EL DORADO — Opportunities come around once or twice in a tight game. With a berth in a state tournament on the line, the team that takes advantage is probably going to win the contest.
“I told (assistant) Coach (Craig) Frazell in the third quarter that this game was going to be won in a two-minute stretch,” said Travis Hermreck, Crest High boys’ head coach.
“We had a two-minute stretch in the third quarter that we didn’t capitalize on. Burrton got their two-minute stretch at the start of the fourth quarter and they did capitalize. That was the difference in the game.”
Burrton High’s Chargers used a 27-point performance from senior Alex Santiago to deny Crest High’s Lancers their third straight trip to the Kansas Class 1A State Basketball Tournament. Santiago led the Chargers past the Lancers 44-37 Saturday in the Class 1A Substate championship game at Butler Community College.
It was on that same court the past two years the Lancers celebrated substate championships. But Saturday, the Crest players walked off the court while the Chargers celebrated.
Burrton led 23-22 at halftime. Neither team scored in almost four minutes of play to open the second half.
Crest senior Zach Stinnett broke the ice with a basket at the 4:19 mark. Burrton senior Tyler Bruton answered back.
Santiago hit one of two free throws to put his team up 26-24 at the 2:59 mark.
Crest’s other senior Bryan Newton used a putback to tie the game 19 seconds later. Then with 1:25 on the third-quarter clock, freshman Jordan Morton dialed up a three-pointer for the Lancers.
Crest held a 29-26 lead going into the fourth quarter. Then came the Charger run.
Burrton scored eight unanswered points to gain a 34-29 lead by the 6:03 mark. The Lancers never recovered.
It was 38-31 with 3:23 left in the game. After missing shots on a couple of possessions, the Lancers were forced to foul to extend the game.
Santiago hit both ends of a one-and-one but then Burrton missed on two more one-and-one situations. Crest had the ball down nine with just over a minute left.
“We didn’t take care of the ball well enough tonight, especially in the fourth quarter,” Hermreck said.
“They capitalized on their two-minute opportunity. That’s what teams do this time of year if they move on. We didn’t and our season ends tonight.
“But what a season it was. We surprised a lot of people. Our two seniors — Zach and Bryan — are my first two players to go four years with me. They were with me when I started at Crest and saw it through to the end.”
Hermreck said Stinnett and Newton grew up this year as they became the “go-to guys” on the team.
“It was their team and they were very good leaders,” Hermreck said.
Stinnett finished the game with nine points to lead Crest Saturday in the substate final. Newton had five points.
Sophomore Peter Stone-king had seven points and junior Dexter Wiley added six.
“The first speech I gave to our team this year was about being overachievers. That’s what these guys were. They played with heart and desire and were very unselfish which allowed the team to grow,” Hermreck said.
The Lancers finished at 19-5 for the season. Hermreck said the Lancers have a solid foundation of players coming back.
“We’ll miss our seniors but the young guys know what it takes now after watching our seniors and working with them,” Hermreck said.
Crest and Burrton were tied 14-14 after one quarter. Crest freshman Kyle Hammond had back-to-back baskets — three minutes apart — to put the Lancers up 22-20 with 1:32 left in the first half. A three-pointer by Burrton’s other senior Luis Rivera had the Chargers in front by intermission.
The Lancers held a 7-3 scoring edge in the third quarter. But the Chargers took charge in the fourth period on an 18-8 surge.
Burrton was 8 of 12 at the free-throw line while Crest was 4 of 4.
Crest (14-8-7-8—37) (FG/3-pt): Wiley 0/2-0-1-6, Stinnett 3/1-0-1-9, Morton 0/1-0-3-3, Hammond 2-0-0-4, J. Bowen 1-1-0-3, Newton 1/1-0-4-5, Stoneking 2-3-2-7, Ramsey 0-0-1-0. TOTALS: 9/5-4-13-37.
Burrton (14-9-3-18—44) (FG/3-pt): Rivera 0/1-0-3-3, Santiago 5/3-8-4-27, Navarro 0-0-1-0, King 3-0-2-6, Bruton 4-0-2-8. TOTALS: 12/4-8-12-44.
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