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St. John boys take sub-state championship, on to state

Barry Ragan
Coach Kinnamon gets down on his players level to explain something important during sub-state tournament action last week. The St. John Tiger boys won their sub-state 1A division and will compete at state this week in Manhattan.

The 22-3 St. John-Hudson Tigers are once again heading for State, after an on-fire performance at sub-state that led to a championship title. The Tiger boys first defeated the Kiowa County Mavericks 46-34, then took on the South Gray Rebels in the finals, winning 65-52.

The Mavericks scrappy defense and tenacious offense gave the Tigers a run for the money in the first round of sub-state, especially when the Tigers had majors problems not making free-throws.

Against the 21-3 Rebels, St. John’s Marshall Woolf started by nailing a 3-pointer, followed by a basketball by Tanner Halling. Trey Fisher went 1-2 from the line then made a basket. There were four more baskets as Joel Ortiz, Halling Elijah Delp and Fisher each made points for the Tigers.

With a good lead with less than two minutes left in the first, the Rebels narrowed the Tigers’ lead; the score after one quarter had the Tigers leading 16-11.

Halling made two straight baskets to start the second quarter. Fisher, Halling, Marshall Woolf and Halling all contributed a basket.

With the Tigers leading 28-16, South Gray called a timeout with 3:12 left before the half. Fish made the only basket with 1:2 minutes left. Once again, the Rebels narrowed the score; halftime the Tigers 30, South Gray 25.

As he did in the first half, Marshall Woolf nailed another 3-pointer, Ortiz went 2-2 from the line, and Halling made an old-fashioned three.

Delp also went 2-2 from the line. And after another basket by Halling, with the score 42-37, St. John’s head basketball coach Clint Kinnamon called a timeout with 57 second left in the third.

Uriel Caleros made the Tigers last basket, and the score going into the fourth had the Tigers staying in front 44-41.

Halling made the first basket in the fourth quarter, then Ortiz nailed a 3-point shot, the score 49-44. Fisher went 2-2 from the line, while Ortiz made one point. Halling made a basket, and Fisher went 2-2. With the Tigers leading 3:07, South Gray called another timeout, the Tigers leading 56-46.

Fisher went 1-2 from the line, and there came another timeout with the Tigers leading with 2:46 left.

Woolf went 1-2 from the line. Halling also went 1-2. Delp made a basket, and Hunter Smith went 2-2 from the line.

The St. John Tigers defeated the South Gray Rebels 65-52, and advance on to the 1A State Boys Basketball Tournament.

“We played a little tight, for whatever reason, against Kiowa County,” Coach Kinnamon said. “I believe that kind of played into the free-throw issues. The Mavericks came in and played loose and free. Coach Hoffman has done a really good job turning that program around and they hung with us for a long time.”

Kinnamon said his team played looser against South Gray.

“They have some weapons offensively and we had to limit them somewhat,”he said. “We did that and were able to score fairly well against their zones. We shot really well at different levels and also were just under 75 percent from the line.

“I’m happy for these kids. They’ve worked really hard, not only in season but out of season as well. It’s great that their work and passion for the game has paid off with a chance to go compete at the state tournament,” he said.