Hutchinson, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–In Friday’s 3A semi-final game between Scott City and Wellsville, the Beavers played like they have been there before. There were five ties and five lead changes, with all the lead changes coming in the first quarter. Scott City never trailed in the final three quarters, yet were tied only once, and advanced to their fifth straight title game with a 63-55 win over the Eagles at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
The game early on was tightly contested. Wellsville’s leads were by one point in the first quarter on three occasions, and Scott City had their biggest lead at three. In the second quarter, the Beavers started out the first half of the quarter on a 10-0 run, and led 28-18 midway through the second quarter. The Eagles, however, would make a rally, ending the final 3:05 of the half on a 10-2 run to pull to within 30-28. After Wellsville (20-5) tied the game at 32 with 6:22 left in the third period, the Beavers took the lead for good, when they would used a 9-3 run to lead 41-35 with 4:21 left in the game. Despite going on a five-minute drought in the third and early part of the fourth quarter, Scott City (24-1) only gave up three points in that span. In the final eight minutes, the closest Wellsville would get was three points on several occasions, as the Beavers were able to match the Eagles point for point, until they canned five of their last six free throws to send them to another state championship game. Scott City had only four players score, as they were led by Trey O’Neil with 33 points, his second best scoring output in his career. Sloan Baker added 16 for the Beavers despite dealing with early foul trouble. Wellsville got 21 points from Dalton Verhulst and 18 by Cole Silsby. The Beavers shot 55% from the field,while holding the Eagles to 36%.
Scott City has now reached the state championship game in seven out of their last 10 years, going 4-2 so far. This will also be their 10th state championship appearance in school history.
The Beavers will face Wichita Collegiate Saturday at 6:15 in the Class 3A State Championship. Collegiate has yet to trail in the state tournament and defeated Sabetha in the second semi-final on Friday 70-54. This will be the third time in the last nine seasons these two have met up, with the Spartans winning over Scott City in the 2007 state championship game, while the Beavers won in a thriller in the semi-final round in 2011. This will be Wichita Collegiate’s eighth state championship appearance, and the first since 2010.
The third place boys game at 2 pm will feature Sabetha and Wellsville. On the girls side, It’s a battle of unbeatens, as Cimarron will take on defending champion Hesston at 4 pm, and the girls third place game at 12 pm will be Silver Lake vs Sabetha.
Glenn O’Neil postgame