BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — Memories from more than three decades of roaming the sidelines came flooding back to Alan Hibler.
Hibler had a reason to reflect. The veteran prep basketball coach had just reached a milestone victory.
Hibler’s Baxter Springs boys basketball team rolled past Galena 71-43 in CNC League action on Tuesday night.
It was Hibler’s 500th career coaching victory.
“It’s been a wonderful experience, so many memories through the years,” said Hibler, who is in his second season at Baxter Springs after a long tenure in Oklahoma. “It’s been a good journey. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’ve had a lot of good players over the years. I would have never gotten to 500 without the players and the assistant coaches and administrators I’ve had.
“My wife says I can’t recall what she told me five seconds ago, but I can recall games from 20 years ago. I think about 500. I guess that means I’m old.”
In the girls game, Galena topped Baxter Springs 43-30.
BAXTER SPRINGS BOYS, 71-43
The Lions, who are currently ranked ninth in Class 3A by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, stayed perfect on the season at 5-0.
Standout senior guard Trey White poured in 24 points for Baxter Springs. A returning all-state performer, White made 10 field goals, including three from long range, to go with a single free throw.
Two others reached double figures for the Lions, as junior guard Kyler Reece scored 17 and senior post player Tucker Graves had 16.
Senior forward MJ Jones scored 14 points to lead Galena (2-3), while freshman guard Brett Sarwinski also reached double figures with 10 and senior guard Blake Booth chipped in nine points. Galena is currently playing without J.C. Shelton, as the senior guard is nursing an injury he suffered in a recent practice.
Led by White’s 15 first-half points, Baxter Springs had a 10-point cushion by intermission at 36-26.
The Lions started the second half on a 14-0 burst to blow the game open as White’s floater in the lane and Reece’s reverse layup in transition pushed Baxter Springs’ lead to 50-26.
Hoops in the lane by Reece and Graves gave the Lions a comfortable 61-35 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“Galena’s athletic, and they can cause you problems,” Hibler said. “We’ve got some kids under the weather, but I thought they fought through it really well. We made some adjustments at halftime, and we were able to get the fast break going a little bit in the third quarter. We got our big man going inside, and that opened some things up for us.”
GALENA GIRLS, 43-30
Galena used a big fourth quarter to earn what Bulldogs coach Preston Scarrow called a confidence-building victory.
“That was a great win for us,” Scarrow said. “We found a way to win. We’ve only got two girls back with varsity experience, so we’re playing with a lot of youth. They stepped up tonight. We’d been trying to figure out what it means to be a varsity player. I think we grew up tonight. It was a big team win.”
Senior Madyson Cox scored 18 points to lead Galena (2-3), while classmate Emerson Johnson added seven. Sophomore Addysin Scarrow and freshman Jacie Jensen chipped in six points apiece for the Bulldogs, who lost six seniors from last year’s squad that earned a share of the CNC crown.
Baxter Springs played without junior standout Delaney Barnes, a returning all-state performer who has been hobbled by an ankle injury. Seniors Abbey Underhill and Kassity Shafer scored seven points apiece to lead the Lions (3-2), who return all five starters from last year’s squad that captured a sub-state championship.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Addysin Scarrow and Cox gave Galena an early 13-6 advantage. The Bulldogs led 15-10 after the first quarter, but the Lions outscored the visitors 7-2 in the second period and the game was tied at 17 at intermission.
Galena led 27-24 entering the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs then outscored the Lions 16-6 in the final frame, taking advantage of Baxter Springs’ turnovers while also hitting 10-of-15 foul shots during the frame.
“We’re missing a couple players and we got into foul trouble, but Galena outplayed us tonight,” Lions coach Cory White said. “That’s the bottom line. You have to give their players all the credit. They were more aggressive offensively and defensively and they made more plays than we did. For us, we’ve got to regroup and get healthy heading into the new year.”
Both schools are off until Jan. 4.