Scott City Beavers
Second-generation Beavers keep Scott City rolling, beat Pratt in 4A-II state first round.
By BRETT MARSHALL
PARK CITY — The basketball pedigree runs deep for the Scott City Beavers boys' basketball team.
You've heard the names before — Baker, O'Neil, Meyer.
They were the some of the big guns of three consecutive Class 3A state championships, and now they are the names of three current big guns for the 2014 edition of the Beavers.
This time, they have different first names. Now they are Sloan (Baker), Trey (O'Neil) and Brett (Meyer).
Taking the reins from their older siblings, the trio of next-generation Beavers made their splash into the Class 4A-II state tournament on Thursday night, as Trey O'Neil, Sloan Baker and Brett Meyer combined for 51 points to lead the three-time 3A defending state champs to a dominant 71-52 victory over the Pratt Greenbacks in the quarterfinal round.
That sets up the semifinal at 8:15 p.m. today where they will take on the winner of Thursday's late game between Concordia and Girard.
It was, in the words of Baker, a junior and the younger brother of now Wichita State University standout Ron, a great way to start the state tournament.
"It's my first time, but with all the leaders we've had from the past, we knew how to handle it," said Baker, who scored 18 points off 7-of-11 shooting and 4-of-6 free throws, while also grabbing a team-high six rebounds. "He (Ron) just told me to play hard and have fun, so that's what I tried to do."
It worked as the 6-2 forward scored 13 of his points in the first half as the Beavers opened with a 13-2 run, and were up 16-6 after the first quarter and 31-21 at intermission.
Trey O'Neil, head coach Glenn O'Neil's youngest son, and the younger brother of graduated Brett O'Neil (now at Dodge City C.C.), was deadly from the get-go, knocking down five 3-pointers (5 of 7 for the game) and finishing with a game-high 21 points.
The lone returner from last year's state title team, it has been O'Neil who led the Beavers early, and helped his new teammates grow up this season.
"At the beginning of the season, I knew I had to take on a big role and do more things," said the younger O'Neil. "We've got big guards, and we can shoot over most guards that we play. Getting off to a good start has always been a big part of how we play. I thought I needed to get the others into the flow early and get them relaxed. We were able to do that."
Making adjustments against a pesky Pratt zone defense, the Beavers finally found ways to get open looks, and they made good on their shots, finishing the game by hitting 24-of-39 field goals (61.5 percent).
The Greenbacks and Beavers were former members of the Mid-State League, and the last time they met was the 2010 Class 4A sub-state championship in which the Greenbacks won in Ron Baker's junior season.
Glenn O'Neil said it was important for his team to get off to a good start in the opening game.
"Most successful teams get off to a good start, and that's what we stress," coach O'Neil said. "I thought we did a good job of keeping our composure. Even when Pratt made some runs, we reacted pretty well. You want to get that first game, so you can play three."
Pratt did make a run in the third by hitting 9-of-13 field goals, cutting the deficit to 48-40 with 1:26 to play. But Trey O'Neil's deep 3 at the buzzer provided the Beavers with a 55-42 bulge heading to the fourth.
From there, it was all Scott City and the Beavers went on a 9-2 blitz to start the fourth and never looked back.
Brett Meyer, the younger brother of Joey Meyer (Colby C.C.) was the third of the trio of siblings as he contributed 12 points, hitting 4-of-8 field goals (2 of 3 from behind the arc) and was 2 of 2 at the charity stripe.
Pratt had two players reach double figures, Christian Kurz with 14 and Samson Kohman with 11. The Greenbacks end their season at 11-12, while the Beavers improved to 20-3.
The victory was the 10th consecutive state-tournament victory for the Beavers, on the heels of their three-peat Class 3A state titles in 2011-12-13.
In the upper half of the bracket earlier Thursday, top-seeded Andale held off a late rally by Iola to win 56-47, and Eudora used a big fourth quarter to capture a 48-32 victory over Holton.
Andale and Eudora will meet in the first semifinal at 4:45 p.m.
There also will be two girls semifinals today, the first at 3 p.m. between Burlington (22-1) and Santa Fe Trail (20-3), and then at 6:30 p.m. it will be Frontenac (21-2) taking on Holton (16-7).
Notes: While the younger Baker was having one of his best games, he got to do it with his older brother, Ron, in the stands watching. Also attending was Shocker head coach Gregg Marshall.
Pratt 6 15 21 10 -- 52
Scott City 16 15 24 16 -- 71
Pratt (11-12) — Sullivan 2-7 0-0 5, C. Kurz 5-10 4-4 14, Ruckle 3-4 0-2 6, Kohman 5-11 1-2 11, Bartel 3-4 0-1 6, Barnard 2-6 1-2 6, Ramos 1-1 1-1 3, Kahmeyer 0-1 0-0 0, J. Kurz 0-1 0-0 0, Peltier 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 21-46 8-14 52.
Scott City (20-3) — Strine 1-2 4-4 6, Pounds 3-3 0-1 6, O'Neil 7-11 2-4 21, Meyer 4-8 2-2 12, Baker 7-11 4-6 18, Yager 1-2 2-3 4, Hutchins 0-1 0-0 0, Wells 1-1 2-2 4. Totals 24-39 16-22 71.
3-point goals--Pratt 2-9 (Sullivan 1-3, Kohman 0-2, Barnard 1-3, J. Kurz 0-1), Scott City 7-12 (O'Neil 5-7, Meyer 2-3, Yager 0-1, Hutchins 0-1). Rebounds--Pratt 21 (Kohman, Bartel 4 each), Scott City 25 (Baker 6). Turnovers--Pratt 10, Scott City 10. Assists--Pratt 3 (C. Kurz 2), Scott City 9 (O'Neil 4). Blocked shots--Pratt 2 (Kohman, Peltier 1 each), Scott City 6 (O'Neil, Meyer 2 each). Fouls--Pratt 19, Scott City 16. Fouled out--Pratt (Barnard), Scott City (Pounds). Technical fouls--none.
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