RV boys end historic season 21-2
The St. Marys Bears won the Class 3A sub-state tournament hosted by Royal Valley in a narrow win over the Panthers 44-43 on Saturday, March 7.
After a 63-49 win over Perry on the Thursday night before, the Panthers, the number one seed in the tournament, faced St. Marys on Saturday, March 7, at Hoyt. The Bears, who were the number three seed in the tournament, upset Rock Creek, the two seed, on the Thursday before, 68-57.
“I told them in the locker room that the loss hurts because we care, but that they would look back in the long run and see the historic season we had,” said RV coach Trent Oliva. “We wish we could have kept it going, but it wasn’t in the cards. I’m so proud of everything we’ve done.”
Despite the loss, the Panthers did have an historic season with a 21-2 record, the best in school history. RV went 13-1 in the Big Seven League and won the league title, another first for the district.
“We had a practice Saturday morning, and we told them we didn’t need to do anything different than what we’ve done the previous games,” Coach Oliva said. “We just need to be who we are, and do what we’ve done all season long.”
It was a slow start for both teams in the first quarter as the Bears and Panthers took turns sharing the lead until St. Marys pulled ahead 11-8.
“It was close game, and both teams knew what was on the line,” Coach Oliva said. “Every shot was a big shot in that close of a game. They had a couple of balls bounce their way and that’s what happens. We did a good job playing and answering their runs.”
St. Marys had eight three-pointers during the game that kept the game close throughout. The Bears also scored a last second shot in the second quarter to tie the game 24-24 at the half.
“It was literally a one possession at a time game and getting the stop defensively,” Oliva said. “Their defense was ready to go. They were able to make just enough plays to win it.”
In the third frame, the Bears edged ahead slightly with 11 points over RV’s 10 points.
With less than two minutes left in the game, St. Marys led 42-40. Senior Komesh Spoonhunter made one free throw, and after a timeout, sophomore Nahcs Wahwassuck made a layup to give RV a 43-42 lead.
After a Panther foul with nine seconds remaining, St. Marys made two free throws to bring about the final score 44-43. Wahwassuck attempted one final shot for RV in the final seconds but was unsuccessful.
St. Marys was 6-9 at the charity stripe, and RV was 4-11 at the free throw line.
RV was led by sophomore Brady Klotz who had 12 points followed by Wahwassuck with 10 points. RV shot 18 for 37 (48 percent) during the game. The Panthers had 21 rebounds (13 defensive and eight offensive), six assists, six turnovers and eight steals.
The Bears shot 14 for 35 (40 percent) and had 16 rebounds (8 defensive and 8 offensive). St. Marys had six assists, 12 turnovers and five steals.
RV: 8-16-10-9 – 43
St. Marys: 11-13-11-9– 44
RV: Klotz 6-0-0-0-12, Wahwassuck 5-0-0-4-10, Miller 3-0-1-2-7, Thomas 0-2-0-0-6, Canady 1-1-0-1-5, Spoonhunter 0-0-3-4-3. Totals 15-3-4-11-43.
St. Marys: Moylan 0-4-0-0-12, Ewing 2-1-2-2-9, Holz 2-1-0-1-7, C. Hurla 1-0-4-4-6, Criqui 2-0-0-2-4, J. Hurla 0-1-0-0-3, Murray 0-1-0-0-3. Totals 7-8-6-9-44.
In the Panthers’ game Thursday night against Perry, which was the teams’ third meeting of the season, the Panthers and Kaws went back and forth in the first quarter with Perry taking a 20-16 lead.
“They came out and kind of punched us in the mouth,” Oliva said. “We were too reactionary, and they were able to get some easy shots off.”
RV found its defensive rhythm in the second quarter and outscored the Kaws 16-9, with help from two big three-pointers by senior Komesh Spoonhunter. The Panthers led 32-29 at the half.
The score remained close in the third quarter with RV scoring 11 points and Perry scoring 8.
“We made some defensive adjustments, and the guys did a good job of responding to those changes,” he said. “We were able to go on a run in the fourth quarter to win the game.”
The Panthers pulled away in the final eight minutes with 20 points to Perry’s 12. RV was led by Wahwassuck was 23 points followed by junior Brevin Canady with 13 points and Spoonhunter with 10 points.
During the game, RV shot 25 of 47 (53 percent) from the field. The team had 17 rebounds (12 defensive and five offensive). They had six assists, seven turnovers and five steals.
Perry shot 44 percent from the field during the game. They had 13 rebounds (10 defensive and three offensive), six assists, six turnovers and two steals.
RV: 16-16-11-20 – 63
Perry: 20-9-8-12 – 49
RV: Wahwassuck 8-1-4-5-23, Canady 4-1-2-2-13, Spoonhunter 1-2-2-2-10, Thomas 4-0-0-0-8, Klotz 3-0-1-1-7, Wamego 1-0-0-0-2. Totals 21-4-9-10-63.
Perry: Stone 5-1-2-4-15, Robb 1-4-0-0-14, Farmer 6-0-0-1-12, Williams 1-0-3-4-5, Welch 1-0-1-4-3. Totals 14-5-6-13-49.
“It was a fantastic year, and it’s still settling in,” Oliva said. “It was a great run. The guys really bought into the program and believed in something bigger than themselves. They didn’t care who got the credit as long as the team had success. When you get athletes that do that, great things can happen. We’d liked to be playing in Hutch this week, but it is what it is.”