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Indians Lose Semi-Final to Buffs

The Indians lost to the Rawlins County Buffaloes on Friday afternoon in the semi-final round of the Northwest Kansas League Basketball Tournament. The Buffs jumped out to 0-7 lead early in the contest and gradually extended the margin to 20 points in the third period. The Indians trimmed into the lead to three, but lost the game 53-63. The loss moved the Indians into the third place contest against Dighton. Dighton was defeated by Hoxie in their semi-final contest on Friday.

The Buffaloes opened the game with a basket in the lane by Nick Withington (6' 1" Sr.) after an nice assist by Jorge Chacon (5' 10" Jr.). A free-throw by Braden Leitner (5' 6" Sr.) preceded a Leitner assist to Withington on a fast-break. Leitner's driving basket moved the score to 0-7. St. Francis used their first time-out at 3:29 attempting to re-group. Eight seconds after returning to the court, Dalton Straub scored from the post. The Indians also changed to a zone defense which continued throughout most of the contest. A right-corner trey by Leitner extended the Rawlins County (RC) lead to 2-10. Tate Busse answered with a left-wing trey for the Indians. A post basket by RC's Lane Hemel (6' 2" Sr.) preceded a driving basket by Busse. An nice assist by Straub on a back-door cut by Busse accounted for the final basket of the first period. St. Francis trailed 9 -12.

The Indians' play continued to improve in the second period. Tate Busse opened the quarter with a free-throw area jumper. After a right-wing basket by RC's Marvin Sanchez (5' 10" Jr.), Adam Krien added a bucket from the left-corner. At 5:55, a left-corner trey by Busse gave the Indians a 16-15 lead. Both teams then went over two minutes without any additional scoring, and at 3:53, the Buffs called time-out for strategy. On the next RC possession, Braden Leitner drained a right-wing trey returning the Buffs to the lead. Moments later, Dalton Straub scored on a baseline drive (18-18). The St. Francis lead had only lasted one possession, but worse was to come. Rawlins County scored the next four baskets. Leitner drained another corner trey on an out-of-bounds play, and then tossed in a trey from the left wing. Sanchez followed with a trey, and Withington scored from the post. The Buffs' lead jumped to 18-29. Dalton Straub ended the RC run with a stick-back basket at 1:45. The Indians had gone nearly four minutes without a score. Arie Olson (6' 1" Jr) added a basket on a back-door cut, and Chacon added a fast-break basket after a Leitner assist. The margin grew to thirteen points (20-33). Brady Dinkel added a free-throw in the closing moments of the first half. St. Francis trailed 21-33 at halftime.

On the first possession of the second half, Dalton Straub scored from the high post. The Buffs would score the next four buckets. RC's Olsen answered from the post at the opposite end on the Buff's first possession. Chacon added a lay-up on a fast-break when the Indians failed to transition defensively. After an Indian turnover, Chacon scored again. A Leitner trey from the left-wing moved the scoreboard to 23-42. A basket by K.C. Krien stopped the Buffs' run, but a deep right-wing trey by Leitner, his 6th of the game, increased the margin to 20 (25-45) at 5:25. Tate Busse followed with a trey, but Hemel added a stick-back basket. The Indians would earn a run of their own; looking very sharp while doing so. Richard Johnson made one-of-two after being fouled on an offensive rebound, and Busse added another trey from the left side. A steal by K.C. Krien led to a driving score by Busse (plus one). Brady Dinkel's assist set up a Johnson basket on a nice cut through the lane. With 43 seconds left in the half, Busse was called for a charge while driving to the goal. Leading 37-47, the Buffs worked the ball deliberately to use most of the final minute. With 2 seconds left, Chacon drained a three-ball from the right-wing. St. Francis trailed 37-50 after three quarters of play.

St. Francis opened the final period with a flurry. On the opening possession, Dalton Straub scored from the high post. Straub connected from the right corner on the next St. Francis possession. Brady Dinkel swished a deep trey narrowing the margin to 44-50 and triggering a RC time-out at 6:29. At 5:45, another Dinkel trey moved the Indians within 3 (47-50). Then it was the Buffaloes' time for a bit of momentum. A nice pass from Leitner led to a score by Olson on a well-executed pick-and-roll play. At 5:20, Leitner scored again (plus one). Thirty seconds later, an assist by Leitner set up a Withington basket making the spread 10 points again (47-57). Neither team scored for over two minutes while both teams picked up charging fouls on aggressive plays. At 2:16, St. Francis called time-out. Returning to the floor with full-court pressure, Leitner's assist to Chacon ended a successful press-offensive possession (47-59). St. Francis used another time-out at 1:54, but failed to score. The next RC basket came on a break when Chacon made an assist to Sanchez. With 54.8 seconds to go, Straub's assist led to a Busse score on a break (plus one). Brennan Dixon (6' 1" Jr.) scored the final RC basket. St. Francis added a final trey by Busse, his 4th of the game, but could not overcome the deficit from earlier in the contest. St. Francis lost to a good Rawlins County team 53-63.

Rawlins County had two players in double-figures; Braden Leitner with 24 and Jorge Chacon with 14. Nick Withington chipped in 8 to the Buffs' cause. Rawlins County made 2 of 3 from the line and committed 14 fouls.

St. Francis was led in scoring by Tate Busse with 24 points. Dalton Straub added 15. Others scoring for the Indians included Brady Dinkel 7, Richard Johnson 3, Adam Krien 2, and K.C. Krien 2. The Indians made 4 of 7 from the stripe, were whistled for only 6 fouls, and had 12 turnovers.

The Indians will play Dighton for third place in the NWKL Tournament on Saturday, January 20.

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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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