The St. John Tigers claimed their first tournament title of the season winning Larned’s Keady Classic with a 69-53 final over Macksville’s Mustangs with the Mustangs claiming second.

The St. John Tigers claimed their first tournament title of the season winning Larned’s Keady Classic with a 69-53 final over Macksville’s Mustangs with the Mustangs claiming second.

“I was happy to win the tourney and have some solid teams to show or guys what we have to improve on,” said Tiger’s head coach Clint Kinnamon. “Dean (Wade), Spencer (Nusser) and Kade (Kinnamon) made the all tournament team and Zuriel (Reyes) probably should have as well."

The Tigers started their tournament run cruising to a 55-26 win over Ellinwood with most of the starters on the bench by the third quarter.

The Tigers started out with a 17-8 lead in the first 8 minutes with Wade leading the team in scoring with 17 points. Two other Tiger players broke into double-digits with Nusser hitting 15 and Kinnamon scoring 10 in their shortened playing time on Tuesday.

Friday’s semi-final game against 3A Hoisington was billed by some as the game of the tournament, but it didn’t play out quite that way.

The Tigers scored first, but Hoisington’s Cardinals matched the Tigers score for score taking a one-point lead of 12-11 at the end of one period, but a 27-point second quarter by the Tigers gave an early indication that the writing was already on the wall.

“We did a decent job of limiting Cody Settled,” Kinnamon said. “He is a nice player that you are not going to stop, just hope to keep damage to a minimum.

“Spencer and Dean both did a very good job with interior defense and Dean being able to step out was a problem for them with him going 3-4 from 3. We were able to get some transition baskets and Zuriel did a super job finishing.”

Reyes, gave the Tigers a nice cushion stuffing 5 fast break lay ups in just over two minutes of play. Reyes smoked the high points earner on the night hitting 21 points. Three other Tigers broke double digits with Wade picking up 15, Kinnamon 13, and Nusser 10.

Kinnamon picked up seven assists and Ethan Long had what coach Kinnamon thought was a career high in rebounds with 10.

By the end of two quarters the Tiger were looking pretty solid for a match up in the finals with a 38-21 lead. After the break the Tigers kept the pressure on scoring 13 in the third and 12 in the fourth while holding Hoisington to 10 and 12 securing a spot in the finals on Saturday against either Macksville or Kiowa County depending on the outcome of the late game.

Macksville battles through to final round.

Macksville’s Mustangs are in a rebuilding phase of sorts. Tournament champions in 2010, many did not expect to see the Mustangs in Saturday’s final match up. However, as the Mustangs are prone to do they surprised a few people by preserving through to the final round.

Macksville played Spearville in the opening round and showed some surprising versatility with four of the five starters breaking into double-digits in scoring.

Adolfo Ibarra led the team picking up 15 points off of one three-pointer and five in the paint.

Hugo Flores and Tanner Tranbarger hit 12 points each floating in five three-pointers between the two. Flores went perfect from the line hitting 2-2, picked up two treys and two deuces. Tranbarger hit 3-6 from the line one three-pointer and three twos.

Friday night the Mustangs paired up with Kiowa County Mavericks after their 63-45 win over host team Larned in round one.

Stats for the Macksville Kiowa County game were unavailable at publication time.

KC took an early lead over Macksville leading 5-2 with just over 2 minutes down, but Macksville kept the pressure on tying the score at 21 with two minutes left in the first half.

After the break the two teams stayed pretty evenly matched with a margin of only 1 or 2 points separating the two teams. With only two minutes left in the game the score was tied at 38 all. A three-pointer put Macksville up 41-38 and a pair from the foul line by Jordan Welch with 20 seconds left on the clock gave Mack a five-point win at 45-38 setting the stage for Saturday’s final match up with their local rivals, St. John.

The final score of 69-53 probably did not accurately tell the tale of the level of competition in the championship round with both teams play hard and fast.

The Tigers jumped out to an early lead of 20-7 in the first quarter with three players hitting doubles in scoring. Nusser led the team in scoring with 17 points, Reyes picked up 14 and Wade came in at 13.

"I thought their guys really played hard and competed,” Kinnamon said. “We did not sustain our effort, which we have to do especially on the road and in big rivalry games.

“Spencer was really good inside finishing strong. Omar played well off the bench. "Dean had some foul trouble so played limited minutes but played well.”

Macksville had the corners covered hitting 8 three pointers with Tranbarger, Ibarra and Welch hitting three each. Flores added a triple as did Billy Burnett.

“We played hard but just turned it over too much to give us a chance against a good team,” said Kuckelman. “They took our turnovers and turned them into points.

“I was proud of our kids that they never stopped playing and kept battling. We just need to keep working and getting better.”

The Tigers found the outside for five treys two coming from Reyes and one each from Wade, Nusser and Kinnamon, but they were deadly in the paint hitting 19 two-pointers and going 16-23 from the line.

Macksville dropped in 13 deuces and hit 3-6 from the line.

At the half, St. John led by a score of 40-37, but the Mustangs would not let them relax with most of the starters staying in until the last minutes of the game. By the end of three there was still 17 points separating the two with the score at 54-37. The Tigers outscored the Mustangs by one-point in the final eight minutes hitting 15 while the Mustangs hit on 16 for the final 69-53.

"We have a ways to go yet,” Kinnamon said. “We are good in stretches, but need to be able to sustain the times we are good. We can't lose interest or sense of urgency like we did at times. I still really like our guys and hope they stay hungry to get better all season.”

The Tigers faced Central Plains in an away game Tuesday, and will host Cunningham on Friday. Macksville’s next match up will be a repeat of round two as they travel to Greensburg to take on the Mavericks again.