Jan 25, 2022

Trojans return to league play hosting Republic County

Posted Jan 25, 2022 6:16 PM

Salina Post contributor

This SES hoops preview is presented by Salina Ortho: Quality orthopedic care when you need it!
This SES hoops preview is presented by Salina Ortho: Quality orthopedic care when you need it!

After taking two out of three at their midseason tournament, the Southeast of Saline boy’s basketball team will return home to host the Republic County Buffaloes on Tuesday night.

As league play resumes, SES finds themselves atop the NCAA at 3-0 with Sacred Heart and Beloit, two teams the Trojans already defeated once this year, close behind at 3-1.

While the prospect of another league title remains an attractive one, Southeast isn’t thinking that far ahead, sticking to the approach that got them this far.

“We’re taking things day-by-day,” SES head coach Bryson Flax said. “As strange as our world is right now a lot can change in a short amount of time. We want to continue to improve and put ourselves in a position to play on the final day of sub-state.”

Republic County will come into this game at 6-5 overall and 2-2 in league play.

The Buffaloes play a much different style than the Trojan's last several opponents, relying on long, methodical possessions and an emphasis on the paint.

“They’re going to try to pound it to their posts inside often and we know they want to try and slow down the pace a little bit,” Flax said. “That’s always been who they are.”

Republic County has played most of its games in the high 30s and low 40s this season, a pace that SES can push far beyond that if their defense can continue to work in transition.

“We have to pressure them right away, we can’t allow them to walk the ball up the floor and we have to make things difficult for them when they try to put it into the paint,” Flax said. “If we can speed them up and make them put the ball on the floor we can dictate the pace.”

The Buffaloes are led by Blake Aurand, who leads the team averaging a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds per game.

After slow starts in two of their last three games, a high-intensity first quarter will be imperative for the Trojans to begin this game on the right foot.

“The start will be big for us because if you want to dictate the pace a lot of that happens right at the start,” he said. “We want to make sure that we’re ready and prepared and that we have the right energy right out of the gate.”

Tip-off between the Trojans and Buffaloes is scheduled for 7 pm following the girl’s game at 6.

As always both games can be heard on KINA (910 AM or 107.5 FM) courtesy of Eagle Radio.