Sterling, KS (westernkansasnews.com) The Hugoton boys basketball team knew they had a big challenge in facing Beloit Friday night in the championship game of the Sterling Invitation Tournament. Unfortunately seeing is believing.
The Trojans scored 28 points in the first quarter and had 47 at half in shooting 56 percent from the field before halftime and 59 percent for the game in beating Hugoton 81-63. Beloit the top ranked team in 3A brought a 11-0 record into the game and were led by guards Bailey Vetter (11-18 from the field) 25 points and Colson Reames (8-12 FG) for 27 points.
Eagles Coach Craig Szymczak thought his defense played better as the game rolled along.
Hugoton’s Zach Leininger never recovered from early foul trouble and was held to a season low 6 points. Parker Titus picked up the slack for Hugoton with 16 points and was named both to the all tournament team and most inspiration. With the loss the Eagles dropped to 9-2.
Both their losses came to the state runners-up from last year (Scott City on December 19th). Coach Szymczak is confident people who watched the tournament recognized the great strides his team is making with their program.
If the boys game was wild, the girls game was even wilder.
Hugoton girls led Southeast of Saline by 32 points with 4:48 to go in the third and it looked like an easy win. SES outscored Hugoton 40-12 through the rest of the game, but still fell four points short 71-67 as the Lady Eagles sewed up fifth place.
After the game Head Coach Andy Gillen was relieved his team held on despite their poor play down the stretch.
Southeast of Saline closed to within one before Hugton sealed it up with two free throws from both Katy Heger and Dallie Hoskinson. Hoskinson had a team high seven steals including six in the first half and a tie up in the back court with just five seconds left when a three from the Lady Trojans would have knotted up the game at 71.
Heger scored 18 points in the win and averaged 19 points over the last two games in Sterling. Second team all-state from last year, Erica Montgomery led SES in scoring with 28 points.
Hugoton is back on the court Tuesday with a girls-boys doubleheader at Sublette. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:15 with the tip-off at 6:30 on Hits 106 and westernkansasnews.com.