The Tigers came up short against the Central Plains Oilers and settled for second place with a 45-54 loss.

It’s tough taking any loss, especially against league rival, the Central Plains Oilers, as the St. John-Hudson Tigers had to be satisfied with the second place trophy after losing to the Oilers 54-45 at St. John’s Lions Club Mid-Winter Classic last Saturday night.

Getting to the finals was no easy task, as the Tigers had to face the Macksville Mustangs in the semi-finals Friday night, and came away with a 44-33 victory.

Earlier on Tuesday night, the Tigers defeated the Larned Indians 56-34.

In the finals against the #1 ranked in 2A Central Plains Oilers, cold shooting plagued the Tigers starting out. St. John scored just seven points, while the Oilers had 12, way below both teams scoring averages.

St. John’s Quincy Smith made St. John’s first basket. At the 5:21 mark, the Tigers falling behind 2-6.

St. John’s Tanner Halling went 1/2 from the line. Chase Fisher made a basket and went 0/2. Eddie Caleros made a basket. The Tigers go into the second quarter behind 7-12.

Starting the second, it was Calleros who made St. John’s first and last points. First he went 2/2 from the line, then nailed a 3-pointer with 6:25 on the clock. His last points came at the very end, nailing another 3-pointer. Fisher made two baskets, and Halling a basket, the Tigers still behind at the half 21-25.

Offensively, the third went in spurts. First Calleros made his third 3-pointer, Fisher made a basket and Halling made two baskets, giving the Tigers their first lead 30-29 at the 4:30 mark. Then things turned sour as the Oilers out-scored St. John 1-11, with Calleros making the Tigers only point going 1/2 from the line.

The score after three quarters had the Tigers falling further behind 31-40.

The closest the Tigers could get in the fourth was 43-51 with 1:36 on the clock.

Scoring for St. John was Halling with two baskets and going 3/4 from the line. Fisher made three baskets and a free throw (one an old fashioned three).

St. John losses 45-54.

While the tempo was fast for both the Tigers and the Mustangs, the scoring was slow in the first quarter as the Tigers scored just seven points to the Mustangs’s five.

Fisher made the first two baskets, followed by Calleros going 1-2 from the line. Mason Osborne made a basket.

Two players did all the scoring in the second as Halling 5-6 from the line and a basket. Fisher had two baskets.

The Tigers were leading 18-16 with time running out as Macksville’s Kreed Parr made a 3-pointer buzz beater, the score St. John 18, Macksville 19.

The Tigers out-scored the Mustangs 15-5 in the third. Starting out, Calleros went 0/2 from the line, Osborne and Halling made baskets, the score at the 5:37 mark with the Tigers leading 22-21. The Tigers score the next seven points with two minutes left. Halling made two more baskets, Quincy Smith went 2/2 from the line and made a 3-pointer, and Fisher made a basket.

The Tigers lead going into the fourth 33-24.

Smith made his second 3-pointer, followed by Witt, Osborne and Calleros, all three going 1/2 from the line. Halling went 1/2 and made a basket, the Tigers defeat the Mustangs 44-33.

“I really liked how hard our guys competed in the tournament” said St. John’s head Coach Clint Kinnamon. “We played fairly well in all three games. We still have not reached our ceiling, which is encouraging. Our guys know we have lots of room to improve the rest of the season."

Kinnamon continue saying, "Central Plains is a very talented team. Alex Hickel got really hot and they rode him to the championship. I thought he played great. Thing was, Quincy, Eddy and Mason all did a good job defending him, he just made some tough shots and plays. We have one more shot against them in a CPL game."

"Our student section, fans and cheerleaders were great. It's so nice to see the gym full and loud. Playing in that atmosphere was awful fun for the kids."

St. Johns, Tanner Halling and Chase Fisher made the five man “Lions Club All-Tournament Team.”