Irish Lose to Southeast Saline
By Chance Liebau
The Irish’s five-game win streak came to an end on February 2 with a 56-50 loss at Southeast of Saline. The Irish kept the game close, despite being without injured players Monroe Morgan and Lozano Lovett.
The Irish and Trojans went back and forth, trading baskets in the first quarter and the Irish carried an 11-10 lead into the second quarter. The Irish then hit a cold stretch from the three point line in the second quarter; they shot 3/15 (20%) from the three-point line in the first half. The Irish trailed at halftime 25-19 after the Trojans hit two three-pointers to end the half and take the lead into halftime.
The Trojans got out to a hot start in the second half, ripping off a 17-6 run and jumping out to a 42-25 lead on the Irish. SE Saline beat the Irish in transition, especially in the third quarter during their big run. The Irish were also out-rebounded 34-24 by the Trojans; the lack of a big man off the bench hurt the Irish in this game. Chapman did their best to come back from a 17-point deficit and cut the lead down to five, 47-42, but SE Saline pulled away late and won 56-50 after Zack Loy’s last-second putback layup.
The Irish were led offensively by senior Zack Loy who had 20 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Izek Jackson was the only other Irish player in double-figures with ten points. Brandon Colston and Anthony Wasylk both struggled from the field, shooting 5/21 and 3/14 for threes combined. The Irish struggled altogether from three-point range, shooting 7/29 (24.1%). Positives for the Irish was that they took four charges in the game and shot 70% from the free throw line. Hunter White led the charge for SE Saline with 20 points, but fouled out in the fourth quarter and had three charges.
The Irish drop to 9-6 (3-3 NCKL) and will face Wamego (12-4, 3-1 NCKL) on Tuesday. The Red Raiders defeated the Irish 45-37 earlier in the season, but the Raiders are on a two game losing skid. SE Saline moves to 7-7 on the season and faces Beloit (9-6) on Tuesday.
In substate news, Smoky Valley dropped their matchup with Hesston 72-70, so the Irish still hold a 0.5 game lead over the Vikings in substate. Concordia dropped to 6-10 with a 66-32 loss against undefeated Central Plains and Nickerson dropped their matchup with Hoisington and dropped to 3-12.