by Brian Turrel
The Harmon Hawks boys basketball team is headed back to the state tournament after knocking off the Blue Valley Tigers 59-48 in Saturday’s sub-state final.
The Tigers’ hot three-point shooting burned the Hawks in the first quarter. Blue Valley hit 4 threes, including 3 by 6-foot-7 sophomore Aidan Shaw, who seemed unstoppable. The Hawks had trouble solving the Blue Valley zone, but Mike Carson earned four baskets working the paint for the Hawks, keeping the game close.
In the second quarter, the Hawks found some outside offense of their own, getting three-pointers from Walzel Evans and Jason Rodriguez. Shaw was held scoreless, and Harmon took a 25-24 lead to the break.
In the third quarter, Evans found some room to drive to the rim and picked up four baskets and a free throw conversion. Blue Valley couldn’t answer the early second-half surge, and Harmon started to get some separation for the first time, pulling out to a 41-32 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Blue Valley closed to within four with a run early in the fourth quarter, but Carson continued to work hard on the offensive glass for rebounds and putbacks that kept the Tigers at bay. Carson finished the game with 18 points to lead the Hawks in scoring.
The Hawks’ poor fourth-quarter shooting at the free throw line (6-of-15) kept the Tigers hoping for a turnaround, but Harmon burned time with each possession, and didn’t allow the comeback to happen.
Harmon will head to the 6A state finals, where they will face off against Olathe South on Thursday at 3 p.m.
In other playoff action, the Piper boys and girls are both headed back to the 4A state tournament in Salina.
On Friday, the Lady Pirates defeated Girard 72-27 to win the sub-state championship. They’ll kick off the state tournament on Wednesday at 4:45 p.m. against Frontier League rival Baldwin.
The boys beat Iola 68-30 on Saturday. Their state quarter-final match-up is against Buhler on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
The Schlagle Lady Stallions ended their season with a sub-state final loss to Basehor-Linwood 67-55.
The Bishop Ward Lady Cyclones lost to Sabetha 63-29 in the sub-state semi-finals.