The Class 2A Boys State Quarterfinal bracket stayed the course with only one upset between No. 2 Valley Falls and No. 7 Pittsburg Colgan.
Wade, St. John blow past Washington County
Dean Wade scored 22 points and grabbed six rebounds and Zuriel Reyes added 10 points as St. John (24-0) beat Washington County 69-42.
With the win, the Tigers advance to face No. 4 Olpe on Friday at 4:45 p.m.
Kyle McGatlin led Washington County (14-9) with his 12-point performance while Konnor Penning grabbed 10 rebounds.
Washington County stayed with striking distance with an 11-11 first quarter, but a Wade dunk to close the quarter gave St. John its needed burst.
“You start to think that those kids have all been in big games and they’ve been there before,” St. John coach Clint Kinnamon said. “Except for sub-state and our midseason tournament where the gym’s packed, well then not necessarily. “They played with some nerves early, but thankfully got rid of them.”
St. John forced Washington County into 18 turnovers for the night and also held a 38-32 rebound advantage thanks to Wade, who stands 6-foot-8, and 6-foot-3 Jesus Alvarez.
St. John pushed its lead to as many 30 points, which allowed Kinnamon to sit a number of his key contributors for most of the second half.
The Tigers, who won the Class 1A-Division I title last season, are not strangers to big leads as they had seen running clocks in 15 of their previous 23 games.
Inside game pushes Eagles past Trojans
Olpe coach Chris Schmidt knew Hillsboro’s scouting report.
With two strong scoring options in Christian Ratzlaff and Brett Weinbrenner, Schmidt wanted to deliver the first blow to the Trojans (20-4).
The Eagles delivered on their coach’s wishes and cruised to a 59-42 victory.
Beau Krueger led all scorers with 18 points while Toby Smith chipped in 14 points to pace the Eagles (21-3).
“We were on top and we didn’t want to have to chase them,” Schmidt said. “Because they have two or three pretty good kids to chase so I was glad we could set the tempo and they had to chase us all night.”
Hillsboro, a team particularly strong on the perimeter, was unable to withstand the push of Krueger and Chance Stout in the interior. The duo combined for 11 first quarter points that came solely from inside the paint.
“They’re a physical team, but I don’t think they are as deep as us,” Schmidt said. “I think all that pounding inside wore some of those kids out.”
Olpe pushed maintained a double-digit in the second quarter and little changed in the second half.
Hillsboro didn’t score until the 2:39 mark of the third quarter and the Eagles took advantage.
Krueger and company continued to penetrate Hillsboro’s defense as they opened up as much as a 22-point lead.
“We were just flat all around,” Hillsboro head coach Darrel Knoll said. “Got caught on blocking out, but it’s hard to say. I didn’t think we’d play like this by any means. This is not the team we’ve been all year.”
Late run sends Panthers to semifinals
Having a deep bench was an advantage Pittsburg-Colgan coach Wayne Cichon hoped he could use to his to his benefit.
After facing a 47-36 deficit with 49 seconds left in the third quarter, the depth paid off for the Panthers (19-4) as they used a 24-10 to close out No. 2 Valley Falls 60-57 in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Pittsburg-Colgan advances and will face No. 3 Plainville at 8:15 p.m. on Friday night.
Austin Commons scored 23 points to lead Pittsburg-Colgan while Ian Dunan also chipped in 19 points.
Luke Burns led the Dragons with 18 points on 4-8 shooting from beyond the arc.
“We rotate a lot of kids in and out,” Cichon said. “We try to go 9-10 deep if we can depending on the personnel of the other team. What we wanted to do is make the game a full court game, wear down the opponent and not panic if we went down eight or even 10 or 12 points. Our kids took that attitude into the game and executed it perfectly.”
The Dragons (22-2) led for the game’s first 26:30, but struggled from the field after giving up the lead for good.
“That’s the usual,” Cichon said of the team’s late offensive and defensive spurt. “That’s what we see against good teams.”
Plainville advances for the first time in 30 years
The players and coaches knew it and the fans showed in numbers to prove it. Playing in its first state tournament in 20 years, Plainville (22-2) was ready for its moment on the state tournament stage.
Meade (20-4), a team who had reached the championship game the last two seasons, provided a tough draw, but the Cardinals responded.
Hadley Gillum scored 20 points and tallied an astonishing 23 rebounds as Plainville defeated the Buffaloes 46-41 to win its first quarterfinal game since 1984.
Plainville coach Chris Drees knew it’d take a special performance and they delivered.
“They had a definite advantage,” Drees said. “I told my boys that ‘they have been there, done that.’ They’ve played six games the last two years and they aren’t going to be afraid of the big stage. We had to defend and we had to defend at an elite level and we did that.”
Despite the lack of postseason experience, a player of Gillum’s caliber made up for the difference on the offensive and defensive end of the floor.
The senior big man nearly picked up a triple-double as he finished with six blocked shots on the night.
The Buffaloes provided a more physical approach compared to Plainville’s full-court style of play and it nearly paid off for the No. 6 Buffaloes.
After surrendering its lead for the first time in the third quarter, Plainville responded with Gillum’s play providing the necessary push.
Jett Little drained his lone 3-pointer of the game with 2:32 left, but the Cardinals found their answer in No. 4.
Gillum mustered up the energy to knock down a corner 3-pointer just 20 seconds after and the basket gave the Cardinals the final basket it needed.
Plainville held Meade scoreless over the final minute as Gillum closed out the game with two free throws with 25 seconds left.