BAXTER SPRINGS — Chase VanBecelaere hit a series of outside shots while the St. Mary’s Colgan boys' basketball team used a strong defensive performance to go on the road and beat the Baxter Springs Lions 45-30.

VanBecelaere shot 3-4 from three-point range, and 4-5 overall from the floor to lead all scorers with 15 points. While the Panthers were able to score from inside and outside throughout the night, their defense managed to frustrate the Lions.

“I’m real pleased with our defensive effort,” Colgan Head Coach Wayne Cichon said after the game.

Cichon also said his slow tempo offense was also a factor.

“Our best defense was our offense,” Cichon said.

The Colgan coach said the Panthers showed patience in making multiple passes in the offense zone and not forcing shots.

The slow pace was evident in the first quarter that saw both teams score for only 12 points combined. At one point in the first quarter the Lions were able to open up a fast-break off a Panther turnover and Garrett Shafer finished with a strong dunk. But that play would be the exception for the Lions who could never find an offensive rhythm.

After the first quarter ended with the teams tied at 6 points each, Colgan was able to gain an advantage in second quarter. VanBecelaere hit two three-point shots and the Panthers were able to limit the effectiveness of the Lions’ 6-foot-4 forward Matt Abernathy. Cichon said his plan was to force Abernathy to catch the ball away from the basket. The Panthers were able take a 16-12 lead into halftime.

Abernathy initially seemed to find holes in the Panthers to start the second half. He combined with Kade Karnes for three straight Lions baskets to time the game at 16. But the Panthers defense would clamp down the remainder of the second half as Colgan went on a 17-2 run that extended into the fourth quarter.

While the Lions were able to get themselves back on the board with baskets from Shafer and Brayden Hessee, Colgan’s slow tempo game soon caused the Lions to also be playing against the clock. Baxter Springs attempted began to foul Colgan to which did stop the clock, but VanBecelaere and Sawyer Esch hit a series of key foul shots in the fourth quarter to seal the 15-point victory.

The win moves the Panthers to 8-3 overall and 1-0 in the CNC League standings.


Early run lifts Lions over Panthers


The Baxter Springs Lions used a strong first quarter performance to take a lead they would never lose as they beat the St. Mary’s-Colgan Panthers 46-36.

Visiting Colgan jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first quarter. After each team went almost two minutes without scoring Riley Abernathy put the Lions on the board to tie the score 2-2. Baxter Springs dominated the remainder of the first quarter as Abernathy led the Lions on a 11-0 run. Hanna White also hit a long three-point shot during the run. The Lions finished the first quarter leading 13-6 after shooting 5-6 from the floor.

The Panthers were able to find some success scoring inside to chip away at the Lions lead in the second quarter with Aubri Piccini and Emily Paterni each scoring from the paint. But the Panthers came up empty handed in most of their offensive possessions after missing multiple outside shots. The Panthers finished the first half going 7-24 from the floor including 0-5 from three point range.

While the Panthers had trouble finding the basket, Abernathy found her shooting groove going 5-6 from the field in the first half. The Lions finished the first half leading 22-16.

The Panthers’ shooting woes continued in the third quarter as the Lions outscored their visitors 8-3 in the period. Colgan seemed to dominate the boards, grabbing multiple offensive rebounds. But the Panthers couldn’t capitalize even on possessions where they three and sometimes four shots at the rim.

The pace slowed in the fourth quarter with both teams making multiple trips to the free throw line. While Colgan was able to hit some free throws to have their most productive quarter, Baxter Springs was also strong from the line. The lions shot 83% from the stripe on the evening, including Abernathy who was a perfect 6-6. Abernathy and White would lead the nigh in scoring with 18 points. Colgan senior Sydney Russell would have a strong performance for the Panthers in the leading her team with 12 points while also grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds.

The loss drops the Panthers record to 5-6, and 0-1 in the CNC League. The Lions move to 7-5 and 1-0 in the CNC.