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Bunker's big third quarter lifts Macksville
Oak guards inbound pass
Macksville's Adam Oak (11) guards Olpe's Linden Stueve (14) on the baseline during the first half of the Class 1A-Division I state tournament first-round game in Emporia. - photo by Kevin Price Great Bend Tribune

 EMPORIA — The atmosphere at the Class 1A-Division I state basketball tournament at White Auditorium in Emporia was one of upset.
To start the day, the No. 1-seeded Hanover High School boys’ basketball team was beat by Victoria. In the following game, No. 5 seed South Haven was able to best the No. 4-seeded Pretty Prairie.
It wasn’t pretty for Macksville, but it was able to make a second-half surge to claim a first-round win over Olpe, 57-47.
The win moves Macksville into the semifinal round at 8:15 tonight against the winner of the Lebo-South Gray game, which was played after Macksville’s win at 8:15.
To start the second half, the Mustangs, down 26-24, rattled off an 11-5 run that put Macksville up 35-30 with, the biggest lead either team had up until that point.
It was senior post player Kyle Bunker, who finished the game with a team-high 20 points, who took hold of the game for Macksville, scoring 8 of the Mustangs’ first 11 points in the third quarter.
“(Bunker) was one of the main ones that wasn’t hitting shots that he normally hits,” Kuckelman said. “He really relaxed in the second half. He really kind of took over for us for awhile there. That’s what we’ve got to have, our players stepping up.”
Bunker also grabbed a team-leading eight rebounds.
Bunker scored only seven points in the first half, hitting his first field goal with 4 minutes, 30 second remaining in the second quarter for three points. Bunker really didn’t find success until he challenged Olpe’s post player Austin Bass under the rim.
“(Bass) is real physical,” Kuckelman said. “We should be used to that. That’s what our league is like, but I thought we did a good job playing to that in the second half. You know that’s going to be that way in the state tournament. I told them at half, ‘you know, Olpe’s going to fight. They’ve been here six times in a row. They know how to win games.”
Bass earned a double-double, finishing with a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Seth Filbert found success from 3-point range, dropping in a pair of back-to-back 3s in the first quarter to draw the Mustangs to within one after eight minutes, 17-16
“We didn’t hit shots that we normally hit,” Kuckelman said. “Some of that’s due to the state tournament, and nerves and things like that. But I thought our kids did a great job in the second half hitting the shots that we normally hit.
“Our guards did a great job taking care of the ball, getting it inside and also hitting some big shots. Our guards kept us in the game getting some big shots in the first half.”
Filbert finished with 12 points, shooting 4 of 8 from the field.
“We’re really glad to see that,” Kuckelman said of Filbert opening up some shots from 3-point range. “We know he can do it. He’s been a little tight in games, but he relaxed and played in the biggest venue there is.”
Aside from the Mustangs’ guards, Macksville struggled offensively in the first half, letting the Eagles take a four-point lead early in the game. It was the most either team would lead until Macksville took the lead for good in the third quarter.
“We just kept fighting,” Kuckelman said. “They were really good on the boards. They killed us on the boards in the first half. We did much better in the second half. We came to play in the second half.”
The Eagles outrebounded the Mustangs 37-32 in the contest.
Adam Oak joined Bunker and Filbert in double figures, scoring 10 points.


At Emporia
White Auditorium

Macksville 57, Olpe 47

     Adolfo Ibarra 1 0-0 2, Jorge Baray 2 0-0 5, Kyle Bunker 8 3-4 20, Seth Filbert 4 2-4 12, Adam Oak 4 2-2 10, Taylor Tranbarger 1 1-2 4, Derek Bevan 2 0-1 4. Totals 22 8-13 57.

     Ausin Bass 11 1-2 23, Linden Stueve 4 1-2 9, Colby Nuessen 3 0-0 7, Glen Haag 3 0-0 6, Tyson Pettijohn 1 0-2 2. Totals 22 2-6 47.
Olpe              17    9   8    13  —   47
Macksville     16    8   16  17   —   57

     Three-point goals — Macksville 5 (Filbert 2, Bunker, Tranbarger, Baray); Olpe 1 (Nuessen).