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NWKL Champions!

Indians Earn Overtime Win

The Indians earned a come-from-behind overtime win to win the Northwest Kansas League Tournament Championship on Saturday, January 22. The Indians defeated a previously unbeaten Hoxie team 66-58 to earn the honor. The Indians received nine or more points from four players enroute to the victory. The game featured 13 lead changes, 7 ties, and was exceptionally well-played in many areas.

Brock Waters opened the contest scoring an offensive rebound basket. Hoxie's Logan Weimer (5' 9" sophomore) soon answered with a right-wing trey. Two free-throws by Sean Robbine (6' 5" sophomore) gave Hoxie a 2-5 advantage momentarily, but a post basket by Quinton Cravens (assist Jeremiah Neitzel) and a Neitzel free-throw tied the game at 5-all at 2:26. Hoxie regained the lead scoring the final two baskets of the first period; both post baskets by Latham Schwartz (5' 8" junior). St. Francis trailed 5-9 after one period of play.

Hoxie extended their lead in the second period, but the Indians fought back within one by halftime. Jeremiah Neitzel's opening score (assist Taylor Rogers) was soon offset by an offensive rebound basket by Jarod Dible (5' 11" sophomore). After a stick-back basket by Quinton Cravens, Hoxie earned consecutive baskets by Easton Slipke (5' 10" junior) and Weimer--both treys extending the Hoxie lead to 9-17. An 11-point St. Francis run ending with a Brady Dinkel trey at 1:12 put St. Francis back in the lead 20-17. In the run, the Indians received a low-post bucket from Cravens (plus one, assist Jeremiah Neitzel), offensive rebound baskets by Cravens and Brock Waters, and free-throws by Tate Busse and Cravens. Hoxie scored the final basket of the first half making the score 20-19 at halftime.

Hoxie scored the first basket of the third period to reclaim the lead. Jeremiah Neitzel soon answered with a score for the Indians (22-21). Taylor Rogers' assist set up a right-wing basket by Quinton Cravens. At 4:15, a trey by Slipke put Hoxie back in front (24-25). The lead changes would continue throughout the third quarter as the two strong teams battled. On the next possession, a drive by Tate Busse gave the Indians the lead again. Hoxie responded with a trey and top-of-the-key score by Schwartz increasing the lead to 26-30. Baskets by Cravens and Brady Dinkel (trey, assist Neitzel) placed St. Francis at a 31-30 advantage with 2:25 left in the period. The lead would change hands four more times in the next minute and a half -- two Robben free-throws, a left-wing shot by Dinkel, and offensive rebound by Schwartz, and drive by Brock Waters. Waters' baseline jumper gave the Indians a 37-34 advantage with 50 seconds remaining, but the narrow lead was trimmed with 4 seconds on the clock by a shot in the lane by Dible. St. Francis still lead by one, 37-36, at the end of the third period.

Dible's next shot placed Hoxie back in front, but Dalton Straub soon answered (39-39). Waters then answered a Weimer score with a driving basket. On the next Hoxie possession, Slipke drained a deep trey. At 5:40, Robben, who had spent much of the second and third quarters on the bench in foul trouble, scored from the post giving Hoxie a 41-46 advantage. Dalton Straub countered for the Indians about a minute later triggering a Hoxie time-out with 4:35 to go. On the first Hoxie possession after the time-out, Tate Busse earned a steal-two closing the gap to 45-46. At 3:48, Slipke scored for Hoxie on a offensive rebound (plus one) increasing the margin to four points. The Indians answered with a post basket by Jeremiah Neitzel. At 2:25, Quinton Cravens driving score tied the contest at 49-all. About a minute later, Robben scored on a well-executed pick-and-roll for Hoxie. Hoxie called time-out to discuss strategy at 1:14. As they usually do, the Indians had played most of the contest with just a few fouls. Possibly needing to place Hoxie in the 1-&-1 to control action in the final moments, the Indians began to give a few fouls moving Hoxie closer to the bonus. After three Indian fouls, Hoxie finally moved into the bonus with 50.6 seconds to go. Slipke made one-of-two giving Hoxie a 49-52 lead. Brock Waters' assist lead to a post score by Cravens on the Indians' goal. Again, the Indians fouled. Schwartz missed the front-end of the 1-&-1 and Waters gathered in the rebound. With 27.5 seconds left, the Indians called a time-out. The Indians got two quick shots, but missed both tries. With 7.5 seconds to go, Brady DInkel was fouled. Brady sank one-of-two to tie the contest at 52-all. Hoxie called another time-out to set up their final shot attempt. After a missed attempt by Schwartz, the game moved to overtime.

St. Francis had not lead since late in the third period, but regained the advantage by scoring the first two buckets of the extra period. Quinton Cravens' driving score was followed by a Hoxie turnover on the ensuing possession. St. Francis capitalized by connecting on a left-baseline shot by Brock Waters to lead 56-52. After two Hoxie free-throws, Jeremiah Neitzel scored from the post (2:00). The next Hoxie possession ended with a missed shot. Cravens grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Cravens failed to cash-in on the charity toss. Leading by four, the Indians were deliberate offensively. At 1:17, Waters connected on two free-throws extending the lead to 60-54. At the opposite goal, Hoxie quickly scored on another pick-and-roll play (60-56). Another Hoxie foul sent Waters back to the line where he converted 1-of-2. With 57.7 seconds to go, the ball went out-of-bounds to St. Francis after another Hoxie miss. After two free-throws by Tate Busse, Hoxie scored on a fast-break basket moving the score to 63-58. With the Indians having the advantage and being cautious offensively, the Indians capitalized on two more Hoxie fouls with free-throws by Waters and Busse. In the final seconds, Busse blocked a Hoxie three-point attempt sealing a 66-58 victory.

Hoxie was led in scoring by Slipke and Schwartz; each with 18 points. Hoxie converted 9 of 13 attempts from the free-throw line.

St. Francis received balanced scoring getting 20 from Quinton Cravens, 16 from Brock Waters 16, and 10 from Tate Busse. Several other Indians also contributed well. Brady Dinkel added 9, Jeremiah Neitzel 7, and Dalton Straub 4. The Indians made 14 of 23 from the line.

St. Francis will play Rawlins County on Tuesday, January 24, in St. Francis.

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St. Francis 100 College Street St. Francis, KS  67756

Superintendent's Office: 785-332-8182 High School Office: 785-332-8153 Elementary Office: 785-332-8143

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