Moundridge overcomes slow start to end Inman’s season

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 11:10 PM CST
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STERLING, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - All four teams in the Class 2A substate semifinals in Sterling may belong at the state tournament. But only one can advance. Sterling dumped one-loss Ellinwood in the nightcap, and No. 2 seed Moundridge overcame an early deficit and battled late to take down Inman 40-36.

After falling behind 14-7 in the first quarter, Moundridge fought back to lead 24-17 at the half and 36-25 heading into the final eight minutes. Inman senior Elijah Brunk started the comeback by cleaning up his own miss with a foul, then junior Tanner Heckel used a spin move in the lane to complete a 9-2 Teuton run and cut the gap to 38-34 with 2:56 to play.

“We started to stall a little bit,” said Wildcat senior Landon Kaufman. “We thought that was a little bit of a mistake. We took our foot off the pedal and it didn’t go in our favor so we tried to pick it back up.”

Sophomore Henry Hecox scored the lone Moundridge field goal in the fourth quarter. The Cats benefited from Inman’s three team fouls. The Teutons trailed by just two late and had the opportunity to pull ahead, but after a turnover, had to burn crucial seconds off the click picking up enough fouls to send Moundridge to the line. With just 12 seconds left, Wildcat sophomore Barrett Moddelmog all but iced the game with a pair of free throws for the final points of the night.

Early on, Inman capitalized on back-to-back turnovers with transition baskets from Heckel and Harrison Brunk to open up the lead. Kaufman scored seven points in the second quarter for Moundridge, and Logan Churchill added five points to swing the momentum. The Wildcats went on a 15-3 run in the second quarter.

“We knew we had to come out and really push it,” Kaufman said. “Defense was our main goal, getting stops. We got some stops and kept pushing the lead. That run got it going for us.”

Heckel led all players with 17 points, and Josiah Buller was hot early for six of his eight points. Kaufman paced Moundridge with 14 points and grabbed five boards. Churchill scored nine points, and Hecox finished with seven points.

Moundridge returns to Sterling Saturday night to take on the host Black Bears for the right to go to state.