“I am very excited about our upcoming (high school) season and many to come,” said St. John's basketball coach Clint Kinnamon after coaching his St. John Tigers MAYB summer basketball team to a 29-4 record playing numerous MAYB tournament games and in Larned's Summer League.
The St. John fans that have seen the Tigers play this summer can see why Kinnamon thinks that way. The Tigers are penetrating better, rebounding better and just playing better defense. They're shutting down their larger and taller opponents from getting the inside pass for the score, and many of St. John's points are coming from the Tiger guards quickness on defense, swiping the ball and heading down court for the score.
The Tigers are still shooting the three with success with Kade Kinnamon and Zuriel Reyes doing much of the damage.
And its not just the top five or six players showing improvement, but pretty much the whole team. Needless to say, the Tigers are oozing with talent this year.
Part if that has got to be their busy summer tournament schedule and the caliber of teams the Tigers are facing.
With at least five games guaranteed (and usually more) in each tournament, the fans who love basketball were in for a special treat.
Having MAYB tournaments in Hays, Hutchinson, Maize and Kingman have given the Tigers opportunities to “show their stuff” to the larger schools and their fans. And so they did by butting heads with some very experienced, tall and athletic teams. Teams such as Missouri's ABA Supreme Red, the Oklahoma Outlaws, Scott City, Anger Management, Hays, the South Central Kansas All-Stars, Derby, Haven, the Wichita All-Stars and the Falcons All-Stars made up of last year's seniors.
“St. John beat several teams of graduates,” said Kinnamon. “Some will be playing at the D-2 level next season. The Tigers played very well in almost all games.”
The biggest tournament was the National Kickoff held in Hutch with 60 teams entered from six States. The Tigers played in the Hays Tournament and also played in the Maize and Kingman tournaments. Several of the Kingman Tournament games had double digit leads for the Tigers against players from 4A-6A teams.
“At the Hays MAYB Round Ball Classic, St. John took 4th Place in the 'A' Bracket and had a 4-2 record against 15 teams,” said Kinnamon. “We lost at the buzzer in one of those losses. Trey Nelson injured his knee in the other loss.”
“We didn't have any close games in the nine team Maize tourney.” We played very well and went 5-0.
At the (16 team) Kingman MAYB we took 1st Place with a 6-0 record. Kade hit a buzzer-beater to beat the Wichita All-Stars. In Hutch we placed fourth with a 6-1 record, loosing to Scott City in the semi's. (Scott City played three graduating starters off their state championship game.) St. John played very good ball and knocked off three AAU teams.”
It was easy to see how improved the Tigers have become throughout these last two months.
Kade Kinnamon, Zuriel Reyes, Jesus Alvarex, Jacob Milton, Gera Calleros, Jorge Calleros, Cole Kinnamon Juan Neri-Leon and Omar Portillo – all have lifted the team and have given the Tigers improved strength and depth for the upcoming season.
Spencer Nusser did his usual job underneath and at the free throw line and was the lone senior from last year and played in some of the tournaments.
Missing were Dean Wade and Trey Nelson out due to injury early on in the summer season. Add those two talented athletes and the Tigers will be a very formidable group come this December.
Playing in JV (MAYB) games were Omar Portillo. Sammy Ramirez along with Ryan Woodward both played on the JV and 8th grade team.
The others on the 8th grade team were Cade Roberts, Derek Hacker, Pat Doran, Mario Ibarra and Nick Schwein. Nathan Ward and Josue Ramirez played in the Summer League.