HESSTON — Down 27-0 to top-ranked Hesston, the Halstead High School boys basketball team forgot to stop playing.


The Dragons got to within 13 points, missing chances to draw closer, before running out of gas and falling to the Swathers 53-26 Monday night in the Class 3A sub-state quarterfinals in Hesston.


"We started the game great," Hesston coach Greg Raleigh said. "After being ahead 24-0, I’m not sure we won the game from there. It’s a matter of focus, staying intense and executing a little bit. We started taking bad shots. We didn’t move the ball like we did. We missed some free throws. In the first quarter, we got a ton of second shots."


Cason Richardson rolled on for Hesston with 16 points.


"We just had to be us," Richardson said of the Halstead comeback. "We know what we’re capable of. We know what we can do. We had to get back in our rhythm. We fought hard (on the boards). We’ve got a couple people who can do that. We have that mentality that we’re going all the way. We’re really excited."


Lakin Farmer led Halstead with 11 points. Cameron Kohr added nine points. The rest of the team was held to six points on two 3-point shots.


"We talked before the game that I just wanted to see us fight," Halstead coach Justin Schneider said. "We showed that in the second half. We’re a young team with a lot of inexperience. Take your hat off to Hesston. They are a great team. They have great athletes and they really got us on the boards. All I can ask of my kids is to keep fighting for it."


Hesston started the game 3-of-8 shooting, but picked up nearly every rebound to take an 8-0 lead. Halstead turned the ball over on its first two possessions. A Schilling putback with three seconds left in the quarter put Hesston up 22-0.


Halstead managed just four shots in the first quarter with six turnovers.


Down 27-0, Cameron Kohr broke the shutout for Halstead with a three-point play with 2:49 left in the half. Kohr hit 1 of 2 free throws with 0.5 seconds left to get Halstead within 22, 29-7.


Halstead got within 13 in the third quarter, but the Swathers pulled back out by 16 at the end of the period, 36-20.


Hesston regained the momentum with a 9-1 run to start the final quarter.


The Dragons lose just two seniors, Aric Propst and Isaac Radke.


The 20-1 Swathers take on Larned on Thursday in the semifinals at Halstead. The Dragons end the season 3-18.


"Those younger guys, I told them this is something they can build on," Schneider said. "They have to be able to play 32 minutes. You can’t play 10 here and five there. We’ve got some stuff to do in the summer to work on that. … Aric hasn’t played since eighth grade. He started every single game for us. I thought he did a lot of toughness things. He did a lot of blocking off for us. He blocked off 75 percent of the time, which is a big deal to me. Isaac, this is only his second year playing. I don’t think he played a lot for (former coach) Lonnie (Lolar). He’s a good shooter for us. Sometimes, he’s a little too unselfish."


Hesston will face a 15-5 Larned team that downed Southeast of Saline 70-45. Hesston edged Larned 46-45 Feb. 18 in Hesston.


"We have to play more consistent," Raleigh said. "We have to play more than one or two quarters. At Pratt (a win Thursday), we played two really good quarters. Tonight, we played one. We’re going to have to be more consistent."


Halstead;0;7;13;6;—;26


Hesston; 22;7;7;17;—;53


HALSTEAD (3-18) — Kohr 3 3-7 5, 9; Farmer 1 (3) 0-0 5, 11; Propst 0 0-0 4, 0; Drake 0 0-0 1, 0; A.Radke 0 0-0 1, 0; I.Radke 0 (1) 0-0 0, 3; Horn 0 (1) 0-0 1, 3; Swift 0 0-0 0, 0; Boyd 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 4 (5) 3-7 17, 26.


HESSTON (20-1) — Esau 1 2-2 0, 4; Schroeder 0 0-0 1, 0; Proctor 0 2-2 0, 2; Schilling 3 3-6 1, 9; Richardson 5 (2) 0-1 5, 16; Bruner 0 0-0 0, 0; M.Arnold 1 (1) 0-0 2, 5; Manickam 0 0-0 0, 0; Humphreys 1 2-2 1, 4; N.Arnold 3 1-2 3, 7; Schmidt 0 2-2 0, 2; Bollinger 2 0-5 1, 4; TOTALS 16 (3) 12-22 15, 53.