One down and possibly three more to go as the #1 ranked St. John-Hudson Tiger men defeated 7th ranked Central Plains in their first basketball encounter this year, defeating the Oilers 67-43.

One down and possibly three more to go as the #1 ranked St. John-Hudson Tiger men defeated 7th ranked Central Plains in their first basketball encounter this year, defeating the Oilers 67-53.

The Tigers just might come head-to-head with Claflin in St. John's Mid-Winter Classic, will play at Claflin in early February and possibly meet up in the Kiowa County Sub-State in early March.

The Tigers, who have been at the top of the rankings so far have showcased some really good players, and Friday night was no exception.

However, a sophomore forward's play deserves a mention. Jacob Milton, who has shown tons of improvement this past year continues his steady climb playing for a very well-balanced squad, a team that has gained the respect and notice by more and more basketball fans around the state as the season rolls on.

In Friday's game, the Tigers took complete control in the first quarter with the help of Zuriel Reyes's four straight three-pointers, a feat that was earlier accomplished by Kade Kinnamon at Larned's Keady Classic (Kinnamon made 25 points then.)

Milton made two “three's” the hard way by getting fouled in the act of shooting and making both free throws. Dean Wade, St. John's version of a fly swatter, claimed much of the paint as his territory, first showing his presence by swatting a layup early in the quarter. That sent a strong message to the Oilers that in half-court play they would have to rely more on the outside shot. But St. John's guards had something to say about that and just about shut down Central Plains offense, the Tigers moving on into the second quarter ahead 25-10.

The Tigers kept on building their lead in the second quarter, forcing the Central Plains coach to call a time-out at the 5:32 mark. The Oilers countered,scoring several baskets and shaving two points from St. John's lead, with the Tigers leading at the half 37-24.

Scoring for the quarter had Wade making a long three, part of eight second quarter points. Reyes made a basket, Gera Calleros and Jorge Calleros each made a free throw.

St. John made six baskets and one free throw in the third quarter with Wade adding seven points to his 13 first half points. Jorge Calleros made two baskets and Reyes made one basket, Central Plains narrowing St. John's lead 50-39.

“ At times we played pretty well on both ends of the floor, however, we have to get to where we sustain our good effort said St. John's coach Clint Kinnamon. “There were stretches where I thought we did not compete very well, we just kind of went through the motions on offense and defense.”

“I kept telling our guys that Central Plains was a team that was not going to go away and we needed to continue with the pedal down. We didn't and so consequently kind of let them back in the game a couple of times. We would stretch the lead back out to around 20 and then let up again. We have to get to where it is great effort from everyone for 32 minutes.”

The Tigers widened there lead in the final quarter. With the Tigers ahead by at least 18 points, St. John's head coach Clint Kinnamon took his starters out for the rest of the game.

Wade added six more points to his total, Reyes made his 5th 3-pointer plus two free throws, Milton had one basket and three free throws and Kade Kinnamon made one free throw.

The Tigers defeat the Oilers 67-53.

Scoring for the game: Wade 25, Reyes 23, Milton 11, Jorge Calleros 6, Kade Kinnamon 1, Gera Calleros 1.

Free throws made: 13/20 for 65 percent – Milton 5/7, Wade 3/6, Reyes 2/2, Jorge Calleros, Kade Kinnamon 1/1, 1/1, Gera Calleros 1/2, Nelson 0/1.

Three pointers: 6 (Reyes 5, Wade).

“Dean had a very nice game, going 10-13 from the field along with 8 rebounds, 5 blocks, 3 steals and 3 assists” said coach Kinnamon. Zuriel shot the ball well from 3, going 5-7. Kade had a good floor game with 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals, but we need him to score more than one point for us to be at the level we need to be.”

“Jacob played pretty well again. He made a couple of very good post moves and finished with a couple of "and one's". I thought Jorge was aggressive and had a solid game going 2-4 from the floor and 2-2 from the line. Trey did a good job on the glass with 5 rebounds.”

“I thought we got a little careless with the ball at times, which we will continue to work on in practices. It was definitely a game that helped us get better, one where mistakes that we made or our lack of effort and intensity got magnified. Showed us we are far from where we want and need to be.”

“It was good to finally have a home game and we had a great crowd. It was great to see some many former Tiger basketball players and students at the game. What an awesome community we have here in St. John.”