A comeback victory, a half-time deadlock and a finale of "never look back" are memories that will last forever of the Kiowa County Mavericks boys basketball team trip to the league title last week.
The Kiowa County Mavericks were crowned 2020 SPIAA League Tournament champions on Saturday for the first time in school history. It was victory savored by team, school and supporters all.
The Maverick boys entered the league tournament as the #3 seed which was rewarded with a first-round bye. Minneola High School won their play-in game, so they took on the Mavericks on January 29. This contest was close from the opening tip to the final buzzer.
After the first quarter, the Mavs were ahead 13-11, but the Wildcats tied the score at 20 going into the half time break. At the end of the third quarter, KCHS faced a 5 point deficit, down 32-37.
The game was a nail-biter throughout the whole fourth quarter, but the Mavericks wouldn’t quit. With just under seven seconds left Cayden Pore inbounded the ball to Senior Cooper Zenger, who dribbled down the floor and made a three-pointer with two Wildcats in his face to force the game into OT.
The Mavericks completed the comeback victory, winning 59-53.
Next up was the #2 seeded Rebels of South Gray. This was another close game for the Mavericks. They lead 17-14 at the end of the first quarter, but the half time score was deadlocked at 28 each.
The Mavericks started to pull away in the third quarter, and by the end of the game had created a 10 point lead, winning 69-59.
They were on to the championship game on Saturday where they would take on #4 seeded Hodgeman County.
The Mavericks came out ready to play, shooting out to an 11-4 lead over the Longhorns in the first quarter. That lead grew to 16 by the halftime break.
KCHS never looked back in the second half and ended the third quarter up 37-21. The fourth quarter was icing on the cake and the Maverick players and fans could smell victory.
A final score for the Mavericks championship game was 45-32, and they were crowned champions of the SPIAA League for the first time in KCHS boys basketball history.
“Unbelievable! Our boys played tremendous basketball this tournament. They played for each other and it showed,” said coach Matt Hoffman. ”We have been talking for three years about getting a boys basketball banner hung in our gym. It became a reality Saturday.”
Next contest: Mavericks vs. the Meade Buffaloes on February 4.