Trojans come from behind, take down Wichita Heights

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette

WICHITA — It’s easy to discount what the other Andover Trojans do when Jack Johnson is dominating so much attention on the offensive side.

There aren’t going to be too many teams who discount what they do now after Saturday’s 54-52 win over Wichita Heights.

Jack Johnson (ankle) missed Saturday’s game and it was the entire team who stepped up as Andover won their 26th consecutive game.

The Trojans have not lost a regular season game since Feb. 21, 2019, spanning almost 22 months.

Gaddis stepped up big time in his teammate’s absence. He finished with a team high 13 points and plays solid defense when it was needed as Andover played from behind almost the entire second half.

“Without Jack we’re going to have to make up for those 20 points and I had to try and go score,” Gaddis said.

It was the second time this season Gaddis has scored in double figures.

“Kaleb Gaddis was really good tonight,” Andover Head Coach Martin Shetlar said. “Anytime we needed a bucket he was able to just go and get it.”

Andover led 28-25 at the break but Heights’ Marcus Zeigler and Bronxon Frierson tried everything in their power to beat Andover.

It just wasn’t enough.

The duo had 23 of Heights’ 34 second half points but the Trojans just found a way when they needed.

Every time it felt as if Heights was gaining control of the game, someone stepped up for Andover. Whether it was Matt Rudy in the first half, where he eight consecutive points to put Andover in front. Or it was Brady Strausz, the sophomore, who used his football physicality to knife through the lane and get to the rim over and over.

“We had different different guys step up tonight,” Shetlar said. “I think that’s how it’s going to be all year, different guys step up and do big things for us.“

Heights built a 38-30 lead 2:12 remaining in the third quarter but the Trojans battled. Strausz scored back-to-back buckets and Gaddis scored right before the quarter ended to cut it to 39-35.

“Brady Strausz is smart he sees the defense and when they’re not helping out he is going to have to get by his guy and get to the rim,” Shetlar said. “He’s just so tough and strong.”

Then BJ Redic scored. Then, Strausz and Gaddis took turns cutting intot he lead. Gaddis’ three brought the Trojans within 43-42 with 5:40 remaining.

Down the stretch, Andover hit 6 of 7 free throws, while Heights only attempted two in the second half.

Isaiah Maikori’s lay up with 1:53 remaining put Andover in front. However, Zeigler came back with a tough shot, putting the Falcons up by one with 54 seconds remaining.

Maikori would get to the line and sink both, giving Andover the lead 15.2 seconds remaining.

The Trojans defense would do the rest.

“We just have to keep working in practice,” Gaddis said. “We’ll be trying to get those sophomores to step up and play well.”

Asked whether or not Gaddis likes the pressure of being unbeaten and the No. 1 team? He welcomes it.

“I like the pressure, I do,” Gaddis saod. “I want people to try and come after us and beat us. I take that and we want our respect.”

Andover - 15;13;7;19 - 54

Heights - 12;13;14;13 - 52

Andover: Gaddis 13, Strausz 11, Rudy 11, Maikori 6, Redic 5, Shetlar 3, Gulley 3, Gehring 2

Heights: Frierson 17, Zeigler 14, Neal 6, Kemp 6, Palmer 5, Wilkens 2, Williams 2