Olathe East made six first-half three-pointers against Heights on Friday night and led their Class 6A boys semifinal by three points.
Which didn't seem to faze the two-time defending champion much. The Falcons recovered to win 70-62 at Koch Arena and set up a final against Blue Valley Northwest at 6:15 tonight.
"We had a good counter-punch in the second half," Heights coach Joe Auer said. "I told the kids at halftime that they (Olathe East) shot the lights out.. and they really didn't get any separation from us. So we tried to calm them down at halftime. We're not used to being behind."
Tyler Kalinoski hit 6 of 10 first-half shots, including a driving layup with three seconds left in the half to give his team a 31-28 lead. Olathe East fans knew their underdog team was pushing Heights to the limit and they were loud.
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But Kalinoski (20 points) couldn't score with the same consistency (0 for 5) in the second half as Heights did a better job of staying in front of him.
"The difference was effort and just going harder," said Heights guard EJ Dobbins, who guarded Kalinoski the entire game. "I tried to play tough D so I could prevent him from hitting the three. He's a good player, but I had to up the tempo in the first half and try to make up for the mistakes I made in the first half."
Heights took control with a 14-5 run in the third quarter, then standout junior Perry Ellis made the game's highlight play in the fourth.
Dobbins drove to the lane and lobbed near the rim and Ellis finished with a thunderous two-handed dunk to give Heights a 57-49 lead with 4:50 remaining.
"When I get a dunk it always elevates us," Ellis said. "We were talking about it earlier. We have such good chemistry he knows where I'm going to be, and he threw it up to me."
Ellis scored 25 points, hitting all five of his shot attempts and making 14 of 17 at the free-throw line.
Senior Evan Wessel had 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
BV Northwest 48, Dodge City 44 — Dodge City shot 3 of 20 from the floor in the second half, hitting its only field goals in the game's final 58 seconds. Yet the Demons still had a chance. They trailed by three with 20.5 seconds remaining when BV Northwest's Brett Fisher missed both free throws. But Dodge City junior Rico Hogan forced a three and BV Northwest's George Bugarinovic made one of two free throws to seal the win.
SM West band (with a nice drum solo at the end)
Washburn Rural band
SM West fans
Two Dodge City fans -- love this!
Dodge City student fans -- and there's a cutie at the end.
BV Northwest fans -- with a dude screaming at the end. Hilarious.
Wichita Heights fans actually had a student section. Nice.
Olathe East fans