HUTCHINSON — Surviving huge swings of momentum in the second half, the Halstead High School boys’ basketball team held off Caney Valley 65-63 Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state basketball tournament at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
Halstead led by 10 early in the third quarter, but trailed by six early in the fourth. Halstead saw a six-point lead whittled away to one in the closing minutes before putting the game away at the free throw line.
“That team is a very energetic group,” Halstead coach Lonnie Lollar said. “They believe in what they do, and that’s what makes them scary dangerous. They are good outside shooting team. They are fearless. They made a lot of big threes in the fourth quarter. … It was a game of swings. We made some nice plays early. We were up four at the end of the first quarter. We did some good things offensively. We knew we had to make some stops. They cranked their aggressiveness up. Credit them for that.”
Halstead was led by Andrew O’Brien with 21 points and 18 rebounds. O’Brien had the double-double by halftime. O’Brien also dished six assists.
“My teammates did a good job of finding me,” O’Brien said. “I just crashed the boards hard tonight. I thought I lost my head a little bit. A voice in my mind told me to ’stop being an idiot.’ I was just throwing it away. We rallied the troops and got back. We never got down. Our coach says we’re super flexible. We can bend a lot, but we’re never going to break.”
“He rebounded like a man tonight,” Lollar said. “He used two hands. He was going and getting it. We had 39 rebounds and he had more than half of them. He had 13 defensive rebounds. He could play better. He played very well, but there is more in his tank.”
Kason O’Neal added 17 points with seven rebounds. O’Neal got a scare late in the game, colliding with a Caney Valley player, but we was able to continue, getting a dunk right after the collision.
“There was a little head-to-head collision,” O’Neal said. “After that, Andrew gave me a real nice pass. I just kept my eyes up and got the crowd going. It was a real energy booster. (When the team fell behind), we took a time out and the coach just told us to compete harder. Andrew said we just have to believe in ourselves. We just have to keep believing, competing hard and believing in the game plan.”
Dalton Kraus scored 13, hitting three of six from 3-point range. Baylor Bohling scored 10, hitting two of four 3-pointers.
Halstead had four turnovers in the first two minutes of play, but didn’t have another until halftime. After seven turnovers in the third quarter, Halstead was able to hold on to the ball for most of the rest of the game. Halstead did have a 39-26 rebounding advantage, allowing just three Caney Valley offensive rebounds in the second half.
Caney Valley, 20-3, was led by Carter Brown with 21 points, hitting five of 12 from 3-point range. Evan Allen-Mader scored 15. Trevor Watson scored 14, hitting four of 10 from 3-point range. The Bulldogs finished 10 of 28 from 3-point range.
Hasletad had four turnovers in the first two minutes of play, falling behind 8-2. Halstead regrouped, broke the press and made a 9-1 run.
Tied 13-13, Halstead ended the quarter with the last four points to lead 17-13.
Halstead scored the first four points of the second quarter. Caney Valley was able to hit from the outside to stay in the game, but Halstead pulled back out by eight at the end of the half, 36-28.
Halstead opened the third quarter with three turnovers, allowing Caney Valley the first for four points. Dalton Kraus hit a pair of 3-pointers to get Halstead up by 10, but Dragon turnovers allowed the Bulldogs to get as close as one with 2:21 left in the period.
Allen-Mader hit two free throws with 1:44 left in the period to put the Bulldogs back in the lead. A Brown trey put Caney Valley up by four at the end of the quarter, 50-46.
“We have to execute our out-of-bounds plays better,” Lollar said. “We just gave it away too many times. They swarm the ball. They look at your eyes and who you pass to. They are very quick. They are a fun team to watch. … They are not a fun team to play against.”
After giving up a turnover and a pair of free throws to start the fourth quarter, Halstead came back with a 12-0 run, taking the lead on a Dalton Kraus trey with 4:20 in regulation. O’Neal followed with a layup after a defensive stop. Halstead made a defensive stop and tried to bleed some clock, but turned the ball over with 3:20 remaining. Neither team scored again until O’Neal hit a putback with 1:55 in regulation. Caney Valley broke its drought with an Allen-Mader trey with 1:36 in regulation.
An O’Neal slam dunk put Halstead up by five. After O’Brien missed a free throw, Brown hit a 3-pointer for Caney Valley with 20 seconds in regulation.
Baylor Bohling hit two free throws for Halstead with 12.5 seconds. Brown followed with a trey with eight seconds left.
O’Brien hit one of two free throws with 3.3 seconds left. A shot attempt for the Bulldogs at the buzzer was ruled late.
“What I liked about the fourth quarter was, as they started playing more confident, they brought their defense up to the backcourt, we started stretching them out by attacking the back side. That’s where we made some big plays. … They had a lot of bullets. We just had a few more left in us.”
Halstead faces top-seeded Maur Hill-Mount Academy at 4:45 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. The Ravens are 23-1 after edging Council Grove 59-56.
“They’ve got some size,” Lollar said. “They’ve got two big guys. They are good team. Our team has a lot to fight for. I’m proud of these kids, They’ve had their backs against the wall more than once this year. They have found a way to push the other team off.”
HALSTEAD (21-1) — O’Brien 7-15 6-11 21, Gerber 1-6 1-2 4, D.Kraus 5-10 0-0 13, O’Neal 7-11 2-2 17, Seibel 0-0 0-0 0, K.Kraus 0-2 0-0 0, Bohling 3-6 2-2 10, TOTALS 23-50 11-17 65.
CANEY VALLEY (20-3) — Melchiori 3-6 0-0 6, Brown 8-16 0-2 21, Watson 4-10 2-2 14, G.Richey 0-2 3-5 3, Allen-Mader 5-14 4-4 15, Cowell 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 0-0 0-0 0, T.Richey 1-4 2-4 4, Buoy 0-0 0-0 0, TOTALS 21-52 11-17 63.
Total fouls — Hal. 14, CV 17. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. 3-point shooting — Hal. 8-17 (O’Brien 1-3, Gerber 1-1, D.Kraus 3-6, O’Neal 1-2, K.Kraus 0-1, Bohling 2-4), CV 10-28 (Melchiori 0-3, Brown 5-12, Watson 4-10, Allen-Mader 1-3). Rebounds — Hal. 39 (O’Brien 18), CV 26 (G.Richey 7, T.Richey 7). Assists — Hal. 12 (O’Brien 6), CV 10 (Brown 5). Turnovers — Hal. 12 (Gerber 5), CV 11 (Brown 5). Blocked shots — Hal. 1 (Gerber 1), CV 3 (Allen-Mader 2). Steals — Hal. 5 (O’Neal 3), CV 12 (Brown 3, Watson 3, Allen-Mader 3).