ST. JOHN — Friday night’s Central Prairie League matchup between Macksville and St. John seemed to be a game of polar opposites.
St. John’s offense lives and dies on its guards ability to drive the lane, knifing through traffic and trying to draw fouls. Meanwhile, Macksville, the No. 3-ranked team in Class 1A Division-I in the latest Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll, utilizes its size in senior post players — 6-foot-6 Derek Bevan and 6-5 Kyle Bunker.
The bigs won out, lifting the Mustangs to a 81-63 conference road win.
“Well, we didn’t really play well so to speak, but they had some injuries and they were down some players,” Macksville head coach Jeff Kuckelman said. “I thought we did a good job of taking advantage of that, pounding it inside. That was how we built our lead. We did a good job attacking the basket. I thought our defense could have been a little bit better, but for the most part, offensively, we played pretty well.”
At the 4:44 mark, the game was knotted at 6-all, but then Macksville jumped ahead.
Bevan, who finished with game-high 20 points, opened up an 11-0 run with a power move under the basket for two points.
Bunker, who matched Bevan’s game high with 20 points of his own, backed him up with a pair of points in the paint.
“They played well,” Kuckelman said of his post players. “They did a good job finishing plays. They got to the line and hit free throws, you know, made them pay.”
Adam Oak, who totaled 16 points, dropped in two points at the 3:41 mark, and Jorge Baray made the second of two free throws to make it 13-6.
“(Oak’s) done a good job for us, taking care of the ball, penetrating. He does a good job feeding the post. He’s a leader of us, taking care of the ball and distributing. As well as he can attack the basket anytime.”
Bevan scored two more points and Baray went back to the line, hitting both free throws to make it 17-6 at the 2:41 mark.
After the run, St. John’s Zach Minnis came to life. Minnis was responsible for two of the Tigers’ first six points, and he also had his own 7-2 run by charging to the basket, hitting a layup and drawing a foul. Minnis missed the free throw but got the ball back for another two points.
Bunker scored two more points for the Mustangs, but Minnis, who finished the game with a team-high 19 points, responded with a 3-pointer with 28.8 seconds left in the first quarter. Macksville expanded its lead to 49-27 at halftime.
St. John was able to pick up its game in the second half, outscoring the Mustangs 36-32, but they were unable to catch up.
“I didn’t think we played particularly well in the first half,” St. John head coach Clint Kinnamon said. “I mean we didn’t play very hard the first half. In the second half, I thought we played pretty hard, competed. I thought we played a lot stronger in the second half, and consequently we got it back to a respectable number.
“That first half we just let the big kids do whatever they wanted to, and you just can’t do that. For the most part, we defended their perimeter kids well, we just didn’t have an answer for their big kids. A lot of people don’t.”
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
At St. John
No. 3 Macksville 81, St. John 63
Adolfo Ibarra 0 2-4 2, Jorge Baray 0 3-4 3, Kyle Bunker 8 4-7 20, Colten Ary 0 3-5 3, Seth Filbert 0 2-2 2, Adam Oak 6 3-3 16, Taylor Tranbarger 4 2-3 11, Clayton Wood 0 1-2 1, Andrew Scheck 1 0-0 3, Derek Bevan 9 2-4 20. Totals 28 22-34 81.
Kade Kinnamon 4 2-2 11, Zach Minnis 7 3-7 19, Kinser Crissman 1 1-2 3, Omar Ramirez 1 2-2 5, Francisco Calleras 1 0-0 3, Spencer Nusser 1 1-2 3, Jacob Falk 1 2-2 4, Esai Macias 0 1-2 1, Ethan Long 2 1-4 5, Zuriel Reyes 0 9-11 9, Dace Mercer 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 22-34 63.
Macksville 21 28 13 19 — 81
St. John 13 14 14 22 — 63
Three-point goals — St. John 5 (Minnis 2, Kinnamon, Ramirez, Calleras); Macksville 3 (Oak, Tranbarger, Scheck).