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Maize South downs Andover Central boys 49-46

Lionel Tipton

MAIZE, KANSAS – The outcome wasn’t desirable, but Tyler Richardson found a few “teaching moments” Tuesday night in his first game as Andover Central head coach.

The Jaguars bolted to a 25-18 halftime lead, but a six-point third quarter put them in a hole before a fourth-quarter rally fell just short in a 49-46 loss at Maize South.

“We did a lot of great things in the first half, but in the second half we had a lot of great looks, but we fell short,” said Richardson, who took over from Jesse Herrmann, who had been the school’s coach since it opened in 2001.

“We had countless shots right there at the basket, and they were just in and out. That drains you. It drains your momentum, so we were just talking to our guys that you have to be able to turn the page.”

Maybe some first-game jitters contributed to the collapse?

“If that had happened in the first half, I’d say ‘yeah,’ and maybe that was in the second half,” Richardson said. “But, you know, one thing we just told the guys: Don’t be discouraged by this loss.

“We belong. We just graduated nine seniors last year. We have one returning player, so we’re playing with a bunch of kids that played JV last year, and they showed up like a varsity team. Very proud of them.”

A 7-0 Mavericks run to start the second half had tied the score, 25-25, when senior guard Matt Buffington was called for a foul and a technical foul with 4:53 to play in the period. Maize South senior Parker Scott hit the technical free throws, and junior Javan Buchanan hit one of two for a 28-25 lead, and the Jaguars would never be closer than one point the rest of the way.

The Mavericks led by as many as 12 until Andover Central went on an 11-2 run to trail just 47-44 with 11.6 seconds left. Scott hit one of two free throws to make it a 48-44 game, but a quick lay-in by junior Skyler Clevenger trimmed the lead to 48-46. Scott then hit one of two free throws with 2.5 seconds left, and all the Jaguars could muster was a desperation heave at the end.

Clevenger scored nine fourth-quarter points and finished with 12. Fellow junior Brian Perry led Andover Central with 13 – nine in the first half.

The Jaguars’ scoring drought coincided with the emergence of Mavericks junior Quincy Gholar, who scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter and brought some much-needed energy to the floor. Maize South was led in scoring by senior reserve guard Byron Fitchpatrick, who sped past Jaguars defenders for 13 points, scoring seven in the critical third quarter.

“At halftime, we coaches talked about what adjustments they’re going to make,” Richardson said. “And, they got a lot of attacks to the basket, which we assumed that they would do. One thing we did very well that we talked about from the start (was) limiting them to one shot, and rebound the ball, and go. I thought we did a pretty good job of that in the first half.

“In the second half, we continued to do that for the most part, but we’ve got to finish. When you get those great looks that you’re looking for, and you fall short, it really drains you.”

The Jaguars will return to action Tuesday at home against Valley Center. A scheduled AVCTL-Greater Wichita Athletic League Challenge game Saturday against Wichita South was canceled.

Andover Central 14;11;6;15 – 46

Maize South 7;11;15;16 – 49

Andover Central: Perry 13, Clevenger 12, Sears 8, Wilson 4, Steward 4, Ray 3, Stupka 2.

Maize South: Fitchpatrick 13, Clyne 9, Gholar 8, Scott 8, Buchanan 7, Atwater 2, Askren 2.