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  • Colgan heads to state with win over Riverton

  • The St. Mary’s Colgan Panthers did not forget their loss against the Riverton Rams which cost the Panthers the Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League title in the final regular season game.

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  • The St. Mary’s Colgan Panthers did not forget their loss against the Riverton Rams which cost the Panthers the Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League title in the final regular season game.
    Despite the final score, Colgan played at a Colgan pace rather than a more helter-skelter Riverton pace and controlled the game for all 32 minutes during a 74-54 victory in the Class 3A substate championship game Saturday night at the raucous St. Mary’s Colgan Fieldhouse.
    “We controlled everything,” Colgan head coach Wayne Cichon said. “Offensively and defensively. I challenged our kids before the game that when we went down to their place a couple weeks ago that we had to prove that game was a fluke, that we had a bad night and we just picked a bad night in terms of the league championship to have a bad night. That was important to stress to the kids and they showed they are a good group of kids and a great basketball team.”
    Riverton scored the first points of the game and its 2-0 advantage was the only lead of the night. The Rams secured one more tie score, 4-all, and the Panthers led by double-digits from 1:52 of the second on forward.
    Five different Colgan players reached the scoring column during a 20-10 second quarter for the Panthers and the Rams were outscored 10-2 alone before halftime after Landon North cut the Colgan lead to 18-12.
    “Our kids had the killer instinct so to speak in terms of basketball,” Cichon said. “We wanted to keep putting the dagger in them. I felt like we didn’t do a very good job of that the last time we played them. When we got to them this time, I felt like we needed to attack the basket. We needed to show them that we can play basketball too because they were feeling good about themselves after they beat us by 14-15 points at their place.”
    Colgan seemed to be able to get any shot it wanted and Riverton struggled finding any open look at the basket.
    “Our execution offensive end was tremendous and our execution on the defensive end of our gameplan was very good,” Cichon said. “It’s one of those things you feel grateful that the kids picked up on what you were able to talk about and execute in practice. It’s very rewarding.
    “They were frustrated. That was a big factor. We took away a couple of their main options with defensive pressure and the rest of them didn’t know what to do and they were trying to find themselves.”
    Evident of the Riverton frustration, three players — Landon North, Chandler Underhill and Dylan Weaver — fouled out.
    Dyson Dechant, Austin Commons and Luke Marquardt have been primary scoring options for Colgan all season and each player reached double figures Saturday night.
    Page 2 of 2 - Dechant led all scorers with 21 points, 15 in the second half. Commons scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half. Marquardt scored all 10 of his points after halftime, including four late in the game on layups which extended the Colgan lead to 72-52.
    However, Colgan picked up additional scoring options in senior guards V.J. Piccini and Conner Dayton, who both finished with seven points.
    “They showed why they’ve been starting all year long,” Cichon said. “People probably were wondering why I have two guards in there that don’t contribute much on the offensive end. But they showed that they can. They’re capable. It’s just they’re unselfish and they play their role.
    “Conner is our best defensive player. He always drew the toughest man unless there was a big size factor. V.J.’s been our point guard and floor leader all year long. He’s done a tremendous job.”
    North led three Riverton players in double figures with 16 points, 15 in the second half before fouling out. Underhill and Greyson Spriggs each had 12 in their final high school basketball game.
    Colgan (17-5) will be making its second consecutive appearance in the Class 3A state tournament in Hutchinson. Play on the boys side begins Thursday.

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