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St. John Tigers outlast Oilers
St. John plays Pittsburg Colgan Wednesday
jorge calleros
St. John High Schools Jorge Calleros drives and scores as he is fouled by Central Plains High Schools Alex Barton. The three-point play put the Tigers ahead for the remainder of the game. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

GREENSBURG – The No. 1 state-ranked St. John Tigers got exactly what coach Clint Kinnamon expected – an intense hard-fought Class 2A substate championship battle from rival Central Plains.
The Tigers were pushed to the limit in a 51-45 hard-fought basketball victory where scoring opportunities were earned where every pass and shot was hotly contested. There were four ties and seven lead changes in the tight ballgame.

The Tigers (22-1) play perennial qualifier Pittsburg Colgan (17-5) at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the Class 2A state tournament at Bramlage Coliseum. In other first-round games, it's Salina Sacred Heart (22-1) against Hillsboro (17-6), Sedan (20-3) versus Hoxie (18-4) and Ness City (21-2) against Lawrence Seabury (18-4).
St. John’s Jorge Calleros played like a warrior with a 19-point effort. Teammate Cole Kinnamon scored a game high 20 points. Calleros scored 14 first-half points, triggered by an early 3-pointer.
“When I made my first 3-pointer, it gave me confidence that it’d be a great night,” said Calleros. “It’s great to get back to the state tournament at Bramlage Coliseum. Central Plains played great basketball tonight. We made shots, they made shots and it went back-and-forth.”
The Tigers (22-1) swept three games from the Oilers this season. The teams have met 14 times over the past four seasons. The Oilers swept all four games last season en route to a third-place Class 2A state finish. The Tigers have won the other 10 times, twice for a substate championship and once for the Class 2A state title.
“People got their money’s worth,” said St. John coach Clint Kinnamon. “It’s really hard to score because we know what they run and they know what we run on offense. The Oilers played great basketball. Every time we had a run, they’d come back.”
Oiler point guard Devin Ryan scored 14 points and sparked a third-quarter run with eight points and a pair of 3-point plays that gave the Oilers a 31-30 lead. Alex Barton scored 10 points, Brett Liebl eight and Collin Schlochtermier added seven points.
“Devin Ryan shot it extremely well and handled the basketball,” Kinnamon said.
The Tigers answered with a 9-0 run when Kinnamon’s score was followed by Mason Osborne’s nifty assist to Alexis Valenzuela. Kinnamon nailed a 3-pointer off a screen by Valenzuela and Chase Fisher started the fourth quarter with an inside basket for a 39-31 lead.
“It went from a 3-point game to a 9-point game,” Kinnamon said. “Jorge was fantastic the first half. Cole flipped it and played well the second half. We expect those two to perform like that.”
The Oilers got within 47-42 when Brett Liebl converted two free throws. Kinnamon capped a 9-point fourth quarter with five free throws.
The Oilers (17-6) started the season with a running clock loss to the Tigers. They pushed St. John in the season finale.
“We got maximum effort and they left it all on the court,” said Central Plains coach Brett Rolfs. “They were really motivated to perform well tonight. We just did not get enough shots to fall. Both teams know each other so well. Most of the time, we played solid half-court defense.”
The Oilers forced a couple of Tiger turnovers in the fourth quarter, but managed five of 11 shooting in the final quarter.”
“They squeezed out a lead and had some chances to cut into that lead. We didn’t execute the way we needed,” Rolfs said.
CP 12 8 11 14 – 45
SJ 14 9 14 14 – 51
CP—Alex Hickel 3-11 0-0 6; Devin Ryan 5-9 2-3 14; Collin Schlochtermeier 3-8 1-2 7; Alex Barton 4-9 1-2 10; Brett Liebl 3-5 2-2 8; 0-1 0-0 0; Totals 18-43 5-7 45.
SJ—Cole Kinnamon 6-10 7-7 20; Jorge Calleros 6-7 6-6 19; Chase Fisher 3-6 3-7 9; Alexis Valenzuela 1-4 1-2 3; Quincy Smith 0-1 0-0 0; Totals 16-28 17-22 51.
3-point goals—CP 3-14 (Ryan 2-4, Barton 1-3, Schlochtermier 0-3, Hickel 0-4); SJ 2-4 (J. Calleros 1-1, Kinnamon 1-3).

2017—St. John 21-1 vs. Pittsburg Colgan 16-6
2015—St. John 83, Ellis 41; St. John 71, Washington County 53; CHAMPIONSHIP—St. John 49, Central Plains 44; Coach Clint Kinnamon
2014—St. John 69, Washington County 42; St. John 57, Olpe 47; CHAMPIONSHIP—St. John 71, Plainville 58; Coach Clint Kinnamon
2013—St. John 68, Burrton 44; St. John 61, Centralia 56; CHAMPIONSHIP—St. John 70, South Haven 50; Coach Clint Kinnamon
2008—St. John 58, Syracuse 35; St. John 56, Frankfort 52; CHAMPIONSHIP—Pittsburg Colgan 53, St. John 48
2007—St. John 52, Syracuse 28; St. John 44, Yates Center 26; CHAMPIONSHIP—St. John 51, Pittsburg Colgan 46; Coach Clint Kinnamon
2004—St. John 65, Leavenworth Immaculata 57; Pittsburg Colgan 69, St. John 65; THIRD PLACE—St. John 58, Syracuse 49
2002—Pittsburg Colgan 61, St. John 47
1982—St. John 74, Sedan 44; St. John 54, Stanton County 53; CHAMPIONSHIP—St. John 57, Canton-Galva 48; Coach Loren Wiens
1974—St. John 60, Hillsboro 56; St. John 56, Basehor 47; CHAMPIONSHIP—St. John 48, Frankfort 41; Coach Ivan Williams

Manhattan, Bramlage Coliseum, Wednesday
3 p.m.—St. John 21-1 vs. Pittsburg Colgan 17-5
4:45 p.m.—Ness City 21-2 vs. Lawrence Seabury 18-4
6:30 p.m.—Salina Sacred Heart 22-1 vs. Hillsboro 17-6
8:15 p.m.—Sedan 20-3 vs. Hoxie 18-4

Manhattan, Bramlage Coliseum, Thursday
3 p.m.—Central Plains 22-0 vs. Chase County 15-8
4:45 p.m.—Valley Falls 20-3 vs. Elbing-Berean Academy 19-4
6:30 p.m.—Alma-Wabaunsee 21-2 vs. Pittsburg Colgan 15-7
8:15 p.m.—Meade 21-2 vs. Hill City 17-6