Six takeaways from Kansas Wesleyan basketball's sweep over Ottawa

·7 min read
Kansas Wesleyan's Kelcey Hinz (1) drives to the basket while being defended by Ottawa's Kanecia Payne (45) during Saturday's game at Mabee Arena.
Kansas Wesleyan's Kelcey Hinz (1) drives to the basket while being defended by Ottawa's Kanecia Payne (45) during Saturday's game at Mabee Arena.

Both the Kansas Wesleyan women's and men's basketball teams were coming off their first Kansas Conference losses on Tuesday night against Oklahoma Wesleyan.

The Coyotes returned home for two tough games against Ottawa Saturday night at Mabee Arena.

The Wesleyan women needed double overtime to defeat the Braves, 73-68, while the Wesleyan men needed to hold off a late charge by the Braves, 83-81.

The Coyote women improved to 7-2 overall and 3-1 in KCAC play, while Ottawa fell to 3-5, 1-3. The Coyote men improved to 7-1, 3-1, and handed the Braves their first loss, 7-1, 3-1.

Here are six takeaways, three from each game of Saturday's doubleheader.

More: Two takeaways from Kansas Wesleyan football's loss to Morningside in NAIA quarterfinals

Kansas Wesleyan's women find a way to win a tight-knit game

Despite a back-and-forth contest throughout and Kelcey Hinz fouling out with 36 seconds left in the first overtime period, the Coyotes stepped up in her absence.

"I thought Cat Bowman, Sydney Barrett were two that came in and played some nice minutes," KWU coach Ryan Showman said. "I thought Caila Hill filled in nicely in Kelcey's absence. It was just such a really great team win. Just to find a way, and that's what they did."

The Coyotes trailed by as many as four points early before taking a 13-12 advantage after the first quarter that turned into a 27-21 lead at halftime. Wesleyan led by as many as eight points in the third quarter before Ottawa managed to tie the game in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

KWU led by as many as four in the first overtime period before Hinz fouled out. Ottawa knotted the game at 64 on a pair of free throws by Kennedy Bankett.

After Ottawa's Haley Franklin gave the Braves a 66-64 lead early in the second overtime, Amanda and Caila Hill stepped up and combined for all nine points in the extra session.

Kelcey Hinz sets new league and school record in blocks

Hinz has been the KCAC Defensive Player of the Week on two different occasions this season.

And it looks like there could be a third honor coming this week for the Coyote senior post from Whitewater.

Along with her 20 points, she recorded a KCAC and Wesleyan school record with 11 blocks. Hinz surpassed her career-high of 10 blocks which she set on Nov. 5 against University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis.

"It's incredible," Showman said. "It just shows what kind of player that she is. She's definitely our anchor in the middle. I thought she defended really, really well tonight. It's just Kelcey."

More: Kansas Wesleyan's Stevie Williams has 42 receiving touchdowns in his career. He's not finished yet.

Hinz said with Ottawa being smaller height-wise, she was able to use her ability to block shots.

"I think just trying to take care of my body and knowing how my legs are," Hinz said. "Just trying to take care of my feet and making sure that when it comes game time, I'm prepared and ready to go."

Amanda and Caila Hill step up in overtime periods when Hinz fouled out

Amanda Hill scored seven of the nine points in the second overtime period. She gave the Coyotes a 70-68 advantage with 38 seconds to play and then assisted on the next basket on a pass to her sister Caila.

Amanda Hill then made 1 of 2 free throws with 2 seconds left to extend the lead to five.

"It's just a senior stepping up and making senior plays," Showman said. "I really like watching those girls play and sometimes I just kind of sit back and just watch it because I know it's not gonna last forever," Showman said. "They play really well together and they had a lot of really good plays in the overtime (periods)."

Amanda Hill scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Caila Hill had nine points and eight rebounds off the bench. Gabby Mureeba added 15 points.

"They're huge and it's great," Hinz said. "Knowing that we have such a diverse type of group like anyone can score from any level and that's pretty awesome."

Kansas Wesleyan's Tyus Jeffries (1) gets fouled by Ottawa's Tristen Hull (11) during Saturday's game at Mabee Arena.
Kansas Wesleyan's Tyus Jeffries (1) gets fouled by Ottawa's Tristen Hull (11) during Saturday's game at Mabee Arena.

Kansas Wesleyan's men hold off Ottawa despite having a 16-point lead

In previous years of Anthony Monson's coaching tenure at Kansas Wesleyan, the Coyotes have managed to have a lead slip away and their opponent took the lead late and won the game.

Not on Saturday night.

The Coyotes led 46-30 at halftime but did not let the Braves take the lead in the second half despite the game being tied at 81 with 9 seconds to play.

"It was a great effort," Monson said. "They're so talented. That's a championship team. They came in undefeated and we were lucky enough to come out with a win.

Tyus Jeffries huge off Kansas Wesleyan's bench

Tyus Jeffries has been waiting for his time to contribute.

Jeffries, who was a starter for the Coyotes during the 2020-21 season, has played limited minutes in the first eight games.

But when the Coyotes needed a spark off the bench, it was Jeffries. He scored a game-high 21 points, including making two free throws with four seconds left to give KWU the victory over Ottawa.

"I just trust that my hard work is going to take me wherever I need to be," Jeffries said. "I just had to be bought in for whatever they need me do, I'll do."

Monson said Jeffries was hungry for playing time.

"He was big tonight," Monson said. "He guarded Jaquan Daniels, one of the best players in the league. I can't say enough about the job he did there.

"When he starts guarding, all of a sudden his confidence becomes really high with his shot. He had some rhythm going, had some confidence and I think he was just excited to be back on the floor."

Kansas Wesleyan's men made 10 3-pointers, all came when it needed it

When a team makes 10 or more 3-pointers in a game, that team usually has a good chance of winning.

All 10 of the Coyotes' triples came when they needed it. The Coyotes made six of them in the first half and got four in the second half, all four coming from either Easton Hunter or Jeffries.

"I think not just mine, but everybody else's came at the right moment," Jeffries said. "There were times where (Ottawa) was in zone. We didn't really know what to do."

Monson said it was great to see some of Hunter's 3-pointers go into the basket.

"He's one of our main guys," Monson said. "He's just looked some guys in the eyes tonight and just threw it right down the pipe. He's just got to be more confident in himself."

Behind Jeffries' 21 points, AJ Range recorded a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds and Hunter added 12.

What's next for Kansas Wesleyan

The Coyotes will begin a 3-game KCAC week beginning with a road trip to Winfield to face Southwestern on Monday. The women's game is set for 6 p.m., with the men to follow at 8 p.m.

The Southwestern women fell to Saint Mary, 92-51, while the Southwestern men also fell to Spires, 90-84.

After the Southwestern doubleheader, the Coyotes return home to face Sterling on Thursday at Mabee Arena and close the week with a doubleheader at Tabor on Saturday.

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: Here are six takeaways from Kansas Wesleyan's sweep over Ottawa

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