Top-ranked Lancers cruise into title game

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Register/Richard Luken
Crest High’s Todd Johnston (right) defends St. Paul High’s Kolby Carter (2) in the first half of Crest’s 71-30 win Friday in Class 1A regional play.

Crest High’s boys opened postseason play Friday in much the same manner as they handled the regular season — in dominating fashion.
It only seemed like the Lancers led 8-2 before the packed crowed at the Allen County Community College gymnasium could blink and 24-4 before the audience could catch its breath.
By the time the dust settled, the Lancers were on top of an overmatched St. Paul High squad 47-8 by halftime of a 71-30 win.
“We had a great week of practice,” Crest head coach Travis Hermreck said. “I was tickled with how we played with such good intensity. The guys were itching to get back on the court.
“I guess my practices aren’t that much fun this time of year.”
The victory keeps the top-ranked Crest squad’s record perfect at 21-0. The Lancers advance to today’s regional final against Southern Coffey County.
The Titans are the host school of the regional playoffs, with the semifinals and finals played at the ACCC campus in Iola. Regardless of today’s outcome, the Lancers and Titans are both assured a berth in next week’s substate playoffs.
Crest found itself facing an opponent in St. Paul a team it defeated handily 10 days earlier in St. Paul, which caused a bit of consternation, Hermreck admitted.
“Because they’re kids, you don’t know if they’re going to take easy the second time you play,” Hermreck said.
His worries were erased rather quickly.
Senior Todd Johnston scored 16 of his game-high 18 points before halftime, while classmate Brandon Newton scored 13.
With a withering full-court press, Crest harassed St. Paul’s guards and clamped down on the Indians’ tall frontcourt players when the ball went inside.
The first and second quarters were near mirror images of each other. The Lancers outscored St. Paul 24-4 in the first quarter; 23-4 in the second. The highlight of the half came on a steal and slam dunk by Brandon Newton late in the first period.
Hermreck rested his starters for much of the second half. Ten Crest players tallied points in the contest.
Crest led 58-15 after three quarters.
Zach Stinnett added 11 points for the Lancers.
Crest faces another familiar foe today in Southern Coffey County. The Lancers won against SCCH in both teams’ season-opener 54-26. Tipoff, in the ACCC gym, is at 2:30 p.m.
“I’ve seen them play quite a bit, and they’ve improved a great deal this season by doing things the right way,” Hermreck said. “They’ve fought through some up and downs. They’re good. Brandt (Miller) has done a great job.”
Willie Westhoff scored five points to lead the Indians.
St. Paul (4-4-7-15—30) (FG/3-pt): Carter 0-2-2-2, Westhoff 2-1-0-5, Treiber 0/1-0-2-3, D. Smith 0/1-0-0-3, Meins 2-0-2-4, Coomes 1-1-0-3, Kennedy 1-0-0-2, Schibi 2-0-4-4. TOTALS: 8/2-8-10-30.
Crest (24-23-11-13—71) (FG/3-pt): Wiley 0/1-0-2-3, Stinnett 4-3-1-11, Milner 1-0-1-2, Brd. Newton 7-1-1-15, Johnston 6/2-0-0-18, Decker 2-1-0-5, Bowen 0-3-3-3, Bry. Newton 3-0-1-6, Stoneking 1-0-3-2, Buck 3-0-1-6. TOTALS: 27/3-8-13-71.