YATES CENTER — Yates Center High’s boys wrapped up their regular season with a win Friday.
But the way they played down the stretch — visiting Neodesha High whittled a 20-point lead down to five as the Wildcats struggled — left Yates Center head coach Jason Weilert breathing a sigh of relief.
“I’m glad there wasn’t any more time in the game,” Weilert said following Yates Center’s 46-41 win over the Bluestreaks.
The Wildcats raced to a 15-4, largely because they were taking care of the ball, Weilert said.
“We did a good job of taking care of the ball through the first half,” Weilert said.
Turnovers and struggles at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter prevented Yates Center from getting comfortable down the stretch.
Neodesha, trailing 23-8 at the break, outscored Yates Center 12-9 in the third quarter before erupting for 21 points in the final eight minutes.
The Wildcats hit just enough free throws in the fourth quarter — 8 of 18 — to prevent disaster.
Dylan Sicka and Dalton Smith each scored 13 points to pace Yates Center, followed by Donald Bennett with 11.
Forrest Huckabey led Neodesha with 13.
Neodesha won the junior varsity contest 35-18. Sam Aguirre scored eight to pace the Wildcat JV.
Yates Center (10-10) gets a first-round bye to start the Class 1A Regional playoffs next week.
Neodesha (4-4-12-21—41) (FG/3pt): Lopez 1-2-1-4, Huckabey 1/3-2-4-13, Pratter 2-0-0-4, Hawkins 0/1-0-4-3, Schurle 3-0-2-6, Knickerbocker 3-3-4-9, Coots 1-0-1-2, Johnson 0-0-3-0. TOTALS: 11/4-7-24-41.
Yates Center (15-8-9-14—46) (FG/3pt): George 0-0-4-0, Sicka 3/1-4-3-13, Bennett 4-3-0-11, Morrison 0/1-2-3-5, Knoblock 0-0-1-0, Stockebrand 2-0-1-4, Smith 4/1-2-5-13. TOTALS: 13/3-11-17-46.
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