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Kinnamons prayer rescues St. John Tigers
Tigers make 2A state finals
tigers win1
The St. John Tigers celebrate a last-second six overtime 52-51 Class 2A semifinal victory over Lawrence Seabury Academy. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune



MANHATTAN – St. John’s Cole Kinnamon was triple teamed, 35 feet away from the Tigers’ basket at Bramlage Coliseum.

(Cue the trademark ESPN music)

Kinnamon ended the longest game in Kansas high school state tournament history with a perfect 35-footer against defense applied by Lawrence Seabury’s Zachary McDermott, Peter King and Easter Maxwell.

Kinnamon’s miraculous shot sparked the St. John Tigers to a 52-51 Class 2A semifinal victory over Lawrence Seabury Academy that lasted a state-record six overtimes. St. John (24-1) meet the Salina Sacred Heart Knights in Saturday’s championship game.

“Honestly, when it left my hands, I knew it was in,” Kinnamon said. “I practice those shots all the time.”

Alexis Valenzuela passed to Kinnamon, who dribbled near half-court to step back from a double team by McDermott and King, who were joined by Maxwell.

The Tigers end their practices with “One-Shot Wonder,” where the players try a half-court shot.

“I made it today,” Kinnamon said. “That carried over to this. Somehow, it went in.”

Valenzuela and Quincy Smith jumped in the air to greet Kinnamon and a happy dogpile ensued.

“Wow. I saw a lot of my teammates coming right at me,” he said.

His game-winner was highlighted Friday on ESPN’s Sports Center, identical to his game-winning 3-pointer in a MAYB championship game at Goddard in 2016. Kinnamon’s Central Kansas Elite beat the Springfield, Mo. Slashers 75-74 in overtime to win the MAYB championship.

“That was on SportsCenter, but this is at the top of my list now,” he said.

The last time St. John coach Clint Kinnamon enjoyed a last-second game-winner was 2007 when Tyler Meyers converted a game-winner against Wichita North.

“That’s one for the ages – an unbelievable game,” said coach Kinnamon, who celebrated with two fist pumps and an incredible vertical jump. “What a fun game for kids and fans.”

Coach Kinnamon said Cole works on getting his shots off against aggressive defense.

“He’s grown up with older guys forever where he had to do something like that to get a shot up,” Kinnamon said.

Chase Fisher led the Tigers with 24 points and Kinnamon added 13 points. The Tigers’ unsung hero was Triston Long, who converted five field goals for 10 points. Seabury’s McDermott scored 23 points and Michael Wycoff added 15 points.

St. John led 41-39 in the first overtime, but missed a trio of one-and-one free throws and a two-shot attempt and McDermott made two free throws for a 41-41 tie.

Seabury missed the potential game-winning field goal at the end of regulation, and the second, third, fourth and fifth overtimes.

St. John’s Fisher threw up a desperation 3-point try at the end of the first overtime that drew contact from Seabury’s Maxwell, but no foul was whistled.

Seabury won the center jump tip in five overtime periods, and elected to take time off the clock for a final shot each time.

Time-after-time, the Tigers responded with a defensive stop and a rebound.

“They didn’t like playing against that 3-2 zone,” said coach Kinnamon, who gave credit assistant coach Kurt Fairchild. “It took away their dribble drive and we were able to get to their shooters. We closed out and contested those shots. We did a great job rebounding. That’s your greatest fear.”

In the sixth overtime, McDermott’s 3-pointer and three Seahawk free throws were countered by four points by Fisher, who muscled inside.

“It was a great game,” Cole Kinnamon said. “Seabury’s a great team. I have a lot of respect for them.”

LS 8 9 9 13 2 0 0 2 2 6 – 51

SJ 13 4 9 13 2 0 0 2 2 7 – 52

SEABURY— Zachary McDermott 5-18 11-14 23; Michael Wycoff 4-15 7-8 15; Peter King 3-6 0-0 8; Thomas DiZerega 1-2 1-1 5; Austin Gaumer 1-3 0-0 2; Maxwell Easter 0-5 0-0 0; Totals 14-49 19-22 51.

ST. JOHN— Chase Fisher 9-19 6-12 24; Cole Kinnamon 4-8 2-3 13; Triston Long 5-5 0-0 10; Jorge Calleros 1-2 3-6 5; Alexis Valenzuela 0-3 0-0 0; Quincy Smith 0-1 0-2 0; Eddy Calleros 0-0 0-0 0; Braden Witt 0-0 0-0 0; Mason Osborne 0-0 0-0 0; Tanner Halling 0-1 0-0 0; Totals 19-39 12-23 52.

3-point goals—LS 4-23 (King 2-5, McDermott 2-7, Gaumer 0-1, Easter 0-4, Wycoff 0-5), SJ 3-6 (Kinnamon 3-5, Smith 0-1). Rebounds—LS 32 (McDermott 14), SJ 29 (Fisher 10). Assists—LS 3 (McDermott 2), SJ 6 (Smith 2). Steals—LS 11 (McDermott 4), SJ 7 (J. Calleros

3). TO—LS 15, SJ 13.



REGULATION—BS Wycoff misses; SJ Kinnamon misses half-court, 39-39

1ST OT—SJ Fisher misses 3-pointer, 41-41

2ND OT—BS King misses 3-pointer, 41-41

3RD OT—BS McDermott misses 3-pointer, 41-41

4TH OT—BS Wycoff misses, 43-43

5TH OT—BS Wycoff misses twice, 45-45

6TH OT—SJ Kinnamon 35-footer for the win, 52-51