Three games in three days can take a toll on any team.
For the Salina Central boys, they had to go against three straight state-ranked opponents in the Salina Invitational Tournament.
The Mustangs went toe-to-toe with Buhler in Saturday's third-place game. But a 15-0 run in the third quarter helped the Crusaders — ranked No. 2 in Class 4A — to a 56-41 victory at Mabee Arena.
Central coach Ryan Modin was pleased with his team's effort despite going 1-2 and falling to 5-6 on the season.
"We had our chances," Modin said. "We won one and we had our chances at two others. We didn't attack the basket very well in the second half. We just depended on the three ball."
Salina Central still searching for consistency over four quarters
As has been the case in several games this season, Central stayed right with some of the state's best teams in the SIT.
The Mustangs beat Abilene — the fourth-ranked team in Class 4A — and have been close in two games with Andover, which went on to win this year's SIT with a 56-41 championship victory over Wichita South on Saturday.
"You've got to play four quarters," Modin said. "I thought today we played hard, but we weren't very consistent. We had breakdowns. We took some bad shots that led them to easy buckets.
"It wasn't any one guy. Then we got frustrated and we let that kind of soak in and had breakdowns on defense."
The Mustangs also are trying to find a solid rotation, including players who can make an impact off the bench. Modin said Hayden Vidricksen and Dezmyn Gibson gave the Mustangs a boost when they needed it.
"I thought Hayden had really three good games as far as going in and getting all the dirty work that we need from him defensively and running the point," Modin said. "Dez Gibson was a big surprise this weekend. It was huge."
Modin said Central must limit its self-inflicted wounds. The Mustangs have no easy ones left in their final nine games, starting with Hays at home Friday.
Hays comes in ranked No. 6 in Class 5A.
"We've got to stop doing that because when you're playing the No. 1 or No. 2 teams in the state, that's the difference between getting beat," Modin said. "That's what it is."
Sid Duplessis led in the loss to Buhler with 15 points. The Crusaders were led by Jack Voth's 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Three Salinans named to the all-tournament team
Central had a pair of all-tournament selections with Duplessis and Nolan Puckett.
Both Puckett and Duplessis averaged 15 points in three games.
Salina South was represented by Te'Jon McDaniel.
Joining the three Salinans on the all-tournament team were Andover's BJ Redic and Eli Shetlar, Concordia's Cav Carlgren, Abilene's Kaleb Becker, Voth and Wade Meyer of Buhler, and Wichita South's TJ Neal.
Shetlar was named the tournament's most valuable play Wichita South's Aven Mboule was named the most inspirational player.
Dylan Sherwood has been a sports reporter for the Salina Journal since August 2019. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @DSherwoodSJ
This article originally appeared on Salina Journal: How Salina Central boys basketball played three games in three days and went 1-2