Top-ranked Lancers turn away Titans

Crest outlasts SCCH for 1A regional title

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
All are focused on Crest High’s Dakota Milner (20) as he shoots over the leaping Southern Coffey County High’s Justin Meyer (4) during the third quarter of Saturday’s Class 1A Regional tournament final. Milner sparked a big second half by Crest on its way to a 47-29 win.

Crest High’s Lancers, top-ranked and undefeated, found themselves in a pretty unfamiliar situation Saturday afternoon.
Southern Coffey County High’s Titans had bottled the Lancers up and kept the cork in pretty tight through the first half their Kansas Class 1A Regional tournament championship game. The Titans led 16-15 at halftime.
“We’ve only trailed now twice at halftime this season,” said Crest senior Dakota Milner. “Coach just told us to pick up our defensive intensity and that some of us needed to step up.”
Milner decided he was among those needing to step up in the third quarter. He scored all seven of his points in that period. Plus he picked up his defensive play against the Titans. All that and more helped the Lancers turn the tables on the upset-minded Titans, sparking a 32-13 run through the second half by the Lancers.
They captured the 1A Regional championship with a 47-29 win.
The Lancers and Titans played before a packed house in the Allen County Community College gym. Fans got their money’s worth.
“For three quarters, we were mentally tough enough to stay with Crest. At the end, we weren’t able to keep up,” said Brandt Miller, Southern Coffey County head coach.
“Their role players — Milner and Stinnett — were the two players who made us change what we wanted to do.
“You game plan for the three and force Crest to beat you with the other players. Today those other players beat us.”
The three Miller was referring to were Crest seniors Brandon Newton and Todd Johnston and junior Bryan Newton. Brandon Newton led the Lancers with 15 points.
Southern Coffey County kept the “three” under wraps with a strong defensive showing in the first half. It was Zach Stinnett, a junior, coming off giving the Lancers an offensive spark.
Southern Coffey County’s Dallas Craft opened the game with a basket and John Kraft sank a free throw for a 3-0 lead. Brandon Newton scored with 5:06 left in the first quarter then Stinnett connected for a 4-3 lead.
Craft led the charge for the Titans with a free throw to tie and later a basket. Jeremy Ludolph nailed a three-pointer. Stinnett scored with 19 seconds left and Crest was down 9-6.
Bryan Newton broke through to score four straight points in the first two minutes of the second quarter. Crest led 10-9 but not for long.
Chyler Ludloph’s basket put the Titans back in front. Stinnett hit one of two free throws to tie the game.
Brandon Newton went inside for two then used a rebound off a missed free throw to score again. Crest led 15-11.
The final two minutes of the first half belonged to the Titans. Justin Meyer drained a three and C. Ludolph gave his team the one-point halftime lead, 16-15, with 55 seconds left.
“This was a good challenge for us. Brandon just carried us in the first half. Zach came off the bench and gave us the spark but Southern Coffey County really played hard,” said Travis Hermreck, Crest head coach.
“At halftime, Dakota was as frustrated as I’ve seen him ever be. He got us charged in the third quarter. He hit the three then put the ball on the floor and went to the basket. Dakota broke the ice for us.”
A mistake by the Titans really set the tone for the second half. On an in bounds play under their own basket, the Titans tried to throw a long pass out but nobody was there but Crest’s Todd Johnston.
Johnston ran down the ball and made an uncontested layup. That put the Lancers in front to stay.
Milner nailed a three-pointer with 6:18 left. Southern Coffey County’s Meyer answered it with a trey.
Milner drove to the basket and scored. Trevor Smith kept Southern Coffey County right there with a basket.
Bryan Newton scored with 4:02 left in the third quarter. No one scored again until Johnston downed a three at the 2:39 mark.
Southern Coffey County wasn’t folding. Kraft and Craft had back-to-back field goals to pull withing two, 27-25.
Milner had the final basket of the third quarter with 29 seconds left. Crest headed into the final eight minutes of play with a 29-25 lead.
A 10-2 run for the Lancers in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter was all they needed. Brandon and Bryan Newton each hit a three pointer while Stinnett had two baskets.
The Titans were 10 points behind with 3:24 left. They applied a full-court press but Crest broke it for a quick basket by Bryan Newton.
“We just started playing better defensively in the second half and things fell into place,” Hermreck said.
“After the game, we had a long talk about looking ahead. To a player, they admitted they really weren’t thinking about this game but looking ahead to substate. We have to take step No. 1 before we can take step No. 2.”
Stinnett ended up worth 10 points for Crest. The Lancers hit 6 of 9 free throws in the fourth quarter and were 9 of 15 for the game.
C. Ludolph led the Titans with eight points. Craft added seven and Meyer had six.
Crest (23-0) and Southern Coffey County (17-6) advance into Class 1A substate play this week. Crest plays Norwich (10-13) at 6 p.m. Friday at El Dorado. Southern Coffey County takes on Pretty Prairie (16-7) at 6 p.m. Friday in Emporia.
Crest (6-9-14-18—47) (FG/3-pt): Stinnett 4-2-2-10, Milner 2/1-0-1-7, Bran. Newton 4/1-4-3-15, Johnston 1/1-1-1-6, Bry. Newton 2/1-2-1-9, Buck 0-0-1-0. TOTALS: 13/4-9-9-47.
Southern Coffey County (9-7-9-4—29) (FG/3-pt): Craft 3-1-2-7, Spencer 0-0-3-0, Meyer 0/2-0-4-6, Smith 1-0-0-2, Kraft 1-1-5-3, J. Ludolph 0/1-0-0-3, A. Ludolph 0-0-2-0, C. Ludolph 4-0-2-8. TOTALS: 9/3-2-18-29.