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Central Plains Oilers qualify for Class 2A state
Oilers to play Thursday at Manhattan
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By Jim Misunas

ST. JOHN -- No. 1 ranked Class 2A Central Plains outlasted three-time state champion St. John 48-46 in the St. John Class 2A substate basketball championship to qualify for the state tournament.
Central Plains (23-0) will play Lawrence Seabury Academy (18-3) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Manhattan's Bramlage Coliseum in the Class 2A state tournament.
St. John's Cole Kinnamon missed the potential game-winning shot on a 15-footer against pressuring defense from Michael Ryan. St. John's Alexis Valenzuela tipped an Oiler pass for a steal with the Oilers ahead 46-45 to give the Tigers a chance at victory.
After Kinnamon's miss, Oiler Braeden Crites added two free throws for a 48-45 lead. Kinnamon made his first free throw before teammate Jacob Milton was unable to get off a last-second shot on the rebound for the tying attempt.
The Oilers were led by Crites with 13 points and Michael Ryan and Alex Barton added 10 points apiece. Kinnamon paced the Tigers with 17 points and Jorge Calleros added 16 points.
The Oilers erased a 36-31 deficit with a 12-0 run for a 43-36 lead behind seven points by Crites. Jorge Calleros kept the Tigers close with three baskets to go with Kinnamon's 3-pointer. Jacob Warnken made 3 of 6 free throws to give the Oilers a 46-45 lead.
The Oiler boys captured the 2015 Eight-Man I state football championship, but they've never captured a state basketball title as a consolidated school with Claflin and Quivira Heights.

Central Plains lost the past two years in post-season to the Tigers, 49-44 in last year's Class 2A state final. St. John (19-4) lost four times to the Oilers this season, including breaking the Tigers' all-time boys winning streak of 63 wins in a row. But the last two meetings went down to the final minute. St. John's seniors finished a four-year career with a 95-5 record and three state basketball titles.
The fourth meeting showcased both teams patiently working for quality shots. A back-and-forth first quarter left the teams tied 12-12. Chase Fisher boosted the Tigers with five first-quarter points.
The Oilers finished the half ahead 24-19 fueled by a 7-2 scoring run. The Oilers finished the half 8 of 21 with a pair of 3-pointers. The Tigers shot 7 of 15 with a pair of 3-pointers. Eight turnovers against the Oilers' quickness hurt the Tigers.
CP 12 12 7 17 -- 48
SJ 12 7 15 11 -- 46
CP--Michael Ryan 4-8 1-4 10, Devin Ryan 1-6 0-0 3, Warnken 1-6 5-8 8, Rugan 1-4 2-2 4, Crites 3-8 7-8 13, Barton 3-7 4-7 10, Totals 13-39 19-29 48.
SJ--Milton 2-7 1-2 7, Jorge Calleros 5-8 0-0 11, Kinnamon 6-13 3-4 17, Fisher 3-6 1-5 7, Smith 1-2 0-0 2, Long 1-2 0-0 2, Valenzuela 0-0 0-0 0; Totals 18-38 5-11 46.

At Manhattan, Bramlage Coliseum
3 p.m.--Sedan (23-0) vs. Hill City (17-6)
4:45 p.m.--Jackson Heights (21-2) vs. Elbing-Berean Academy (22-1)
6:30 p.m.--Central Plains (23-0) vs. Lawrence Seabury (18-3)
8:15 p.m.--Salina Sacred Heart (23-0) vs. South Gray (20-3)
Friday’s semifinals--3 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
Saturday--2 p.m. Third place; 6:15 p.m. championship