For the first time in school history, the Maize South High School boys basketball players have secured six wins in a season.
The Mavericks upset Winfield 73-68 on Thursday, Jan. 24, and boosted their record to 6-6 overall. The visiting Vikings dropped to 8-5 on the season.
Maize South coach Kip Schultz said that after watching game film, he thought Winfield would have the edge Thursday.
“We were just fortunate to keep the lead by making free throws,” Schultz remarked.
Winfield head coach Troy Lallemand did not lead the Vikings on Thursday. Maize South had been dealing with its own significant absence, 6-9 junior starter Brett Barney, first due to an injury and then because of the flu during Tuesday’s game. Despite his illness, Barney returned to the court Thursday.
“It’s super-significant because you get to run your high-low game,” said Schultz.
Maize South led 10-2 midway through the first quarter. The Mavericks had scored eight straight points when Winfield senior Landon Fox stopped the streak with a bucket, moving the tally to 10-4. Maize South senior Micah Kiser drained a three-pointer at the close of the quarter, when the home team led 16-8.
The scoring remained about even during the next two quarters, when the Mavericks put up 32 points to the Vikings’ 31. Winfield trailed 48-39 heading into the final stanza.
The margin was at 11, 59-48, with 3:33 left in the game. Kiser fouled Winfield junior Logan Mays, who sank one free throw. His second attempt missed, but sophomore Will Adler grabbed the rebound for a putback.
After Maize South was whistled for traveling, Winfield regained possession and Mays picked up a bucket. The Vikings’ five unanswered points cut their deficit to six, 59-53.
The Mavericks pushed their lead back out to eight, 61-53, but senior Landon Fox’s three-pointer and then Mays’ basket pulled Winfield within three, 61-58. The Vikings were still behind by three, 67-64, with less than a minute remaining in the game.
Although Mays scored seven points in the final minute, the Vikings were forced to foul and Maize South hit its free throws. Kiser and freshman starter Payten Ricks combined to go 10 for 10 from the stripe in the last 1:07.
Schultz said that Ricks “played on outstanding game,” both offensively and defensively. He also praised Barney, Kiser and junior DeSean Washington for their leadership and for keeping their composure in a tight contest.
Schultz commended Washington for his defensive performance and described him as Maize South’s key player Thursday.
Kiser led the Mavericks with 23 points. He was among four players who scored in double figures. Barney had 19, Ricks 16 and sophomore Kade Kordonowy 13.
Mays anchored Winfield with 18 points, followed by Fox with 11. Juniors Sam Bertholf and Jacob Dennett contributed 10 apiece.
Maize South has achieved a few milestones in the past week. The Mavericks were runners-up in the Sterling tournament last weekend, which marked the first time they had placed second in any tournament.
Thursday’s game represented the first time Maize South secured six wins in a season and the first time it reached a .500 record.
Schultz said the boys’ tournament performance probably helped them build confidence.
“I think the tournament sure helps,” he continued. “We’ve never finished in the top three.”
Schultz added that the Mavericks committed too many turnovers Thursday, but he was proud of their free throw shooting. He also expressed pride in their effort and improvement this year.
Maize South took on Winfield in its season opener last year and lost 68-48. The Mavericks earned five victories in 2011-12.