CLAFLIN – Central Plains’ offense played like a well-oiled machine.
The Oilers exhibited solid passing, good ball movement and accurate outside shooting.
The top-seeded Oilers cruised to a 71-48 victory over Plainville, last year’s Class 2A state runner-up. The Oilers will meet Ellinwood in the substate finals. The Oilers beat the Eagles 52-21 Feb. 24.
Central Plains showed excellent passing with point guard Braeden Crites leading the way with several early assists on backdoor layups.
“We shared the basketball very well, which we always do,” said Central Plains coach Brett Rolfs. “That’s a good factor to have.”
Michael Ryan led four players in double figures with 18 points and versatile Layne Bieberle added 18 points. Crites chipped in 13 points and a solid floor game from the point guard spot. Jacob Warnken hustled inside for 10 points. Hunter Ingham had nine points.
The Cardinals showed off a 2-3 zone, a 3-2 zone and a matchup zone that chased the Oilers. But the Oilers adjusted their offense to get high quality shots.
“We moved the basketball really well against several defenses,” Rolfs said. “They gave us some different looks. They are a well-coached team.”
Plainville leader Kolt Newell led the Cardinals with 18 points. Brent Gehring, another state tournament veteran, added 13 points and a solid inside presence. Newell scored 11 points in the Class 2A title game last year against St. John.
“Plainville has some high quality players and good shooters,” Rolfs said.
Newell and Colton Bobek made early 3-pointers to keep the Cardinals within 14-10.
“We came out slow defensively on the perimeter,” Rolfs said. “They proved they have two or three guys who can shoot the basketball. We adjusted better after that start.”
The Oilers busted the game open with a perfect 15-0 scoring run for a 29-10 lead. Central Plains converted several Plainville turnovers into easy transition points for a 40-19 halftime lead.
The Oilers stretched the lead to 27 points in the second half and showed good patience and discipline.
“We did a good job working the basketball inside and converting some baskets and free throws,” Rolfs said.
Central Plains (19-3) advances to Saturday’s Class 2A substate championship game. The Oiler boys have never qualified for the state basketball tournament as a consolidated school with Claflin and Quivira Heights.