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Macksville's teamwork clinches state title

By: Kevin Thompson

KSHSAA Covered Contributor

DODGE CITY – Macksville’s first state title came in 2006, before most of this year’s team was born. The second came in 2011, when they were just youngsters.

The next generation of the Mustangs made it a third title with a 73-62 win over Wichita-Classical Saturday night.
Senior Lance Lickiss led the team with 20 points and 12 rebounds, one of four players in double figures in what was truly a team effort. 
Lickiss had seen Classical play the night before and knew what to expect: fast and furious. But it was the third quarter that turned the tide when his team outscored the Saints 17-9.
“The past several games we’ve come out the third quarter–that’s our strongest quarter. We lock down on defense and move the ball really good, and we always run the floor a lot faster,” he said. “I had a feeling that was going to happen after halftime and we definitely did.”
Tied 40-40 at halftime, Macksville went on a 12-2 run to widen the gap, just as Lickiss hoped. The Saints made a mini run at the end but trailed 57-49 at the break.
Scoring was tougher for both teams in the final period, and Classical got to within 61-56. The Mustangs closed the game with 8-for-8 free throws to lock up the title.
“It was a very good night for free throws,” Lickiss said. “We put them down (19 for 25); that’s the best we’ve shot this year.”
Both teams were on fire in the opening quarter, with Macksville taking a 15-11 lead before half the period was done. They both shot over 50 percent the first half, leading to the 40-40 tie. 
Macksville’s tighter defense stopped Classical on nine straight possessions to widen the gap.
Four Mustangs scored in double figures, led by Lickiss’ 20. Ryan Kuckelman had 13, Rogelio Ibarra 12 and Alexis Barron 11. 
Macksville coach Jeff Kuckelman said Classical was a tough opponent.
“They got up and down faster than I’d seen earlier in the tournament and it seemed like it was going to be a track meet for a while,” he said. “I’m screaming at my guys to ‘get back, get back,’ and we kind of slowed them down.”
His team rotated and challenged shots better in the second half, allowing his team to play more freely and comfortably, which made the free throws much easier late in the game.
Tied at half, Classical had already hit five 3-pointers, and Kuckelman knew his team had to answer for that.
“The difference was we were going to have to slow them down on defense, and we were able to take care of that and how we played on offense,” he said.
Following the game, the Macksville crowd stayed on the court congratulating the team, and that support was great for his team, Kuckelman said.
“It’s unbelievable. That’s how it’s supposed to be in a town like this,” he said.
Wichita-Classical shot 40 percent for the game (21 of 52) and were outrebounded 31-26.
Coach Tim Dolloff was proud of his team in the first effort, but he also pointed to the start of the third quarter that hurt his team.
“We missed about two or three open ones and they hit two or three, and all of sudden we find ourselves down 10, and they just kept us at arm’s length after that,” he said.
The start of the game for his team to come out firing was typical, but they usually play a better job on defense, he said.
“We don’t like giving up 40 points,” Dollhoff said. “We don’t mind scoring 40. We’ve pushed the ball fairly hard all year. Finishing off plays was probably the biggest difference.”
SOUTH GRAY 80, OLPE 77 (2OT) – It was a repeat of last year’s title game, just played one game earlier. 
Two-time defending champion Olpe, who defeated South Gray in the title game in 2022, fell to the Rebels in the third-place game in double overtime, 80-77.
Joseph Dyck scored 14 of his game-high 34 points in the overtimes to lead the Rebels. It was a performance that almost didn’t happen.
Olpe led 32-28 at halftime. Down by 10 early in the fourth, the Rebels hit a pair of threes to close to within four, then they got within one with a 6-1 run with 3:19 to play. An inbounds score by Jorge Lupercio cut the lead to one with just over two minutes to play.
Truman Bailey and Carter Jantz traded layups to keep the gap at one with a minute to go. A Lucerio steal and coast-to-coast layup gave the Rebels the lead, 62-61, with 39 seconds left.
Following a timeout, Olpe thought they had the layup but a foul called on the floor negated that shot. After calling timeout with 14 seconds to play, Garret Cole sank the front end of a one-and-one. South Gray called timeout, and Cole missed the ensuing free throw.
After the Rebels rebounded, they were called for traveling. On the next shot, South Gray grabbed the rebound and drove the length of the court, where Olpe fouled – just their sixth.
Olpe called timeout with 2.2 seconds to play, and Sam Moore’s three-point attempt fell short, leading to overtime.
Bailey gave Olpe a 69-66 lead in overtime with 21 seconds remaining, but Dyck drove for a layup-and-one to tie the game with 14 seconds to play, sending the game into double overtime.
Darren Heins scored six points to give the Eagles a 75-71 lead in the second overtime, but Dyck had a pair of free throws and a pair of threes to give the Rebels a 77-75 lead. 
Heins went to the line for three, making two for another tie. But Dyck made a spin move for another bucket, and Lupercio went to line following an Olpe miss, making one for the 80-77 Rebel lead.
Lupercio scored 12 and Jantz 10 to go with Dyck’s 34. Bailey had 21 and Blake Skalsky 19 for the Eagles.

