By TYLER HENRY
Salina Post contributor
The Salina Central girls basketball team is rolling out of the midseason tournaments ranked fifth in the state and boasting a record of 9-2.
Both losses, one to Andover Central and one to Liberal, would see the Lady Mustangs with a chance to win late but come up just short.
“We’re definitely improving but we still have a long way to go before we reach our potential,” Central head coach Chris Fear said. “We lost to the #1 team in the state in a game where we led in the fourth quarter and to a really good 6A team in Liberal at the buzzer but we’re very excited about the next six weeks of the season.”
The Central offense has played off the charts this season, averaging just under 60 points per game, a mark that ranks second in the state.
While the offensive production has been great this year, Coach Fear still sees room for improvement from his offense.
“We need to become a little more efficient,” he said. “We’re turning the ball over more than I would like so I would like to see us work on that and find ways to beat a really good team or two down the stretch.”
The scoring attack for the Mustangs is led by Aubrie Kierscht, who has managed just under 20 points per game through the teams first 11 games.
Behind Kierscht, sophomore MyKayla Cunningham and junior Hampton Williams have notched double digit scoring as well, while Landry Stewart and Chaliscia Samilton have settled into their roles filling out a dominant lineup.
While the offense has been phenomenal for Central this year, the defensive effort has been just as good, as the Lady Mustangs have held opponents to just 35 points per game.
“I think our commitment to defense has been the best thing I’ve seen this year,” Fear said. “That’s an area that we haven’t been great at in the last few years and this season we’ve been very consistent.”
After a second place finish in the Salina Invitational, the Mustangs will have two opportunities coming up to get resume building wins.
On February 5th, Central will get another crack at the #1 team in the state in 8-0 Andover Central, and will follow that with a trip to 8-2 Eisenhower.
In terms of his team's capabilities come playoff time, Coach Fear has a very simple outlook.
“If we play up to our potential we can win a state championship.”