The Macksville Mustangs beat the Wichita Defenders 70-60 to take third in the Mid-winter Classic.

In the third place finals at St. John Lions Club’s Mid-Winter Classic, the Macksville Mustangs had their work cut out for them as they faced the Wichita Defenders, with the Mustangs coming out on top 70-60 last Saturday.

Earlier in the semis on Friday, the Mustangs lost to cross-county rival, the St. John-Hudson Tigers in a low scoring affair 33-44.

In the first round on Tuesday, the Mustangs were once again facing the Ness City Eagles. The Mustangs had plenty of motivation after remembering their loss from the Eagles. This time the Mustangs came away with a 51-43 victory.

On Saturday's third place finals going up against the Wichita Defenders, Macksville’s Karson Waters started things out with a 3-pointer, followed by three baskets. Jacob Rein made a basket, and Kody Mead made an old fashioned three, the Mustangs leading 14-11.

At the 4:31 mark, Trevor Freeman nailed a 3-pointer. A minute later, Waters made a basket, the score with 3:37 minutes left, 19-15. Then Rein made 3-pointer and another basket with 29 secs left. Kreed Parr made a long 3-pointer at the buzzer, the score going into the third with Mustangs leading 29-19.

At one time, the Defenders scored 11 straight, only to be countered by the Mustangs who regained their lead and more, leading 45-33.

Scoring for the Mustangs were Parr with his second 3-pointer, Waters getting his second 3-pointer, and a basket and went 2/2 from the line. Rein made a basket and two free throws. Lickiss made a basket.

In the fourth, Mead made an old fashioned three, and in addition went 2/4 from the line. Rein made a 3-pointer and went 1/2 from the line. Waters made a basket and went 2/2 from the line. Lickiss made four baskets and went 1/6 from the line. Brandon Ibarra made a basket.

The Mustangs defeat the Defenders 70-60.

Against the St. John Tigers in the semi last Friday, the Mustangs fell behind 5-7 after one, forged ahead 19-18 at the half on Parr’s buzz beater, fell behind in the third 24-33, and took a 33-44 loss from the Tigers.

Scoring for the Mustangs were Parr with 15 points, Waters 6, Lickiss 6, Rein 4, and Mead 2.

With the Mustangs going up against Ness City in the first round, both teams struggled to make the open shot, the score all tied up at 6-6. Scoring for the Mustangs were Lickiss making a basket, Waters going 2/2 from the line, and Rein a basket.

The second quarter had Waters and Freeman both making two baskets, the score 10-11 at the 4:37 mark. Parr made a basket. Lickiss nailed a 3-pointer, the score going into the half with the Mustangs taking the lead 19-15.

The Mustangs widened their lead 33-25 with Mead making a basket and went 1/2 from the line, Waters made two baskets, Lickiss and Freeman both made baskets, and Parr made an old fashioned three.

The last quarter had Mead scoring two baskets, Rein a 3-pointer, a basket and went 3/5 from the line. Waters added another basket, and Parr made a 3-pointer, and 1/2 from the line.

The last quarter had both teams doing a better job of scoring. Mead had two baskets, Rein a 3-pointer, a basket and went 3/5 from the line. Waters a basket, and Parr made a 3-pointer, and went 1/2 from the line.

The Mustangs get a well deserved win 51-43.

"We played very hard and had some good defense against St. John but we didn't shoot the ball well enough to win" said Macksville's head coach Jeff Kuckelman. "St. John's defense probably had something to do with how we ball. They forced us into some tough shots and we couldn't knock them down. I thought our rebounding was pretty good in holding them to one shot but they did the same to us."

He continued saying, "We were pretty good on offense at times against the Defenders but turned it over too much to develop any kind of consistency. We made some nice runs and really did a good job getting stops right before half time and converted those into baskets. Our help side defense needs to be better as we go forward throughout the season."

"Overall in the tournament, we played some very good teams and that will hopefully help us in the second half of the season. It was a very tough and competitive tournament and we feel fortunate to come out with a winning record and 3rd place against a field like this."