HUTCHINSON — Halstead High School boys’ basketball coach Lonnie Lollar texted senior Baylor Bohling Friday morning to tell him the Hutchinson Sports Arena is a “lefty’s gym.”
One of two left-handers on the team, Bohling proved his coach right when that evening came around, scoring 22 points in a 63-51 win over Maur Hill-Mount Academy in the Class 3A semifinals.
Bohling hit 14 of 16 free throws in the fourth quarter and three of five from the field to pace the 22-1 Dragons into the state finals for the ninth time.
“I don’t know (why I was fouled),” Bohling said. “The guys did a good job of getting me the ball. It seemed like I was getting fouled almost the entire time.”
Halstead was dominant in the first quarter, but Maur Hill rallied to the the game at the half. Halstead made a run to start the third quarter and held off the Ravens rest of the way.
“You could call that a shootout,” Lollar said. “We got hot early, then we cooled off. Then they got hot. There’s a reason why they are 23-1. … Those guys were a lot bigger than we were position by position. They were very physical. We had to get off to a good start and try to make them play us man-to-man. They are very tough in a zone. In the second half, they had to come get us. That made it favorable for us. They had to foul us to stop us. We did a tremendous job from the line.”
Andrew O’Brien and Kason O’Neal each scored 12 points for Halstead. Dalton Kraus added 10. Halstead finished the game 20 of 25 from the line, while Maur Hill went 13 of 18.
“Our goal is to get 25 free throws,” Lollar said. “When that happens, we like our chances. It was obviously more than just Baylor. Andrew O’Brien hit a big shot from the corner that gave is a cushion. … Braden (Gerber) made a big-time play right at the end of the first half. He drove the ball. He was patient, under control and made a play.”
Jack Caudle led the 23-2 Ravens with 22 points, hitting nine of 11 from the field. Jared Thibault added 13.
“They hit a tremendous amount of tough shots,” Lollar said. “They rebound well. We had a little more fight at the end, and obviously free throw shooting kept them at bay.”
Halstead hit four of its first five shots from the field, including three 3-pointers to take a 12-2 lead. A Jared Thibault trey at the buzzer cut Halstead’s lead to six, 15-9, at the end of the period.
Halstead scored the first five points of the second quarter on an O’Brien 3-pointer and a Baylor Bohling layup on a steal. After a Raven time out, Caudle replied with a pair of free throws and a layup off a steal to prompt a Dragon time out. Maur Hill added four more points to the run to get within two. A Caudle layup with 10 seconds left in the period tied the game 23-23.
Halstead went from five of 10 from the field in the first quarter to three of 12 in the second. Maur Hill went from three of seven in the first quarter to five of eight in the second.
“We just lost our composure there,” Bohling said. “They’re going to make a run. We fought back and didn’t let them back in after that.”
Halstead made a 9-0 run in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the third quarter, hitting four of five shots. Maur Hill then took a time out to set up a deep Colton Kocour 3-pointer with 3:54 left in the period. After trading 3-pointers, Caudle hit one of two free throws to get the Ravens within five.
A Gerber three-point play, followed by a six-foot jumper with 7.5 seconds left in the period put Halstead up 40-31 at the end of the quarter.
After nearly two minutes into the fourth quarter, O’Brien buried a trey to put Halstead up by 12. Zach Schwinn answered 11 seconds later for the Ravens. Halstead missed a pair of wide-open layups, but Maur Hill matched it.
After a Halstead free throw miss, Caudle hit a layup, but Bohling matched it with two free throws. O’Neal followed with a layup off a long pass against the press. O’Brien then hit one of two free throws to put the Dragons up by 12.
The final three minutes were turned into a free throw shooting contest, allowing Halstead to keep the Ravens at arm’s distance, but not allowing them to bleed out the clock.
“We bent, but we didn’t break,” Lollar said. “We were in control most of the game. We had a shaky moment, but some of that was credit to (Maur Hill). They could have folded, but they didn’t.”
Halstead is 22-2 and plays at 6:15 p.m. today against Phillipburg.
Phillipsburg used a 26-9 fourth quarter to get past Cheney 59-46.
“We have to do the same thing,” Bohling said. “We have to go out and get another win.”
“These kids want a state title,” Lollar said. “They want a state championship. And they will do whatever they can to get it. There wasn’t a lot of anticipation at the beginning of the year. I had to recruit in the hallways very, very hard. There were a lot of people who turned their back on us in terms of coming out. I couldn’t be more proud of this group."
HALSTEAD (22-2) — O’Brien 3-10 3-4 12, Graber 3-7 1-1 7, D.Kraus 3-7 1-2 10, O’Neal 5-9 1-2 12, Seibel 0-0 0-0 0, K.Kraus 0-0 0-0 0, Bohling 3-5 14-16 22, TOTALS 17-38 20-25 63.
MAUR HILL-MOUNT ACADEMY (23-2) — Schwinn 3-6 0-0 9, C.Kocour 1-6 3-4 6, Caudle 9-11 4-6 22, Siebenmorgen 0-0 0-0 0, Thibault 3-13 5-6 13, Mispagle 0-0 0-0 0, Cai 0-1 1-2 1, TOTALS 16-37 13-18 51.
Total fouls — Hal. 17, MH 23. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — MH: Caudle 1:31-4Q. 3-point shooting — Hal. 9-23 (O’Brien 3-8, Gerber 0-1, D.Kraus 3-7, O’Neal 1-3, Bohling 2-4), MH 6-15 (Schwinn 3-6, C.Kocour 1-6, Thibault 2-3). Rebounds — Hal. 22 (Gerber 6), MH 23 (Siebenmorgen 8). Assists — Hal. 10 (Gerber 4), MH 8 (Schwinn 4). Turnovers — Hal. 2 (O’Brien 1, Bohling 1), MH 8 (C.Kocour 2, Caudle 2, Siebenmorgen 2, Thibault 2). Blocked shots — Hal. 1 (O’Neal 1), MH 1 (Caudle 1). Steals — Hal. 5 (O’Neal 2), MH 1 (Caudle 1).