Victoria ends long losing streak to St. John

Victoria Knight's #11 Peyton Englert (Photo: Joey Bahr,
Victoria Knight's #11 Peyton Englert (Photo: Joey Bahr, Bahr | (Photo: Joey Bahr, www.joeybahr.)
Published: Feb. 13, 2021 at 10:29 AM CST
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VICTORIA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Victoria had 25 points after three quarters in a close game with St. John. The teams were tied at halftime. The Knights scored six third quarter points and led by two entering the fourth. Then, Victoria doubled its point total in a 50-33 home win Friday on Senior Night.

Both teams entered 6-11, a rare down year for the tradition-laden Tigers. St. John was a Class 1A Forever Four team last winter.

Danton Hilton, who captured a state title as Attica’s coach, served as SJ’s assistant last winter and took over this season once longtime coach Clint Kinnamon went to Wichita East. Hilton is a St. John alum.

“The coaching part of it has been great,” Hilton said. “We have had a really tough schedule. We have really great kids. We have a lot of people in new positions and new roles and they are getting used to me, and the tough schedule kind of makes things look a little different record-wise, but I really feel like in a week and a half when we re-set the records, we are going to be a pretty darn good basketball team – or at least a pretty tough out, one of the two. So we of course don’t compare ourselves to years past.”

Victoria, a longtime football powerhouse that reached the state semifinals last fall, was 0-15 against the Tigers since ’05. The last contest within single figures came nearly exactly 10 years ago with a 48-46 loss on Feb. 11, 2011.

“Their kids are very athletic, very fast,” Hilton said. “It’s obviously a football school, and they are going to be tough.”

Victoria led 32-29 with 6 minutes, 1 second left after a St. John basket. Senior Jason Karst, the team’s leading scorer at 11 points a contest, sunk a trey with 5:43 left. He tallied another trey 26 seconds later for a 38-29 advantage. Overall, Victoria finished 3 of 15 from long range.

“We didn’t guard a soul,” Hilton said. “We had a huge defensive miscommunication I believe when it was a three-point game. Give up a wide-open 3 to one of their best players, and then the very next possession we jogged down the court and give up another 3 to that same player at the same spot. No matter how much time is left in the fourth quarter, you can’t give up wide open looks, and we’ve just got to do a better job of staying in the game mentally.”

After the timeout, freshman Seth Schwien scored, and then Karst had an impressive play where he drove in, split the defense and tallied a layup. St. John eventually pulled its top players with 2:24 left, and Victoria subbed out its seniors to nice applause with just under 90 seconds remaining.

Victoria has four seniors, all among its top-five scorers for coach Colin Schmidtberger, a former Knight point guard. In addition to Karst, the group has Kyle Pickering, Peyton Englert, and Lucas Klein. St. John committed 20 turnovers, nine more than Victoria.

The Knights shot 38 percent from the field, while St. John was at 28 percent. Karst finished with 16 points, Pickering 12 and Schwien tallied 10. St. John junior 6-foot-7 post Elijah Delp led St. John with 17.

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