ST. JOHN — The Macksville High School boys’ basketball team weathered a late storm of 3-pointers from the No. 1-seeded Ashland on Saturday night to win, 61-58.
With time running short, Macksville was able to build what could have been a comfortable lead, if it weren’t for the 11 3-pointers the Blue Jays dropped in.
“We had a nice lead,” Macksville head coach Jeff Kuckelman said. “They just hit a bunch of 3s late in the game to make it close. It was a barnburner. It was closer than it needed to be, but we’ll take it.”
Heading into the final eight minutes, Macksville led 36-34.
“We had a good lead, I think it was up to nine points at one time,” Kuckelman said. “They were fouling us, and we were just missing enough free throws that they were able to go back down the court and put up 3-pointers. They were taking them from way out.”
Kyle Bunker led the Mustangs with 19 points. Bunker also grabbed eight rebounds.
“He played really well,” Kuckelman said of Bunker, who was 9 of 12 from the free-throw line. “He got banged up in there. They were really playing him physical tonight. He even ended up with a cut over his eyelid, but he kept going at them. He was big for us.”
Derek Bevan grabbed a team-leading 10 off the glass while scoring eight points.
“We did a good job of one shot and out,” Kuckelman said of his team’s out rebounding Ashland 40-27.
Adam Oak added 13 points.
The win sends Macksville into the Class 1A Division-I state tournament in Emporia. Play begins on Thursday.