Macksville 20 20 17 16 -- 73

Wichita-Classical 19 21 9 13 -- 62

MACKSVILLE (23-2) – Gomez 3-6 2-3 9, R. Ibarra 4-10 4-4 12, Esparza, 4-6 0-0 8, Lickiss 8-9 4-7 20, Barron 3-8 4-4 11, Kuckelman 4-6 5-7 13. Totals 26-45 19-25 73.

WICHITA CLASSICAL (22-3) – C. Sinclair 4-7 0-3 9, Logan 0-2 2-2 2, T. Sinclair 2-8 0-1 4, Wilkey 3-3 1-3 7, Buckingham 6-15 0-0 15, Young 4-7 2-2 13, J. Dolloff 2-10 7-8 12. Totals 21-52 12-19 62.

3-point goals–M 2-8 (Gomez 1-3, R. Ibarra 0-2, Barron 1-2); WC 8-22 (Logan 0-1, C. Sinclair 1-1, T. Sinclair 0-1, Buckingham 3-10, Young 3-6, J. Dolloff 1-3). Rebounds–M 31 (Lickiss 12,); WC 26 (Young 7, Wilkey 6). Assists–M 14 (Lickiss 5), WC 11 (Dolloff 9). Turnovers–M 16, WC 15. Fouls–M 16, WC 20. Fouled out– Sinclair.

South Gray 17 11 14 20 7 11 -- 80 

Olpe 15 17 12 7 8 -- 77

SOUTH GRAY (22-3) – S. Moore 2-5 2-2 7, Salmans 1-2 0-0 2, Jantz 5-9 0-0 10, Lupercio 5-12 1-2 12, Dyck 12-23 5-5 34, Martin 3-15 2-4 8, Loewen 3-6 0-0 7. Totals 31-72 10-13 80.

OLPE (22-3) –Bl. Redeker 5-8 0-1 10, Hoelting 1-4 0-0 2, Bailey 9-17 1-2 21, Heins 4-11 5-8 15, Skalsky 9-20 1-5 19, Cole 4-7 2-3 10. Totals 32-67 9-20 77.

3-point goals–SG 8-23 (Moore 1-4, Jantz 0-1, Lupercio 1-2, Dyck 5-7, Martin 0-7, Loewen 1-2); O 4-13 (B. Redeker 0-1, Hoelting 0-2, Bailey 2-6, Heins 2-4). Rebounds –SG 40 (Dyck 14, Lupercio 7), Olpe 46 (Skalsky 12, B. Redeker 8). Assists–SG 17 (Jantz 7), O 17 (B. Redeker 7). Turnovers–SG 11, O 19. Fouls–SG 19, O 17. Fouled out–Cole.