklin’s Scott Price, and Ellis’ Tyson Jimenez.

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