McLouth's Purple Hays: MHS fans turn out as team falls just short in historic trip to 2A state tournament

McLouth High's Colton Pope awaits a pass from a teammate during the Bulldogs' Class 2A state quarterfinal game Wednesday, March 6, in Hays. Looking on are teammates Asher Robbins (21) and Jeremy Carlton (1). MHS lost to Pittsburg Colgan, 48-41. Enlarge photo

March 13, 2019

— Last week’s Class 2A state basketball quarterfinal pitted the newbies against the old guard.

Sure, McLouth had a veteran team, including seasoned guards, heading into the Bulldogs’ first state appearance since 1960.

But even Pittsburg Colgan had the advantage on paper in that statistic — McLouth five seniors and seven upperclassmen overall compared to Colgan’s seven seniors and 10 upperclassmen overall.

And then there’s the contrast in history. McLouth’s exciting run this year included the school’s first state berth in almost 60 years.

Colgan, meanwhile was making its 22nd state appearance in the last 24 seasons. The team had reached the semifinals 16 times in that span and then went on to win five state titles and take second on seven other occasions. In total, Colgan coach Wayne Cichon was 627-220 in 36 seasons heading into the Wednesday, March 6, contest between No. 3 Colgan and No. 6 McLouth at Gross Coliseum in Hays.

During the quarterfinal game, none of those contrasting stats really mattered — or showed.

The back-and-forth game saw seven ties and nine lead changes.

A large McLouth contingent cheered on its Bulldogs from start to finish, but the Panthers were able to pull away in the fourth quarter for a 48-41 victory.

Colgan moved on to another state semifinal, while McLouth’s record-breaking season came to an end.

The team’s were pretty even in most statistical categories. MHS was 17-for-37 from the field (almost 46 percent), while Colgan was 19-for-34 (nearly 56 percent). McLouth went 7-for-9 from the free-throw line, while Colgan went 9-for-13. Colgan had 21 rebounds (16 defensive) to Mclouth’s 18 (13 defensive). McLouth had more personal fouls (18-10), while Colgan committed more turnovers (14-11). Each team had a block and eight steals.

The Bulldogs held their own offensively, but just couldn’t get going from beyond the three-point line.

MHS went 0-for-11 from three-point land. Garrison Pope, who hit the 1,000-point mark for his career in the substate quarterfinals, went 0-for-7 from behind the three-point line. Pope still played a key role for the Bulldogs, as the senior scored a team-high 11 points. Jaxson Pope was a force inside for McLouth, as he also was in double figures with 10. Colgan had three players score in double figures — Cal Marquardt with 16, Aaron Higginbotham with 15 and Matthew Lomshek with 10. Higginbotham, who like Jaxson Pope is 6-6, connected for the Panthers’ lone three-pointer. Colgan went 1-for-5 in three-point attempts.

McLouth provided plenty of plays to get the MHS crowd going, including senior Jonah Willits leap-frogging a Colgan player after the Panthers went in transition for a fast-break attempt.

St. Mary’s Colgan, which is a Pittsburg private school, ended the season 20-5 with a fourth-place finish at state. SMC fell to Hutchinson-Trinity Catholic, 36-31, in the semifinals and then lost, 60-56, in overtime to Inman in the consolation game.

McLouth’s 18 victories were the most in a single season at MHS since 1955.

Hays long has been the site for 1A state action, but 1A moved to Dodge City and 2A came from Manhattan after 29 years of being played at Bramlage Coliseum on the Kansas State University campus.

Colgan 48, McLouth 41

McLouth 12 10 11 8 - 41

Colgan 10 15 10 13 - 48

McLouth — Carlton 2-4 0-0 4, J. Pope 5-8 0-0 10, G. Pope 4-14 3-3 11, Willits 0-0 2-4 2, Robbins 2-4 2-2 6, Kuglin 2-2 0-0 4, Barfield 2-5 0-0 4. Totals — 17-37 7-9 41.

Colgan — Dungan 0-0 0-0 0, Higginbotham 7-14 0-0 15, Marquardt 5-8 6-6 16, VanBecelaere 1-3 1-2 3, M. Lomshek 4-6 2-4 10, A. Lomshek 1-1 0-1 2, Dawson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals — 19-34 9-13 21.

3-point goals — McLouth 0-11 (Carlton 0-1, G. Pope 0-7, Barfield 0-3); Colgan 1-5 (Higginbotham 1-3, VanBeceaere 0-2). Rebounds — McLouth 18 (J. Pope 9); Colgan 21 (Higginbotham 5). Total fouls — McLouth 18, Colgan 10. Fouled out — none.

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