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St. John Tigers' upset falls short
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HAYS – The St. John Tigers learned South Gray all-stater Gilbert Peters is the real deal.

The 6-foot-6 Peters dominated the game with 16 points and terrific inside defense to spark the Rebels past St. John 43-37 in Friday’s 1A-Division 1 basketball semifinal. Peters knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and grabbed 12 rebounds.

“Peters is really good, one of the top 20 players in the state,” said St. John coach Clint Kinnamon. “He’s got great feet and his quickness surprises you defensively. We got caught on some screens and he hit a couple of threes.”

Chase Fisher led the Tigers with 15 points and Quincy Smith added eight points. Mason Osborne contributed five points, four assists and three steals.

“We liked the way we competed and our effort was excellent against a high-quality team,” said Kinnamon. “I was really pleased by how well the guys played.”

St. John’s Mason Osborne expertly defended South Gray’s high-scoring Clifton Miller, who scored 28 points in the Rebels’ state opener. Miller was gifted three free throws when he dived into a defender, who was called for the foul.

“Mason Osborne did a terrific job on Miller. Miller could not get an uncontested shot off,” Kinnamon said. “We guarded really well defensively. The only thing that hurt us was a key second-chance baskets.”

The Tigers (18-6) converted 16 of 42 field goals and outscored 13-3 from the free throw line. St. John has gone 28-3 in postseason play the past six seasons. The Tigers have won six state basketball titles, four under coach Clint Kinnamon.

The Tigers surprised the No. 1 ranked Rebels (24-0), roaring to an early 10-2 lead after four minutes with a perfect start behind Chase Fisher. The Rebels quickly swung the momentum with a stunning 17-2 run as Peters scored seven points.

The Rebels led 22-17 at halftime. Fisher scored 10 first-half points.

South Gray’s strategy of stalling the basketball nearly backfired in the fourth quarter. The Rebels led 33-30 and extended the lead to 39-30 on six free throws.

Fisher converted a 3-pointer and a basket and Mason Osborne added two free throws to slice the lead to 42-37. The Tigers made 2 of 12 shots from 3-point range.

“We had some opportunities from the perimeter, but it comes down to making a few more shots,” Kinnamon said.

The Rebels controlled the boards and Peters helped limit the Tigers’ inside offense to Fisher and Tanner Halling, who scored six points.

SJ 10 7 11 9 – 37

SG 7 15 8 13 – 43

St. JOHN (18-6)—Fisher 7-15 0-0 15, Witt 0-1 1-2 1, Calleros 1-4 0-0 2, Smith 4-9 0-0 8, Osborne 1-6 2-2 5, Tanner Halling 3-7 0-0 6, Totals 16-42 3-4 37.

SOUTH GRAY (24-0)—Peters 6-13 2-2 16, Jantz 2-4 5-7 9, Gribel 0-1 0-0 0, Davis 1-3 2-4 4, Miller 1-5 3-3 6, Askew 3-6 1-2 8, Totals 13-32 13-18 43.

3-pointers—SJ 2-12 (Fisher 1-2, Osborne 1-6, Smith 0-1, Calleros 0-3), SG 4-8 (Peters 2-4, Miller 1-1, Askew 1-2, Jantz 0-1). Rebounds—SJ 20 (Halling), SG 29 (Peters 12). Assists—SJ 6 (Osborne 4), SG 2. Steals—SJ 5 (Osborne 3), SG 5 (Askew 2).