HUTCHINSON — A 7-0 run halfway through the third quarter put No. 4 Girard Trojans back in the game against the No. 5 Kingman Eagles in the quarterfinals of the 3A KSHSAA boys state basketball tournament on Thursday at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
The Trojans took a 29-28 lead — the first off the game — with 2:26 left in third quarter on a Gabe Muia free throw. The teams alternated leads a couple times with the Trojans (19-3) holding a 34-32 lead to start the fourth quarter. The Eagles (17-6) knotted the game at 34-all only 20 seconds into the final period before the Trojan offense ignited.
The Trojans won, 57-40.
“We were really lucky to be where we were,” Girard coach Rod Wescott said about being down 18-13 at the half. In the second half: “We were able to get out in transition.”
Girard’s Caleb Muia finally found his groove in the third quarter. The senior had two points through the first half, but got rolling with a 11 point quarter that included a couple dunks and a traditional 3-point play to end the quarter and put the Trojans up 34-32.
Caleb, who averages 26 points a game, finished with a game-high 17 points.
Kingman’s Logan Buehler knotted the game at 34-all to start the fourth quarter. Buehler made game-winning shots in overtime and added double-digit scoring in the substate semifinals and finals. But he only netted three points in the opening round of the state tournament.
“We had a heck of a year,” Kingman coach Kyle Kriegh said. “No one else I would rather coach. I am proud of them.”
Muia came right back with a traditional 3-point play, followed by back-to-back 3-pointers from Tyder Worrell who had been nearly silent through three quarters.
The Trojans jumped out to a 43-35 lead with three minutes left in the game. Then, Girard center
Carter Doherty made it a 10 point game with three minutes left to play.
Doherty finished with 14 points in the win.
Kingman was led by Tanner Albright with 11 points. Peyton Price added eight points before fouling out. Girard went into the bonus on the Price’s last foul.
Girard went 22 of 28 (79 percent) from the free throw line. Kingman finished 1 of 2. From the field, Girard knocked down 16 of 32 (50 percent) and Kingman finished 17 of 48 (35 percent).
In the semifinals on Friday, Girard will play No. 8 Thomas More Prep-Marian who upset the No. 1 Maur Hill - Mount Academy.