The Abilene High School basketball teams swept Minneapolis Tuesday night in Abilene. It was the first meeting between the two area schools since 2004. In the first game of the night the Abilene Cowgirls won 36-33 for their third victory of the season. In the nightcap, the Abilene Cowboys won their fourth straight game with a 62-55 win.
The Cowgirls defeated a Minneapolis team that had been on a roll. The Lady Lions entered the game with Abilene winners of five of their last six games. The Cowgirls put together one of their best efforts of the year in the victory. Abilene took better care of the basketball. They turned it over 21 times which is under their season average of 24 turnovers per game. The Cowgirls, turned over the basketball 25 and 29 times in lopsided losses to Southeast of Salina and T.M.P. last week.
Abilene also got balance in scoring which has been an issue this season. No player scored double figures but eight different players scored for the Cowgirls. The Cowgirls were led by Abi Lillard, she finished with 8 points. The Nex-Tech Wireless Player of the Game was Reagan Ditto. She scored 6 points, but her biggest contribution came on the defensive end where she led the team with 4 steals.
The Cowgirls got up by many as 9 in the fourth quarter but Minneapolis kept close with scoring from Cameron Cleveland. She scored 6 of her game-high 16 points in the final quarter. Cleveland hit a free-throw, then left the game because of blood. Karlee Thrush came on to hit the second free-throw to cut the Cowgirls lead to 35-33 with 1:13 to play. The would be as close as the Lady Lions would get. Abilene improved to 3-9 with the victory while Minneapolis fell to 7-8 with the loss.
The Cowboys stumbled out of the gate and trailed 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. Kaleb Becker sat out most of the opening quarter in foul-trouble but started the second and scored 7 of his team-high 15 points in the quarter. Abilene exploded for 22 points in the second quarter and led 29-23 at halftime. Becker was the co-player of the game along with Jaylen West. West tied his career high with 8 points but his value on the floor went beyond scoring. He shined as ball handler and defender for his team.
Abilene also had a big third quarter in which they outscored Minneapolis 20-8 and took a 49-31 lead into the final quarter. The 18 point lead was their largest lead of the game. Minneapolis scored 24 points in the final quarter but wouldn’t get closer than 7 points. Nolan White scored 8 of game-high 20 points in the fourth for the Lions. Spencer Davidson also reached double-figures, for Minneapolis, with 14 points.
Abilene also got big nights from Blaise McVann and Avergy Bryson, who both scored 10 points in the victory. The Cowboys improved to 7-2 and will host Marysville on Friday. The Lions fell to 9-4 with the loss and will travel to Sacred Heart on Friday.