Railer basketball split with Salina Central on senior night

Ben Crump

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After two tough games, the Railer basketball teams had to come right back to host a tough Salina Central Mustangs team on senior night on Friday, Feb. 23. All of this comes with sub-state basketball looming in less then a week, but the girls team came out firing.

The girls varsity team started five seniors in their lineup, including the injured Savannah Simmons. The team jumped out to a double-digit lead at half 23-12, and that lead the rest of the night, winning 50-39.

Senior Kyndal Bacon lead the team with 19 points while junior DesiRay Kernal added 17 points of her own.

At the end of the game, however, Simmons was recognized one last time as she checked back into the game in the final seconds.

“I didn’t know Coach Dibbens was going to put me and then she said, ‘if we get another dead ball, I’m putting you out there’ and it was just crazy to me and it felt really great to be out there,” Simmons said.

The win was important to the Railers, as they avenged an earlier loss to the Mustangs and gave them momentum heading into sub-state.

“We just really wanted to beat them coming off a loss down there,” senior Taylor Brewer said. “We weren’t really playing as a team and we wanted to come back and show we can beat them.”

While the girls had managed to put two wins together before sub-state, the boys team looked to avoid two losses. They gave up 13 straight points to open the game against Salina Central.

The Railers trailed 5-20 after the first quarter and 10-33 at the half.

Despite a run early in the third thanks to timely three-pointers, the Mustangs answered back and finished off the game up by 21 points, winning 63-42.

Sophomores Alex Krogmeier and Ty Berry both had 15 points.

“The past few nights the effort has not been there. On the defensive end, we started out slow and we got down 23 at half time,” senior Cailen Valdez said. “We can’t do that Tuesday, so we need to come out ready to play.”

Aside from the slow start, junior Jamieson Jones noted another area of weakness.

“[We need to improve on] Getting back on defense in transition and executing our plays,”  Jones said.

The varsity boys will have the chance to face this same opponent again as they travel on Tuesday, Feb. 27 to Salina Central in the first round of sub-state play. Game time is set for 7 p.m. The winner will face the Maize/Great Bend winner on Friday, March 2.

The varsity girls will host Salina South on Wednesday, Feb. 28 in Ravenscroft Gym at 7 p.m. The winner will face the Salina Central/Kapaun Mt. Carmel winner on Saturday at 6 p.m.