Editor's Note:This is the ninth in a series of 10 stories counting down the top sports stories of 2013 as voted on by The Telegram.
BY KEVIN THOMPSON
When does routine not get boring?
When your basketball team goes 25-1 each of the past three seasons and wins the Class 3A state title.
In other words, the Scott City Beavers, who made it three championships in a row at the Hutchinson Sports Arena with a 74-55 whipping of Humboldt on March 9.
With the chant of "Three-peat, three-peat, three-peat" shouted by fans who never wearied of winning, the Beavers took control early in the title game.
They came right out with a trapping defense, set a quick tempo and played the kind of game they were known for all season.
Four of Scott City's starters scored in the first five minutes to take a quick 13-2 lead, before closing the first quarter up 20-14 against a previously unbeaten Cubs team.
The Beavers went up 44-32 at halftime with four players already in double figures.
Those four eventually accounted for all but one of Scott City's points.
Drew Kite netted 23 points (10 of 14 from the floor) and grabbed nine rebounds.
Joey Meyer scored a career high 20 points (8-for-9 shooting).
Junior Trey O'Neil, who averaged 10.7 points a game and was second on the team in made 3-pointers, nailed a trio of threes and finished with 17 points, while older brother Brett hit for 13 and added 10 assists and nine rebounds.
Humboldt never came closer in the second half than 14 points as coach Glenn O'Neil was able to clear his bench late to ensure all nine of his seniors got on the court for their final high school game.
"Our goal was to come out strong," Brett O'Neil said at the time. "We wanted to play our kind of game where we can do a little of everything. We wanted to play like champions, and I think we accomplished our goal."
Defense was critical in the win as they held the Cubs to just 36.4 percent shooting and dominated the boards 40-28.
With nine seniors on the squad, that win meant the end of the road for a successful group, something not lost on the Beaver fans who made the journey to Hutchinson to witness the historic three-peat.
"We have appreciated the support of the community," coach O'Neil said afterwards. "I think the community realized that for basketball that this is it for this group. These kids have sacrificed and paid the price to win."
Scott City got the job done despite playing less than perfect when they beat Pittsburg-St. Mary's Colgan 61-48 in the opening round of the tournament.
In round two, they fell behind by eight points early against Nemaha Valley before stifling the Raiders the rest of the game for a 50-38 win to set up the title game.
In the three years of state experience, the Beavers just seemed to play better as the weekend progressed.
"The deeper in the week it is, the better they have played," coach O'Neil observed after being named the third-straight Telegram Coach of the Year.
Kite was named to consecutive Telegram player of the year honors.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound post player saw varsity action each of his first two seasons, then scored 406 and 516 points in his final two seasons, finishing with 1,114 points and 699 rebounds.
Last season, he averaged 19.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game and had 39 blocked shots.
In the days following the three-peat, Kite said he was still awed by the accomplishment.
"We weren't even ranked at the start of the season when we were sophomores," he said. "To do something that nobody else has done is a pretty awesome feeling."
As a fifth grader, he and some of his fellow seniors watched Scott City win a Class 4A title.
"They were great," he recalled. "We kind of dreamed about winning, like most kids. You never really know. You work your butt off and see what happens. It never really gets old. You just keep working hard."
To win four state titles in two sports, Kite said, "is just like crazy. It's been a great ride."
In the three golden seasons, Scott City dropped just one game in each.
In 2010-11, it was to Class 6A Dodge City in the Tournament of Champions (TOC) title game.
In 2011-12, it was to Sunrise Christian Prep in early December.
In 2012-13, it was to Wichita North in overtime in the semifinals of the TOC in Dodge City.
This last title came on the heels of winning the state football title over Silver Lake, played in Hutchinson, as well.
With little turnaround time between sports, the Beavers didn't need to condition, just get games in to make the transition to basketball.
"I'd' say it wasn't until the Christmas break, where we had time for a lot of practice and didn't have to worry about getting ready for the next game, that we finally got ourselves into basketball shape," coach O'Neil said.
Scott City averaged 70.8 points and 33 rebounds a game, making them one of the tops in the state in those categories.
Playing a tough schedule, including going 2-1 versus Class 6A schools in the TOC (two of which would up in the state tournament) helped prepare the Beavers for its three-peat goal, he added.
As a team, the Beavers averaged 20.2 assists a game.
After the title game, Meyer, who averaged 10.6 points a game, summed up the sentiment of the unselfish play of his team.
"We've been together so long and we've worked so hard and come together," he said. "It's just the chemistry of this group. We hang out, have fun, and we don't care who scores points."
Brett O'Neil, who averaged 11.4 points and 8.2 assists a game, echoed that sentiment.
"Spreading the ball around has been our story," he said. "I just don't really have words to describe the feeling (of three titles). I'm sure when I'm older, I'll look back and see how special this was."
The three leading graduates are testing their skills at the next level.
Brett O'Neil is currently playing basketball at Dodge City Community College; Meyer is with Colby Community College; and Kite is red-shirting with Fort Hays State University.
And Class 3A schools are breathing easier this year, as Scott City is now competing at the 4A level, where they won a state title in 2006.
Before that, the only basketball title for Scott City had been in 1958 in Class A.
Glenn O'Neil has coached 17 full seasons with the Beavers, compiling a 306-101 (.752) record and the four state titles in that time.
In 27 seasons overall, he is 465-175 (.727).
Success came through hard work, he acknowledged.
Six of his 12 varsity players were also on the football team that won a state title in November over Silver Lake (the first since 1991), and many of his nine seniors played on all three champion basketball teams, a testament to how they understood how to be accountable towards one another and how to play unselfishly, coach O'Neil said.
"A lot of them will be successful in life because of their hard work," he added. "They will be a good team player in any company or whatever pursuit they choose in life."