Schilling sparks Hesston to late rally
HESSTON — When things were getting rough for the Hesston High School boys’ basketball team, Brayden Schilling was able to kick it into gear, scoring 16 points Friday in a 51-40 win over Southeast of Saline in the Class 3A sub-state semifinals.
Schilling scored eight points in the second quarter and eight more in the fourth quarter.
“Energy,” is what Schilling attributed to the Swather comeback in the second half. “The fans brought it. We needed to bring it. We didn’t have it the first half or the start of the second half. Every teammate picked each other up, never let each other down. We were keeping each other encouraged. I practice those (shots) in my three years in high school so far. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. They passed the ball and assisted me. They gave me pretty easy looks.”
“We struggled to score,” Hesston coach Greg Raleigh said. “We haven’t seen man(-to-man defense) in a long time. We were kind of out of it. We didn’t execute very well. We didn’t switch things on defense like we needed to. We weren’t sharp and we were kind of lucky to get out of it.”
Jaxson Gebhardt led Southeast with 13 points.
“I thought we did a good job of defending them most of the game,” Southeast coach Bryson Flax said. “(Schilling) hit a big shot every time they needed one, and we just didn’t have an answer. (Cason Richardson) went off on us the first time we played them, and we made a concerted effort to stop him. Hesston did a good job defensively. They challenged everything.”
Hesston jumped out 5-0, but was quickly reeled back in. The Swathers ended the first quarter on a 5-0 run capped by a Ty Schroeder 30-footer at the buzzer to lead 10-5.
Leading 16-12 in the second quarter, Hesston forced some turnovers to make an 8-2 run. Three-point plays by Camden Spano-Lund and Gebhardt got the Trojans back within four. Eli Sawyers hit two free throws with 12.9 seconds left in the quarter to get Southeast within two, 26-24.
The Trojans opened the third quarter on a 5-0 run to take its first lead of the game. Richardson broke Hesston’s scoring drought, hitting one of two free throws with 3:08 left in the third quarter. Schroeder followed with a 3-pointer. Nick Arnold hit one of two free throws with 27.2 seconds left in the period to keep Hesston ahead 33-31.
Gebhardt opened the fourth quarter with a dunk off a steal to tie the game. A short Schilling jumper and an Arnold 3-pointer put Hesston back up by six with 3:30 to play. Banks broke the Swather run with a layup 30 seconds later.
An Arnold layup and three of four Richardson free throws put the Swathers up by nine with 36.7 seconds to play. Schilling added two more free throws to the run.
Southeast ends the season 14-8. The Trojans lose five seniors.
“I thought we did a great job at all levels — my varsity, my JV and my C team,” Flax said.
Hesston, 19-1, takes on Central Kansas League rival Haven at 5 p.m. Saturday in the finals. Hesston downed Haven 46-40 in the regular-season finale. Haven beat Hesston 55-46 in last year’s sub-state finals.
“We have to attack the zone,” Schilling said. “Everyone knows they sit in the 1-3-1 and maybe the 1-2-2. We have to attack it, knock down shots and have a pretty good 3-point percentage.”
“We’d better be ready to go tomorrow or it will be a different story,” Raleigh said. “We will definitely see a different defense. They are very athletic.”
SOUTHEAST OF SALINE (14-8) — Spano-Lund 2 (1) 1-1 1, 8; Augustine 0 0-0 0, 0; J.Gebhardt 4 (1) 2-3 3, 13; Banks 3 3-4 4, 9; Harris 0 0-0 1, 0; L.Gebhardt 0 0-0 2, 0; Morrical-Palmer 1 0-0 3, 2; Sawyers 3 2-2 1, 8; TOTALS 13 (2) 8-10 15, 40.
HESSTON (19-1) — Esau 0 2-2 0, 2; Schroeder 1 (2) 0-0 3, 8; Proctor 2 0-0 1, 4; Schilling 7 2-2 1, 16; Richardson 2 5-8 2, 9; Arnold 2 (1) 1-2 2, 8; Humphreys 2 0-0 3, 4; Bollinger 0 0-0 2, 0; TOTALS 16 (3) 10-14 14, 51.
Mark Schnabel can be reached at email@example.com