ANDOVER, KANSAS – Andover Central went on a 17-5 run in the third quarter to gain the lead from the Salina Central Panthers on Thursday night. The run was good enough to hold for the rest of the game as the Jaguars won 56-39.
The win solidifies the Jaguars in the eighth seed in the West division of the Class 5A Playoffs. Andover Central finishes 12-8 on the season.
"I’ve had so much fun coaching these guys," Andover Central head coach Jesse Herrmann said. "I’m very happy for the way they’ve overcome this season.
Xavier Bell hit threes and jumpers despite the constant bumping and defense on him. One of the leading scorers in all levels of the AVCTL, Bell finished with 31 points.
"It’s great to close out a game like that," Bell said. "We have gone through a lot and it’s great to finish out the season the way we did."
Andover Central started a rough 1-of-8 before a three by Bell started the scoring. Salina Central responded with back-to-back threes to go up 10-7 with 2:08 remaining in the first quarter.
Andover scored the final four points of the quarter and then six of the nine in the game to take a 17-13 lead with 5:00 remaining until halftime.
Christian Tedlock drained a three with 4:22 in the second to cut the lead to one. Then, Salina Central’s Aaron Watson split the free throws to tie the game at 17-all.
Aiden Speer’s cut to the basketball though contact gave the Mustangs a 19-17 lead with 1:58 to go in the half.
After some Bell free throws and a cut to the rim, Andover Central had the 22-19 lead at halftime.
Jerome Washington and Bell took over in the second half. They went on a 17-5 run to put the game out of reach. Bell scored 11 of the 17 during the run, with Washington scoring the rest of the points.
Washington finished with 18 points, 14 in the second half and three three-pointers.
"He [Washington] has been trouble for other teams even back to last season," Herrmann said. "When you have a big man that can step out and shoot like that, it gives you an advantage.
After Salina Central had cut the deficit to 46-37, the Jaguars put the game out of reach by outscoring the Mustangs 10-1 to end the game.
Salina Central finishes the season 9-11 on the year and will be the 13th seed in the Class 5A tournament.
Logan Losey, only a sophomore, led the Mustangs with eight points.
Andover Central finishes as the eight seed in the 5A playoffs. They’ll travel to the Bishop Carroll sub-state next week. They will most likely play Maize in the first round of sub-state.
"I feel like we got a shot against anybody," Bell said. "With the way we’ve been playing, I’ll take us against anybody any day."
Salina Central – 10; 9; 10; 10 – 39
Andover Central – 11; 11; 15; 19 – 56
SC: Losey 8, McHenry 7, Burnett 4, Kavanagh 4, Tedlock 3, Watson 3, Moore 3, Puckett 3, Speer 2, Dyson 2
AC: Bell 31, Washington 18, Stupka 2, Sears 2, Herrmann 2, DeGarmo 1