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Macksville, Classical to meet for 1A title
ryan k


KSHSAA Covered Contributor

DODGE CITY – It was an ending fit for a championship.

Wichita Classical’s 45-44 win over two-time defending champion Olpe had all the markings of a title matchup.

Leading 32-30 going into the fourth quarter, Classical looked like the team in charge. Despite giving up four free throws to start the quarter, the Saints got a bucket by Carter Sinclair to tie the game, then the senior hit again with an assist from Jordy Dolloff to take the lead for good at 4:52.

Dolloff hit and-one to give Classical a 39-34 lead, and the senior buried a pair of free throws to up the lead to seven. Olpe fought back with a three from Garret Cole and a field goal from Darren Heins to cut the lead to two.

It was a war of free throws down the stretch. And with the Saints leading 45-41 after two Dolloff free throws, a final three at the buzzer wasn’t enough for Olpe.

In a physical game, Classical coach Tim Dolloff said it took a lot to play hard but in control, especially against storied Olpe.

“It was one of those things where you want to play with emotion, but not emotional, if that makes sense,” he said. “We talk about that all the time.”

Olpe won the rebound battle 35-34, but it was lack of shooting that did the Eagles in as they hit just 15 field goals on 53 attempts, despite grabbing 19 offensive boards.

Classical was more efficient from the floor (14 of 39), despite committing 15 turnovers.

Olpe opened the game with a solid first few minutes, taking a 10-2 lead before Classical ended on a 5-0 run.

Classical took its first lead of 16-15 midway into the second quarter, before a back-and-forth barrage tied the teams at 22-all to end the half.

More of the same in the third, with four lead changes and Classical taking a 32-30 lead in the final seconds.

“I knew it was going to be a defensive battle,” Tim Dolloff said. “We’d have to get the last stop and last rebound. We couldn’t go in and expect them to hand over a game to us. The longer it goes and the more we’re ahead, the harder they’ll play.”

The Saints returned a strong core from last year's team that lost in the sub-state finals.

“They put in the time in the weight room, working with the idea that we don’t want to have that feeling again, coming up short and underachieving,” he said. 

This will be Classical’s first sanctioned state championship game, and Dolloff said his team is going to have to go into this final with the same mentality as they did against Olpe.

Olpe's two-year reign came to an end despite 21 points from senior Truman Bailey.

MACKSVILLE 78, SOUTH GRAY 65 – After Classical knocked off two-time champion Olpe, Macksville followed with a 78-65 win over South Gray, the team Olpe beat for two state titles.

The Mustangs earned their title shot by way of a 44-point second half that saw the team make better use of their size and quickness.

It’s just what coach Jeff Kuckelman ordered on his birthday, and the team delivered.

“We just talked about how we were fine. We had to battle through some adversity in the first half with people in foul trouble,” he said. “Once we settled down, we talked about getting the ball inside. We got it inside more in the second half. That helped us gain control."

Looking to return to the championship game for a third straight year, South Gray jumped out to a 17-14 lead after one quarter.

The Rebels extended that to 37-34 at halftime. The lead was 40-36 early in the third period, but the Mustangs went on a 15-2 run to lead 51-42.

A 9-2 Mustang run to end the quarter, including a buzzer 3-pointer by Rogelio Ibarra, put Macksville ahead 60-50 heading into the final period.

The second half saw the Mustangs use their height with 6-foot-6 Ryan Kuckelman and 6-foot-2 Lance Lickiss dominate inside. The duo had 11 points and seven rebounds combined in the first half and Lickiss finished with a career-high 23 points to go with 13 rebounds.

Kuckelman had nine points and two boards as they made the inside a difficult place for the Rebels. The team finished with 35 rebounds and Ibarra backed Lickiss' career night with a game-high 24 points.

“We defend better than a lot of people,” coach Kuckelman said. “We talked about getting up into (South Gray) and making them hit shots over us.”

South Gray placed four players in double figures, led by 16 from Jorge Lupercio.

Wichita Classical 8 14 10 13 -- 45

Olpe 10 12 8 14 -- 44

WICHITA CLASSICAL (22-2)–C. Sinclair 3-6 2-2 8, Logan 2-3 0-1 5, T. Sinclair 0-5 0-1 0, Wilkey 2-3 1-2 5, Buckingham 2-6 2-4 6, Young 1-3 0-2 2, J. Dolloff 4-13 10-11 19. Totals 14-39 13-16 45.

OLPE (21-3) – Bl. Redeker 2-6 1-3 5, Hoelting 1-6 0-1 2, Bailey 6-20 7-7 21, Heins 3-8 2-4 9, Skalsky 0-6 0-0 0, E. Redeker 0-1 0-0 0, Cole 3-6 0-0 7. Totals 15-53 10-15 44.

3-point goals–WC 4-13 (C. Sinclair 0-1, T. Sinclair 0-1, Logan 1-1, Buckingham 2-4, Young 0-2, J. Dolloff 1-4 ); Olpe 6-16 (Hoelting 0-1, Bailey 2-11, Heins 1-4, E. Redeker 0-1, Cole 1-1 ). Rebounds–WC 34 (C. Sinclair 7, Logan 9), Olpe 35 (Redeker 6, Cole 9). Assists–WC 10 (Dolloff 4), Olpe 5 (Redeker 3, Heins 3). Turnovers–WC 15, Olpe 9. Fouls–WC  19, Olpe 20. Fouled out–Cole.

South Gray 17 20 13 15 -- 65

Macksville 14 20 26 28 -- 78

SOUTH GRAY (20-4)–S. Moore 2-5 0-0 4, Jantz 4-18 2-2 12, Lupercio 5-12 3-4 16, Dyck 5-8 1-2 13, Martin 3-11 7-9 13, Loewen 1-3 1-2 3. Totals 20-57 18-25 65.

MACKSVILLE (22-2)–Gomez 1-2 5-6 7, R. Ibarra 8-14 4-5 24, Esparza 3-3 0-1 6, Lickiss 10-15 3-4 23, Barron 4-6 0-1 9, Kuckelman 3-3 3-6 9, A. Ibarra 0-4 3-6 3. Totals 29-47 15-24 78.

3-point goals–SG 7-28 (Moore 0-3, Jantz 2-8, Lupercio 3-6, Dyck 2-3, Martin 0-6, Loewen 1-2); M 5-13 (R. Ibarra 4-9, Barron 1-1, A. Ibarra 0-3). Rebounds – SG 32 (Lupercio 6, Martin 6), M 35 (Lickiss 13). Assists–SG 12 (Salmans), M 18 (Barron 7). Turnovers–SG 19, M 22. Fouls–SG 21, M 22. Fouled out – Lupercio, Dyck; Barron. Technical foul–Esparza