CLAFLIN, Kan, - The Central Plains Oilers won over the St. John Tigers by a score of 45 to 32 in a matchup of the top two ranked teams in Class 1A.
Both teams entered the night with undefeated records. St. John brought a team with three players of six-foot five-inches or taller. Central Plains might not have the height, only two players stand taller than six-foot, but they make up for it with speed and strength.
The game saw up and down the court action from both teams. Central Plains saw more success on breakaway plays that helped them to build a six-point cushion for most of the game.
The teams would trade buckets at times, but St. John could not chip past the Oiler lead when it got down to six points.
Myles Menges hit two timely three-pointers as part of a 10 - 0 run in the third quarter to separate the teams far enough to put the game in the hands of the Oilers.
Brett Liebl lead all scorers with 14 points. His Oiler teammate Alex Hickel came close with 13 total points.
For St. John, Tanner Halling scored 13 points and Mason Osborne tallied eight.
"I thought we ran our offense really well," said St. John Head Coach Clint Kinnamon. "We got great shots but you gotta knock it out."
"We were very inconsistent tonight," said Central Plains Head Coach Brett Rolfs. "A better defense will make you inconsistent too. That was the best defense we've seen so far this year."
"I have a lot of respect for what they do," said Coach Kinnamon, "I think the feeling is mutual. It's going to be a great game any time we meet."
The teams will meet again for a Central Prairie League matchup in January. They potentially could face off in the St. John Lion Club Mid-Winter Classic also in January. With both teams now in Class 1A, they could also square off in the State Tournament in Dodge City for a fourth possible game in one season.
Both teams will take on sides from the Central Kansas League on Friday.
St. John will host the Hesston Swathers for a home game.
Central Plains will travel to Haven to face the Wildcats.