ST. JOHN — In a game of back-and-forth runs, the St. John-Hudson High School boys’ basketball team started to pull away in the fourth quarter on Friday night.
The Tigers, who are ranked No. 1 in Class 1A Division-I in the latest Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll, went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line during a 73-57 victory over rival Macksville.
“Offensively, we weren’t bad most of the night,” St. John head coach Clint Kinnamon said. “We ran our stuff and got some shots. Defensively in the first half, we weren’t very good. In the fourth quarter, we got stops when we needed to, and we scored the ball on the other end. That was the difference in the game.”
Leading 52-49 at the start of the fourth quarter, St. John went on an 8-0 run.
St. John sophomore Dean Wade made a pair of free throws.
Tigers junior Zuriel Reyes followed that with a layup, and Spencer Nusser dropped in a basket in the paint.
Reyes scored 20 points, and Nusser finished with 16. Omar Ramirez added 10 points for St. John.
“Looking at it, we had four guys in double figures,” Kinnamon said. “If you can get that, that’s going to be a lot of points on the board. If you’re sharing the ball, spreading it out, they can’t focus on one or two guys. That makes a difference.”
Wade, who finished with a team-leading 23 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double, capped the run with a putback.
Macksville, which was outrebounded 32-16, started a 10-0 run with 5:27 remaining in the first quarter to take a 14-7 lead.
“We played well for three quarters, maybe three and a half,” Macksville head coach Jeff Kuckelman said. “They kept coming at us. They’re a good team. They’re tough to beat. They shoot the ball very well. Even though I thought we did a good job hanging in there, they didn’t miss too many shots in the first half.”
Tanner Tranbarger opened and closed the run with 3-pointers, with Adolfo Ibarra putting a shot in off the glass and Jordan Welch sinking a jumper in between.
Tranbarger finished with a game-high 24 points for Macksville, going 5-for-14 from 3-point range.
“He hit some big shots for us,” Kuckelman said of Tranbarger. “He can do that. He plays hard, and in general, the team played hard.”
The Mustangs were taking advantage of some early turnovers by St. John, which finished with 21.
“We had 12 turnovers at the half,” Kinnamon said. “Seven of those weren’t even forced. We just threw the ball away. We had some unforced stuff that we can’t have.”
The unforced turnovers could be a symptom of missing starting point guard Kade Kinnamon, who broke his wrist during a semifinal game of the St. John Lions Club Mid-Winter Classic on Jan. 18.
Clint Kinnamon, Kade’s father, said that the break will be looked at on Tuesday to see if the cast can come off.
An 11-0 run for the Tigers led them to an 18-17 advantage after eight minutes.
Nusser got St. John started with a pair of baskets in the paint.
Reyes followed him with a trey, a steal-and-layup and a jumper.
St. John travels to Otis-Bison on Tuesday night to close out the regular season.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
At St. John
St. John 73, Macksville 57
Tanner Tranbarger 9-23 1-4 24, Hugo Flores 1-2 0-0 2, Adolfo Ibarra 4-9 4-4 12, Clayton Wood 1-4 0-0 2, Jordan Welch 3-11 1-2 9, Simon Miller 4-8 0-0 8. Totals 22-57 6-10 57.
ST. JOHN (18-1)
Trey Nelson 0-0 2-2 2, Omar Ramirez 3-5 2-2 10, Francisco Calleros 1-1 0-2 2, Spencer Nusser 6-11 2-2 16, Ethan Long 0-2 0-0 0, Dean Wade 7-9 9-12 23, Zuriel Reyes 7-10 2-2 20. Totals 24-38 18-24 73.
Macksville 17 18 14 8 — 57
St. John 18 20 14 21 — 73
Three-point goals — St. John 7-16 (Reyes 4-7, Nusser 2-6, Ramirez 1-2, Long 0-1); Macksville 7-26 (Tranbarger 5-14, Welch 2-8, Miller 0-2, Flores 0-1, Ibarra 0-1). Total fouls — Macksville 22, St. John 12. Fouled out — Macksville (Miller); St. John (None).