ELLINWOOD — It didn’t take the Larned High School Indians long to take over the Mid-Central Activities Association game on Friday.
Once they did, Ellinwood couldn’t keep up as the Indians claimed a 69-37 victory.
Larned head coach Don Zimmerman said that his team, which is 3-11 this season, had a series of great practices that led to the lopsided final score.
“What happened tonight was probably the culmination of the best week of practice we’ve had all season,” Zimmerman said. “The kids, we put them in some situations this week where it was a lot more competitive and a lot more intense. We kind of even went a little over the top.
“Then they came out on the floor and put it out there. They realized that what we needed to do was just say, ‘Hey, I’m not holding anything back. We’re going for it.’ That’s what they did.”
The Indians closed out the first quarter with a 12-2 run that gave them a 19-9 lead.
Easton Palmer scored on a driving layup, followed by a three-point play from Camryn Bryant.
Tyler Stelter made a pair of free throws before Grant Unruh banked in a shot.
Ellinwood’s Gavin Vink rattled in a shot before Brayden Smith, who scored a team-high 16 points, dropped in a 3-pointer to close out the first period.
Smith hit four 3s in the game.
Ellinwood struggled to score points all night.
“When you’re throwing up prayers, it’s like throwing a rock in the ocean,” Eagles head coach Dustin Klassen said. “We finally got some to fall. But I think that, again, we tried to settle down and take some good shots, but we took some other ones that actually fell.”
The Eagles were missing their top two scorers — Kyle Blakeslee and Cody Isern.
“Isern still has his foot injury,” Klassen said. “Blakeslee’s got the broken nose. We’re hoping he’ll be ready on Monday. It’s rough, but it just gives other people an opportunity to step up.”
Ellinwood opened the second quarter with a four-point play, courtesy of Tanner Swank, cutting the lead to 19-14.
Swank finished with a game-high 17 points.
However, Larned continued to make shots, putting more and more distance between it and the Eagles.
“Obviously, when the ball’s going into the basket, we’re all feeling a little better,” Zimmerman said. “Even in the first couple of possessions when they weren’t, obviously it’s a close game and no one knows what’s going on yet. I just thought there were so many times when we ran the floor so hard, that even when we didn’t get the basket, we were making them run with us.
“We knew that if we kept doing that, we could wear them out.”
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Mid-Central Activities Association
Larned 69, Ellinwood 37
Brayden Smith 6 0-0 16, Grant Unruh 1 0-0 2, Jake Zimmerman 2 0-4 4, Tyler Stelter 0 5-6 5, Isaiah Perez 2 0-0 5, Michael Reece 5 2-9 12, Z Wilson 2 0-0 4, Nolan Allison 1 0-0 2, C Bryant 6 2-2 14. Totals 27 9-21 69.
Patrick Ringering 1 0-0 2, Marc Waite 1 0-0 3, Kyle Jenks 1 0-0 2, Tanner Swank 5 4-5 17, Kaleb Schartz 2 0-0 5, Derek Ward 2 0-0 4, Gavin Vink 2 0-2 4. Totals 14 4-7 37.
Larned 19 14 23 13 — 69
Ellinwood 10 9 9 9 — 37
Three-point goals — Larned 6 (Smith 4, Perez, Palmer); Ellinwood 3 (Waite, Swank, Schartz). Total fouls —Ellinwood 16, Larned 10. Fouled out — None. Technical foul — Ellinwood (Ringering).