By KEVIN THOMPSON
SUBLETTE — It was a wild way to cap off the quarterfinal round of the Hi-Plains League Tournament boys bracket.
For the first time in a long time the Satanta Indians are headed to the semifinals Friday after a 74-60 win over host Sublette.
Satanta broke a 35-all tie early in the third quarter and never lost the lead, though the Larks cut it to one and three in that pivotal quarter.
The Indians used a tough inside game to outplay Sublette around the boards, and their defense held the Larks to just 20 field goals, including 8-for-22 from beyond the arc.
Playing without Nate Cearly (wrist injury), the Larks were minus a starting point guard, three-point threat and 15.5 points a game.
Playing against a revved up Satanta squad, the Larks found the going tough in a fast-paced first half that saw the Indians commit 10 fouls and nine turnovers, but they still led 33-25 at the half.
With the game tied at 21 after Johny Martens hit a three at 4:25 in the second, Satanta went on a 12-4 run to end the half, with seven players getting in the score book.
The Larks, on the other hand, had first-half field goals from just two players.
To start the second half, Sublette opened with a 10-0 run to take a brief lead as Martens and Leverett hit a field goal each before Leverett nailed two consecutive three-pointers.
Satanta quickly re-took that lead on a pair of technical foul free throws and a Garrett Miller three (one of only two for the Indians).
Miller led all scorers with 25 points, while Jesus Garcia followed with 17 and Tristan Colantonio added 12.
The latter also pulled down 16 rebounds.
For coach Tim Dusin, the Satanta win was a result of heart and energy against a tough Sublette team, even minus a player like Cearly.
"It worked tonight. The guys inside and our guards did a good job of getting to the basket," he said. "I felt we hustled, which I've been trying to get us to do. It was a matter of us countering when they come rushing at us."
The rebounding edge was a point of emphasis for his team, Dusin said, and keeping Sublette away from second chances was key.
It worked, as the Indians held the Larks to just five second chances that resulted in just a pair of free throws.
That was part of the frustration for Sublette coach Justin Moore.
"Give a lot of credit to Satanta. They played hard and their kids fought hard on the glass," he said. "That's not to say ours didn't, but our execution was poor."
When you don't execute the way you're supposed to, Moore said, it's hard to win.
Missing Cearly was an issue, Moore added, but he said the Larks are going to have to figure out how to play without him.
"The next guy's got to step up," he said. "We've got some guys who can do it. It's just a matter of executing."
Coming out strong in the second half, Moore said, was a prime example. They pressed, got the ball inside and out, played with tenacity, and executed.
"But then we went away from that. When we figure that out, we'll be great offensively. Until then, we'll continue to be frustrated," he said.
Martens led the Larks with 18 points, while Leverett and Andrew Lower added 14. Sebastian Morales, filling in for Cearly, added 11.
Sublette will take on Lakin Thursday in the consolation bracket, and Moore said it will be a test of his team's mettle to see how they handle the challenge.
Advancing to a Friday semifinal is a good feeling for Satanta, Dusin said.
"For us, it's another win against a good quality club," he said. "That's what we've worked for."
Satanta will face second-seeded Cimarron on Friday, and Dusin knows it will take even more from his team to take them down, especially with a team that hasn't experienced success until recently.
Satanta 11 22 17 24 -- 74
Sublette 9 16 19 16 -- 60
Satanta (5-5) — Stanfill 3 0-1 6, Rodriguez 1 0-0 2, B. Miller 0 5-6 5, Colantonio 6 0-0 12, Turpin 2 3-6 7, G. Miller 9 6-8 25, Garcia 8 0-1 17. Totals 29-55 14-21 74. Sublette (4-6) — Leverett 5 2-2 14, Whaler 0 3-4 3, Lower 3 7-8 14, Morales 5 0-0 11, Martens 7 0-0 18. Totals 20-41 12-14 60.
3-point goals--Satanta 2-8 (G. Miller, Garcia), Sublette 8-22 (Leverett 2, Lower, Morales, Martens 4). Rebounds--Satanta 27 (Colantonio 16), Sublette 19 (Lower 5). Turnovers--Satanta 11, Sublette 18. Fouled out--none. Total fouls--Satanta 17, Sublette 18. Technical fouls--Sublette 2.