The St. John Tigers 6th, 7th and 8th grade basketball team had a very successful 31-7 summer playing MAYB and summer league basketball this year. Playing in five tournaments from as far east as Wichita and on westward to Fort Hays gave the young Tigers valuable experience matched-up against some good competition, especially in the Hays, Great Bend and Wichita tournaments.
The team, coached by Danny Smith, was made up of mostly 8th graders along with one 7th and one 6th grader.
Coach Smith had some really good talent to work with - a group of boys who were well-versed in the game, handled the ball well along with making few turnovers, and played a fast paced offensive and defensive game to overcome a distinctive height disadvantage in many of their games. However, the Tigers did have an “ace in the hole” with their 6'1” postman Chase Fisher who played an important role on both sides of the ball.
Those playing were Joel Ibarra, Chase Fisher, Keven Neri-Leon, Eddy Ibarra, Quincy Smith and Luke Mercer- all eighth graders. Mason Osborne was the lone seventh-grader and Trey Fisher, the lone sixth-grader.
The Tigers took home a perfect 6-0 record in Hay's Round Ball Classic June 1-2, defeating three teams, each twice - the Lakin Broncs, the Garden City Wolf-Pack and the Dodge City Spurs.
Wichita's Summer Kickoff was next in line with 64 teams entered with the Tigers taking home five wins and three losses. On the first day, the boys defeated the Wichita Angels 46-35, the Emporia Jr. Spartans 34-32 and lost to the Oklahoma City Nuggets 50-54. On June 8 they lost a close one to the Colorado Rebels 37-40 and received a BYE. On the final day the Tigers defeated Beatrice, Nebraska 49-37 and the Tulsa Burners 37-33, then lost to the Colorado Miners 29-33. The Tigers placed second in the consolation bracket.
In Sterling's Summer League during the month of June, the 8th boys defeated Buhler (Barber) 26-22, Ellsworth 72-40, Haven 47-12, Buhler (Lackey) 49-33, lost to Hutchinson 21-34, defeated Hutch Trinity 43-29, Hoisington 65-6 and Larned 67-23 – the result, getting a first place with a 7-1 record.
Late in June they played in the Great Bend/Ellinwood Tournament, getting 3 wins and 3 loses. The Tigers lost their first two games, each by one point, losing to the Holcomb Ballerz 34-35 and to Hoisington 39-40, then defeated Claflin 44-28. On the final day they defeated Buhler (Barber) 38-35, lost to Pratt 45-54 and defeated the Holcomb Ballerz 38-35 for third place.
In Skyline's Summer League, the Tigers defeated Kiowa County 56-15, Skyline 46-15, Macksville 63-24, Attica 50-21, Kingman 43-18, South Central 56-16, Pretty Prairie 56-19, Pretty Prairie 67-21, Skyline 43-12 and Macksville 71-21 – placing first with a 10-0 record.
“This was a very fun, hard working group of guys to coach,” said coach Smith. “They are at such a huge advantage playing together as a school team all summer long. Smith continued saying, “Most teams we play are all star teams, especially in MAYB. The fact that these guys can compete with those teams gives them a promising future. I think they'll be fun to watch in years to come.”
Vance Fisher helped Smith with the coaching.