HOISINGTON, Kan. (CIK) The power shift continues in the Class 3A boys ranks. Reigning state champion Halstead fell early on in sub-state. Friday night in Hoisington, 3A newcomer Smoky Valley made its mark on the upcoming state brackets with a come-from-behind 49-43 win over third-ranked and reigning 3A runner-up Phillipsburg.
The fourth quarter proved to be the difference in the game. After a sluggish start, the Panther led most of the middle quarters and took a 33-27 advantage into the final eight minutes.
Viking senior Blake Heble missed a free throw but senior Chris Mullen was there to pick up the scraps to tie things at 33. Less than a minute later, Heble scored through a foul. This time he made the free throw to put Smoky on top 36-33.
Viking senior Lane Schrag also contributed to the big fourth quarter. He made it through the first two quarters without a point but finished the game with 12 points.
"None of our seniors want to quit," Schrag said. "We haven't quit all season. I just wanted to do it for them. In the first half I wasn't mad I wasn't scoring - other people were scoring. In the second half I decided I needed to step up put some points on the board for my team."
Heble swished a three and Schrag scored on a breakaway. Cade Schneider provided a big dagger with a trey with 2:38 remaining to boost the lead to 44-35. Phillipsburg forced several turnovers in next 30 seconds to cut the gap to 45-40 but Vikings eventually beat the press and ran out the clock.
Early on, Phillipsburg's potent offense managed just five points in the first quarter. Three of those points came on a steal from sophomore Ty Sides that led to a basket and foul in the final minute. The Vikings still led 7-5 after one.
"We've been practicing for them and we've worked on defense the entire time," said Schrag. "We worked on guarding the (Ty and Trey Sides). Carson (Windholz) and I, we defended them and Cole (Brumbaugh), Blake, and Chris defended the other people so we could just worry about the Sides."
Ty Sides added five rebounds to go with his 17 points for Phillipsburg. Trey Sides added 11 points and seven boards in the final game of his decorated prep career.
Smoky Valley lost in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament last year. Saturday afternoon, the Vikings (9-12) can earn another berth with a win over No. 2 seed TMP (12-10). "We just want to go out and play hard again and be ready for whoever we have to play," Schrag said.