By: Aaron Pyle
On the final day of the 2020 Lancer Classic, the St. Paul Indians played a pair of games to wind up the tournament. The boys’ team tipped off the action with the Lady Indians following.
For the boys, the Indians come off a down to the wire 59-52 victory over the Southeast Lancers (4-7), Jan. 24. The win marked the second consecutive victory over the Lancers this season for St. Paul after claiming a 55-54 victory in the first meeting, Dec. 12.
Following the victory, the Indians moved onto the final day of the tournament as St. Paul faced the Columbus Titans (7-3) in a matchup for third place. The two teams met earlier in the season, Dec. 13, where the Titans got the best of the Indians claiming a 68-49 in the initial meeting.
Opening the second match, the St. Paul Indians came out prepared against the Titans. St. Paul held the early advantage over Columbus but the Titans trailed right behind the Indians for the majority of the matchup. At halftime, the Titans trailed the Indians 28-20.
In the second half, the offense began to slow down for St. Paul with the Titans taking advantage of the Indians’ missed opportunities. Outscoring St. Paul 27-15 in the second half, the Titans closed out the game claiming a 47-43 victory to take third place in the Lancer Classic while the Indians finished fourth. Nevertheless, it comes as an improvement from the previous season for St. Paul after finishing sixth last year and seventh in 2018.
Senior Hayden Smith highlighted play the night for the Indians finishing with 13 points. Seniors Chandler Bradshaw and Kaleb Lemmons made a significant impact as well for St. Paul finishing with nine points, respectively.
In wake of the loss, the Indians (8-5) return to action Monday, Jan. 28, in a conference contest against West Elk (6-6).
For the Lady Indians, the team snuck past the Baxter Springs Lions 26-17 in a low scoring affair. After the victory, St. Paul made it to the final day of the 2020 Lancer Classic for a shot at the tournament championship against the Columbus Titans (8-2). Earlier in the season, the two teams met up in the St. Paul Early Season Tournament where the Titans defeated the Lady Indians 40-28.
Much like the previous matchup for St. Paul, the championship would turn out to be a low-scoring affair with baskets coming at a premium on both sides. At the end of the first, neither team could find a rhythm with the Lady Indians leading 4-1 as defense reigned supreme.
The Lady Indians would put on one of their best defensive performances of the season holding Columbus to 13 points total in the teams’ 32-13 win. St. Paul claimed the first Lancer Classic title in three years and their 11th all-time in the tournament. The most by any girls’ team in the tournament’s history.
Katie Coomes led the Lady Indians in scoring during the championship match as the senior finished the night with 12 points. Senior Taylor Wiatrak made a key effort as well for St. Paul tallying up six points while going 3-4 at the free-throw line.
Coach Doug Tuck and the Lady Indians (11-2) are set to face West Elk (11-0) Monday, Jan. 28, in a home/conference contest against the undefeated Patriots.