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Cowboys suffer first losses of the season at SIT, finish fourth place

Jan. 21—The Abilene Cowboys entered the Salina Invitational Tournament undefeated as the number one seed, however they suffered a pair of losses for the first time this season against some of the best competition they've faced all season in Wichita South and Great Bend.

Abilene earned a 65-47 victory in their opening round game on Thursday night over Salina South Cougars. The Cougars playing on their home court stayed within striking distance for a majority of the first half. Abilene would slightly pull away early in the second half, and then go on to maintain a comfortable lead the remainder of the game.

In the victory the Cowboys had a balanced scoring attack, led by senior Brax Fisher who finished with 21 points in the game.

Abilene would come up short for the first time this season with a 67-61 loss in the Friday night semifinal against the Wichita South Titans. The Cowboys would lead by a single point at 13-12 after the first quarter. The Titans would take then take the lead for good late in the second quarter, and never trail again in the game. Both teams erupted with an offensive scoring performance in the final quarter, as combined they totaled 59 points. Abilene would trail by as many as 15 points at one point late in the game, and be forced to shoot and make three pointers to try and get back into the game. The plan nearly worked, as they fought back to within six points, but ultimately fell 67-61. Keaton Hargrave and Ian Crump would lead the team in scoring with 17, and 15 points respectively as both players connected on multiple three point baskets .

The Semifinal loss then sent The Cowboys to the third place, Saturday midday game against the Great Bend Panthers where they would come up just short in a 58-52 loss.

Abilene would trail early, and never lead in the game as the Panthers would race out to a 13 point lead to begin the game. The Cowboys would continue to fight back and eventually get the game back to within three points multiple times late in the game. Great Bend however would seal the game at the free throw line and hold on for for 58-52 victory. Fisher would once again lead the Cowboys with 20 points in the game, and the effort would ultimately earn him a spot on the SIT All Tournament Team as he totaled 46 points in the tournament.

Abilene 65,

Salina South 47

Abilene would jump out to an early 10-5 lead as Stocton Timbrook's would score the first seven points for the Cowboys , and Zach Miller would make an early three pointer at the midway point of the quarter. The Cougars would get back to within a single point trailing 14-13, however Fisher would score the final four points of the first quarter for a 17-13 Abilene lead.

The Cowboys would maintain their lead, in second quarter, and lead by six at halftime 31-25. Fisher, Miller, and Tyler Holloway would account for all of the scoring in the second quarter.

The closest Salina South would get the remainder of the game would be at the 3:25 mark when they would trail by four points 38-34. The Abilene full court pressure defense then created multiple turnovers that quickly led to transition baskets giving the Cowboys some breathing room. Six different Abilene players would score in the quarter giving them a 47-40 lead after three quarters.

An 11-3 scoring run to begin the final quarter would then give the Cowboys a 58-43 lead with 2:27 to go. Keaton Hargrave, Holloway, and Fisher would all score during the stretch. Abilene would then go ahead and close out the game for the 65-47 victory. Seven players would score for the Cowboys in the game, including double figures from Fisher with 21 points, Timbrook with 11 points, and Miller with 10 points.

Scoring Summary:

Abilene 17 31 47 65

Salina South 13 25 40 47

Abilene (8-0): Fisher 21, Stocton Timbrook 11, Zach Miller 10, Tyler Holloway 8, Keaton Hargrave 7, Weston Rock 5, Ian Crump 3

Salina South (0-8): Jace Humphrey 15, Brady Howard 8, Jaxon Myers 5, Gavin Devoe 5, Sawyer Walker 3, Easton Wilcox 3, Queyvon Purucker 3, Webb 2.

Abilene 61,

Wichita South 67

The Abilene Cowboys lost their first game of the year in the SIT semifinal game Friday night to the Wichita South Titans 67-61.

Facing definitely the most athletic team that Abilene has seen this season, Wichita South put together an impressive effort to neutralize the Cowboys game plan.

Outside shooting would play a major role in the entire game as Abilene would make 14 total three pointers. The Cowboys would convert on three, made three pointers by Brax Fisher, Zach Miller, and Keaton Hargrave to help jump out to a 13-12 first quarter lead.

A Stocton Timbook basket early in the second quarter for a 15-14 lead would be the final lead for Abilene in the game. The Titans would close the half with a 11-6 run to lead by four points at halftime 25-21.

A slow scoring third quarter would only total eight points for the Cowboys in the quarter. Miller, and Ian Crump made three pointers would highlight the quarters scoring, however Wichita South would extend their lead to eleven points at 40-29.

Abilene would score more points in the fourth quarter alone with 32 points, than they did the first three quarters. Unfortunately the Titans offense continued to also score as they continuously were able to break the Abilene press and convert on the offensive end. The deficit forced the Cowboys to shoot multiple three pointers down the stretch in which Hargrave and Crump accounted for three each. Wichita South would convert just enough free throws to hold on for the 67-61 victory.

Eight Abilene players would score in the game, led by Hargrave with a new career high 17 points, while Crump added 15 points.

Scoring Summary:

Abilene 13 21 29 61 (8-1)

Wichita South 12 25 40 67 (5-6)

Abilene (8-1): Keaton Hargrave 17, Ian Crump 15, Stocton Timbrook 9, Zach Miller 6, Tyler Holloway 6, Brax Fisher 5, Taygen Funston 2, Weston Rock 1.

Wichita South (5-6): Gabriel Huerta 17, Jonovan Howard 16, Jalin Manning 10, Parker Hardgrave 8, Jaxon Howard 6, Kendrall Ransom 4, Davien Carter 3, Sloan Barnes.

Abilene 52,

Great Bend 58

The Abilene Cowboys fell in the SIT third place game midday Saturday to the Great Bend Panthers 58-52

Abilene never led in the game, as they got off to a slow start trailing by 13 points early, a late opening quarter turn around would have the Cowboys trailing by ten points 20-10 after the first quarter

The deficit would remain nearly the same throughout the rest of the first half as the Panthers would lead at halftime 36-25

The third quarter would then see each team make 9-0 runs at different points. Abilene's run early would get them back to within six points at the 5:16 mark with a 25-19 deficit Great Bend would answer with their own 9-0 run and extend their lead to 34-19. They would go on to end the third quarter leading by five points at 44-39.

The Cowboys would close the scoring gap multiple times throughout the final quarter to get the game to within three points. The Panthers however would hold on and secure the game at the free throw line for the 58-52 victory

Seven players would score in the game for Abilene including double figures from Brax Fisher with 20 points, and Stocton Timbrook with 11 points.

Third place boys

Scoring Summary:

Abilene 10 25 39 52

Great Bend 20 36 44 58

Abilene (8-2): Brax Fisher 20, Stocton Timbrook 11, Tyler Holloway 9, Zach Miller 5, Taygen Funston 3, Ian Crump 2, Keaton Hargrave 2

Great Bend (8-4): Ian Premer 19, Jacob Hall 10, Parker Dicks 9, Maddox Spray 5, Carter Coombs 5.