Chiefs hold off Orrick in opener
ALMA -- The Santa Fe boys' basketball team led throughout its season debut, but couldn't shake scrappy Orrick during a 72-65 victory Monday in the first round of the I-70 Conference Tournament at Alma.
Seniors Austin Rolf and Josh Buford combined for 22 points as the Chiefs opened up a 40-31 halftime lead. The Bearcats chipped into it with a 15-10 third quarter, senior Josh Jones making three buckets.
Although Santa Fe twice held 10-point cushions, eight points down the stretch by senior Bryan Vaughn narrowed the margin to two with 55 seconds remaining.
The Chiefs converted from the free-throw line, though. Seniors Joe Michael and Daniel Boland, Rolf and junior Brad McCleary combined to hit seven of 10 charity attempts in the crunch.
Jones finished with 27 points and Vaughn had 15, but the Bearcats (1-1) got little production elsewhere. Rolf had eight steals to go along with 18 points and McCleary blanked freshman Austin Jones -- Orrick's leading scorer during last week's victory over Hardin-Central.
Michael topped the Chiefs with 22 points and Buford had 17, each collecting six rebounds. Santa Fe (1-0) faces host Wellington-Napoleon -- an easy 72-17 winner over Crest Ridge -- during Thursday's semifinal round.
Sweet Springs 73, Windsor 71
SWEET SPRINGS -- Somebody forgot to tell the Windsor boys that they were supposed to be fodder for top-seeded Sweet Springs during the I-70 Conference Tournament.
The host Greyhounds let an 18-point second-half lead dwindle as Windsor mounted a furious fourth-quarter charge -- led by sophomore Mike Dillon. The transfer from Crest Ridge scored 19 of his team's 38 points during the period, twice tying the contest during the final 1:15 on a three-pointer and baseline fadeaway jumper.
Sweet Springs, with just two of last year's starters on the floor after senior Paul Winfrey and junior Caleb Dohrman fouled out with over seven minutes to go, couldn't put the game on ice from the free-throw line -- making 13 of 23 down the stretch.
However, the 'Hounds got big buckets from senior Brad Wilson. Two freebies with 25 seconds left put Sweet Springs ahead, but Dillon evened things up with :09 to go. Wilson got the ball off a screen near the top of the key and buried an 18-footer as the horn sounded for the win.
Dillon finished with 27 points and senior Matt Wilson came up with 15 points and eight rebounds for Windsor (1-1). Wilson's 20 points and 13 boards led the 'Hounds, with Dohrman and senior Jeff Sims scoring 19 each. Sweet Springs (1-1) will play Concordia -- which got by St. Paul, 55-47 -- Thursday at Wellington.
Northwestern 50, Malta Bend 31
MENDON -- Host Northeastern turned a close game into a runaway with a 26-12 second-half surge to beat Malta Bend, 50-31, in first-round action Monday at the Northwestern Tournament in Mendon.
Junior Jared Fletcher and senior Nick Laws combined for 30 points for the Eagles (2-0), who forced 21 turnovers. Senior Travis Haynie had 15 points and nine rebounds and junior Matt Schull notched 12 points for the Tigers -- who got just four points from the rest of the team. Malta Bend (0-2) will play Linn County during Wednesday's consolation semifinal.