WAMEGO — Despite getting off to a hot start, the Valley Heights boys weren’t able to hold off Wamego on Friday night.
The Red Raiders trailed by seven early after making just three shots in the opening period, but rallied back to win convincingly, 55-40.
Valley Heights (11-4, 7-0) was never able to find its first-quarter groove again. The Red Raiders outscored the Mustangs 17-9 in the second quarter — including an 8-2 run in the final minutes of the first half — to take a 23-22 halftime lead.
“The first part of the game, I really didn’t care for our effort at all,” Wamego head coach Troy Hemphill said. “Getting behind, we figured out we had to start playing or we’d be in trouble, and the guys finally stepped up and made some shots.”
The third period started in the same fashion the second period ended. Wamego (11-4, 4-1 NCKL) opened the second half with another 8-2 surge to begin to pull away.
Brady Hemphill and Isaac Poe led the Red Raiders’ balanced scoring attack with 10 points apiece. Matt Webb added eight points and Dakota Turner scored six. Marshall Wethington and Kyler Alderson scored five apiece.
“We have eight, nine and 10 guys who can score, and we play 10, 11, 12 kids,” Hemphill said. “That’s just the way our team is structured. I think our leading scorer’s averaging about 10 (points), but we’ve got eight other guys that average between five and 10. That’s just how we do it.”
The Red Raiders’ defense shut down Valley Heights in the final eight minutes. A layup from Mustangs junior Derek Trimble in the opening minute of the fourth quarter would be the Valley Heights’ only field goal until the final 30 seconds of the game.
The feisty Mustangs were led by Charles Musil’s 10 points. Trimble added eight points and Elijah Smith scored seven. Bennett Bargdill scored six points a pair of 3-pointers.
“We didn’t want to get behind,” Hemphill said. “But I thought Valley Heights played very well and it was fun to watch our kids fight back.
“I thought they kept their composure, just kept playing and things turned our way and we were able to win a game.”
The Red Raiders host Chapman on Tuesday at 7 p.m., while the Mustangs travel to Frankfort to face the Wildcats.