By Jared Janzen
HALSTEAD—The Dragons’ basketball season came to an end Friday night as they fell to Conway Springs in the second round of Sub-State, 56-45. They closed the season with a 12-10 record, the first time the team has had a winning record in recent years.
During the Conway Springs game, freshman Kaden Kraus got Halstead on the scoreboard with a three-pointer followed by a free throw to tie the game up 4-all. A few minutes later, sophomore Braden Gerber made a bucket to give the Dragons their first and only brief lead of the game, 8-7. The Cardinals took back a one-point lead by the end of the quarter, 8-9.
During the second period, the Dragons managed to keep pace pretty well against the Cardinals. A free throw by Dalton Kraus tied the game at 16-all with 2:30 to play in the half, but then the Cardinals went on a fast 7-0 run to put the Dragons down 16-23 at halftime.
The Dragons responded at the start of the third quarter with a run of their own. Gerber and Wyatt Seibel both made baskets, and then Kason O’Neal got a steal and easy lay-up to put the Dragons back within one point, 22-23. The Dragons battled on, helped by another basket from O’Neal and a three-pointer from K. Kraus, closing the third quarter down five, 27-32.
Going into the final quarter, the Cardinals carried an 8-0 run that put them up by 11 before Halstead could score again. But the damage was already done, and Halstead never closed the gap to less than eight, trailing by as much as 13 several times.
This was a high-scoring quarter, with Halstead making 18 points but Conway Springs making 24, most of which came from free throws for both teams.
Earlier in the week, the Dragons had defeated Anthony-Harper Chaparral, 47-38, in the first round of Sub-State.
Closing the first quarter 12-10 in Halstead’s favor, the Dragons extended their lead to 23-18 by halftime. In the third quarter, the Dragons were buoyed by threes from Andrew O’Brien and D. Kraus and three free throws by Gerber. They closed the third quarter ahead seven points, 32-25.
“We kind of lived and died by the three,” Head Coach Lonnie Lollar said.
The Roadrunners rallied in the fourth quarter with a couple threes of their own and a lay-up to give them a one-point lead, 34-35. The two teams exchanged leads several times before three-pointers by Baylor Bohling and O’Brien reasserted the Dragons’ dominance, 42-37. For the last two minutes the game came down to free throws, with Halstead coming out on top, 47-38.
“Credit Chaparral,” Lollar said. “We tried to knock them out. Once we figured out how to get the ball to the baseline and get that extra pass in we were OK.”
O’Brien led the Dragons with 14 points. Gerber scored 10, D. Kraus had nine and Bohling had seven.