By Michael Buhler
The Conway Springs Cardinals boys basketball team shook off any rust from a nearly two-week long layoff off without any problem, downing Wichita Trinity 41-39 last Tuesday and Kingman 46-34 last Friday. Both contests were against Central Plains League foes.
With the score tied at 39 in the game’s final moments, Derrick Smith hit a jumper with one second left to give the Cardinals the lead – and ultimately the win.
“We hadn’t played for almost two weeks coming into the Trinity game,” Conway Springs coach Paul Lange said. “I wasn’t totally sure how we’d do with that much time. As it turned out, we started the game fairly well, but had some lapses in assignments headed into the half, which made the game closer than it needed to be.
“Some of those lapses continued through the third quarter and we were down by three headed into the fourth. One sign of having a team that has been through some things like that before is I felt as if we were confident that we’d find a way and we did.”
After leading 10-5 at the end of the opening period and 18-16 at the intermission, Trinity outscored Conway Springs 15-10 in the third period to lead 31-28 by the start of the fourth quarter, setting up the exciting finish.
Izic Billups led the Cardinals with 15 points.
“Nash Johnsen was getting a ton of attention all night from Trinity,” Lange said. “That had the effect of freeing up Izic Billups to get some looks he hasn’t had in a few games. Thankfully, he was able to convert several of those looks.”
The Cardinals took on Wichita Independent earlier this week and host Belle Plaine Friday.
Conway Springs: Izic Billups 15, Nash Johnsen 8, Derrick Smith 7, Taylor Wykes 6, Lance Pauly 3, Patrick Friess 2.
Against Kingman, the Cardinals used a fast start to secure the CPL win.
“The ball was moving and shots were falling for us,” Lange said. “We came out after half and weren’t doing a lot of the things that got us the halftime cushion. The ball was sticky and our movement wasn’t good, either. I don’t want to say we had a let-up with our lead, but it was more of a situation where we reverted to some bad habits we’re trying to break. Thankfully, the game wasn’t really ever in doubt and we were able to get back on track.”