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Trojan boys use strong third to defeat Smoky Valley

Paul K. Mogenson
Special to The Salina Journal

GYPSUM – A 17-0 run in the third quarter blew the lid off a tight, non-league game for Southeast of Saline as they went on to swamp Smoky Valley 65-37, Tuesday night.

It squared the Trojans’ record at 1-1 while it was Smoky Valley’a first game as their scheduled opener on Friday with Abilene was postponed by COVID-19.

The Vikings managed to control of most of the first quarter, leading 13-9, five minutes in. Southeast was able to regroup and take a two-point heading into the second period.

The Trojans extend their lead to 28-21 at intermission. Smoky Valley’s Jake Lucas nailed a 3-pointer two minutes into the third, the Vikings trailed only 30-26, but that’s when the roof caved in on the visitors.

Starting with an Eli Sawyers basket with 5:40 left in the quarter, Trojans exploded with 17 consecutive points to extend their lead to 47-26 with 2:18 left in the third.

“I challenged them in the third quarter because, historically we’ve pretty poor in third quarters, and then have to fight back in the fourth and we had some leaders step up and we were really good,” Southeast coach Bryson Flax said. “We were holding them to one shot, and we got on the run and when we do that, we’re fun to watch and tough to stop.”

Not only was the transition game running wide open Southeast also knocked down a quartet of 3’s in the run.

“Offensively, we couldn’t get any shots to fall,” said Allen Meier, head assistant coach for Smoky Valley, who was on the bench in place of head coach Doug Schneider, who was in quarantine. “That makes it pretty hard to keep up with the other team when they’re scoring baskets. ”We ran into that problem last year and we’ve got to find a way around that.”

Sawyers led the way by scoring 20 points and grabbing a team-high seven rebounds. Jaxson Gebhardt added 14.

Southeast’s shooting percentage was very impressive at 61%. The Vikings were 16 of 36 from the field and were led by Lucas’ 16 points.

SMOKY VALLEY GIRLS 65, SOUTHEAST 54

It was raining 3-pointers for the Viking girls as they won their second game of the season. The 3-pointer got them off and running to open the game and using the deep ball from downtown allowed them to open an 18-point lead in the second quarter and Southeast could never catch up.

“This is one our better shooting teams,” Smoky Valley coach Larry Van Der Wege said. “I think we shot about 42 percent from three (9 of 21) and didn’t shoot as well on two-pointers – but overall shot 36 percent. We want to be better, but it is still one of our better nights.

“I was proud of our girls. In a scrappy frenetic, helter skelter type game because of the speed and quickness of Southeast and (it was physical) so we had our work cut out for us to take care of the ball.”

In the second quarter, the deep shots were falling and when Ellie Brumbaugh drained her third with 2:58 left in the half, Smoky was up 18, 33-18.

“They did a good job in the first half,” said Shauna Smith, Southeast coach, whose team dropped their second contest. “I think they hit seven 3’s. They got wide open and they buried them – then we had to dig ourselves out of the whole the second half and never could get over the hump.”

The Trojans managed to trim their deficit to 11, 45-34, heading into the final period and appeared to have found some momentum.

But Tinley Scott and McKinley Johnson dashed that work hitting back to back triples to open the last eight minutes and bounce the Vikings back up 15, 51-36.

Ramping up the pressure, Southeast was able to get it down as far as seven, 61-54 but only 19.6 second remained and the tradeoff was Smoky getting to the line 14 times and converting 10 in the last quarter.

“When you talk about ball movement to get the open looks on offense,this is some of the best ball movement we’ve had – even if we didn’t hit a shot, but it was beautiful to see,” Van Der Wege said.

Breanna Priddy led the Vikings with 17 points and eight rebounds. Adrian Hazelwood tallied 12 while Brumbaugh and Haxton each scored 11. Karsyn Schlesener led the Trojans with 17.