By KEVIN THOMPSON
L EOTI - The Hugoton Eagles hung around like an annoying house guest who wouldn't take the hint and leave.
The best response to said pests is to just keep after them.
That's what the Wichita County Indians decided to do Friday night as they put away the Eagles 58-40 in Hi-Plains League action.
As wide as the final margin was, Hugoton was in the game a number of times. A 9-2 run in the second quarter brought them back from 12 down to within five.
So the Indians decided to use the long ball to push them away. Gabe Martinez and Watson McKinney made back-to-back treys to widen the gap again.
In the fourth quarter, Hugoton was there again, this time closing to 10 and looking to make another run. Matt Mehl stepped up and nailed back-to-back treys for Wichita County (5-1). After that, all Hugoton could muster was a free throw and the guests were gone.
"We have some good weapons on the outside," Indians coach Matt Crist said. His team's outside shooting complements the inside game led by 6-foot-8 Trae Bremer, who had 14 points, most of them from under the basket and off of offensive rebounds.
Rebounding was also a key in this win. The Eagles had 37 rebounds, most of those in the second half.
"Going into the season, our biggest weakness was rebounding," Crist said. "We preached and preached and worked countless hours on becoming better rebounders. I think we're getting there."
Wichita County got a number of points off the fast break, many of them created by a tough press. When the layup wasn't there, they kicked the ball outside and let the long shooters take charge. While it worked somewhat, Crist would still like to see the shots go in more regularly.
"A lot of easy shots tonight we didn't make, especially in the first half," he said. "We did play some pretty good defense most of the night, but we need to get better all around."
The Indians led by five at the first quarter break and 13 by halftime, outscoring the Eagles 21-13 in the second quarter. Capitalizin g on Hugoton turnovers, the Indians were able to prevent the Eagles from getting too many looks at the basket.
Keithan Martin led Hugoton with 12 points and Ty Concannon added 11, but of their seven combined baskets, five were 3-pointers, a tribute to Wichita County's inside defense, including a number of Bremer blocked shots.
Still, Crist sees room for improvement from his team going into the vacation break.
"This is a game we felt we should have put them away earlier," Crist said. "But that's what happens when your play is inconsistent. We need to work on putting all the parts together at one time. So our goal over the break is to get more consistent."
Wichita Co. 58, Hugoton 40
HUGOTON — Ty Concannon 3 0-0 11, Keithan Martin 3 4-6 12, Cody Frederick 2 4-7 8, Zach Dunlap 1 0-1 2, Tate Reed 2 1-2 5, Gifford 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 5-16 40.
WICHITA CO. — Mehl 2 0-0 6, McKinney 2 0-0 6, Harkness 5 1-3 12, Fletcher 2 3-4 7, Martinez 4 0-4 10, Bremer 7 0-2 14, Holguin 1 1-2 3. Totals 23 5-15 58.
Hugoton 9 13 12 6 — 40
Wichita Co. 14 21 13 10 — 58
3-point goals: Hugoton 5 (Concannon3, Martin 2); Wichita Co. 7 (Mehl 2, McKinney 2, Harkness 1, Martinez 2.