Salina Central girls basketball cruises in 67-34 victory over Abilene

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Salina Central’s Aubrie Kierscht (35) throws up a shot over Abilene’s Joy Clemence (45) in Thursday's game at Central gym.
Salina Central’s Aubrie Kierscht (35) throws up a shot over Abilene’s Joy Clemence (45) in Thursday's game at Central gym.

No matter who the opponent is or what their record is, Salina Central's girls want to play their game.

Even in a 67-34 opening-round victory over Abilene in the Salina Invitational Tournament, there were still things Central coach Chris Fear said the Mustangs could do better.

Central improved to 9-0 and advances to face Concordia at 6 p.m. Friday at Mabee Arena.

"I thought we played OK," said Fear, whose Mustangs improved to 9-0. " We did cause a lot of turnovers, which was good, and we got out in transition," Fear said. "We were active and I thought we played hard and got after it. It was a good start to the tournament."

Aubrie Kierscht led Central with 23 points. while Chalisicia Samilton added 10.

More: Sid Duplessis' late free throws lift Salina Central boys basketball over Abilene, 55-53

The Mustangs also got plenty of help from their reserves, led by sophomore Callan Hall with seven points in 12 minutes.

Hall said the relationships she has built off the court with her teammates have helped her when she's with them on the court.

Salina Central’s Mykayla Cunningham (24) goes for the layup guarded by Abilene’s Jenna Hayes (4) in Thursday’s game at Central gym.
Salina Central’s Mykayla Cunningham (24) goes for the layup guarded by Abilene’s Jenna Hayes (4) in Thursday’s game at Central gym.

"I've gotten closer to each and every one of my teammates," Hall said. "I think that helps us on the court, as well as stay connected."

Central led from start to finish with opening a 21-8 advantage in the first quarter and stretching it to a 45-18 lead at halftime. The Mustangs led by as many as 31 in the fourth quarter.

Abilene, which fell to 1-9, was led by Jenna Hayes' eight points. The Cowgirls face Wichita West at 3 p.m. Friday in the consolation bracket at Salina South.

Concordia edged Wichita West, 41-39, in the early first-round game at Central. Taylor McDaniel led the Panthers with 15 points.

More: 'It was going to take all of us tonight': 10th-ranked Southeast of Saline girls upset No. 1 Hugoton to advance to tournament final

"They want to go inside," Fear said of Concordia. "They made a couple of runs and came back and battled hard. We need to be ready to play.

"We want to be consistent and play hard."

More: PHOTO GALLERY: Southeast of Saline girls upset Hugoton in Sterling tournament semifinals

Dylan Sherwood has been a sports reporter for the Salina Journal since August 2019. He can be reached at dsherwood@salina.com or on Twitter @DSherwoodSJ

This article originally appeared on Salina Journal: Salina Central girls cruises in opening round of Salina Invitational Tournament

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