Kansas Wesleyan basketball teams part ways with Sterling

STERLING — Everyone who got playing time for the Kansas Wesleyan men’s basketball team against Sterling did very well, according to coach Anthony Monson.

The Coyotes had 17 players in the game in a lopsided 99-65 win over the Warriors Thursday night at Gleason Center.

Wesleyan won his second straight to improve to 16-7 overall and 12-7 in the Kansas Conference.

“I think we made a good effort tonight,” Monson said. “(We) had a few possessions where we were just too anxious. Sometimes you have to turn down that good shot for a good shot. I couldn’t be happier with the guys right now.

“They play good basketball and now we have to keep going.”

Wesleyan shot 54.4% from the field and had 16 different players score in the victory. Tyus Jeffries led the way with 16 points.

“We play really well as a team,” said Wesleyan rookie Alex LittleJohn, who had 13 points off the bench. “Anything I can do to help the team win, I’m all for it.”

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With the game well in hand, Monson went to his bench often and the Coyotes’ depth showed.

Micah Lovett, Jackson Maupin and Ethan Speer, who saw playing time last season, took over in the final eight minutes of the game.

Lovett, Maupin, Jake Potthoff, Gabe Phillips, Noah Eichelberger and Aaron King all took advantage of their opportunities.

“When we play there, they’re on the bench as happy for us as if they were playing,” LittleJohn said. “We are a team. We win games together, we lose games together.”

Sterling was led by 15 points from Derrian Reed.

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The Coyotes will look to make it three in a row with Tabor coming to Mabee Arena for a championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Bluejays have also won back-to-back games after beating Saint Mary on Thursday night, 80-77.

Monson said the Coyotes need to keep their momentum going. They are currently tied for fifth in the league standings, one game off fourth place.

“We have to find a way to put some footage together,” Monson said. “We had a couple of six-game winning streaks earlier in the year. Then we got through that four-game losing streak and we got out of it.

“Now he’s trying to get back to the basketball we were playing at the start of the year.”

Early reversals haunt Wesleyan women in Kansas

Nine first-quarter turnovers proved costly for the Kansas Wesleyan women, who dug a hole early and couldn’t come out in a 74-58 loss to Sterling.

The loss ended the Coyotes’ five-game winning streak as they fell to 16-7 overall and 12-6 in the league. Sterling, who improved to 22-1, has now won 14 straight since suffering his only loss to Wesleyan on Dec. 2 in Salina.

Sterling shot 45.1% from the field, scored 30 points on Coyote’s turnovers and 46 points in the paint.

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Still, KWU coach Ryan Showman saw some positives as the Coyotes beat Sterling in the second half, 35-33, and won the rebound battle, 39-33. Wesleyan’s defense held the Warriors 1-of-14 from 3-point range.

The Warriors shot 52.6 percent without making 3 points in the first half.

“I just thought we made too many mistakes against a really good team that were preventing us from winning,” Showman said. “We outshot them in shooting from the line. There were a lot of good things to come out of it.”

Hinz

Kelcey Hinz had a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Coyotes, while LaMyah Ricks added 13 points.

Sterling was led by Taya Wilson’s double-double of 19 points and 15 rebounds.

Now the Coyotes will turn their attention to a Saturday 5 p.m. home game against Tabor at Mabee Arena. The Bluejays won Game 1 on December 4, 58-48.

“It’s a short timeline, which could be a good thing,” Showman said. “The worst thing we can do is sit down and think about this one. We’ll take what we can and put together a game plan.

“I have a group that won’t give up. It’s a group of fighters. Everything will be fine.”

Dylan Sherwood has been a sportswriter for the Salina Journal since August 2019. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @DSherwoodSJ