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Oilers gunning to end Tigers streak
tanner galliart
Larneds Tanner Galliart (2) fights for a rebound against Tigers Jorge Calleros (24), Chase Fisher (33) and Alexis Valenzeula (14). - photo by COURTESY PHOTO Janet Fleske

ST. JOHN — The three-time defending state champion St. John Tigers own a 63-game winning streak, which breaks Wichita Heights’ previous mark of 62. The streak will be on the line when No. 2 ranked Central Plains (4-0) visits No. 1 ranked St. John Tuesday night.
Last year’s 49-44 victory over Central Plains in the Class 2A state championship was one of the Tigers’ toughest tests.
No. 1 ranked Class 2A St. John (4-0) captured the Gene Keady Classic with a 55-43 victory Saturday over Larned. Class 2A Central Plains (4-0) has dominated defensively, including a 40-15 rout of Ellsworth to capture the Amos Morris George Stephens Classic Saturday. The Tigers last lost 66-54 to Wichita Word of Life in 2013. Hoxie owns the girls’ state streak of 99 wins in a row, dating back to a loss to Wichita Word of Life 61-50 in 2011.
St. John point guard Cole Kinnamon was named Most Valuable Player of the Gene Keady Classic. Kinnamon and Jorge Calleros are averaging 16 ppg and Calleros enjoyed a strong championship game. Alexis Valenzuela (9 ppg), Chase Fisher (7 ppg), Quincy Smith (6 ppg) and Jacob Milton (6 ppg) provide offensive balance.
“We showed we were a resilient basketball team because we did not shoot the basketball as well as we normally shoot it,” said St. John coach Clint Kinnamon. “We had guys step up. Jorge Calleros and Alexis Valenzuela played good.
“Larned played hard and they’re a capable basketball team that will be a tough team to play. One thing we need to do better is hit the boards harder after giving up 11 offensive rebounds.”
Kinnamon said the Tigers played a near-perfect semifinal game against Spearville in a stunning 69-36 victory. The Tigers dominated the boards and converted 24 turnovers into easy scores.
“We really guarded against Spearville,” he said.
The Oilers, keyed by all-league point guard Michael Ryan, are poised to end the Tigers’ winning streak when the teams meet Tuesday at St. John High School. It’s an early-season preview for both teams which will compete in the St. John Class 2A substate. They will also meet Feb. 5 at Claflin.
Outside of a loss to Class 6A Derby, all of the Oilers’ losses the past two seasons came against St. John and all-stater Dean Wade, who is averaging double digits for Kansas State University. The Tigers’ victory in the substate finals two years ago was also one of their toughest games.
“We know the Central Plains team very well,” Kinnamon said. “They’re a talented team that knows how to win basketball games. Michael Ryan is a talented player who can shoot it, as well as drive the basketball into the paint. We probably want to play faster, plus we’ve got good depth. We want to pressure as much as we can and make it a fast-paced basketball game.”

The Central Plains girls (4-0) will face the St. John girls (3-1) at 6:30 p.m. The Oilers are two-time defending Class 2A state champions.

Weekend capsules
Central Plains 40, Ellsworth 15
LINCOLN — Michael Ryan scored 17 points to spark Central Plains past Ellsworth 40-15 in the championship game of the Amos Morris George Stephens Basketball Classic.
Alex Barton scored eight points. The Oilers play at No. 1 ranked St. John Tuesday night.
The Oilers held the Bearkats to four field goals through three periods. Ellsworth’s Kaden Davis scored six points.

Morris Stephens Classic
Ellsworth 1 6 2 6 — 15
Central Plains 8 8 12 12 — 40
Ellsworth — Davis 3 0-0 6; Flynn 2 0-0 4; Keener 1 0-2 2; Jacobo 1 0-0 2; Cravens 0 1-2 1; Totals 7 1-4 15.
Central Plains — Michael Ryan 7 1-2 17; Alex Barton 3 1-2 8; Braeden Crites 2 0-0 4; Bryce Miller 2 0-0 4; Brady Rugan 1 3-3 3; Devin Ryan 1 0-0 2; Jacob Warnken 1 0-0 2; Totals 17 3-7 40.

Morris Stephens Boys Classic
1st place—Central Plains 40, Ellsworth 15
3rd place—Plainville 45, Lincoln 37
4th place—Nickerson 61, Phillipsburg 53
7th place—Russell 53, Plainville 40

Central Plains 58, Phillipsburg 25
LINCOLN — The Central Plains girls roared to a 21-9 lead after one quarter and coasted past Phillipsburg 58-25 in the Morris Stephens Classic championship game.
Reagan Phelan scored 16 points and Kylee Kasselman (11), Janae Ryan (11) and Cassity Crites (10) scored in double figures. Ryan hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored eight points and Kasselman scored seven points in the first quarter. Tatum Bartels led Phillipsburg with 15 points.

Morris Stephens Classic
Phillipsburg 9 8 8 0 — 25
Central Plains 21 10 19 8 — 58
PHS — Bartels 4 7-7 15; Swanson 3 0-0 6; Babcock 2 0-0 4; Dibble 0 0-2 0; Totals 9 7-9 25.
CP — Reagan Phelan 7 0-0 16; Kylee Kasselman 5 1-4 11; Janae Ryan 5 2-2 11; Cassity Crites 5 0-0 10; Taylor Rolfs 2 0-0 4; Kendi Maxwell 2 0-0 4; Julie Donecker 0 2-2 2; Totals 24 5-8 58.

Morris Stephens Girls Classic
1st place—Central Plains 58, Phillipsburg 25
3rd place—Russell 44, Lincoln 34
4th place—Nickerson 44, Ell-Saline 43
7th place—Ellsworth 49, Plainville 44