The Indian boys basketball team traveled to Hoisington on Dec 15 to take on the Cardinals. The game was on everyone’s watch list in the western half of Kansas. Coming into the game, Hoisington was ranked fifth in Class 3A and ranked ninth in the state from Maxpreps. The Indians ranked sixth in 5A West and fifth in the state, according to Maxpreps. The hard-fought matchup would not disappoint.
Hays High was the first to score, but it was not long after that the Cardinals started hitting three-point shots. The Cardinals shot three-for-three beyond the arch to make the game 11-9 with 4:30 left in the first quarter. The Indians found themselves digging out of the eight-point lead the Cardinals had over the Indians to trail by two points at the end of the quarter.
Second quarter play was sloppy, as the Indians threw the basketball turned the ball over the ball, and the Cardinals relied on the referees heavily to bail them out and send everyone on the Cardinals team to the free throw line without the Indians being in the bonus. The Indians found themselves in a tough position, as they were down six points, 37-31.
Hays High cut the Hoisington lead back down to three with 3:45 left in the third quarter, but found themselves in a 48-41 deficit with eight minutes left in the game.
Senior Jason Krannawitter was the fire starter on the team, as he shot a three-pointer that would help the Indians and set up a charge call on the very next play; the refs called a blocking foul on Krannawitter. Hoisington senior Drew Nicholson found himself flopping on the ground to earn a petty shooting foul. Senior TJ Nunnery hit the deck to also get a blocking foul charged in his name. Krannawitter had a key takeaway with an assist to junior Carson Kieffer to cut the lead to two points. Krannawitter shot two free throws that had the Indians tied with Hoisington.
Hoisington found another Cardinal on the line after another call by the refs. Krannawitter hit a long-range, step-back three that cut the lead to one, then Kieffer hit an essential three-pointer to tie Hoisington at 58-58 with 2:42 left to play. The Indians held the ball away from the Cardinals as they chewed the clock from two minutes to seven seconds left in the game with an important blocking foul called on the Cardinals.
At the end of regulation, the Cardinals and Indians were tied at 58. The Indians would strike first, and on the next drive, Nunnery landed awkwardly on his ankle, forcing him to leave the game. The game came down to a turnover from Hoisington’s Nicholson; the Indians had Krannawitter to the line. He missed the first and made the second, but then senior Dalyn Schwarz got a rebound with a foul and made his free throw for a 64-63 Indian win.
The Indians move to 4-0 on the season and will host the Liberal Redskins on Dec. 18 for their final game before the Winter Break.