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St. John finds familiar foe in title game
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MANHATTAN — Defending Class 2A state champion St. John is playing a familiar foe – Central Plains High School – for its third consecutive state basketball championship.
The unbeaten St. John Tigers and Oilers will meet for the seventh time during the past two seasons with a Class 2A state championship at stake Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum.
“We respect Central Plains a lot,” said St. John’s Cole Kinnamon. “Both teams know each other pretty well. We figured we’d probably end up playing them again. They’ve got a bunch of good guys who go out and compete.”
St. John eased past Washington County 71-53 Friday despite getting just five first-half minutes from all-stater Dean Wade. The Tigers led 42-22 at halftime behind 15 first-half points by Cole Kinnamon.
“Our guys played without him this year, but Dean sat and got out of the flow of the game,” said St. John coach Clint Kinnamon.
St. John (25-0) has won five state basketball titles, including the past two championships in Class 1A-Division 1 and Class 2A.
Kinnamon finished with a game high 22 points. Wade contributed 15 points and a pair of slam dunks off passes from Kinnamon. Wade’s first dunk led to a 55-30 lead.
“Dean was tentative and wasn’t himself,” Kinnamon said. “But you look at the stat sheet and he scored 15 points and shot 58 percent.”
Jorge Calleros chipped in 10 points and Gera Calleros added nine points.
“Cole shot it great that first half and Gera Calleros and Jorge Calleros really performed well too,” said coach Kinnamon. “The only thing that bothered me was we did not compete the whole game.”
Cole Kinnamon boosted the Tigers with six consecutive field goals the first half, including a trio of 3-pointers.
“After I made my first two, I was thinking it was going to be a good night,” Kinnamon said. “We had to pick things up.”
Washington County (21-4) lost to the Tigers for the second straight year at state. The pesky Tigers showed some fight by outscoring St. John by 12 points to get within 61-48. Jorge Calleros answered with back-to-back scores.
Konnor Penning led the Tigers with 17 points and got Wade into foul trouble. Kyle McGatlin and Cole Thompson scored 12 apiece.
“Penning is really a fine player and Washington County is a very good basketball team that is well coached,” said coach Kinnamon. “They proved they were a really good team when they got out a tough substate.”

Class 2A semifinal

Washington Co.           9  13 11 20 – 53
St. John                      25 17 13 16 – 71
Washington County—Konnor Penning 7-12 3-3 17; Kyle McGatlin 5-11 0-2 12; Cole Thompson 5-11 1-1 12; Zach Otott 0-4 0-0 0; Andrew Tiemeyer 2-5 3-3 8; Matt Bekemeyer 2-2 0-0 4; Nathan Welch 0-1 0-0 0; Totals 21-46 7-9 53.
St. John—Cole Kinnamon 9-13 0-0 22; Dean Wade 7-12 1-1 15; Jorge Calleros 4-6 0-1 10; Gera Calleros 4-8 1-1 9; Jacob Milton 0-5 4-4 4; Quincy Smith 0-2 0-1 0; Ryan Woodward 0-1 0-0 0; Alexis Valenzuela 0-0 2-2 2; Triston Long 0-0 0-2 0; Sammy Ramirez 1-2 0-0 2; Chase Fisher 3-6 1-2 7; Keven Neri-Leon 0-0 0-0 0; Totals 28-55 9-14 71.
3-point goals—WC 4-13 (McGatlin 2-6, Thompson 1-4, Tiemeyer 1-2, Welch 0-1), SJ 6-15 (Kinnamon 4-7, J. Calleros 2-2, Smith 0-1, Wade 0-1, Milton 0-2, G. Calleros 0-2); Rebounds—WC 29 (Thompson 6); SJ 31 (Wade 4, Ramirez 4); Assists—WC 4 (Thompson 2), SJ 4 (Kinnamon 2). TO—WC 12, SJ 5.