By KEVIN THOMPSON
SCOTT CITY — After their title in the Orange and Black Classic at Colby Saturday, Scott City had improved to 9-1 and reached the top of the state Class 4A-II poll.
Heartened by that string of good fortune, the Beavers continued their momentum with a runaway bludgeoning, 66-33, over visiting Lakin Tuesday night.
The Beavers started strong with 10-2 run in the first period, and continued with a 15-2 run deep into the second as they took a commanding 29-9 lead with 2:54 to play in the half.
Trey O'Neil, who had 13 points in the half, hit a serendipitous half-court trey at the buzzer to put the Beavers up 37-20.
It was more of the same in the third period as Scott City opened with a 15-0 run and created an insurmountable lead.
O'Neil led four Beavers in double figures with 19 points, followed by Sloan Baker and Brett Meyer with 11 each, and Dylan Hutchins with 10.
Nine players got in the scorebook as Scott City shot 24 of 51 from the floor.
Defensively, the Beavers held Lakin to just nine field goals in 33 attempts (27 percent), including just three in the second half to nullify any thoughts the Broncs had of mounting a comeback.
Javier Esquivel led Lakin with 10 points off the bench.
While it might look like a routine win for the 10-1 Beavers, coach Glenn O'Neil said that's not the approach he wants his team to take, especially with half a season to go and tough competition lying in wait.
"We've played well the last three games, and it helps when you're knocking down shots," he said. "Our defense has played better. The thing is, we've only had one prep day for three different games. We're learning our roles with our defense a little bit at a time."
Holding the Broncs to just nine field goals was partly Lakin just having an off-night shooting, he added, something he warns his team about constantly.
"We tell them not to look at their record but their shooting percentages," O'Neil said. "That should be enough to cause some worries."
His team isn't big, he added, but some of them have huge wing spans, and they have to use their athleticism and speed to take on good teams.
"It also helps when we can get the third guy scoring in double figures, and a fourth guy makes it even better," O'Neil said.
Scott City's lone loss came in the opening game of the season, less than three weeks after the football season ended in the state semifinals.
Transitioning from one successful program to another with many of the same players is challenging, O'Neil said, but it helps to have good athletes.
Timing basketball practices based on how tired the players are, especially early, helps slow things down and rest the kids.
"But sometimes when you get beat at the end of the (football) season, you have that hunger to compete again," he said. "Our kids like to compete."
Many say kids play sports for fun, he added, but Scott City defines it differently.
"We don't believe in going out and just messing around," he said. "Fun is competing hard, and our kids have bought into that."
Summer ball has helped his team understand what the rules are with the group of players they have, and early on in the season it was not flawless.
"But as soon as they got into a groove, it's picked up," he said.
Scott City looks to continue that groove in a trip to 5A Liberal this Friday, with other key games looming.
"We don't want to get into a mid-season 'blah,'" O'Neil said. "Liberal's a tough place to play. Holcomb is waiting for us down the line. And we haven't seen Goodland at all and they're in our sub-state."
The Beavers have a lot of challenges left, and with a young team (just three seniors), they're still growing, he added.
Lakin 7 13 7 6 -- 33
Scott City 19 18 19 10 -- 66
Lakin (5-8)--Seeger 0 2-2 2, Shelden 1 2-2 4, Reyes 3 1-1 7, Aparicio 1 0-0 2, Yakel 2 2-2 8, Esquivel 2 6-6 10. Totals 9-33 13-13 33.
Scott City (10-1)--Yager 1 0-0 3, Strine 2 0-0 4, Pounds 1 0-0 2, Hutchins 3 2-2 10, O'Neil 7 2-2 19, Meyer 4 3-6 11, Cure 1 0-0 2, Baker 4 2-2 11, Wells 1 2-3 4. Totals 24-51 11-15 66.
3-point goals--Lakin 2-10 (Yakel 2), Scott City 7-20 (Yager, Hutchins 2, O'Neil 3, Baker). Rebounds--Lakin 20 (Esquivel 7), Scott City 20 (Meyer 7). Turnovers--Lakin 25, Scott City 9. Fouled out--none. Total fouls--Lakin 15, Scott City 17. Technical fouls--none.
Lakin 55, Scott City 41
The Lady Broncs found more of a challenge in Scott City than they might have expected.
Picking up three wins in last week's league tournament, Lakin maybe looked past the two-win Lady Beavers early on, but a strong second half propelled the visitors to a 55-41 win.
Lakin opened the game with an 8-2 lead before the Lady Beavers crawled back to within two at 16-14 early in the second. Then a series of turnovers (eight of their 23 for the game) allowed Lakin to pull ahead by six at the break, 25-19.
The Broncs got on track in the third, outscoring the Beavers 17-8, including a 12-0 run late, helped by a pair of Scott City technicals.
And while it seemed as though a 17-point lead in the fourth period would be enough to cruise, Lakin committed four turnovers in five possessions that helped the Beavers cut the lead to 10, 48-38, with exactly five minutes to play.
However, Lakin righted its ship and scored on three straight possessions, while the Beavers turned the ball over on five of their next eight, managing just three points in the final minutes.
Robin Ritsema, Lakin's 6-foot-1 sophomore post, led the Broncs with 15 points, despite spending time on the bench in foul trouble. She scored six in the opening quarter and nine in the third to make her presence felt low.
Kara Simmons added 14 and Mariah Watkins 11.
Riley Hawker led Scott City with 13 and Kelly Wycoff added 11.
Lakin evened its season record at 7-7, winning for the fourth straight game, while Scott City fell to 2-9.
Lakin 14 11 17 13 -- 55
Scott City 9 10 8 14 -- 41
Lakin (6-7)--Watkins 5 0-2 11, Ritsema 7 1-2 15, Calderon 1 0-0 2, Davidson 0 1-3 1, Hernandez 2 0-0 4, Simmons 4 6-8 14, Reed 4 0-0 8. Totals 23-53 8-15 55.
Scott City (2-8)--Latta 1 4-7 6, Hawker 6 1-2 13, Orr 1 1-5 3, Campbell 1 0-0 2, Wycoff 4 3-4 11, Nickel 3 0-0 6. Totals 16-39 9-18 41.
3-point goals--Lakin 1-7 (Watkins), Scott City 0-5. Rebounds--Lakin 27 (Ritsema 6), Scott City 21 (Wycoff 4, Nickel 4). Turnovers--Lakin 14, Scott City 23. Fouled out--Ritsema. Total fouls--Lakin 16, Scott City 13. Technical fouls--Scott City 2.