LOUISBURG — A stymied offense doomed the Parsons Vikings’ fourth straight trip to the KSHSAA 4A State Tournament as they fell to the Louisburg Wildcats 62-30 on Monday night.
Parsons struggled to find the bottom of the net despite creating open looks in a very deliberately paced approach on offense.
“Anytime a team has very physical guards and a 6-foot-9 kid in the middle,” Parsons head coach Anthony Houk said, “that’s kind of a mental block already. Even with all of that, we got some good looks in the first half. We got some good looks around the rim and on the perimeter. But shots that normally go weren’t going.”
Louisburg’s 6-foot-9 stretch big Julian Margrave paced the Wildcats with 20 points. Paxton Swanson led the Vikings with eight points.
Despite the offensive woes, Parsons trailed Louisburg by just seven points at halftime.
“We were down seven last week to Labette County and got it to one in a minute-and-a-half,” Houk said. “I was pretty confident at halftime. But it got even harder because those shots still weren’t going. It just sucks that probably our worst shooting night of the year came in the first round of the state tournament.”
Parsons’ season ended with a 12-8 overall record.
“I’m really proud of my team and the way they fought through everything,” Houk said. “I know this group was hungry to prove that even though we had graduated a bunch over the last few years, they wanted to show that they could do it. I’m sorry that it ended for them like this.”
As for Louisburg, it advanced to the state tournament semifinals in Salina where they’ll face Augusta. Bishop Miege and McPherson will square off in the other semifinal.
In a season marred by constant adversity, Houk was proud that this year’s team lived up to the expectations previous classes have established.
“Our guys have faced a ton starting in the summer,” Houk said. “We didn’t have the options we normally had. Staying healthy and out of quarantine was tough. We played nine games with a starter injured or in quarantine this year. These guys have overcame on the daily.”
Julius Smith-Reece, Ethan Houk, Sylas Hickles and Malachi Gatewood are graduating this year, leaving Parsons again in the spot of replacing a celebrated class.
“It’ll be interesting to see how these kids step up,” Houk said. “There will be a battle for some playing time. We expect next year’s group to handle their business just like this year’s group did.”
KSHSAA 4A STATE TOURNAMENT
Louisburg 62, Parsons 30
Parsons: 8 8 5 9 — 30
Louisburg: 14 9 16 23 — 62
Parsons: Ethan Houk 3, Jessie Jones 7, Paxton Swanson 8, Sylas Huckles 3, Julius Smith-Reece 7, Cedric Webb 2
Louisburg: Seuferling 8, W. Guetterman 5, Rockers 5, Vohs 2, Barnes 6, Newell 3, B. Guetterman 13, Julian Margrave 20