Overview Financial Shred Day Marquee April 2024

RHS Wraps Regular Season with Sweep at Ellis

2023-24 RHS Girls and Boys Basketball Team Pictures by Jason Drake
2023-24 RHS Girls and Boys Basketball Team Pictures by Jason Drake

Girls: Russell 39, Ellis 37
Boys: Russell 62, Ellis 45

ELLIS-Aubrey Birney's jumper with six seconds remaining in regulation completed a come from behind 39-37 victory for the Russell Lady Bronco Basketball team over Ellis Tuesday evening in Mid-Continent League action at Ellis Junior-Senior High School.

The game was a back and forth affair from start to finish as Russell led 8-7 after the opening eight minutes.  The Lady Broncos jumped out to a 16-11 lead in the second period only to see Ellis score the final five points of the half to knot the score 16-16 at intermission.  The lead changed several times in the third quarter with the Lady Railers holding a 29-27 edge heading to the final stanza.

Ellis appeared to start pulling away midway through the fourth quarter as they built a 37-32 advantage but Jasmine Jefferson started the Lady Bronco comeback with a basket to pull Russell to within 37-34.  Birney then knocked down two free throws to close the gap to 37-36 in the final 30 seconds.

Birney was then fouled with 14 seconds left and had a chance to put Russell in the lead.  After making the first free throw to tie the score 37-37, Birney missed the second free shot but on the ensuing rebound, Ellis knocked the ball out of bounds keeping the Lady Broncos in possession.  Birney then knocked down a short jumper off an inbounds pass in the lane with six seconds left to put Russell ahead 39-37 but Ellis still had one more chance after the ball went out of bounds off of Russell with 1.3 seconds left.

The Lady Railers inbounded the ball at mid-court and Isabella Eck attempted a three-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game for Ellis but the ball partially went down the cylinder and then rolled out and the Lady Broncos had their first road victory of the season.

Anna Thielen led Russell (7-13, 4-6 MCL) with 19 points including 11 in the third quarter alone on the strength of three 3-point baskets.  Birney joined Thielen in double figures with 10 points.  Natalee North led Ellis (11-10, 3-7 MCL) with 13 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

In the Boys game, Ayden Wagner tied a career-high with 15 points off the bench as the Broncos used a dominant second half to pull away from Ellis 62-45.

The first quarter was back and forth and ended in a 12-12 tie when Ellis' Aiden Aschbrenner knocked down a three-pointer at the buzzer.  The Railers held a 20-19 lead during the second quarter before Russell closed the period on an 8-0 run led by three-pointers from Jake Mooney and Sam Thielen to take a 27-20 lead at intermission.

Mooney and Wagner combined for three more treys in the third period to go along with perfect four for four free throw shooting to extend the lead to 46-33 heading to the final quarter.  Russell led by as many as 18 points before Ellis sliced their deficit down to 12 points with three minutes remaining but the Railers could draw no closer as the Broncos sewed up their second win over Ellis in the last 30 days.

Mooney joined Wagner in double figures for Russell (7-14, 3-7 MCL) with 11 points.  Aschbrenner led Ellis (6-14, 3-7 MCL) with 14 points while Jaren Frickey added 11 points.  

With the regular season now complete, the two Russell teams will turn their attention to the Class 3A Hoisington Sub-State Tournament.  Brackets are expected to be released by KSHSAA on Wednesday.  While opponents are not completely confirmed, what is known is both teams will play their first round games on the road with the Boys going first on Monday, February 26 and the Girls following on Tuesday, February 27.  The semifinals and championship games will take place at the Hoisington Activities Center February 29 through March 2.

All Russell postseason games will be aired on KRSL 95.9 FM and online at KRSL.com