INMAN — The future looks bright for the Ellinwood boys basketball team. The present doesn’t look too bad, either.

Behind 21 points from freshman Britton Dutton and 14 points from freshman Tyler Stuhlsatz, Ellinwood knocked off Inman on its home court, 56-38, in Friday’s sub-state semifinal.

The Eagles jumped out to a hot start and never trailed in the game. Ellinwood head coach Derek Joiner said his team is seeking its first appearance at state since 1984.

"We’ve had some bad starts when playing good teams, so it was a real focus for us to get off to a fast start," Joiner said.

Stuhlsatz scored the first four points of the game, and the Eagles quickly led 6-0. Stuhlsatz drained a 3 later in the first to extend the lead to nine. Inman’s Jace Doerksen hit a layup to cut the deficit to six, but a left-handed layup from Kyler Doll gave Ellinwood a 15-7 lead at the end of one.

A 3-pointer from Kyler Konrade and a bucket from Derick Johnson brought Inman back to within three, but four points from Dutton in the final 25 seconds of the half put Ellinwood up 25-18 at halftime, and swung all the momentum back in favor of the Eagles.

"They scored a couple quick ones that got us. We had some gaps," Inman head coach Brett Froese said. "I thought we played hard."

Ellinwood pulled away in the third quarter. Konrade connected on a floater at the 6:20 mark of the third, and the Teutons went scoreless the rest of the quarter.

The Eagles closed the third on a 12-0 run, and led 43-24.

"They came out and made some shots in the second half, and we couldn’t finish shots," Froese said. "The tide changes quickly. They’ll give [Sterling] a run for their money tomorrow."

The Teutons never cut the deficit to less than 15 in the fourth.

"We still did a good job of attacking the basket and getting easy layups," Joiner said. "We also didn’t turn the ball over much. I was really happy with the way our guards handled the situation."

Ellinwood, the top seed, will face second-seed Sterling in the sub-state championship at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Not only would snapping a three-decade-old state tournament drought be huge for the Ellinwood community, it would be significant for a strong senior class of five, and an incredible building block for a team with five freshman on its varsity roster.

"We’ve got the program back on the map," Joiner said. "Obviously, our freshmen have helped with that a lot. It would be a great experience because we have a lot of great, young players in this program, as well as for our seniors."

Inman was led by 15 points from Doerksen.

"[Doerksen] didn’t practice the last two days because of a sprained foot," Froese said. "He was great."

Friday night was the final home game for seniors Kolby Blank and Nicholas Martisko. The Teutons return the majority of their production next year.

"We had to figure out an identity at the start of this season. I didn’t know what our identity was going to be," Froese said. "Every single day this team got better and better and better. Next year we’re going to be older, we’re going to be stronger. I’m excited for the next couple years. I think this group can do some special things."