Indians do not disappoint in front of students for first time during season


Cayden Sanders

Junior Carson Kieffer celebrates with teammates after a last second shot against Salina Central on January 29th.

Hays High boys basketball had a highly touted match-up versus the Salina Central Mustangs on Jan. 29.

With the new form of playoffs, the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) has thrown away the 1-16 ranking model and is using a divisional look, pairing high schools closest together in the postseason. Hays High has rival Great Bend, Salina Central and Salina South in their divisional bracket.

The game was on everyone’s watch list as the No. 1 Indians looked to stay undefeated and to secure hosting throughout their playoff run. Salina Central played cross-town rival Salina South on Dec. 11. The game was the third game of the year for each team, but it would be a knock-down, drag-out fight, in which South edged out Central by five points in overtime.

As of the week of Jan. 25-30, Hays High was sitting atop the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association for the 5A classification with an 11-0 record. Salina South is also undefeated in their season with a 7-0 record and are sitting in the second seed in the 5A classification.

Hays High had a hard time starting out the game. Central matched up with Hays High with a smaller and spread out offense that gave the Mustangs a boost shooting the ball from deep on most of their offensive drives, always finding the open teammates. Central forced the lead to 19-6 by the end of the first quarter.

In second quarter, the Mustangs kept shooting the ball lights out from the three-point line. The Mustangs pushed the lead to 19 points with a score of 32-13 at halftime. This was the Indians’ worst trailing margin of the season.

In the third quarter, junior Carson Kieffer started heating up for the Indians. He shot a three-pointer that helped boost the Indians, and the Mustangs had crucial turnovers turning the game multiple times through multiple drives. Senior Jason Krannawitter hit an important three-point shot that cut the lead to eight. At the end of the third quarter, the Indians managed to cut the Mustangs’ lead to six, 42-36.

In the final quarter, junior Jace Linenberger got a set of free throws that set the Indians only four points behind the Mustangs. With a minute and a half to go, the Indians were down by two. Senior Dalyn Schwarz got a foul that sent him to the line with under a minute to go in the game. Schwarz sunk both three throws that tied the game for the first time in the game. Junior Jordan Dale got charged with a blocking foul, stopping the clock at 10.1 seconds left. The Mustangs’ McHenery rattled the ball in with a one-point lead with 10.1 seconds left in the game.

Hays High took a time out. Kieffer brought the ball up but was stopped at half court. He switched his dribble to the right side of the court. Linenberger gave a key screen, giving Kieffer the ability to drive the ball to the basket. Kieffer drove right under the goal, making him contour his body for an underhand lay-up with no time remaining in the game.

The Indians came back from a 19-point deficit to win the game by one with Kieffer’s shot. Hays High moved to stay undefeated at 13-0 on the season, along with beating divisional foe Salina Central to keep first place seeding in 5A standings and the ability to host games in the postseason.

The Indians will travel to Scott City on Feb. 2 to take on the Beavers for a non-conference match up.