Sterling, KS (westernkansasnews.com) The Hugoton Eagles (9-1) boys basketball team is making a good first impression in their debut at the Sterling Invitational Tournament. Thursday night Hugoton beat Southeast of Saline (8-3) 63-to-53 in the tournament semifinals advancing to the championship game against top seeded and undefeated (10-0)Beloit.
Parker Titus continued his hot shooting connecting on 5-of-9 shots for a team leading 16 points. Titus has hit 20 of his last 31 shots over his last three games (64 percent). Zack Leninger also finished one point and one rebound shy of a double-double with 9 points and 9 rebounds.
Easton Montgomery a 6-4 post player for Southeast of Saline scored 22 points matching his average per game, but the Trojans were hard pressed to find a second consistent scoring option. Jefferson Montgomery was the only other player in double figures with 13.
Defensively Hugoton held SE of Saline to 37 percent from the field while hitting 56 percent of their own shots. The Eagles also held an edge on the boards 33-23.
Hugoton Head Coach Craig Szymchek has seen a night and day difference with the way his team defends opponents from when he took over three years ago.
The second seeded Eagles face their toughest test in Friday night’s championship game when they play 10-0 Beloit. Tip off is at 8:15.
The Hugoton Lady Eagles (8-2) continued to turn the ball over (22 times) in Thursday consolation semifinal against Hutch Trinity, but were able to shoot the ball better going 48 percent from the field and coasted to a 51-29 win at Sterling High School.
Sophomore Katy Heger scored 20 points and added six steals as the Lady Eagles turned a slow start into a runaway outscoring Hutch Trinity 31-11 over the second and third quarters for an easy 22 point win. After the game Head Coach Andy Gillen was pleased with the way Heger played.
Freshman Dallie Hoskinson pulled down eight rebounds from his guard spot. Mariah Hammersmith was the only player for Hutch-Trinity to put up double figures with 11.
Hugoton will play in Friday afternoon’s fifth place game against SE of Saline. Tip-off is at 3:30. You can hear both Eagle games on Hits 106 or westernkansasnews.com. Pre-game coverage begins 15 minutes prior to tip off.