HUTCHINSON, Kan.—Scott City owns 3A. With Saturday’s state championship over top-seeded Humboldt, the Beavers became the only team in the history of the classification to win three consecutive state championships. Scott City became champions yet again by a score of 74-55, completely dominating the Cubs of Humboldt. The last time Scott City won a state title before this historic run was 2006 in 4A.
The last team to win back-to-back state titles was Wichita Collegiate in 2009 and then again in 2010. Scott City took over from there.
The Beavers seized control of the game from the opening tip and never trailed. They scored the game’s first points and was always in control of the game. It was a team that had won two state championships before on the same court and the group was not going to lose this one.
Earlier in the season, Scott City won big on the road, but head coach Glenn O’Neil’s two sons, Brett and Trey, didn’t shoot too well.
“We got back (from that game) and they got back in the gym that same night and shot 400 three-pointers,” said coach O’Neil.
That hard work and focus, said Brett, is what can be credited for the first-ever run.
“Focus the whole year,” said Brett O’Neil. “We didn’t want to overlook anyone. We knew our games were counting down near the end of the season. We’re a special group of boys; we’ve been playing together since second grade.”
Often times, that’s what it takes to win a championship. This is a team that had guys that knew exactly what the other guys were going to do.
Scott City was systematic in its demolition of the Cubs. It looked as though Humboldt was just another mid-season team in the middle of January that happened to be in the crosshairs of Scott City.
Humboldt was not, in fact, just some team. The Cubs were 24-0 entering the state championship and looking to move to 25-0, but the Beavers were just too much.
Scott City had four players score in double figures, led by Drew Kite with 23. Scott City’s other big man, Joseph Meyer, dropped 20 points and Trey O’Neil scored 17 and brother Brett added another 13 points.
Humboldt’s Tanner McNutt led all players with 28 points, including 5 three-pointers.
Garden Plain girls fall just short of Burlington
Garden Plain head coach Sarah McCormick told her team after the state championship loss that the Lady Owls still had a great season, despite a second-place finish.
The Burlington girls entered the state tournament riding high on a 23-0 record. Between Garden Plain and Burlington, the record in the state championship game was 49-1 with Garden Plain at 24-1.
It was clear Garden Plain suffered from big-game jitters and Burlington didn’t. Early on in the second quarter, the Lady Wildcats led 22-11 and didn’t look back en route to a 52-42 final.
The Lady Owls eventually found a rhythm, but could never cut the lead to more than five or six points. Garden Plain actually outscored Burlington 27-24 in the second half, but it just wasn’t enough.
Burlington went to the free-throw line more than a few times in the final three minutes and drained virtually all its free throws to keep Garden Plain at arm’s length, despite going just 8-for-16 from the line on the game.
“It’s been a mission for these girls,” said head coach Doug Stewart. “We got to the championship game last year; overtime, didn’t finish. It seemed like an eternity to get back here, but once we did, boom! We were here.”
Burlington hadn’t been pushed too much during the regular season or sub-state, but a tough draw in the state tournament showed the character of the Lady Wildcats.
“I thought our kids played great defense,” said Stewart. “Tonight was about rebounding and defense.”
It was a tough pill to swallow for a splendid Garden Plain team that finished the season at 24-2.
“Things are a lot easier when the ball goes in,” said McCormick. “When you’re struggling and the ball gets taken from you from time to time, you're going to get frustrated.”