Matteson back in form for Lady Larks
By BRETT MARSHALL
CIMARRON — Monty Marlin has been coaching basketball for nearly three decades and his resume includes a 1995 state championship with the Sublette boys.
Ever the consummate team-first coach, Marlin rarely has ever told his players to let one of his own take control of the game.
Until Tuesday, that is.
With his team trailing Wichita County at halftime, 27-19, he told his youthful squad to stay out of the way of his one veteran senior player — 5-5 guard Riley Matteson.
And to his satisfaction, that's exactly what his team did, as Matteson, fully recovered from an ACL tear in her right knee last basketball season, ripped through the Lady Indians for a game-high 32 points to lift the Larks to a 53-47 victory in the opening round of the Cimarron Bluejay Invitational on Tuesday afternoon.
"Tonight opened her eyes, opened our eyes," Marlin said of the explosive performance of Matteson, a second-team Telegram All-Area pick despite missing half the season. "There's still times you worry, but she looked pretty darned good tonight."
Sublette started off solidly, taking a 13-7 lead after one quarter only to watch Wichita County take control behind the nine points of Kaina Mancillas and six points of Tailar Bremer.
"I just told the other girls to give her a chance to win the game, and boy did she ever," Marlin said.
And Matteson did it without all the scoring, too. She weaved her way through defenders, finding open teammates for short and mid-range shots, as the rest of the Lady Larks chipped in with 21 points. eight of which came from freshman Brooke Briggs.
Matteson, who had 11 points at intermission, added another eight in the third as the Larks pulled to within four, 37-33, heading into the final eight minutes.
Sublette finally grabbed the lead for good at 46-45 with just under three minutes remaining and then it was Matteson's free throw shooting that iced this one away. She was a perfect 6-of-6 at the stripe down the stretch to help preserve the team's first win after suffering a loss to Kinsley in its season opener on Friday.
Over the final eight minutes, Matteson produced 13 points, dished off numerous assists, grabbed key rebounds and came up with a couple of loose ball steals. That contributed to the 20-10 run to finish out the game.
Matteson finished with 10 field goals, two of which came from 3-point range and was 10-of-12 free throw shooting. And Matteson was all smiles afterward.
"It feels great, it's fixed, stronger than ever," a happy Matteson said afterward. "The biggest thing has been going to my left and shooting layups going up off my right knee. But it feels really good. It's great to get back and play again."
Matteson said Marlin challenged her and the team at halftime to play tougher.
"He said it's all about guts, so I had to lead the team," Matteson said. "This is such a young team, and there are some frustrations, but they're a great group of girls and I'm having fun playing with them. They'll be amazing when they get more experience."
And despite her diminutive size, Matteson found herself getting several clutch rebounds in the closing quarter as well as finding open looks for her teammates.
The performance by Matteson revived a brief memory of another guard who had led Sublette in the mid 2000s to two state 2A championships and 52 straight wins. Yep, that Shalee Lehning.
"Now, Riley's not Shalee, but her performance tonight was not far off what we used to see," Marlin said. "She did just about everything you'd want a team leader to do. She played with heart, played with guts. And it was fun to watch."
For Wichita County, the disappointing loss came despite a balanced scoring attack in which Mancillas finished with 12, Bremer with 10 while Nicole Huber and Katie Bailey chipped in with nine and eight points, respectively.
"We did some good things early with our defense, but then seemed to relax once we got that 10-point lead," Lady Indians coach Mark Fairchild said. "We're still learning a lot of new things, and as long as they play hard, keep getting better, I'm not disappointed. We had good effort. We just didn't execute things the way we need to. We'll look at a box-and-1 on Riley the next time. We hadn't practiced it before today, and I didn't want to use it in a game situation when we hadn't seen it."
Up next for Sublette will be a Friday semifinal test with top-seeded Cimarron at 6:15 p.m. Wichita County drops into the consolation bracket and will face Deerfield at 6:15 p.m. in the CHS Old Gym.
In the nightcap girls game, it was Bucklin's Lady Red Aces holding off Satanta, 44-41, to advance to Friday's semifinal against Meade at 3 p.m.
