Scott City falls short to Sabetha in overtime

Hutchinson, Kan. (–Two of the four returning state qualifiers met up at the Hutchinson Sports Arena in the opening round of the Class 3A State Basketball Tournament Wednesday evening. Scott City, the defending champion, and Sabetha, third in 3A last year, were in similar situations entering the state tournament. Both teams returned with little experience from a year ago. After a defensive battle, it was the Sabetha Bluejays converting 9-12 at the charity line in overtime to knock off the Beavers 43-40 to advance to Friday’s 8:15 semi-final game.

Both teams hung their hat on defense from start to finish. Scott City would take the 7-5 lead after one, only to see Sabetha outscore them 9-6 in the second quarter to lead 14-13 at the break. Neither team had any bigger run than five straight, and led by no more than three points. In fact, it was so even that the difference in the half was that the Bluejays hit a free throw, while the Beavers did not attempt a foul shot. They were both 6-16 from the field. 

After Sabetha (23-1) led 16-13 early in the third quarter, an 8-2 run pushed Scott City to a 21-18 lead with 4:16 remaining the period, capped off by a Dylan Hutchins three-point play. It would be short lived. The Bluejays scored seven straight for their largest lead at 25-21 with under two minutes left in the third stanza. At the end of the third quarter, a hustle play by Justin Faurot tied the game at 25, as he stole the ball with four seconds left in the period, and laid it up. 

The final eight minutes of regulation were played similar to the quarters in the first half, as each team scored seven points. Sabetha never trailed, while Scott City (18-6) kept playing catch up. The Beavers trailed 32-28 with 3:22 remaining, and rallied in a two-minute span. Bo Hess tied the game at 32 with a jumper in the paint with 1:17 to go. Sabetha would play keep away and go for the game winning shot. As the Bluejays drove in, they were fouled with three seconds left. Following three Beaver timeouts, Caleb Strahm missed both free throws, Hess would throw up a shot between half and three-quarters quart, only to see it hit the rim, and both teams would head to their third overtime of the year.

In the extra session, Sabetha jumped out early and held on. The Bluejays scored the first six points to lead 38-32 with 1:10 remaining in the extra session. Scott City would not give up, hitting a pair of three’s, but had a pair of costly turnovers, and were held scoreless for the first three minutes, sending Sabetha to the semi-finals on Friday night. 

Sabetha had two in double figures, led by Calder Keehn with 19 points, while Caleb Strahm finished with 10. They ended up 12-24 from the foul line and shot 47% from the field for the game. Scott City ended up with Bo Hess with 11 points, while Dylan Hutchins finished with nine in his final game as a Beaver. The Beavers shot 35% for the game, and were 10-13 at the foul line, all in the second half and overtime. Both teams were a part of eight ties and four lead changes. 

The loss for Scott City finished them at 18-5. Two seniors played their final games in a Scott City uniform in Dylan Hutchins and Drake McRae. Scott City dropped their first game in a state tournament opener since 2005. They are 20-4 all-time in the Hutchinson Sports Arena, and 27-13 in 19 state tournament appearances, dating back to 1921.

Wednesday’s game was Glenn O’Neil’s final game a Scott City’s head coach. Over a 20-year span, the Beavers were 370-112 under his direction. They went to 12 state tournaments, won five state championships, finished second twice, and fourth place once. The Beavers were 20-8 in those 12 trips in Class 4A, 4A Division II and Class 3A. Over O’Neil’s 30 years, he finishes his career at 529-186, with 15 total state tournament trips. His first three were at Frankfort. He also had only three losing seasons, one each at Frankfort, his lone year at Wellington, and one year in Scott City. 

Coach Glenn O’Neil Postgame

Wednesday’s games saw Osage City defeat Wellsville 60-44, Southeast of Saline pulling away in the fourth quarter to knock off Norton 55-46, and Garden Plain rally from a 13-point first quarter deficit to defeat Fredonia 71-49.  Friday’s semi-finals feature Osage City and Southeast of Saline at 4:45, and Garden Plain facing Sabetha at 8:15.