Scott City, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–Friday night’s doubleheader between two long-time rivals had the sense of a pair of closely-contested games. Entering Friday on the girls side, Scott City had a two-game lead in the GWAC standings over Ulysses and Hugoton, while the boys game featured a pair of teams just separated by one game. At the end, both games saw tightly-contested games, and a split in the doubleheader. The girls side saw the Lady Tigers use a 14-0 run to open the second half to knock off Scott City 41-38, while the Beaver boys pulled away with a 9-0 fourth quarter run to defeat Ulysses 69-59.
It was a battle of two Top 10 teams in their respective classifications. Scott City came in at No. 9 in Class 3A, while Ulysses was ranked 10th in Class 4A, Division I. While the game wasn’t the prettiest to view, it certainly had its share of entertainment. The Lady Tigers would use an early 6-0 run in the first quarter to get the lead, and take an 8-7 lead into the second quarter. Then they would go on an eight-minute drought of their own. Scott City was unable to take advantage of the drought, scoring just three free throws in that span to tie the game at eight with 3:40 left in the second quarter. That would be the first points of the period. After Ulysses (11-6, 5-2 GWAC) took a 10-8 lead with 3:21 left in the first half, the Lady Beavers closed out the half on an 11-2 run to take a 19-12 halftime lead.
The second half was a major swing in favor of the Lady Tigers. Ulysses would go on a 14-0 run and all of a sudden find themselves up 26-19 with just over three minutes remaining in the third period. Scott City (14-3, 6-1) would only convert one field goal in the third quarter, and were outscored 23-6 in the quarter to trail 35-25 after three quarters. The Beavers did have a big push in the first couple minutes of the final period. They would score the first eight points to pull to within 35-33 with 4:52 left in the game. The Lady Tigers would get a three-point play to go back up five at 38-33 with 4:25 remaining. Scott City got it to within one on a pair of occasions in the final two minutes. They had an opportunity to convert free throws and perhaps, retake the lead late, but missed costly free throws down 39-38 late in the game. Ulysses got a late basket, and survived Scott City’s four missed three pointers in the final seconds to escape with the three-point win.
Ulysses was led by Gina Ballesteros and Madison Haney with nine points each. They were 12-23 at the free throw line and had 19 turnovers. Scott City was led by Emily Smith with 11 points. The Lady Beavers were just 12-23 at the foul line and had 16 turnovers. Ulysses won the rebounding battle 31-26.
With the win, Ulysses snapped a five-game winning streak to Scott City, and won in Scott City for the first time since January 16, 2015. Scott City still leads the all-time series since 1984 41-29. The Lady Beavers saw their seven-game conference win streak snapped, and now have a one-game lead on Hugoton and Ulysses with three games remaining.
It was discovered that Ulysses would be down their top two scorers entering the game. However, that did not phase the Tiger team at all. They would use the “next man up” theme and both them and Scott City treated the fans to an exciting 32 minutes of basketball. The Beavers would take the early lead after the first quarter 15-10, closing out the final 4:11 of the period on an 8-2 run. Ulysses countered in the first two minutes of the second quarter on an 8-2 run of their own to lead 18-17 with 5:52 left in the half. The teams would trade leads and eventually, the Tigers would take a 26-23 halftime lead, scoring the final five points of the second half. Ulysses used a 16-8 second quarter run to build the lead
Then the third quarter happened. The lead exchanged quicker than you could tabulate scores. Eight of the 13 lead changes, to go along with three of the five ties, took place in the third eight minutes of play. Scott City (9-8, 4-3 GWAC) closed the final two minutes of the fourth quarter on an 8-3 run to take a 45-41 lead heading into the fourth quarter. For the first five-plus minutes, both teams would trade baskets. Ulysses (7-10, 2-5) would get no closer than two, with the last coming at 53-51 with 2:44 left. Through the first three periods, the lead for either side was no bigger than three. The Beavers would change that. They went on a 9-0 run to go up 62-51 with 1:08 left. Ulysses would get as close at 65-59 with 18.3 seconds left, before Scott City shut the game down by sinking four free throws. The Beavers would go 13-15 in the fourth quarter at the foul line.
Scott City was led by Jordan Horn with a game-high 22 points and Marshal Faurot added 16, while Reid Brunswig added 10, all coming in the second half. The Beavers were 19-22 at the charity line and had only seven turnovers. Ulysses got 19 from Victor Perez, 18 from Devin Walker and 12 from Josh Hickman. The Tigers shot just 3-7 at the foul line and committed nine turnovers. Ulysses won the rebounding battle 28-26.
With the win, Scott City has now won a season-high four games to get above .500 for just the second time this season. They are now 47-20 vs Ulysses since 1984, and swept the season series from the Tigers for the eighth time in the last 10 seasons. Ulysses has now lost six straight games.
Coach Brian Gentry Postgame
After six straight home games, both Scott City teams finished 4-2 in their homestand, and will play at Holcomb on Tuesday, while Ulysses travels to Hugoton on Tuesday in GWAC play.
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