The Red Aces were up 10-7 after one quarter but trailed 24-18 after the Lady Indians had a hot second-quarter with 17 points. Bucklin came out strong in the third quarter, taking advantage of a cold-shooting period by Satanta, owning a 12-2 advantage in that span. That gave Bucklin a 30-26 edge headed to the fourth quarter.
The Red Aces built their lead to no more than five points and did just enough to stave off a late rally by the Lady Indians.
Morgan Hood paced Bucklin with 19 points while Kacey Smith had 11 to lead Satanta.
Notes: In the stands for the Satanta-Bucklin girls game was former Lady Indians' standout Kelsey Blair, a member of the 2011 Telegram All-Area team. Her younger sister, Kristy, is a senior at Satanta.
Just two games into the 2012-13 season, the Satanta Indians equaled their win output of a year ago.
And the victory, a 42-37 triumph over Wichita County, came in the opening round of the Bluejay Invitational on Tuesday.
In the battle of the Indians, Satanta led from the outset, taking an early 11-4 lead after one quarter and then extending it to 23-15 by the intermission.
Neither team found much success on the offensive end in the third quarter as a total of 11 points was scored by both teams, Satanta ahead by a 6-5 count. That left the Green and White Indians up by nine, 29-20, as the fourth quarter started.
"We did what we worked on in practice and I thought the kids competed hard," said first-year coach Tim Dusin of Satanta's triumph. "We want them to compete and we want to develop that attitude of know what it takes to win."
Dusin got strong efforts from his group of seniors, as well as his underclassmen who came off the bench.
"The seniors played well and the young ones who came off the bench contributed," Dusin said.
Satanta didn't help itself in the fourth quarter at the free throw line.
Until Matthew Leggett made the second of two charities with 27 seconds left for what would prove to be the final points, the winning Indians had missed all eight of its free throw attempts and the front end of three bonus situations.
"We'll be working on that a little bit more," Dusin said with a smile. "We have a lot of correctable mistakes to work on, but we really want these kids to learn how to win."
Senior Zach Freeman was the only double-figure scorer for both teams, finishing with 10 points, six of those coming in the crucial fourth. Abraham Miramontes added 7 while James Turpin, Garrett Miller and Colantonio contributed 6 each. For Wichita County, Jantz Budde was high with 8 points while Alberto Gallegos, Neil Fletcher and Casey Day chipped in with 6 apiece.
The win puts Satanta into Friday's 4:45 p.m. semifinal against Meade, while Wichita County takes on Deerfield at the same time Friday in the CHS Old Gym.
In Tuesday's final boys' quarterfinal matchup, it was no contest after the first quarter as the host Cimarron Bluejays ran their early season record to 2-0 with a resounding 80-28 victory over the outmanned Bucklin Red Aces.
Despite struggling in the opening quarter with close-range shots, layups included, the Bluejays jumped out to a 13-4 advantage after eight minutes of play. Four different players contributed to the scoring with Caleb Fischer getting five of them.
The second quarter erased any doubt as to the outcome. The 'Jays unleashed a 12-2 run at the start and it only got worse from that point for the Aces. An 11-0 run made it 36-8 and by intermission it was 38-12.
Cimarron coach Dave Losey substituted liberally throughout the second half, and after three quarters the margin was 66-20.
"I didn't like the fact we missed so many easy baskets at the start," Losey said of the many errant attempts. "We did a good job of attacking and I thought we were doing a good job defensively of getting turnovers."
Losey said at times his team, which eventually finished with 13 different players getting into the scoring column, is too unselfish.
"We were much better in the second half making the baskets we were missing early," Losey said. "We're where we want to be. We'll have a tough matchup with South Gray. Coach (Mark) Applegate always puts a good team on the floor."
Of the 13 Bluejays who scored, only Stewart Fairbank with 13 (three 3-pointers) and Christian Fischer with 10 managed to reach double figures.
"That's awesome to get that many kids scoring," Losey said when informed of the number to record a point. "We can get into our bench and still be productive, that's good."
By virtue of the win, the Bluejays advance to the semifinals on Friday with an 8 p.m. matchup with South Gray. Bucklin drops into the 8 p.m. consolation game at the CHS Old Gym.