The number six seed Columbus Titans (10 – 9) opened the Kansas State High School Boys 4A Sub State Tournament with an exciting first round, 74 – 67 upset over the number three seed, Chanute Blue Comets (13-7) in Chanute on Monday.
Titan Senior Montana Grant hit a 3 point shot to put Columbus on top 3 – 2 to begin the first quarter of play. That was the Titan’s only lead of the first half. Trailing by as many as 10 points at times, the determined Titan team inched their way back into contention one point at a time. Down 20 – 30, Senior Taylor Spear began the climb, sinking 6 of 8 free throws in the last 3 minutes of the quarter. Freshman Aaron Bigando added 1 of his 2 free throws to bring the Titans to within 5 points, 27 – 32 at halftime. Twelve of the Titans 27 first half points were from the charity stripe.
The Titans continued the climb in the third quarter. At the 4:37 mark of the quarter, Spear was fouled on his 2 point basket and picked up an “old fashioned 3 pointer” making the free throw to close the gap to 5 points, 32 – 37, once again. As the clock kept winding down, Grant swished a 3 point shot with 2:41 left in the third to switch the momentum to the Titans and cut the deficit to the smallest one of the second half, 38 – 40. Spear knocked down an eight footer to tie the game at 40 points with 50 seconds on the third quarter clock and Senior Jaden Tedlock closed out the quarter with a 3 point bucket putting Columbus on top, 43 – 40, for the first time since the 3 – 2 lead to start the game. Brandon Bell made a free throw for Chanute after the buzzer for a 43 – 41 Titan lead after three quarters.
Senior Joel Holeman took control in the fourth quarter scoring all of his 14 points after the first 24 minutes. Seven of those points came in the first 2 minutes of the quarter when he hit the basketball trifecta; a 3 pointer, a 2 pointer, and 2 free throws. He finished a perfect 6 for 6 from the free throw line. Titan Senior Owen Jordan picked up 7 of his 11 points at the free throw line in the fourth quarter as part of the Titans 18 of 21 free throw frenzy for the quarter. After forcing Chanute’s Senior Caleb Wood and Senior Dustin Eccles into foul trouble under the basket, Spear picked up his last 3 fouls in less than a minute with 2:40 left on the game clock and a ten point lead, 61 - 51. Wood and Senior Griffin Williams also fouled out of the game late in the fourth period for Chanute. Spear commented, “I felt bad when I fouled out, but probably not as bad as those Chanute players. We had a ten point lead and 2 minutes to go. I was confident my teammates could get the job done.” They did just that. Senior Joe Tillman got another “old fashioned 3 pointer” which included the last 2 point basket and the first of 9 free throws for the Titans to end the game. From the 1:42 mark to the game ending buzzer, Tillman, Holeman, Jordan, and Junior Colten Stanley went 9 of 9 from the free line when the Comets had to foul in hopes of regaining possession of the ball. Chanute battled hard, hitting 7 three point shots for 21 of their 26 fourth quarter points. Eighteen of Columbus’ 31 final period points were free throws. “Free throws win ball games,” said head coach Jeff Renn after the game. That was certainly the case for the Titans who shot 84% from the line making 32 of 38 attempts in their 74 – 67 win.
The Senior heavy Titan team spread the scoring out for a good team effort. Taylor Spear led all scorers with 18 points. Joel Holeman finished with 14 points, Montana Grant had 12 points on four 3 point baskets, and Owen Jordan scored 11 points to have 4 players in double figures. Joe Tillman was only one point shy of a double with 9 points, Jaden Tedlock added 7 points, Colten Stanley 2 points, and Aaron Bigando 1 point to round out the scoring.
The Titans head to Parsons for the balance of the Class 4A Sub State tournament. They will take on number 2 seed Coffeyville who beat number 7 seed Labette County to advance to second round action. Game time is 6:00pm.
In other Class 4A Sub State games on Monday, number 1 seed Parsons beat number 8 seed Girard, 48 - 24; and number 4 seed Independence topped number 5 seed Baxter Springs, 56 - 33. Parsons will play Independence in the 7:30pm game on Thursday in Parsons.
Girls’ season ends
Titan Senior Jessica Anderson ended her high school career in stellar fashion at Altamont on Tuesday. Anderson accounted for 25 of the Lady Titan’s 32 points in their 4A Sub State first round loss to the Labette County Lady Grizzlies, 32 – 49.
The 7-12, number 7 seed Lady Titans, led by seniors Anderson, Kate Overman and Danielle Roberts, arrived determined for an upset and to hand the 14-4, number 2 seed Lady Grizzlies a sub state loss. Anderson opened the scoring with 2 quick baskets and an early lead, 6 – 1. Labette County’s defense turned up the pressure and came up with 3 of their game total 33 take-a-ways late in the first quarter to tie the score and then go ahead 10 – 8. Junior Tiara Ford’s 2 free throws to end the quarter gave the Lady Grizzlies a 12 – 8 lead at the end of the first 8 minutes.
An 11 point second quarter by Columbus was highlighted by Junior Reagan Soper’s 3 point basket as time ran out, narrowing Labette’s lead to 5 points, 24 – 19 at halftime.
The second half was all Anderson as teammate’s feed the 6’3” center for 8 points in the paint and she added 5 free throws for the total 13 Titan second half points. Her 25 points were a result of hitting 10 of 11 (91%) tries from the floor and 5 of 6 (83%) from the free throw line. Juniors Taylor Hamilton and Haley Evans each had 2 points in the Titan loss.
Head Coach Kenny Boeckman was pleased with his team’s effort. “We left everything on the court,” he said. “The girls played hard the entire game and never gave up.”
Lady Grizzly Ford led her team with 17 points.
Labette County advances to 4A Sub State second round play in Parsons on Friday. They will face number 3 seed Baxter Springs, who defeated number 6 seed Chanute 43 – 33 on Tuesday.