LARNED, Kan. The Larned Indians pulled away for a 52 to 35 victory over the Nickerson Panthers to remain undefeated.
The game was the first tilt for either team after the winter break.
After tipping off, the game took on a back and forth nature. Larned took a three-point lead on a made free throw and a made basket.
Nickerson would answer back with a three-pointer. Then they took a quick two point lead.
Larned hit a three-pointer of their own and took over the lead. They never surrendered the lead the rest of the night.
At the end of the first quarter, they had a three point edge.
A 12 point second quarter stretched the Indian lead to 20 to 13 at halftime.
With the back and forth nature came fouls. Both teams committed 11 fouls in the first half. Nickerson went into the locker room with three players carrying three fouls each.
Larned would add another 12 points in the third quarter. More importantly, they held Nickerson to just three points in the frame.
Nickerson found more opportunities in the fourth quarter scoring 19 points. They narrowed the lead to 11 points with under 2:30 to go in the game. Shortly after, leading scorer Connor MacDonald fouled out for Nickerson.
Forced to foul for possession, Nickerson gave Larned several opportunities to add points from the free throw line. The Indians went 6 of 8 from the line in the quarter. Adding the free throws to seven baskets from the field gave Larned 20 points for the final quarter.
"The tempo slowed down and got away from the transition game we like to play," said Larned Head Coach Jerrod Smith. "We make up for a lot of size with athleticism, which is a credit to our strength and conditioning program."
"When you are up 10 or 11 points, you don't need to score fast. You just need to be efficient. And then come down and play great defense."
Larned's Brock Skelton lead all scorers with 21 points. Mason Perez added 13 points to the total.
Connor MacDonald led Nickerson scorers with 12 points.
Larned improves to 6 and 0 on the season. Nickerson falls to 2 and 5 on the year.