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Class 2A Boys Quarterfinals: Moundridge Overwhelms St. Marys in 63-31 Stunner


By: Brent Maycock, KSHSAA Covered


MANHATTAN, Kan. ( – Whatever expectations veteran Moundridge coach Vance Unrau had for Wednesday’s Class 2A state quarterfinal showdown with 2022 runner-up St. Marys, one thing is certain.

“Not this,” Unrau admitted.

Indeed, nobody really saw this one coming – a 63-31 Moundridge clinic that sent the Wildcats (21-3) into Friday’s 6 p.m. semifinal against TMP-Marian (22-2).

Moundridge clicked in nearly every phase of the game and turned a tight game early into a runaway win. The offense was efficient. The defense was stifling. And Moundridge played loose and free despite making its first state appearance in a decade.

It added up to a blowout victory that brought back painful flashbacks for the Bears, who were blitzed early and often the last time they were on the floor of Bramlage Coliseum, last year’s 60-32 championship game loss to Hillsboro.

And though Unrau didn’t necessarily envision that kind of performance out of his team against St. Marys, he wasn’t altogether shocked either.

“Here’s what I told the kids: ‘We need to be us. Let’s be us. Let’s show people what we are,’” Unrau said. “And the last couple of games through sub-state and now the first round of the state tournament, I thought we were us.”

Moundridge was certainly the best version of itself in the second half after taking a 27-19 halftime lead.

Offensively, the Wildcats were almost flawless in the second half. After a solid first-half performance where they made 46% of their shots, the Wildcats hit an astonishing 13 of 17 second-half shots (76.4%). In the fourth quarter alone, Moundridge connected on 8 of 9 shots in a 22-point quarter.

Logan Churchill scored 15 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, while Barrett Moddelmog finished with 13 points and Henry Hecox added 12.

“I’ve said this coming into the year and it’s played out to be true, this is the best offensive firepower as a team that I’ve ever coached in 36 years,” Unrau said. “We’ve had maybe better scorers or better shooters, but not four of them on the floor at one time.”

But facing a St. Marys’ team that boasts one of the state’s most prolific scorers in senior guard Keller Hurla, getting into a shootout wasn’t something Unrau was interested in. His team’s effort on the defensive end assured that wouldn’t happen.

After giving up seven quick points to Hurla to start the game, the Wildcats locked down. Hurla only scored four more points the rest of the way and finished the game an icy 4 of 23 from the field, including 1 of 12 from 3-point range.

Moundridge held St. Marys to just 29.2% shooting in the first half. The second half was even better as the Bears made just 5 of 29 shots (17.2%) after halftime.

“Obviously the Hurla boys are the key,” Unrau said of not only Keller, but sophomore Brady Hurla, who finished with 11 points as well, but on 5-of-14 shooting. “I just thought Henry Hecox and Landon Kaufman just did an outstanding job on those two. And then we decided to put Logan on (Keller) and let him shoot over 6-7. Logan can guard somebody like that. … And that worked out pretty well.”