ST. PAUL — The St. Paul Indians absorbed a drubbing Friday night at the hands of visiting Olpe, 67-19. Olpe entered the evening as the No. 1 ranked Class 1A-I team, per Kansas Basketball Coaches Association’s most recent poll.
The Indians misfired on their first 15 shots from the field, and trailed 26-2 at the conclusion of the opening frame. Down by 25 at the half, St. Paul was outscored 26-1 in the third quarter, as Olpe coasted to the decisive 48-point victory.
In addition to their shooting woes, the Indians committed 35 turnovers on the night.
“I didn’t think we performed very well,” said St. Paul head coach Keith Wiatrak. “We’ve played a lot better than that this year.”
Wiatrak noted that Olpe’s well-rounded performance showcased precisely why they’re so highly regarded.
“They just never stopped hustling,” Wiatrak said. “And I don’t think we ever got to that level.”
St. Paul moves to 0-4 overall but has faced a brutal schedule, having previously squared off with Southeast, Galena and Chetopa.
“We’ve started out with a very tough four-game schedule,” Wiatrak said, noting that they’re slate coming out of winter break doesn’t get much easier, as they match up with undefeated Frontenac on Jan. 11.
Wiatrak added that he does not believe the ultra-tough competition will help his club improve much going forward.
“I don’t think that you get a whole lot out of getting beat this bad early in the season,” he said. “People say that it will make you better down the stretch, but I have a hard time seeing that.”
Wiatrak said the game-plan against Olpe was to essentially control time of possession.
“Olpe likes to run, and they’re very deep on the bench,” Wiatrak said. “And we never could get comfortable in our offense.”
St. Paul is set for a rematch with visiting Southeast Jan. 4. They were previously bested by Southeast 60-49 on Dec. 9.
Olpe 67, St. Paul 19
Olpe: 18 16 26 7 — 67
St. Paul: 2 7 1 9 — 19
St. Paul: Trey Peters 14, Landon Beachner 3, Vincent Smith 2
Olpe: Truman Bailey 15, Derek Hoelting 15, Damon Redeker 14, Eli Foraker 5, Ethan Redeker 5, Ted Skalsky 4, Andon Temeyer 4, Blake Redeker 3, Dexton Hoelting 2