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Posted On: 01/18/18 7:19 PM
Five Takeaways: Buhler-Liberal
SALINA, Kan. — The third-seeded team in this year’s Salina Invitational Tournament, Buhler improved to 7-3 this season with a 48-37 win over Liberal in Thursday’s opening round of play.
With the win, Buhler will face either Salina Central or Concordia in the semifinals on Friday. The loss was the fourth straight for Liberal who falls to 3-7 on the season and will face the loser of Salina Central-Concordia in the consolation round.
Here, Prep Hoops takes a look at five things that stood out in the contest.
Owens a tough post presense
One of the state’s most overlooked big men, Buhler 2018 Grant Owens showed he can be a force in the paint on Thursday against Liberal in the opening round of the Salina Invitational Tournament. At 6’8, 250-pounds, Owens can be a match-up nightmare in the paint and around the basket for opponents. On Thursday, he worked hard to get position on the block against a smaller Redskin team and showed a soft touch around the basket as he scored several easy buckets in the lane.
Riley an elite shooter
A 6’0 2018 guard, Liberal’s Cameron Riley is among the state’s premier outside shooters, capable of pulling up from just steps inside the half court line. He has deep range, a quick trigger and is a competitor, able to put the ball on the floor a little and make plays. He entered Thursday’s game averaging nearly 12 points per game.
Vongsakda an elite athlete
Liberal 5’11 2018 point guard Kace Vongsakda doesn’t get a lot of hype and played last season at Wichita North, but showed on Thursday he is a player to watch for the remainder of this season. He is exceptionally difficult to stay in front of as Vongsakda has elite quickness and showed the ability to get to the basket on Thursday. He can also play above the rim, and was called for an offensive goaltending as he attempted to dunk in a missed shot. His play could be a big factor for the Redskins in the second half of the season.
Brown a bucket machine
Buhler 6’2 2018 guard Dylan Brown entered Thursday’s game averaging a team-high 13.4 points per game and showed he has the ability to get buckets in a variety of ways against Liberal, taking the ball to the basket, getting to the free throw line and knocking down open shots as he helped the Crusaders fend off a second half rally by Liberal.
Burlher features size, toughness
Don’t be surprised if Buhler makes a late season run this season. They have a one-point loss to Augusta and losses to Newton and McPherson this season, but have since won four straight. They have good size in Grant Owens (6’8), Dalton Smyres (6’5), Dylan Brown (6’2) and others, and are a strong, tough team that competes and doesn’t back down from a challenge.