The first-seeded Wynot Blue Devils (22-4) took on the eighth-seeded Paxton Tigers (17-5) Thursday morning in the Class D-2 state tournament. While the game was mostly competitive, the Blue Devils took care of business, winning 57-47.
The game got out to a physical start as Wynot junior guard Zack Foxhoven recorded a steal on the game’s first possession and laid it up on the other end to give the Blue Devils their first points. Both sides had slow starts shooting the ball, with many shots rimming out.
The first quarter ended with a bang as Paxton senior guard Rylin Johns hit a contested midrange shot at the buzzer to tie the game 9-9. The underdog Tigers carried the momentum to the start of the second quarter as junior forward Thomas Markussen gave them their first lead of the day, 11-9.
That lead was short-lived, with Foxhoven hitting a three on the other side. Paxton’s leading scorer Isaiah Fox got his first points of the game with a tough and-one layup. The senior forward converted at the line, and the Tigers reclaimed the lead.
Wynot ended the half hot, taking back their lead and adding to it. Despite Paxton cutting the deficit to one-point multiple times, the Blue Devils answered back with points of their own. Junior guard Carson Wieseler’s putback on an offensive rebound with two seconds left in the quarter gave Wynot a 25-19 advantage heading into the break.
Paxton started the second half hungry, recording multiple steals and overall strong defense. Fox cut the lead to four with a layup, but Wynot responded with four quick points to build their lead to eight.
However, it was all Wynot for the rest of the quarter as Foxhoven continued adding steals, points, and assists to the stat sheet. Foxhoven had a game-high of 13 points as the Blue Devils led 39-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
Wynot put the game away in the fourth with junior guard Dylan Heine scoring five quick points to start the quarter. The Tigers did not go away without a fight, as Fox took over, scoring many contested finishes. Despite this, the Blue Devils closed the game at the free throw line, advancing to the semi-finals with a 57-47 win.
Foxhoven finished with 19 points for Wynot, while Fox led the Tigers with 22 points, many of which came in the fourth quarter.
Wynot will now play fifth-seeded Sumner-Eddyville-Miller in the semi-finals as they look to win their first state title since 2013.