By Staff

            STERLING – In their Class 2A sub-state championship game on Saturday, the Moundridge boys not only defeated Sterling 60-45 and punching their ticket to next week’s state tournament in Manhattan, they also gave retiring coach Vance Unrau one more shot at a state championship.

            Finishing up his 36th season as head coach of the Wildcats, Vance Unrau will be making his 10th trip to the state tournament with hopes to add state title number six to his final hurrah!

(L-to R: Assistant Coach Mychael Tripp, Head Coach Vance Unrau, Assistant Coach Courtney Moddelmog)

            For the season, the Wildcats now hold a record of 20-3 and will be the third seed beginning Wednesday when they play St. Marys (16-7) at 8:00 p.m. in Manhattan at Bramlage Coliseum. If they win Wednesday, they would then play Friday against the winner of second seed Hays- Thomas Mor Prep/Marian (21-2) and seventh seed Holton (15-8). Wichita Independent is the top seed at 21-2 and they open with eighth seed Pittsburgh St. Mary’s Colgan (11-8). The other two teams in the state tournament will be fourth seed Bennington (19-4) and fifth seed Medicine Lodge (17-6).

            In the game on Saturday, the Wildcats trailed early before going on a 14-0 run to take an early six-point, 18-12 lead at the end of the first quarter and added one to the advantage at 30-23 going into the halftime break. After pushing the lead out to nine, 41-32 at the end of the third quarter, Moundridge cruised in for the final 15 point victory.

            “I thought we played a little uptight against Inman in the semifinal game,” pointed out Wildcat head coach Vance Unrau. “We told the kids to ‘Be Us’ against Sterling as we prepare for moments like this. We got down early 12-4 and I decided to let the guys play through it. Henry (Hecox) hit a three-pointer to ignite a 14-0 run to end the first quarter. We never trailed again though Sterling did tie the game at 30 before we went on an 11-3 run to finish out the third quarter.”

(Landon Kaufman)

            Landon Kaufman led the Wildcats offense with 20 points while Hecox used three-pointers to score 12 and Logan Churchill reached double digits as well with 10. Alec Huddle just missed double figures with nine.

            The Wildcats dished out 18 assists on 21 made shots from the field led by Hecox with 8 assists and Kaufman with five. Barrett Moddelmog topped the team in rebounds with six, Hecox had five of the team’s seven steals while Churchill recorded four blocked shots.

            Coach Unrau concluded his post-game, post-substate reflections by adding, “Four of the top-10 ranked teams in Class 2A were at our sub-state in Sterling so I am proud of these guys for preserving through it. We played solid defense allowing their ‘bigs’ a combined nine points for the game. Great interior defense by our guys tonight. Sterling is so physical that if you allow the ball in the pain or on the block, they are going to score. We gave up a few too many offensive rebounds but it wasn’t because we didn’t battle for them. We also gave up more three-pointers than I would like, but in the end – we dictated the tempo and executed effectively at both ends of the floor. Now more work to be done.”

MOUNDRIDGE WILDCATS vs. Sterling at Sub-State Finals

SCORING: WILDCATS > 18-12-11-19 = 60;  Sterling > 12-11-9-13 = 45.

TEAM STATS: WILDCATS > FGs – 21/40; 3-PTs – 7/18; FTs – 11/16; AST – 18; REBs – 19; TO – 5; STLs – 7; BLKs – 4; FLs – 10.  Sterling > FGs – 16/43; 3-PTs – 8/21; FTs – 5/9; AST – 10; REBs – 23; TO – 9; STLs – 1; BLKs – 1; FLs – 15.

MOUNDRIDGE WILDCATS INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS: Scoring > Landon Kaufman – 20; Henry Hecox – 12; Logan Churchill – 10; Alex Huddle – 9; Barrett Moddelmog – 7; Layton Schmidt – 2.  3-Pointers Made > Hecox – 4; Kaufman – 2; Moddelmog – 1.  Assists > Hecox – 8; Kaufman – 5; Churchill, Moddelmog – 2; Huddle – 1.  Rebounds > Moddelmog – 6; Churchill – 5; Hecox – 4; Kaufman – 2; Huddle – 1.  Steals > Hecox – 5; Kaufman, Churchill – 1.  Blocked Shots > Churchill – 4.

(The Staff covering events for the MAC AREA SPORTS NEW can be reached by email at