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Indians Win Opening Game of Sagebrush Tourney

The St. Francis Indians earned an opening round win in the Sagebrush Classic Basketball Tournament in Brewster on Monday, December 4. The Indians controlled Heartland Christian throughout the contest and with everyone suited getting ample playing time, the Indians cruised to a 59-34 win.

The Indians led by six after a somewhat slow offensive start in the first period and gradually increased their lead throughout the contest. Though the Indians played deliberately on offense and slowed things down (which likely helped Heartland Christian's endurance--playing only 5 players), the Indians worked the ball well as a team to get open shots. Tate Busse opened the contest with a top-of-the-key trey and a steal-two giving the Indians a 5-0 lead. Keegan Wertz (5' 11' sophomore) scored from the post for the Crusaders, and Richard Johnson soon answered with a stick-back basket. Tavean Belshe (6' 2" senior) added another Crusader basket on another offensive rebound trimming the lead to 7-4. Johnson followed with two more post baskets extending the lead to 11-4. The quarter closed after a post score by Belshe, a driving basket by Dalton Straub, and a right-wing trey by Busse. St. Francis led 14-8 after one period of action.

The Indians opened the second period with a 9-point run extending the lead to 23-10. In the run, Dalton Straub scored on a drive, Brady Dinkel sank a left-wing trey (assist Jake Faulkender), Tate Busse scored on a drive, and Straub added a post basket (assist Busse) and offensive rebound score. The run ended on a Wertz score on a nice cut to the basket. After an assist by Dinkel set up a Faulkender score in the lane, Heartland Christian took a time-out to regroup trailing 25-12. After returning to the floor the Crusaders' Landen Niblock (6' 6" senior) drained a right-wing trey. Busse answered with a trey for the Indians, but Niblock followed with a trey from the right corner trimming the margin to ten (28-18). The Indians scored the last three buckets of the period; a lane basket by Johnson (assist Busse), a Busse coast-to-coast drive, and an offensive rebound basket by Straub. St. Francis led at halftime 34-18.

The Indians opened the third period with a 6-point run getting an out-of-bounds play basket by Dalton Straub (assist Tate Busse), a Busse a score after an steal and assist by K.C. Krien, and a post basket from Straub (assist Krien). The run extended the margin to 40-18. After a free-throw by Belshe, the Indians added a Busse drive and a high-post basket by Straub (assist Busse) increasing the lead to 44-19. Another Belshe free-throw and a Niblock trey trimmed the margin a bit, but the Indians added a elbow basket by Adam Krien (assist Colton Neitzel) and a steal-two by Brady Dinkel to hold a 49-26 lead at the end of three quarters.

Niblock drained his fourth trey of the contest to open the final period. The basket reduced the Indians' advantage to 20 points (49-29). Brady Dinkel followed with a steal-two, and Jake Faulkender added an offensive rebound basket. After a couple of Crusader free-throws, Colton Neitzel scored on a nice offensive rebound basket. Kobe Tice then set up a score by Draven Houtman with an assist. The final score of the game was another Niblock trey--his 5th of the contest. St. Francis defeated Heartland Christian 59-34 to advance to the championship semi-finals of the Sagebrush Classic Basketball Tournament.

St. Francis was led in scoring by Tate Busse with 16 points. Dalton Straub added 12 and Richard Johnson 8. Others scoring for St. Francis included Brady Dinkel 7, Jake Faulkender 7, Adam Krien 3, Jesse Baxter 2, and Draven Houtman 2, and Coulton Neitzel 2. The Indians converted 1 of 3 from the line. Heartland Christian received 15 points from Lander Niblock and 7 from Tavean Belshe in the contest. The Crusaders made 5 of 17 free-throws.

The Indians will play Wichita County at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 8, in the South Gym at Brewster High School.

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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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