Below are the coaches' summaries of the WKLL Basketball Tournament.
'On Saturday, Feb. 5 the Northern Valley Boys defeated the Logan Trojans 53-45 to win the 2021-2022 Western Kansas Liberty League (WKLL) Basketball Title. Husky and Trojan fans were treated to a tight tournament championship game between the two rivals in the newly constructed Colby Events Center. The third time was a charm for the Huskies, as they had defeated Logan in the regular season 59-54 on Dec. 14 at home. Northern Valley then clinched their second victory over Logan - 58-44 - on Jan. 7 on the road. "Logan came out and took it to us (during the tournament), and we weren't playing good offense early in the game," Head Husky Coach Kevin Sides reported. "However, we played really good defense to keep it close until our offense did get going. We have a potent offense once we can get on a roll, but Logan did a good job controlling the tempo for most of this game. I was really proud of the effort and resiliency of our kids, when the game wasn't going that well for us." Quarter scores were as follows for N.V./Logan: 13-9; 22-24; 29-40; 53-45. After only scoring seven points during the third quarter, Northern Valley was able to make a run in the fourth, outscoring Logan 24-5. Kenton Thalheim led the Huskies with 18 points. Foster Brands followed with 10; Eric Loya earned 9; Jeremiah Hansen, 7; Drew Schemper, 4; Bailey Sides, 3; and Brody Preston, 2.
During their first round of the WKLL Tournament, the number one-seeded Huskies defeated the eighth-seeded Heartland Christian Crusaders 87-13 on Tuesday, Feb. 1 in the Colby Events Center. "We cruised through our first-round by getting many fast break points from our defensive press," Coach Sides commented. Nine players scored for the Huskies over the Crusaders. N.V. scorers were: Kenton Thalheim, 21; Foster Brands,15; Drew Schemper, 13; Gabe Rudd, 8; Bailey Sides, 7; Jeremiah Hansen, 7; Eric Loya, 7; Brody Preston, 7; Jason Cox, 2. Northern Valley's win over Heartland Christian advanced them to face Weskan on Friday, Feb. 4 during the semi-final matchup of the WKLL Basketball Tourney.
In the Colby Events Center, the Huskies defeated the Coyotes for the second time this season - this time posting a WKLL Tournament win of 69-34. "The Coyotes came out early and wanted to avenge our earlier contest against them, Coach Kevin Sides recounted. "They only trailed us by 34-25 at halftime; but a big third quarter saw us outscore them 24-7. This put the Coyotes in too big of a deficit to overcome, and we went on to win it." Over Weskan, Senior Eric Loya led his team with 22 points, followed by Sophomore Jeremiah Hansen - who secured 18. Kenton Thalheim scored 10; Foster Brands, 8; Bailey Sides, 5; Brody Preston, 4; and Gabriel Rudd, 2. "We didn't play that well early in this game, but after halftime we put it all together," Coach Sides said. "We didn't shoot the ball well from the field, but from the charity line we made 17 of 20. We can be and need to be a good free-throw shooting team down the stretch. Coach Sides' comments rang true, as the Huskies shot for 65 percent (overall) from the free-throw line, making 33 of 51 team free-throws throughout the WKLL Tournament. The Huskies (14-1) are currently second in Kansas' Second Division of Class 1A Basketball state rankings. Their next matchup will be held at home on Tuesday, Feb. 8 against the Alma (Nebraska) Cardinals.'
'The Lady Huskies took on the Wheatland-Grinnell Thunderhawks in the first round of the WKLL tournament in Colby on February 1st. The Thunderhawks came out in a suffocating man defense and played fast up and down the court pushing their lead to 21 by the end of the first quarter. The Lady Huskies had a rough night shooting from the floor and weren’t able to get things rolling in our favor. The final score of the game was 19-61. Scoring for the Huskies: Austyn Cox- 9, Delaney Sides- 5, Shaylee Vsetecka- 5
The Lady Huskies played the Western Plains/Healy Bobcats in the second round of the WKLL tournament. The Huskies came into the game down multiple large varsity minute players. Despite being short handed, the Huskies got settled in during the second quarter and built up a large 31-13 lead going into half. The second half started off with more hot shooting from the Huskies and the 30 point running clock started with 4 minutes left in the game. All ten players on the tournament roster got in minutes throughout the game. The final score of the game was 62-35. Scoring for the Huskies: Austyn Cox- 20, Delaney Sides- 16, Braxton Cox- 9, Shaylee Vsetecka- 8 Stephanie Whitney- 5, Rebekah Henrickson and Haley Hansen- 2 apiece.
The Lady Huskies played the Heartland Christian Crusaders on 2/5/22 in the 5th place game of the WKLL Tournament. The final score of the game was 39-42. The Huskies came out in aggressive man defense and gave the Crusaders all they could handle for the first half. The Huskies carried a 7 point lead into half. The Huskies had another strong quarter in the third and held an 8 point lead going into the fourth. The Crusaders were able to cash in on second chance shots, timely free throws and a few fast breaks in the fourth quarter that gave them the momentum they needed to steal the victory from the Huskies. Scoring for the Huskies: Delaney Sides- 18, Shaylee Vsetecka- 8, Austyn Cox- 6, Stephanie Whitney- 4, Braxton Cox-3.'