By KYLE McCASKEY
Special to The Hays Daily News
MANHATTAN - When Zuriel Reyes swished his first 3-pointer of the night, he felt no pain. He was feeling it.
"When the first one went in, I thought, 'This is going to be a great night,' " Reyes said. "It sure was."
Reyes torched Plainville for 27 points, connecting on 6 of 9 from beyond the arc, to push St. John-Hudson to a 71-58 victory in the Class 2A boys' state basketball championship at Bramlage Coliseum. It makes two titles in a row for the Tigers, who won their previous one in Class 1A Division I.
The feeling of back-to-back first-place trophies certainly helped Reyes forget about his bum ankle. It caused him to miss some game action this postseason, and every so often gave him a quick jolt of discomfort to remind him he is still not 100 percent healthy.
"Now it feels great," Reyes said with a laugh. "I had to ignore the pain, obviously. Every time I shoot it, I don't even think about it - just three after three after three."
Reyes was needed for some heavy lifting against Plainville, as teammate and leading scorer Dean Wade picked up two early fouls. Plainville came out energized, taking a 20-17 lead into the second quarter after star senior Hadley Gillum banked in a 3-pointer.
"We had a stretch where we were making baskets, but we didn't guard a soul," said St. John coach Clint Kinnamon.
Plainville grew its lead as high as seven, but St. John answered with a 7-0 spurt, capped by Reyes' first 3-pointer of the night. He added a steal and layup before halftime to put the Tigers up 31-28.
In the third quarter, Plainville shot the ball well to try to knife into St. John's lead. But around every corner was another Reyes' 3-pointer. He pushed home three triples in the quarter.
The Cardinals tried to cover other weapons on defense, but leaving Reyes open was identified as their downfall.
"Reyes," said Plainville coach Chris Drees. "Reyes happened.
"We knew we'd have our hands full, and we did."
In the middle of the fourth quarter, Wade drove the lane for a two-hand throwdown that gave St. John a 64-52 lead. Reyes later added a dagger 3-ball to push the Tigers up 67-54.
Wade, battling a back injury, finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and four blocks to compliment Reyes' performance.
"What a gutty performance by those two, being injured," Kinnamon said.
Logan Frederking scored 19 to lead Plainville (23-3). Gillum added 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks before fouling out late.
"He'd only fouled out of one other game this year," Drees said. "He wanted it bad. We came up a quarter short."
Reyes said he felt some pain in his ankle in shootaround before the title match - more than before the previous two nights of games. By tipoff, he forgot about it. The senior can now rest, his pain reliever being the second state championship ring soon coming his way.
"It's my last high school game ever, and I wanted to go out with a bang," Reyes said.
St. John-Hudson 71, Plainville 58
Frederking 7-12 0-1 19, Gillum 4-12 4-5 14, Meitler 1-5 0-0 2, Newell
4-6 0-0 11, Gehring 1-5 4-7 6, Friend 0-6 4-4 4, Dewey 1-3 0-0 2,
Bobek 0-0 0-0 0, Reif 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-49 12-17 58.
St. John (26-0)
K. Kinnamon 1-4 3-4 5, C. Kinnamon 2-8 3-6 8, Wade 5-8 8-9 19, Reyes
10-15 1-2 27, Alvarez 2-2 2-2 6, G. Calleros 0-0 0-0 0, Valenzuela 0-0
0-0 0, Ward 0-0 0-0 0, Long 0-0 0-0 0, J. Calleros 0-3 2-2 2, Nelson
0-1 0-0 0, Milton 1-4 2-3 4. Totals 21-45 21-28 71.
Plainville 20; 8; 22; 8; --58
St. John 17; 14; 24; 16; --71
3-point field goals: Plainville 10-25 (Frederking 5-8, Gillum 2-6,
Newell 3-5, Gerhing 0-2, Friend 0-4); St. John 8-16 (K. Kinnamon 0-1,
C. Kinnamon 1-3, Wade 1-2, Reyes 6-9, Milton 0-1).
Rebounds: Plainville 30 (Gillum 8); St. John 38 (Wade, J. Calleros 8).
Turnovers: Plainville 13, St. John 9.