Night ride to Norton

I didn’t make it to Norton until after 11. Everything in town was closed except the Love’s convenience store on US 36, and there was a long line as I peered in from my car. I’m back in the same room at the Sleep Inn I stayed at last month, which is a good thing.

Smith Center won both basketball games at Oakley last night. The Lady Red struggled at the beginning, but had little trouble in putting away the Lady Plainsmen, 41-10.

Oakley has had some outstanding girls basketball teams through the years, highlighted by winning the Class 2A state championship in 2007, but the Plainsmen were not only hit hard by graduation, they lost their longtime coach Randall Rath, who became the football coach at Cimarron. Randall’s daughter, Marlee, was a three-year starter at Oakley and has transitioned into the lineup at Cimarron, which is coached by a friend of mine, David Ediger.

The boys game was wacky.

There were 20 fouls called in the first quarter. In the second half, both teams had trouble scoring, but with less than five seconds left, Smith Center’s Jesse Stapel rebounded a missed shot by Mason Buckmaster and nailed a 12-foot jumper in the lane to tie the score at 43-43 and send the game into overtime.

Gavin Overmiller gave the Redmen the lead a little more than one minute into the four-minute overtime with a 3-pointer, but he later fouled out and was called for a technical foul because tugged at his uniform, which in the eyes of the officials, constituted misconduct. Oakley’s Keenan Smith hit both free throws for the technical, and later in the period, a putback by Mason Scheetz tied the game at 47-47.

Buckmaster hit one of two at the line with less than 30 seconds left, and as it turned out, that would be it for scoring. Smith Center held to win 48-47.

Exciting game, but it didn’t help me with my 80-mile venture northeast. The good news was I saw only one small animal dart across the road south of Reford. I had never been on Kansas Highway 383 between US 83 and its junction with US 36 just west of Norton, so that was an experience. Especially at night.

The Jake Durham wrestling tournament gets underway at 9:30. It really isn’t ah hard tournament for me, since the only school I really have to worry about covering is Smith Center. However, I know so many people in Norton that I like to come and say hello to those I know. Of course, now that I’ve been to Los Canteros, I have to go back.

Okay, that’s it for now. Be back later today.

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on January 10, 2015, in KSHSAA, Norton HS, Smith Center HS and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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