The sky was the limit for the St. John Tigers in their 88-19 season opener win over the Skyline Thunderbirds with senior Spencer Nusser leading the team with 18 points.
Five Tigers hit double digit scoring with 6’7 sophomore Dean Wade hitting 13 points. Senior Ethan Long, and Zuriel Reyes, a junior, matched Wade’s 13. A short but springy 5’7” Omar Ramirez landed 11 points, but Nusser led the team on both sides of the ball hitting a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Wade had six.
"Our guys were really anxious to finally play a game,” said Tiger head Coach Clint Kinnamon. “We came out and were very aggressive on offense and defense from the get go."
Hitting 32 points in the first eight minutes the Tigers had a 66 percent shooting average, 83 percent inside the line. Ten players scored points for the home team.
"If we can continue to share the ball like we did, we are going to win quite a few ballgames and be very fun to watch,” Kinnamon said. “We had 26 assists on our 37 made field goals."
With 30 more points in the second period and the defense grounding the Thunderbirds for only 8 points in the first half the Tigers had a commanding 62-8 advantage going into the break.
"We held them to six made baskets for the game,” Kinnamon said. “We had solid play from all the guys off the bench.
"Omar did a nice job filling in at the point for Kade (Kinnamon,) who was out with the flu. Spencer and Ethan finished great inside as well as Trey (Nelson) and Zuriel too. ‘Cisco’ (Francisco Calleros) was very good on defense.
Wade’s height advantage gave him a lot of open shots opportunities, and Kinnamon noted it served him well on the defensive side.
“Dean was good finishing and blocking shots,” he said. “Géra (Calleros) made a couple threes as well. We were very efficient.
"We are looking forward to the Larned tourney and the challenges we will have there."
The Tigers began the Keady Classic in Larned, Monday with play continuing through Saturday.