A basketball state title does not guarantee success the following season. St. John is out to prove that, in their case, it does. Central Plains also had an impressive opening night with two wins, and the Victoria girls nearly knocked off a state champion.

St. John

The reigning champion Tiger boys had no trouble dispatching Pratt-Skyline 95-35 in Friday’s season-opener. St. John flexed its muscles on both ends of the court to lead 62-14 at the half and 88-27 heading into the fourth quarter. Eleven Tigers scored in the game, led by 26 points from Zuriel Reyes. The senior connected on 6-of-7 three-point tries. Dean Wade and sophomore Jacob Milton each scored 15 points, and freshman Jorge Calleros got his feet wet with nine points. The Kinnamon brothers: freshman Cole and senior Kade, split 13 assists. Calleros paced the team with six rebounds.

The Lady Tigers also dominated the T-Birds for a 49-19 win. The game was much closer than that until St. John outscored Skyline 19-1 in the final eight minutes of play. The Tiger defense did not allow a field goal in the first half. Teresa Christie was the go-to all night with 26 points.

Central Plains

The Oiler basketball teams tipped-off the 2013-14 campaign with a bang on Friday, dominating Highway 4 rival Hoisington in back-to-back contests. The Lady Oilers doubled-up the Class 3A Cardinals 60-30, and the Central Plains boys followed up with a 79-33 win.

The girls opened up a 32-11 halftime lead and pushed the gap to 51-22 heading into the final quarter. Sophomore guard Reagan Phelan swished five threes en route to a 19-point night. Sophomore Taylor Rolfs added 14 points, and senior Breanna Holmes finished with seven points. The boys put up a lot of points quick, leading 29-7 after one quarter and 55-14 by the half. They pushed the lead to 77-28 heading into the fourth quarter. The relatively young Oilers scattered the scoring. Sophomore Michael Ryan led the way with 16 points, followed by 14 points apiece from sophomore Braeden Crites and juniors Layne Bieberle and Michael Lamatsch. Senior Konnor Hickel hit two threes and finished with 13 points.

LaCrosse

The Leopard football team made it all way to the Class 2A championship game. Friday, several of those athletes traded sports to get a win on the basketball court. LaCrosse traveled to Greensburg to take down Kiowa County 53-47. After falling behind 18-10 in the first eight minutes, the Leopards won each of the final three quarters for the victory. Senior Taylor Yohe scored a game-high 18 points. Senior Lucas Moeder was the only other Leopard to reach double-figures, finishing with 10 points. Junior Jack Garcia knocked down two threes and finished with eight points.

The Lady Leopards struggled offensively, never scoring more than nine points in a quarter in a 52-28 loss to the Mavs. LaCrosse was still in the game at 27-17 at the half, but Kiowa finished strong with a 15-5 fourth quarter. Morgan West scored seven points in the loss.

Macksville

The Mustang football team turned in a rare losing season. Several of those athletes turned to basketball where they put on an offensive clinic against Ness City on Friday. Leading just 10-9 after one quarter, the Stangs went on to lead 32-23 by the half. Macksville outscored the Eagles 51-34 in the second half for an 83-57 win. Senior Jordan Welch hit 6-of-10 three-point tries to finish with 26 points. Senior Tanner Tranbarger also reached 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Senior Simon Miller also had a nice game offensively with 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Miller filled the stat sheet in the first game of the season with eight boards, seven assists, and five steals. Tranbarger added five assists and five steals, and junior Kaden Herman grabbed seven boards.

The Lady Stangs dropped their opener to the Eagles 54-30.

Victoria

Smith Center is a perennial Class 2A contender. Friday night, the reigning 2A champs needed everything they had to get by Victoria 42-39. The Lady Knights came out flat and fell behind 16-8. They trimmed that lead to 19-18 by the half, and outscored the Red 16-14 in the final eight minutes to keep things close. Smith Center made 19-of-29 free throws in the win, compared to just 13 free throws attempted by Victoria. Kristin Huser swished three threes to lead the Knights with 17 points. She also came up with six steals and five rebounds. Audra Nowak added 10 points and a game-high seven rebounds.

The Victoria boys quickly erased a 14-6 deficit to lead 25-17 at the half. They never looked back in a 53-40 win against the Redmen. Clayton Roth scored 14 points in the win, and Noah Dreiling notched his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Tanner Hobbs scored nine points, Bryan Dome added seven points, and Connor Gagnon grabbed nine boards to go along with five points.

Kinsley

Tyler Espinosa’s big night was not enough to lift the Coyotes by Sublette in Friday’s season-opener. Espinosa scored 28 points, but Sublette ran away with things in the first three quarters, leading 43-25 at the half and 63-35 heading into the fourth quarter. Austin Boggs added seven points.

The Lady Coyotes won their game against the Lady Larks 47-41.