BURRTON — For the first three quarters it seemed destined that Inman High School and Little River High School were going to go down to the wire.
Inman led 31-30 entering the fourth quarter, but outscored Little River 17-4 in the final eight minutes for a convincing 48-34 win that was a lot closer than the score would indicate.
Inman is now 7-3 and will take on top-seed Berean Academy in the semifinals of the Burrton Boys Basketball Invitational at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Little River drops to 5-5 and takes on Pretty Prairie at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
“I thought we started off a little slow,” Inman head coach Brett Froese said. “With our big win last Friday against Hutchinson Trinity, and being off school today, and all the talks about the weather, it was just a weird feeling to the day. It may have caused us to start a little sluggish.”
Inman loves to play quick and score points in transition. Little River wanted to slow things down and play offense and defense in the half court. When the two styles clashed, neither team was able to secure an advantage.
After a back and forth first quarter, Little River’s Bronson Rains drained an open corner 3-pointer with six seconds remaining to give the Redskins a 14-8 at the end of the first quarter.
Inman responded by scoring the first nine points of the second quarter, forcing a couple of Little River timeouts.
Little River’s Jace Garrison nailed 3-pointers in ensuing possessions to give the Reddens a one point lead with under a minute to play, but the Teutons scored on their final possession of the half to reclaim a 23-22 halftime lead.
It was much of the same in the third quarter, with both teams scoring eight points entering the fourth quarter. A fourth quarter that would be dominated by Inman.
Inman did not blow past Little River in one giant swing of momentum, rather, they slowly began to pull away down the stretch. The Teutons took their first double digit lead with a little over three minutes remaining, and Little River just did not have the firepower to keep up.
The Teutons dominated the boards and the paint, as Inman’s Lucas Barlow led all scorers with 23 points.
“We’re getting better at rebounding,” Froese said. “In the second half I thought our hi-low game was working really well.”
Payton Froese joined Barlow in double digits with 13 points. Walker Strange pitched in with 6 points.
For Little River, Jace Garrison led the way with 12 points. Clay Zeller was held in check with 10 points.
Both teams are back in action on Thursday in the next round of the Burrton Invitational.