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HHS splits on road, will be at home Tuesday

By NICK McQUEEN

nmcqueen@dailynews.net

LIBERAL -- Throughout postgame Friday night at The Big House, Hays High School boys' basketball coach Rick Keltner had one day in mind -- Jan. 14.

That was the last time his Indian club, ranked No. 2 in Class 5A, was able to play a game on its home court.

So after the Indians' longest road trip of the season, a 3.5-hour trek to Liberal for the Redskins' homecoming, Hays High was more than looking forward to being back in Hays.

The Indians will bring with them a 15-0 mark (5-0 Western Athletic Conference) after manhandling the Redskins, 55-22, a season-low in points allowed by the Indians.

"We've had some good moments in this gym," Keltner said. "We've had some disappointments, but we've had a lot of great moments. The downside is the long trip.

"We are fortunate we played well tonight and thankful for that."

Hays High used a stingy defensive effort, and a big first half for seniors Jordan Windholz and Clayton Riedel, to go up 20-10 by the end of the first quarter, and by nearly 20 at halftime. Windholz had 10 of his game-high 15 points in the first half with a pair of first-quarter 3s.

"They came out from the start and played hard,"  Keltner said of his club, which now will be at home for four straight games -- three this week. "We tried some different combinations in the third quarter, and there were times when we were stagnant offensively. But when we started clicking again, we started going back to what we do."

Riedel scored all 11 of his points before the break.

"Clayton Riedel came off the bench again and was just a stud," Keltner said. "We have to find more ways to get the ball in his hands."

With the game in hand, the Indian defense dominated the rest of the way. Liberal (5-11 overall, 1-4 WAC) had just one second-half field goal, and scored eight points (three in the third quarter).

Junior center Brady Werth finished with 13 points and eight rebounds for Hays High, after scoring seven first-half points.

The defense was a big improvement over Tuesday's game, in which Salina Central hit several big 3s en route to a near-upset of the Indians in Salina. Keltner thought his club was helping in the post too much, and made big adjustments Friday.

"The 3-point shot is such a weapon in basketball," Keltner said. "Sometimes you're limited on how much help you can give the post guys and they have to be able to take care of business with their own feet."

Liberal finished 2 of 15 from 3-point range, was 7 of 35 from the floor, and 6 of 13 from the free throw line. All but one free throw were attempted by the last three guys off the bench for the Redskins.

Hays High will be at home Tuesday against Abilene. The girls' game begins at 6 p.m., with the boys to follow. It's the first of four straight at home.

"We're going to come home. We're looking forward to playing in our gym," Keltner said. "We just have to make sure we play well and not come in and lay a big egg."

Indian girls play well in loss

The Hays High girls are also hoping to carry some momentum into their own gym after the long road swing.

The Indians played what coach Kirk Maska called their best outing of the season, despite a 56-49 setback to Liberal.

The Indians put up a season-high in points and shooting percentage, led at halftime for the first time this season, but eventually fell to 0-15, 0-5 in the WAC. Liberal moved to 7-9 overall and 3-4 in conference play.

"We came out and looked a lot more relaxed and really got after it," Maska said. "This is the first time I thought we really came out with some intensity and some passion, and it looked like it really meant something to us."

Coming off Tuesday's beating at the hands of Salina Central, the No. 1 ranked team in Class 5A, Hays High started strong Friday, led most of the third quarter, and took a 3-point lead after one when junior Brooke Russell buried her first of three 3-pointers to put Hays High up 15-12.

After Liberal took its first lead early in the second quarter, sophomore Audra Schmeidler followed suit with the long ball. She made back-to-back treys that put HHS back on top, and scored eight second-quarter points to maintain HHS' advantage. Sophomore Nicole Dinkel also got in on the high scoring output for the Indians. She scored five first-half points, including a pair of go-ahead free throws to put HHS up 28-27 at halftime.

"(Dinkel) came off the bench and gave us a little lift end of the first, beginning of the second,"  Maska said. "When they went into the zone, I knew Brooke Russell could come in and hit some shots."

Schmeidler also was hot on the boards early. By halftime she had her first double-double with 10 first-half points and 10 boards.

