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St. John reaches 1A state final
St John Friday Dick Smith courtesy.jpg
St. John's Mason Osborne shoots against the Osborne Bulldogs on Friday during the 1A state semifinals in Dodge City. - photo by Courtesy photo Dick Smith

DODGE CITY – The St. John Tigers earned a fourth showdown with Central Prairie League rival Central Plains for the 1A state basketball championship. Returning state champion Central Plains has beaten St. John three times this season.

Tanner Halling blocked six shots and Trey Fisher’s stout defense keyed the Tigers’ 43-37 semifinal victory over No. 2 ranked unbeaten Osborne in overtime.

The titanic back-and-forth battle swung the Tigers’ way in overtime. 

The Tigers (22-4) outscored the Bulldogs (23-1) 9-3 in overtime. Mason Osborne fed Tanner Halling for a basket. Halling added two free throws and Osborne converted four free throws. The Tigers made 17 of 29 free throws, but hit 8 of 9 in a late-game stretch.

“We made free throws down the stretch except for a couple,” said St. John coach Clint Kinnamon. 

Osborne delivered 14 points, five assists and clutch 7 of 8 foul shooting and strong defense on Steele Wolters. He converted two free throws after a steal on Osborne’s Wolters for a 34-32 lead late in regulation. Osborne’s Kade Miller forced overtime on a rebound basket off a long rebound.

“That was a big-time defensive play by Mason Osborne,” Kinnamon said. “Mason defended Wolters really well because of his length.”

Tanner Halling delivered 13 points, 12 rebounds and six blocked shots to disrupt Osborne’s inside offense. Halling played 10 minutes and fouled out against Hanover.

“It was pretty big to play defense like that,” Halling said. “That was a game-changer. I’m just reading the plays, playing the game. It felt good after playing 10 minutes last night. We’ve beaten the odds so far.” 

Trey Fisher provided a second defensive answer by shutting down Bulldog standout Darnell Holloway after an 11-point first half. Holloway scored 13 points, but managed 1 of 9 shooting after halftime.

Fisher accomplished the defensive trick by overplaying Holloway and denying him the basketball.

“I sat on his left shoulder,” Fisher said. “Our team really stepped up tonight. We’re glad to get the opportunity to play in a state championship game.”

Kinnamon said Fisher exhibited heart and desire defensively.

“We wanted to push Holloway out on the floor as far as we could,” Kinnamon said. “If you take his jump hook away andmake him shoot jump shots, he’s not near as effective a scorer. Trey did a great job establishing position, pushing him further out.”

The Tigers outscored the Bulldogs 17-3 at the free throw line by attacking the basket. St. John has won six state basketball titles, four under coach Kinnamon.

St. John 11 9 4 10 9 – 43

Osborne 8 10 5 11 3 – 37

ST. JOHN (22-4)—Tanner Halling  4-12 5-7 15, Osborne 3-13 7-8 14, Fisher 2-3 1-4 5, Eddy Calleros 0-1 0-0 0, McVey 1-1 1-2 3, Collin Halling 0-0 2-4 2, Marshall Woolf 2-6 1-4 6, Totals 12-36 17-29 43

OSBORNE (23-1)—Darnell Holloway 6-19 1-1 13, Wolters 3-11 2-2 11, Stull0-2 0-0 0, Darrien Holloway 1-6 0-0 2, Miller 3-5 0-4 6, Wherry 2-10 0-0 4, Totals 15-55 3-7 37

3-pointers—SJ 2-3 (Osborne 1-1, M. Woolf 1-2), O 4-15 (Wolters 3-7, Darrien Holloway 1-2, Darnell Holloway 0-2, Wherry 0-3); Rebounds—SJ 37 (T. Halling 12), O 35 (Darnell Holloway 9); Assists—SJ 6 (Osborne 5); Steals—SJ 5 (T. Halling 2), O 4; TO—SJ 13, O 8