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Lady Redskins hold off Central for title PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 January 2018 11:31

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Katie Horyna is fouled by Salina Central’s Myah Ward Saturday in the championship game of the Salina Invitational Tournament. Horyna scored 16 points, 13 of those in the second half, and was named the tournament MVP after a 57-53 win. L&T photo/Earl Watt

By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

SALINA — In what felt more like a state tournament setting than a mid-season tournament, the eighth ranked Lady Redskins battled the No. 6 Salina Central Lady Mustangs in the Salina Invitational Tournament championship Saturday, and despite watching a 16-point lead dwindle down to two, Machia Mullens was able to drop four straight free throws in the final 17 seconds to secure a 57-53 title win.

The see-saw battle favored Liberal early, and two quick threes from Whitney Hay and Ali Lucero sparked an 8-0 run to start the game, and by the end of the first quarter the Lady Redskins had a 17-8 lead.

But Liberal struggled in the second quarter while the Lady Mustangs chipped away. The Lady redskins only made two free throws in seven minutes, and Salina Central erased Liberal’s lead to take a 20-19 advantage.

Reagan Watt made the only basket for Liberal in the quarter while Machia Mullens sat with two fouls, but Central’s Holly Sanderson made the final shot of the half, and Liberal trailed 22-21.

But the Lady Redskins came out hot in the third quarter, pushing the ball inside with a drive and shot from Lucero followed by a Katie Horyna three and a Mullens lay-up, and the Lady Redskins started on a 7-0 run to take a 28-22 lead.

Elisa Backes scored the next seven Central points, but during the same time Liberal hit threes from Horyna and Lucero, and Mullens chipped in another basket to protect Liberal’s lead at 36-29.

Audrey Gilmore hit Liberal’s next two three pointers and Whitney Hay added a deep three early an the fourth, and Horyna followed with a pair of free throws to extend Liberal’s lead to 50-34 with 5:47 to play.

But the Lady Mustangs roared back with a 10-0 run including seven from Backes, and Liberal’s lead was down to six with 2:25 to play.

Central fouled in an attempt to come back, and for two minutes, it worked.

Liberal only made three of the next nine free throws, including the front end of a one-and-one, and Central cut Liberal’s lead to 53-50.

Mullens was fouled with 17.4 seconds to play, and she made both shots, but Backes drained another three points with 9 seconds to play, and Liberal’s lead was cut to two.

Mullens again received the inbound pass and was fouled. She knocked down two more free throws with 8.1 seconds to play, and after a near miss on another Central three, the Lady Redskins rebounded to earn the 57-53 win.

Horyna scored 16 to lead the Lady Redskins and was named to the All Tournament Team and the Tournament MVP. Mullens scored 13, and Lucero added 10 to make the All Tournament Team.

Whitney Hay scored eight, Gilmore scored six, and Watt had four.

“Our girls came out at half, and they knew they would make shots,” Liberal coach Carter Kruger said. “They knew they would get to the rim. With young teams, you get to questioning yourself, and I think we did that in the second quarter. We regrouped and showed a lot of heart and character. Up 16, you think we can put this thing away. We haven’t had to protect the lead, so we had to learn from the win.”

The Lady Redskins improved to 10-1 on the season and will return to The Big House Friday to host the Hugoton Lady Eagles. Tip is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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The Lady Redskins gather to show the Salina Invitational Tournament bracket and first place plaque Saturday on the campus of Kansas Wesleyan University after winning the championship game 57-5 over Salina Central. The Lady Saints had a 50-34 lead with less than six minutes to play, but the Lady Mustangs went on a 10-0 run to cut the lead to six, and the Lady redskins struggled at the free throw line in the final two minutes that allowed Salina Central to cut the lead to two points before Machia Mullens was able to make four straight free throws in the final 17 seconds to secure the 57-53 win.


 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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