PITTSBURG — The first night of high school basketball in provided two instant classics between a pair of CNC rivals, as the St. Mary’s-Colgan girls’ team earned a 53-50 win against Frontenac in overtime followed by a 58-48 win for the Panthers in the boys’ game.
SMC GIRLS HANG ON IN OVERTIME
It didn’t take long for drama to heat up in the CNC, as the Colgan girls outlasted the Raiders 53-50 in an overtime thriller to begin the night.
A 15-point lead for the Panthers at the end of the third quarter turned to a two-point deficit with 20 seconds remaining in regulation, after Frontenac outscored them 24-9 in the final 10 minutes.
The Panthers managed to force overtime on a jumper by Delaney Cedeno with five seconds remaining in regulation and went on to secure the win in overtime.
“I thought we just played really well as a team,” SMC head coach Abby Farabi said. “We had some kids step up and do big things for us. We had two of our starters foul out in the fourth quarter, but they all stepped up. Delaney came off the bench and hit that shot to send us into overtime and it was just a great team effort.”
Colgan was in control of the contest for the first three quarters, but a 9-0 run by the Raiders brought them to within six points of the lead at 36-30 in the opening minutes of the fourth.
The run was highlighted by four points from Taylor Peterson and included three points by Karma Fields and two points from Madi Davis.
Davis then lead the Raiders to a 10-1 run, putting up five points in one minute of game time to give FHS the lead at 43-41 with 20 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Panthers managed to tie the game five seconds before the end of the fourth thanks to a jumper by Cedeno.
Frontenac regained the lead on a layup by Davis to begin overtime, but five consecutive points for SMC — with four coming from Cathy Farmer — gave the Panthers a 48-45 advantage with three minutes left.
Colgan managed to hang on for the win in the closing minutes, on the strength of consistent shooting at the free throw line.
“I think we just started slow out of the gates,” FHS head coach Martha Harper said. “We seemed very unsure of what we we’re doing, which is typical in the first game of the season, but I felt like we eventually found the spark on offense. I think we just found a style of play we were comfortable with. I was just really proud of the way they fought back.”
SMC BOYS COME ALIVE IN FOURTH QUARTER
Following a tightly-contested girls’ game, the Colgan boys followed it up with a 58-48 win after an inspired shooting performance in the fourth quarter.
Colgan trailed by eight at halftime and cut the deficit to five at the end of the third, before scoring 14 consecutive points to begin the fourth quarter to take the lead and earn the win.
“I feel like our kids took the game tonight,” SMC head coach Wayne Cichon said. “Our kids never gave up and really came together in the second half. We fought through some adversity in the first half, but we stayed the course and got to where we wanted to be in the second half. I felt like when the the third quarter was over, Frontenac had waited for us. I told our kids that during halftime, and they came right out in the beginning of the fourth quarter and took the game away.”
The Panthers hit the ground running, scoring the first two points on a layup by Matthew Lomshek eight seconds into the contest, en route to mounting a 9-3 lead.
Frontenac went on to take the lead at 15-13 five minutes later on the strength of a 12-4 run.
The run was highlighted by five points from Daniel Watts and included three points by Jake Wilbert and two points apiece from Hayden Pile and Blayne Baldwin.
Colgan regained the lead at the end of the first quarter, following five points between Bradley Beykirch and Aaron Higginbotham, but fell behind 26-18 to begin the second.
Frontenac built the lead by scoring the first 11 points of the second quarter, with six points coming from Baldwin.
An 8-3 run by the Raiders at the end of the second quarter gave them a 36-28 advantage at halftime.
A slow-paced third quarter saw Colgan outscore Frontenac 6-2, but the Panthers caught fire in the fourth, scoring the first 11 points to gain a 48-39 lead.
Higginbotham was the catalyst for Colgan in the early going of the fourth quarter, contributing seven points of the 11 consecutive points.
The Panthers stayed true at the line down the stretch to protect the lead, as they made 10 free throws in the final four minutes of regulation.
“The effort and energy was there and I thought we played with a lot of confidence early,” FHS head coach Ryan Varsolona said. “We got into some major foul trouble and that forced us into some new rotations that we were trying to adjust to on the fly, but it was a great learning experience. We lost to a good team. I saw a lot of positives for us to build upon, so we’ll try to make a quick turnaround and be ready for Tuesday.
Both teams will be back at it on Tuesday, with the Panthers headed to Jasper and the Raiders making a trip to Labette County.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.