Maize High basketball teams split home opener vs. Salina Central to start season

The Maize High girls lose a close game in the home opener, 22-30, while the boys survive a last minute effort, 52-50.


Sierra Tinsley

Senior Tayveon Williams dribbles the ball on a fast break towards the basket. The final score of the game was 52-50 and the Eagles won their first game of the year to start 1-0.

Yami Choate, Reporter


Austin Jackson and Kyler Sevart

The Maize High girls lost a close game in the home opener, 22-30, while the boys survived a last-minute effort, 52-50, to kickoff their season on Friday, Dec. 2.

The Lady Eagles started off strong with the first points of the game scored by Maize High senior and first-year basketball player, Maggie Salsbury. The lively-paced game continued with a fast break from junior Brynley Smith with a half-court pass to Salsbury. Stuck in Salina’s defense, Salsbury looked for an out and passed the ball back to Smith who missed the middle drive layup. Salsbury recovered the play by charging for Smith’s rebound and promptly scoring.

 The Eagles continued the momentum in the 2nd quarter while focusing on setting up their offensive zone as point guard Adley Pierce went for a left-hand drive through the defense. On her way to the basket, Pierce executed a smooth handoff to senior Mattie Brownell who drove the ball right and passed to Salsbury for a quick and swift layup. The Eagles maintained a lead throughout the first half, but the game grew closer toward the end of the second quarter, with a nail-biting halftime score of 18-19.

Forward Mallory Hertzel came into the season unsure about what to expect from this year’s Salina Central team.

“We’ve been practicing basic fundamentals like passing and making our layups. We do a lot of drills during practice, and work on our offense and defense…I’ve never seen Salina Central’s team, but we’re pretty hopeful and positive about our game Friday Night. We work pretty hard, and we always finish through with our shots and ensure we get everything right,” said senior Mallory Hertzel.

The score remained close for the remainder of the game. Both teams fought in a back-and-forth point battle up until the fourth quarter when Salina took the lead by four baskets.

Forward and senior Maggie Salsbury throws the ball towards the basket in hopes of a score against Salina Central. They lost the game with a score of 22-30. (Sierra Tinsley)

The Maize girls lost the game with a final score of 22-30.

“We had a strong defensive game,” Brownell said. “We had steals and deflections. When we worked hard on defense, it would pay off on the offensive side. We played hard and competed. Now that the first game is behind us we will continue to get better and execute.”

In the 7:30 match-up, the Maize High boys had their turn facing the Salina Central team. Freshman Brayden Myovela started the Maize High boys varsity game off with high intensity as he scored in just the first minute of the Salina Central game on Friday night.

Heading into the game, head coach Chris Grill knew there would be challenges with many of their key players just finishing their football season.

“We have a really good effort…and a lot of good energy at practice. Recently, we’ve been focusing a lot on our defensive intensity. Offensively we have few things in, but right now we’re really focused on our defense,” said Grill. “We won’t be great to start but we are working hard at it, only having guys for four days makes it difficult.”

The boys experienced major setbacks at practice as many of their key players were gone due to the state football championship game which was played just two weeks ago. With many of the varsity starters being critical members of the football team, it limited what they were able to do in practice and their team approach.

The Eagles managed to stay in the lead for the majority of the game, until the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

The clock read 55 seconds when senior Jaxon Booth scored both of his free throws putting the team up by one point, for a score of 48-47. Maize High continued to make their comeback with senior Tayveon Williams scoring a basket immediately after Booth, while being fouled. 

Williams missed the proceeding free throw, putting the score at 50-47 with only 18 seconds left on the clock. Sophomore Alan Hanna was fouled and made his two free throws to give the Eagles a five-point lead of 52-47.

A Salina Central point guard made a three-pointer as time expired, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit. The Eagles won with a final score of 52-50, with freshman Brayden Myovela scoring 11 points.

“I think the game was so close last night because we had never really played a full varsity game…so we had to get used to the environment and fast-paced play. We also did not stay focused the whole time on defense, letting them get easy, uncontested three-pointers and layups,” said senior Wyatt Stover.

The Eagles play Andover tonight at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. in Andover in their second games of the season.