EMPORIA — The 2017-18 basketball season for the Smoky Valley High School boys basketball team has come to an end as the Vikings stumbled in the Class 4A Division II State Tournament at Emporia on Thursday, losing to number two seed Andale High School, 73-54.
With the loss, the Vikings finish out the season 14-8 after entering the game as the number seven seed in the tournament. Andale will now take a 20-2 record into Friday’s semifinals against six-seed Topeka Hayden, 16-7 after they upset number three-seed Marysville 57-51 in the first game of the day.
Smoky Valley struggled in the first quarter and Andale jumped out to take a 22-11 lead. For the next two quarters, the Vikings played Andale nearly dead even as Andale was only able to add two points to their lead and held a 52-39 advantage heading into the final period, where they were able to pull away from the Vikings to gain the 19-point victory.
It was a rough ending for the Smoky Valley starters as they all are seniors and were closing out their Viking careers.
Over half of the Viking offense came from senior guard, Nick Reinert, who capped off his career with 29 points, hitting 10-of-20 from the field, which included a pair of three-pointers. Senior Brett Heitschmidt, finally regaining his old form and staying injury free, just missed double digits with nine points, while also pulling down seven rebounds to lead the Vikings in the paint.
Two reasons that the Vikings ran into were turnovers as they lost the ball 13 times in the game and the Andale defense shutting down some of the offense as senior starters Jacob Adams and Ben Weldy were averaging 22.2 points per game between them, but only managed six against Andale as Weldy only played four minutes of the game. The other senior starter was Zach Able.