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St. John cruises to Gene Keady Classic title
Larneds Evan Skelton (13) puts pressure on Ellinwoods Theron Sjogren (23) in the third quarter. - photo by Photos By janet Fleske

By Jim Misunas

LARNED – Larned’s Ty O’Neill started on fire, leading the Indians to an early 7-3 lead over No. 1 ranked St. John.
When St. John all-stater Dean Wade made his first impact, it was with a perfect assist to freshman phenom Chase Fisher.
Order was quickly restored.
Keady Classic Most Valuable Player Wade drilled a stepback 3-pointer and Fisher followed with a fast-break basket. Jacob Milton drilled a pair of 3-pointers and Wade hit another 3-pointer.
When the shocking 21-2 rally ended the Tigers’ lead was 24-9. St. John coasted past Larned 66-35 Saturday to defend its Gene Keady Classic championship.
“We play one basket at a time in practice every day – getting one basket and one defensive stop at a time,” said St. John coach Clint Kinnamon. “If we accomplish that, you’ll have a good game at the end of the night.”
The fourth quarter was played with a running clock after the Tigers led by 30 points.
Kansas State University signee Wade led the way with 21 points and dominating defense and rebounding. Wade said he enjoyed competing in a physical game.
“They were leaving our shooters open and we’ve got good guards,” Wade said. “This gives us momentum heading to Central Plains Tuesday. It was fun out there competing tonight. That’s a style that I have to get used to.”
Point guard Cole Kinnamon was spectacular with 11 points and a solid floor game. Fisher scored 12 points. Kinnamon and Jacob Milton earned all-tournament honors.
During that game-defining stretch, the Indians lost their pace, shooting the ball much too quickly. Standout point guard Isiah Perez drew two quick fouls and missed valuable time during that stretch.
St. John handed the Indians three losses last season, all by double digits.
“We got to Larned’s shooters tonight,” Kinnamon said. “We’ve got enough length inside that slowed down their inside game.”
Larned (2-1) showed some highlights and toughness at times. O’Neill knocked down several perimeter shots and scored 13 points. Tyler Stelter played tough defense and scored 11 points.
Larned coach Don Zimmerman said the Indians lost their focus at times and got away from their team concept.
“When you’re playing a team like St. John in this environment, you’ve got to work together and stay focused,” Zimmerman said. “We got into playing too much one-on-one rather than working together. We got exposed as a young and inexperienced team tonight.”
Zimmerman said the Indians need to battle harder and show more toughness.
“We didn’t crash the boards like we needed to tonight,” he said.
Others earning all tournament honors were Spearville’s Luke Heskamp, Kaden Stein and Nathan Stein, Ellinwood’s arc Waite, Macksville’s Kaden Herman, Hoisington’s Seth Owen.

Ellinwood  8  12    8   9 — 37
Larned    13  14  20  12 — 59
Ellinwood–Schartz 13, Martinez 8, Waite 7, Theron Sjogren 5, Wortham 4.
Larned—Delgado 16. Perez 11, Meyer 10, Zimmerman 7. Skelton 6, Galliart 4, Stelter 3, Robison 2.

Spearville     7  9  7  9  — 32
St. John    16 10 14 13 — 53
Spearville—Nathan Stein 10, Heskamp 9, Kyler Stein 5, Kaden Stein 4. Kliesen 2, Clinton Stein 2.
St. John—Wade 25,  Kinnamon 14, Valenzuela 2,  Calleros 3, Woodward 2, Fisher 4, Milton 3.

St. John 22 13 24 7 – 66
Larned 9 6 12 8 – 35
St. John—Wade 21, Fisher 12, Milton 11, Kinnamon 11, Calleros 7, Smith 2, Ibarra 1, Wooward 1.
Larned—O’Neill 13, Stelter 11, Skelton 3, Zimmerman 3, Meyer 2, Delgado 2, Perez 1.