LIBERAL, Mo. — Both St. Mary’s-Colgan basketball teams took home the Tony Dubray Classic championship trophies on Monday, as the girls’ defeat Lockwood 64-54 before the boys’ team knocked off defending-champion Galena Bulldogs 40-39.
SMC GIRLS BACK-TO-BACK CHAMPS
For the second year in a row, the Colgan girls were crowned Tony Dubray champs, after taking down Lockwood 64-54.
“This is huge,” SMC head coach Abby Farabi said. “Rylee Neill is a really good player and probably the best we’ll see all year. We just need to bring that energy day in and day out. Winning this tournament was a team effort.”
Colgan was led by the play of Cathy Farmer, who was named tournament MVP for the second time.
“Cathy has improved each year,” Farabi said. “I think we had three or four girls who could have been MVP, but she’s very deserving and a great player.”
After trailing by five going into the locker room at halftime, the Panthers came alive in the second half to take a one-point advantage by the end of the third quarter and went on to out score the Tigers 20-11 in the fourth.
SCM built the double-digit lead with the help of a pair of 3-pointers by Synclaire Borum and held onto the lead in the final minute thanks to four free throws from Aubri Piccini.
“I just talked to the kids about controlling the things that we can control,” Farabi said. “We let them dictate the tempo of the game in the first half, but I felt like we did a really good job of adjusting in the second half.”
Kate Radell was the offensive catalyst in the win with 20 points, along with two-time tournament MVP Farmer who notched 17 points.
SMC BOYS NARROWLY DEFEAT BULLDOGS IN CHAMPIONSHIP
A thrilling conclusion to the boys’ game saw the Panthers escape with a 40-39 win over Galena in a game which came down to the final seconds.
The Panthers found themselves trailing by three points with two minutes remaining in regulation after holding a double-digit lead in the second quarter, but came out on top on the strength of six consecutive points by Aaron Higginbotham in the final minute of the contest.
“It was a typical Colgan-vs-Galena game that we’ve been competing in the last three or four years,” SMC head coach Wayne Cichon said. “We’ve had games like this every year in this gym as well as in Galena and our home court. It just seems like we know each other so well, and I think that was a big factor. Everytime we play them, we can expect a close ballgame.”
Galena clawed back from being down 20-8 in the first half by beginning the third quarter with a 10-0 run.
The Bulldogs narrowed the margin to two at the end of the third quarter before taking the lead on a 3-pointer to begin the fourth.
The 3-pointer was the start of a 9-4 run, which gave Galena a 37-34 advantage with two minutes remaining in regulation.
Higginbotham took over from there, as he poured in six points to put SMC on top 40-37 with 25 seconds left.
Galena quickly pushed the ball up the court and scored on a layup to trim the deficit to one with 15 seconds left and forced the Panthers into a turnover in the following possession, but couldn’t get the full-court shot at the buzzer to fall.
“I think our kids were resilient at the end,” Cichon said. “We were able to create a couple turnovers which turned into easy points in transition. It took some resiliency from the kids to not give in.”
The Panthers were led by Higginbotham, who scored 16 points and earned a spot on the All-Tournament team.
Jeremiah Buche also had a big hand in the win, scoring eight points in the championship game and was named tournament MVP.
“This is all a learning experience for our kids,” Cichon said. “I think they saw we had the lead and relaxed a bit, but then Galena gained some momentum in the second half and carried it until they took the lead. That’s when we had to take that same mentality and do the same to them at the end.”
Colgan will host Riverton at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.