Boys basketball earns Colby championship


Cayden Sanders

Senior Dayln Schwarz looks for an open teammate against WesternAthletic Conference foe Garden City Buffaloes on January 15.

Boys basketball head coach Alex Hutchins and the Indians went into the Colby Orange and Black Invitational that started on Jan. 21 with a No. 1 ranking in Class 5A and an 8-0 record.

The boys sat at the top of the Colby bracket and started their tournament run against the Ulysses Tigers. Going into the game, the Tigers missed a key player, senior Aaron Galindo, who was the top scorer with 16.5 points a game.

The Indians had a tough time starting the game, but they led the Tigers 23-7 at the end of the first quarter. The Indians never let the Tigers get closer and won the game, 76-35.

In the second game on Jan. 22, Hays High faced off against league foe Garden City in a non-league match-up. Going into the game, the Indians met a much different Buffs team than the one they had faced at home just a short week ago. The Buffs did not have senior Trey Nuzum because he was at a football showcase.

The Indians did not have a tough time scoring in this game, with them having the front court size from senior Dayln Schwarz and junior Jace Linenberger.

The Indians led the Buffs going into halftime with a 34-17 lead. Hays High coasted the rest of the way to win the game, 64-42. The Indians moved to 10-0 on the season and moved on to compete in back-to-back Orange and Black championships. Last year, the Indians were runners-up vs Pine Creek from Colorado, but this year, the Indians faced the home team Colby Eagles.

The Eagles had a much separate way of getting to the championship game. The Eagles competed in a round robin that consisted of the Eagles, Beloit and Osborne. Each team fell in the respective places as they competed against each other. The Eagle come out on top of the round robin, putting the Eagles in the championship game.

Before the game, the Indians met for a shoot around at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning.

“We had the boys get up to have the juices flowing and get to have a very quick walk through and how Colby will match up against us,” Hutchins said.

The Indians had a great start in the first quarter. The Indians had an 18-8 lead. In the early minutes of the second quarter, the Eagles had a fatal blow for their chances to win the game, as senior point guard Ryan Myers was taken out of the game with an ankle injury.

Hutchins explained the scouting report of the Eagles before the game.

“When Colby is playing well, it is usually because Myers is shooting the ball well that night. We got to make sure we have an eye on him because the offense runs through him, and he is the one making plays,” Hutchins said.

The Indians took advantage of the Eagles’ downfall and kept the pressure on the Eagles to find someone else to step up for the offensive scoring. At the end of the first half, the Eagles’ Hunter Vaughn hit a step back three to cut the Indians lead to 35-19.

Myers checked back into the game with the Eagles to start the third quarter. The Eagles had the final shot of the third quarter, as Vaughn took the ball up the court to the volleyball line and bank shot the ball into the net. The Eagles managed to bring the Indians’ lead to 13 at 47-34.

The Indians sustained the lead and went on to win the game and the championship 56-47 over the host team.

The 2021 Indians are the first team from Hays High to win the Orange and Black Classic since the 2002 team 19 years prior. Before the championship game, the Hays High program was two of five for winning the Orange and Black Classic Championship game, and its most recent appearance was last year, when the team lost to Pine Creek High School from Colorado.

Hays High also saw more tournament honors, as junior Carson Kieffer, Linenberger and Schwarz collected All-Tournament team honors. Schwarz was also claimed All-Academic honors. Kieffer is the first player since Marcus Watts in 2001 to earn the tournament’s MVP for the Indians. The Indians have had for the third year in a row a winner for the Sixth Man Award; this year the honor was given to junior Jordan Dale.

The Indians next game will be at home on Jan. 26 versus the 6-5 Pratt Greenbacks