Lancers repeat as 1A substate champs

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Crest High’s Bryan Newton battles with Madison High’s Kale Schankle (22) for a rebound in Saturday’s Class 1A substate final at El Dorado. Crest won 44-28.
Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Not sure where to look first are Crest High’s seniors (left to right) Todd Johnston, Travis Buck, Brandon Newton and Dakota Milner. The seniors guided the Lancers to a second straight Class 1A substate championship and a trip to this week’s Kansas Class 1A State Basketball Tournament in Hays. The Lancers are the No. 1 seed in the tournament.

EL DORADO — No one said it would be easy.
When your team has been ranked No. 1 all season and is undefeated, opponents come at you with their best shot. And when there’s a state tournament berth on the line, the intensity level is higher than ever.
Crest High’s Lancers showed poise and character Saturday in a physical game against Madison High’s Bulldogs. The Lancers never trailed in the Kansas Class 1A Substate Tournament championship game, but they were never settled.
“Like I said last week, every win is a thing of beauty at this time of the year,” said Travis Hermreck, Crest head coach, who allowed himself to finally smile after the Lancers posted a 44-28 victory.
“This was a game in which it was hard to get a grasp on any type of flow. Madison is a very physical team and that’s the way the game was played. It really bothered us tonight.”
The victory put the Lancers at 25-0 and secured their second straight trip to the Kansas Class 1A State Basketball Tournament in Hays. The Lancers are the top seed in the tournament.
More on Crest’s state tournament trip will be in Wednesday’s Register.
No player shot lights out for the game. But there were moments.
Senior Todd Johnston got things started with a conventional three-point play with 7:35 left in the first quarter. Johnston scored again with 6:09 on the clock.
Madison got two baskets but they came four minutes apart. Kale Schankle scored with 5:05 on the clock and Michael Luthi’s follow shot came at the 1:15 mark.
The Bulldogs trailed 5-4. Crest senior Brandon Newton sank one of two free throws then had a three-point play to give the Lancers a 9-4 lead at the end of the period.
“We knew it was going to be tough and it was a well fought game, very competitive,” Brandon Newton said after the contest.
Johnston drilled a three-pointer to open the second quarter. Luthi answered with a basket. Then Johnston and Brandon Newton hit back-to-back treys boosting Crest to an 18-6 lead with 4:47 left.
After a Bulldog timeout, Madison battled back with baskets from Henry Ott and Reece Childers. Crest’s Dakota Milner, who was hampered with foul trouble, hit a baseline jumper. With 10 seconds left, Crest senior Travis Buck downed two free throws.
Crest lead 22-12 at halftime.
“Our defense made the difference throughout the game. I got hot early and hit a couple of shots then we all just starting playing better defense,” Johnston said.
“At halftime, coach talked to us about blocking out for rebounds.”
The Lancers came out focused on defense in the third quarter. They didn’t give up any points for six minutes. They didn’t score for two and half minutes.
But when they did it was an eight-point run with baskets from junior Bryan Newton, Brandon Newton and Milner and two free throws by junior Zach Stinnett.
“Zach Stinnett was a pick-up factor in the second half,” Brandon Newton said. “He picked up his game after having a frustrating first half.”
Madison’s only points of a 14-3 third quarter came on a three-point play by Schankle with 2:18 left.
Crest responded with a follow shot by Stinnett. Then Brandon Newton powered inside for a bucket and Johnston had a fastbreak layup.
The Lancers looked to be running away from the Bulldogs. They led 36-15 going into the fourth quarter.
“We just got in too much of a hurry. We seemed to have found our groove offensively in the third quarter then we hit a rut and got out of it in the fourth quarter,” Hermreck said.
Madison made its run at Crest in the final eight minutes. Luthi led the charge with three free throws and a putback to make it 36-20.
On a fastbreak, Bryan Newton got credit for a basket when goaltending was called on the Bulldogs. Madison went on another five-point run. Buck got a basket for Crest.
The Bulldogs hit three free throws to make it 40-28 with 2:44 left. Stinnett had a basket and Bryan Newton dropped in two free throws to make it 44-28.
Crest had the ball for the final minute of play.
Johnston led the Lancers with 13 points and Brandon Newton had 11.
“We know we have to go to state ready to play every game and every possession,” Brandon Newton said.
Madison was led by Luthi with 11 points.
Crest (9-13-14-8—44) (FG/3-pt): Stinnett 2-2-4-6, Milner 2-0-5-4, Bran. Newton 3/1-2-2-11, Johnston 3/2-1-0-13, Decker 0-0-1-0, Bry. Newton 2-2-2-6, Buck 1-2-2-4. TOTALS: 13/3-9-16-44.
Madison (4-8-3-13—28): Luthi 3-5-4-11, Hamilton 0-0-2-0, Damron 0-0-1-0,Elwood 1-0-1-2, Schankle 2-2-2-6, Childers 2-1-1-5, Ott 2-0-3-4. TOTALS: 10-8-14-28.