COACH UNRAU GOES OUT WITH TITLE #6
MANHATTAN – The Moundridge boys seemed to be a team on a mission Saturday as they overwhelmed Wichita Independent in the second half to take a 20-point, 66-46 victory and bring home the 2023 Class 2A State Championship.
For the Wildcats they end the season 23-3 overall while head coach Vance Unrau closes out his illustrious 36-year coaching tenure with his sixth state title.
“We got our heads back to where we needed to be in the State Title Game after Friday’s “30-for-30 Instant Classic” was one of my big concerns going into the championship game,” noted Coach Unrau. “We could not get in any good rhythm in the first half and we give a lot of credit to Wichita Independent for that as they guarded hard.”
At the end of the first quarter, Layton Schmidt came off the bench and drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Wildcats an early two-point, 11-9 lead before the Panthers were able to double up Moundridge 14-7 in the second quarter and take their own five-point, 23-18 advantage into the halftime break.
After falling behind by as many as nine points, the Wildcats kept chipping away at the deficit throughout the third quarter, the Wildcats scored the final eight points to take a slim four-point, 44-40 lead into the final quarter of play where they outscored the Panthers 22-6 in gaining the final 20-point championship victory.
At one point when they were down 40-36 in the third quarter, Moundridge clicked into full throttle on offense and outscored Wichita Independent 30-6 the rest of the game including 16 of the final 18 points scored in the game and outscoring the Panthers 48-26 in the second half.
“Independent dictated the tempo and controlled the entire first half at both ends of the floor,” added coach Unrau. “We were down five at halftime but honestly it felt more like 15. I told the boys at halftime, ‘are we just going to let them take it from us??? Let’s BE US!!’. We then hung coming out after half but could not close the gap, falling down by as many as nine until it turned in our favor around the 3:30 mark in the third. From then on it was ALL Moundridge. Some big three-pointers by Landon (Kaufman) seemed to jumpstart the rally and everyone joined the scoring party.”
The Wildcats were led by senior Landon Kaufman as he scored a game high 23 points thanks to three three-pointers while dishing out a team high eight assists. After having a rough semi-final game, Logan Churchill bounced back with 19 points in the title game with the help of three three-pointers of his own. Henry Hecox led the Moundridge in the paint by grabbing six rebounds with Barrett Moddelmog and Alec Huddle each pulling down four each.
Coach Unrau had praise for his guys as he continued his reflections on the title game by saying, “So proud of the grit, resiliency, and perseverance of these guys when the chips were down. Wichita Independent through relentless pressure at Landon (Kaufman) by numerous fresh defenders hoping to wear him down, when that did not happen, I think it took its toll mentally and physically on the Panthers. Such a testament to the mental toughness of these guys through adversity. I think I am still trying to wrap my head around it all.”
As previously stated, Coach Unrau closes out an illustrious 36-year coaching career at Moundridge with the 2023 Class 2A state title, his sixth in ten attempts, including the big four-year run in the early 1990’s that included family members of several current Wildcats. With the 23-3 record in 2022-23, Unrau closed out his Moundridge career with 566 wins against just 261 losses.
As the 2023 season and title game brought the curtain down on his coaching career, Coach Unrau concluded his days reflections by pointing out, “It seems like a ‘Hallmark Movie Like’ finish not only to the Championship game, but for the season and my entire coaching career for that matter! So blessed beyond measure with a heart overflowing with gratitude. Thankful for all those who have been there for me over the years. Family, friends, coaching peers, administrators, fellow teachers, as well as school secretaries and maintenance workers. So happy for our school and community. Our cheerleaders say it the best > ‘We ARE MOUNDRIDGE!! GO BIG RED!”
With the that the world of Wildcat basketball will change as seniors Landon Kaufman, Logan Churchill, and Alec Huddle will graduate but sophomores Henry Hecox and Barrett ‘Bear’ Moddelmog will return to build the next Wildcat boys basketball program.
(Barrett “Bear” Moddelmog)
MOUNDRIDGE WILDCATS vs. Wichita Independent at Class 2A State Tournament – Finals
SCORING: WILDCATS > 11-7-26-22 = 66; Wichita Independent > 9-14-17-6 = 46.
TEAM STATS: MOUNDRIDGE WILDCATS > FGs – 21/37; 3-PTs – 8/13; FTs – 16/18; AST – 14; REBs – 21; TO – 8; STLs – 5; BLKs – 2; FLs – 13. Wichita Independent > FGs – 15/37; 3-PTs – 6/16; FTs – 10/18; AST – 10; REBs – 18; TO – 6; STLs – 6; BLKs – 2; FLs – 19.
MOUNDRIDGE WILDCATS INDIVIDUAL STATS: Scoring > Landon Kaufman – 23; Logan Churchill – 19; Alec Huddle – 8; Henry Hecox – 7; Barrett Moddelmog – 5; Layton Schmidt – 4. 3-Pointers Made > Kaufman, Churchill- 3; Moddelmog, Schmidt – 1. Assists > Kaufman – 8; Churchill, Moddelmog – 2; Huddle, Hecox – 1. Rebounds > Hecox – 6; Huddle, Moddelmog – 4; Churchill – 3; Kaufman – 2; Schmidt, Zach Dixon – 1. Steals > Moddelmog – 2; Kaufman, Churchill, Hecox – 1. Blocked Shots > Churchill, Hecox – 1.
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