By JEREMIAH WILSON
Leader & Times
The Hugoton Eagles trailed the Lakin Broncs by four at the half, but used an impressive third quarter run in which they outscored the Broncs 19-2 to carry the Eagles to the finals of the Blue and Red Classic in a 52-38 win.
Hugoton looked strong early, using a 6-1 run over the last 2:52 of the first quarter to grab a 14-8 lead after one.
Lakin still trailed at 16-11 in the the second before scoring the next six points to take a 17-16 lead. All six of those points came from the Broncs Robert Aparicio, who hit a pair of three pointers.
After Hugoton had tied the game at 17-17, Lakin outscored the Eagles 6-2 over the rest of the quarter to take a four point lead into halftime with the score of 23-19.
Once the third quarter began, the momentum swung in a huge way.
Hugoton’s Yates Sutton hit a three pointer just 14 seconds into the quarter, followed up by a three-point play by Jeison Rodriguez.
Just like that the Eagles had grabbed a 25-23 lead less than 40 seconds into the half.
The scoring for Hugoton did not stop there. After Lakin tied the game at 25-25, the Eagles scored the final 13 points of the quarter to take a 38-25 lead into the fourth.
Rodriguez scored seven of his team-high 13 points in the third quarter, and was a perfect 7-of-7 from the charity stripe on the night.
Rodriguez scored just five seconds into the fourth quarter to give Hugoton a 15-point lead, its biggest of the game.
With 6:01 remaining in the game, Lakin hit one of two free throws, to break a scoring drought of over seven minutes. The Eagles defense did not allow a Bronc field goal for over eight minutes.
Once Lakin did manage a field goal to get within 11 at 40-29, it looked as though they might make a comeback.
The Broncs scored the next five points to get within six with just under four minutes remaining.
Over the final three-plus minutes, Hugoton closed the game out with a 12-4 run to put Lakin away for good, and grab a trip to the finals.
In addition to Rodriguez’s 13, Kellen Watkins had nine points for the Eagles, and Parker Titus added seven. Reid Davis, Ross Davis and Alex Duarte all have five points a piece for Hugoton.
Hugoton played the Ulysses Tigers in the finals of the Blue and Red Classic at 8:15 p.m. Saturday in Hugoton. Check Monday’s edition of the Leader & Times for full results.