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Macksville boys hold off St. John
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St. John's Braxton Alpers (22) and Macksville's Nolan Adams (11) start Thursday's ballgame. - photo by Courtesy photo Dick Smith

MACKSVILLE 52, ST. JOHN 44 —  Macksville's Diego Esparza and Hector Gomez each converted a pair of free throws and Gomez hit a game-sealing 3-pointer as the Mustangs held off St. John's upset bid 52-44 in Thursday's substate.

Esparza scored 15 points and Kendall Grippin (12) and Gomez (11) scored in double figures. Grippin grabbed nine rebounds. Gomez had four steals. Esparza dished off three assists.

Macksville (15-6) captured the 1A Div. 1 basketball state championship last year.

The Tigers were within 42-40 when the Mustangs pulled away. St. John's Daniel Portillo (13), Quade Smith (11) and Brody Vieux (11) scored in double figures.

St. John 7 8 13 16 — 44

Macksville 6 19 7 20 — 52

ST. JOHN (10-11)—Portillo 13, Quade Smith 11, Vieux 11, Valenzuela 5, Ibarra 2, Fernandez 2, Totals 44.

MACKSVILLE (15-6)—Esparza 6-13 3-4 15, Grippin 4-12 3-6 12, Gomez 2-13 6-8 11, Guevara 2-6 2-2 6, Clawson 2-3 0-0 4, Granger 1-2 0-0 2, Holguin 0-0 2-2 2, Adams 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 17-50 16-24 52

3-pointers—M 2-14 (Gomez 1-6, Grippin 1-7, Guevara 0-1). Rebounds—M 37 (Grippin 12). Assists—M 9 (Esparza 3). Steals—M 9 (Gomez 4)..

1A DIV. 1 ST. JOHN—Hodgeman County 57, Spearville 55; Central Plains 65, Kinsley 36; Macksville 52, St. John 44; 2-29—La Crosse 17-2 vs. Hodgeman County 13-8, 6; Central Plains 17-4 vs. Macksville 15-6, 7:30