GYPSUM — Hunter White dominated the paint for 28 points and led Southeast of Saline to a 69-53 NCAA victory over Republic County Friday night.

Southeast improved to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in league play, while the Buffs dropped to 4-6 and 1-5.

White connected on 11 of 14 shots and helped the Trojans open things up in the second quarter after Southeast trailed 17-15 after one quarter.

In the second period, White scored five of his points, but with the Buffalos concentrating on him, it opened up opportunities for the other Trojans.

By the time halftime rolled around, Southeast had completely reversed the momentum and took a 33-24 lead to the locker room.

Republic County used the foul line in the first quarter to take the early lead when the Buffs converted 11 of 12 at the charity stripe.

“Once we quit fouling," White said, "our defense really held them down."

In the third period, White continued to get to the rim and collected nine points, while his teammate came through from the perimeter. Seth Eklund drained a pair of 3s and Jake Huffaker another as the Trojans pushed their advantage to as much as 21, 50-29, with 1:59 showing on the clock.

“I thought the first quarter we did a really poor job of defending,”  Southeast coach Jeff Wells said. “We were reaching and got on a lot of foul trouble, and I think their first eight points were on the free throw line.

“We gave up 17 points in that first quarter and that’s unacceptable for us. We’ve got to do a better job.”

Wells also applauded White's overall performance as well as the rest of the Trojans.

“He’s so quick. His first step is just unbelievable and I thought we did a good job of moving the basketball tonight," Wells said. "We had good spacing which created the openings for Hunter."

Thanks to White’s near-perfect night from the floor, the Trojans finished 25 of 48 as a team (52 percent). Republic County was 17 of 41 (41.5 percent)

White was the only Trojan to crack double figures but eight more players scored at least two points for SES with Bryant Banks and Huffaker each scoring eight. McKenzie Cromwell led the Buffalos with 19 points. Ethan Nutsch added 12.

Next up for Southeast’s boys will be a first-round matchup Monday at 7:45 p.m. against Smoky Valley at the Sterling Tournament.

 

Republic County girls 55,

SE Saline 43

Southeast of Saline put the Republic County girls on the foul line 37 times and the Buffaloes connected 27 times to win their second game of the year.

The Buffs, 2-8 overall, improved to 2-4 in league play. SES dropped to 2-6 and 1-4.

The biggest problem for the Trojans was putting Alexis Wheeler on the line most of the time.

Wheeler, a 5-foot-6 sophomore, hit 17 of 20 free throws, including 12 consecutive over the first three quarters. She finished with 23 points.

Using the foul line, Republic County turned a 15-14 lead into a 29-14 margin at the break in the final 3:16 of the half.

“Most of the fouls were ticky-tack,” Southeast coach Shauna Smith said. "We just didn’t move our feet. The game was called extremely tight tonight.”

Southeast did get to the line 19 times, but hit only seven.

Still, the Trojans made a big push in the final quarter and trimmed an 11-point deficit to four, 43-39, with four minutes left. But fouls finally caught up with Southeast as Molly Chitty and Keely Orr both exited with their fifth fouls.

“We had a lot of girls score for us, but we just couldn’t get over the hump,” Smith said. "(Republic County) played hard and turned our turnovers into points.”