DODGE CITY — An aggressive zone defense and timely shots down the stretch helped the Stockton boys knock out top-seeded Berean Academy in the first round of the Class 1A state tournament on Wednesday at United Wireless Arena in Dodge City.
Stockton held the previously-unbeaten Warriors to 11 of 38 from the field and 9 of 24 from 3-point range in the Tigers’ 38-33 upset win.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well early, and I felt like we didn’t move the ball good,” Berean coach Lewis Wiebe said. “I felt like we didn’t exert ourselves defensively, especially in the first half, like we needed to get ourselves going.”
Berean (25-1) went a staggering 2 of 14 from the field in the first half, trailing Stockton 16-7 at the break.
“We watched their sub-state championship game,” Stockton coach Kyle Fox said. “St. Paul started out man, and it looked like Berean Academy really attacked their man well. When they went to a zone, it seemed like St. Paul was able to get back into it.
“We thought we might have some success with zone, and so that’s what we went with. It worked out for us tonight.”
Berean finally found an offensive rhythm in the third quarter, outscoring the Tigers 14-4 in the frame to take a 21-20 lead into the fourth.
The Warriors grabbed a four-point lead early in the fourth, but the momentum swung back to Stockton on one play.
Stockton senior guard Trevor Miller was fouled while making a 3-pointer and hit the free throw to tie it up at 24 with 5:40 left. The Tigers then regained the lead on two are throws from Troy Rogers, and Ethan Means’ 3-point play gave Stockton a five-point cushion.
The Warriors were still within three in the closing moments but Chase Wiebe missed a deep 3 with about 15 seconds left and Stockton iced it with free throws.
It was a gut-wrenching loss to what had been a banner season for the Warriors.
“We’ve had a great season, but (the state tournament) is what we were looking forward to, so this will taint the season,” coach Wiebe said. “But we’ve had a great season.”
Stockton ends the season 15-11.
Ethan Means led the Tigers with 14 points and 10 rebounds.