PITTSBURG — The St. Mary’s-Colgan High School boys’ basketball team earned a spot in the Kansas 2A sub-state championship game after defeating Kansas City Christian 53-36 on Friday inside SMC Fieldhouse.

KCC trailed by double digits at halftime, but rallied back by out scoring Colgan 8-2 in the opening eight minutes of the third quarter.

SMC regained control of the contest and closed out the third quarter with a 9-2 run before holding KCC to seven points in the fourth.

“I think defense was a big factor for us,” SMC head coach Wayne Cichon said. “We always have to play good defense, and when teams go on a run, we have to find a way to get stops. I thought our leadership on the floor was good and I think our defense did a great job of getting stops at critical times.”

A quick start to the game for Colgan saw the Panthers score the first eight points of the contest, with four coming from Aaron Higginbotham.

SMC continued to pull away, extending the lead to 24-11 with a 13-2 run to begin the second quarter.

The run was highlighted by a trio of 3-pointers from Dalton VanBecelaere, Cal Marquardt and Jeremiah Buche.

Kansas City came out strong in the second half and cut the deficit to 30-22, but a pair of layups by Jake Dellasega put the Panthers back up double digits and sparked a 9-2 run.

SMC held on to the win, holding KCC to seven points in the fourth quarter.

Buche had the hot hand for the Panthers in the win, scoring a team-high 13 points.

Higginbotham came in close behind with 12 points of his own.

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Both Colgan teams will play in the sub-state championship games, with the girls’ team tipping off at 6 p.m. on Saturday followed by the boys at 7:30 p.m.

— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at jbuckamneer@morningsun.net and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.