The Indians, though, hit a cold streak early in the third, while Liberal freshman Jada Minkens took control. Minkens scored six of her game-high 17 points in a 8-2 run for a 35-30 Liberal lead. Unlike most of its previous games, though, Hays High did not turn the ball over and stayed in it with defense.

"Liberal has been good to us, and even with the loss, they were good to us," Maska said. "It helped us build our confidence.

"The girls are more and more settling into roles."

The Indians pulled back to within two by the start of the fourth quarter, but Liberal was able to eventually stretch it back to double digits at the foul line. Mickens again was the threat. She finished 9 of 12 from the foul line as Liberal finished 18 of 31.

"We didn't get back once or twice, and they made some free throws,"  Maska said. "We rebounded and even right until the end, we were competing.

"If we can play like that, we're going to win some games."

Schmeidler finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds, and Russell had 13. Junior Mattie Schlaefli finished with eight points.

Boys

Hays High 55, Liberal 22

HAYS HIGH (15-0, 5-0 WAC)

Jordan Windholz 6-13 0-1 15, Brady Werth 4-10 5-9 13, Clayton Riedel 4-5 3-3 11, Niernberger 0-3 0-1 0, Clark 3-5 0-0 2, Parker 1-2 0-0 3, Nunnery 1-1 0-1 2, Rounkles 0-1 0-0 0, Dryden 1-1 0-0 3, Hobson 0-1 0-0 0, Romme 0-1 0-0 0. Totals -- 20-42 8-15 55

LIBERAL (5-10, 1-4)

Stout 2-4 0-0 6, Pando 0-2 0-0 0, Fitzgerald 1-2 0-0 2, Abbott 1-5 0-0 2, Coker 1-4 0-0 2, Ware 0-3 0-0 0, Larkin 1-4 0-0 2, Hasik 0-2 0-0 0, Quintana 0-3 0-0 0, Hinkel 0-1 0-0 0, Wiltshire 0-2 0-2 0, Green 0-0 2-2 2, Thomas 1-3 4-8 6. Totals -- 7-35 6-13 22.

Hays High 20 13 9 13 -- 55

Liberal 10 4 3 5 -- 22

3-point goals --  HHS 7-18 (Windholz 3-9, Clark 2-4, Werth 0-2, Parker 1-2, Dryden 1-1, Hobson 0-1); Liberal 2-15 (Stout 2-3, Abbott 0-1, Ware 0-3, Larkin 0-2, Hasik 0-2, Quintana 0-1, Hinkel 0-1, Wiltshire 0-1, Thomas 0-1). Total fouls -- HHS 15, Liberal 14. Fouled out --  none.

Rebounds -- HHS 27 (Werth 8), Liberal 27 (Coker 5). Turnovers - HHS 14, Liberal 28 .

Girls

Liberal 56, Hays High 49

HAYS HIGH (0-15, 0-5 WAC)

Audra Schmeidler 5-11 0-0 13, Brooke Russell 5-9 0-0 13, Schlaefli 2-10 -47 8, Wells 1-6 1-2 3, Smith 1-2 0-0 2, Schoendaller 1-1 2-6 4, Dinkel 2-5 2-5 6, Peckham 0-1 0-0 0. Totals --  17-45 49

LIBERAL (7-9, 2-3)

Jada Mickens 4-12 9-12 17, Kelly Ramirez 3-4 4-5 10, Hernandez 0-1 0-0 0, Chapman 3-12 2-4 8, Besecker 2-7 0-0 6, Terrazas 0-0 2-4 2, Limon 1-1 0-0 2, Shelton 1-3 1-2 3, Nunez 2-3 0-0 6, Lang 1-5 0-3 2.

Hays High 15 13 7 14 -- 49

Liberal 12 15 13 16 -- 56

3-point goals --  HHS 6-14 (Schlaefli 0-1, Wells 0-1, Schmeidler 3-6, Russell 3-6); Liberal 4-12 (Hernandez 0-1, Chapman 0-3, Besecker 2-4, Mickens 0-1, Nunez 2-3). Total fouls --  HHS 20, Liberal 18. Fouled out -- Schoendaller, HHS.

Rebounds --  HHS 32 (Schmeidler 13); Liberal 36 (Chapman 7).