The Abilene Cowgirls lost in the semifinals of the Salina Invitational Tournament Friday night to Salina Central 52-40 at Kansas Wesleyan University. Abilene will play South for 3rd Place Saturday at Kansas Wesleyan University. South lost 47-26 in the other semifinal game.
Central got off to a fast start against the Cowgirls as the Lady Mustangs finished the first quarter on a 10-0 run to take control of the game. Central led 19-10 at the end of the first quarter and would extend the lead to 27-16 at halftime. The Cowgirls started out the third quarter on a 7-2 run to pull within six on a pair of free throws by Junior, Sydney Burton to make it 29-23 Central with 6:04 to play in the third. That’s as close at the Cowgirls would get the rest of the game. The Lady Mustangs led 38-29 after three quarters and would lead by as much as 17 in the fourth quarter.
Abilene with no starter taller than 5’7” had no answer for 6’ Senior, Elisa Backes, who finished with a game high 19 points. The Cowgirls were led by Juniors, Hannah Willey 16 and Sydney Burton 15, who were the First National Bank of Hope Players of the Game. Abilene dropped to 7-3 with the loss and will try to finish 3rd for a second straight season. Central improved to 9-2 and will play Liberal again for the championship. The Lady Mustangs defeated Liberal 45-33 last year, and Central has won two straight overall titles.
The Abilene Cowboys defeated Goodland 53-43, at Salina Central, in the consolation semifinals. Abilene will play Liberal for 5th place Saturday, at Salina Central, at 4:15. Liberal defeated Concordia 67-40 in the other consolation semifinal game.
Abilene got off to a quick start against Goodland. Abilene led 15-2 at the end of the first quarter. Abilene would lead by as many as 17 in the second quarter and took a 25-15 lead into the half. Goodland wouldn’t go away and finished the third quarter on a 9-1 run to pull to within 36-29. Goodland Senior, Dawson Raymer, capped the run with a three at the end of the quarter. Raymer hit three three’s in the quarter and scored 14 of his game high 18 in the second half. In the fourth Goodland’s Gabe Bierman, was fouled on a three point attempt and hit all three free throws to make it 39-37 Abilene with 4:28 to play. Abilene put the game away with a 10-0 run capped by a Travis Beetch bucket with a little over a minute to go to give Abilene a 52-40 lead.
Abilene improved to 6-4 with the victory. The First National Bank of Hope Players of the Game were Senior, Noah Wildman, who tied a career high with 17. Junior, Preston Boyd scored a career high 16 on the night. Goodland dropped to 7-4 with the loss and will play Concordia for 7th Place tomorrow at 12:45 at Salina Central.