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January 11, 2023 - 00:00
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    ANOTHER WHEAT CAPITAL – Kingfisher boys basketball players, coaches and managers pose with cheerleaders and the KHS student section after defeating Alva on Saturday in the Wheat Capital championship. It was Kingfisher’s 14th tournament title there, in

There was nothing that could touch the Lomega girls’ run at the Wheat Capital Tournament from 1983 to 1993.

That is until the last decade of the Kingfisher Yellowjackets.

Flexing its trademark defense, KHS put on another dominant performance Saturday as it shut down Alva 50-25 in the boys title game at Chisholm’s Paul J. Outhier Fieldhouse.

The championship was the fourth in a row for the Jackets at the Wheat Capital and the ninth in the last 10 years.

The only time KHS didn’t claim the championship during that stretch was 2019 when it didn’t participate after having taken part in the Tournament of Champions.

Only the Lady Raiders’ string of nine straight titles and 10 championships in 11 years can look down on what KHS has done at the Wheat Capital.

“It’s been a great run for our guys,” said head coach Jared Reese. “It’s a fun tournament with a lot of tradition and to be able to do what we’ve done these last 10 years is special. It’s something these guys will look back on and be really proud of.”

Few teams tested the Jackets like Alva did in last year’s championship of the very same tournament.

KHS needed late-game heroics from Xavier Ridenour to sneak out with a 41-39 victory.

There was no suspense this year.

A tightly-called first quarter saw the Jackets stake a 14-6 lead.

The second stanza saw them take over.

Ridenour and Caden Kitchens each scored four points in the final three minutes of the quarter as the Jackets forged ahead, 26-9.

They allowed just three points in the second as Alva shot 1 of 14.

“We did some different stuff against them this year than we did last year,” Reese said. “I think that really kept their kids guessing all night what was coming at them.”

The Jackets didn’t shoot particularly well as they were 38 percent overall in the first half and just 2 of 10 from 3-point range.

Ridenour heated up with a pair of third-quarter 3-pointers and then Kitchens’ putback at the buzzer vaulted the Jackets to a 3616 lead.

Ridenour opened the fourth quarter with another trey and instantly vanquished any Alva thoughts of a miraculous comeback.

The Jackets shot 59 percent in the second half.

“We didn’t shoot it great in the first half and there were times we got really careless with the ball,” Reese said.

The Jackets did have 18 turnovers in the game.

“But we also executed at key moments and were able to string together some buckets while they struggled to do that.”

Ridenour scored 16 in the game. He was 4 of 10 from 3-point range and earned himself a spot on the all-tournament team.

Kitchens was named the tournament’s most valuable player, joining the likes of Jace Sternberger, Jett Sternberger, Trey Green, Bijan Cortes and Matthew Stone before him.

Maddox Mecklenburg, Kitchens’ teammate, pulled down the honor last year.

“It’s an honor. I’ve looked up to them ever since I first went to a KHS game,” Kitchens said, “so to be associated with them is amazing.

“Each of those players went on to have great careers and I’m hoping that will be the same for me.”

After scoring 25 in the semifinal win, the senior forward notched 22 more in the championship.

Despite seeing limited action on Thursday, Kitchens still averaged 17.7 points and 5.0 rebounds over the three days.

He shot 69 percent (22 of 32) overall, including 73 percent (19 of 26) from two-point range.

“We run a lot of sets his way because he knows how to score,” Reese said. “He has an ability to hurt teams in a lot of ways.”

Drake Friesen added six points for the Jackets as they improved to 9-2.

He was 7 of 13 from 3-point range in the tournament.

Kingfisher has now won the Wheat Capital a total of 14 times, including the first one in 1970.

KHS 70, Sunrise Christian 28 (semifinals)

The sun set on Sunrise Christian in the Wheat Capital semifinals.

Defending champion Kingfisher had the honors as the Jackets throttled the Wichita-based school 70-28 on Friday at Chisholm.

KHS scored the game’s first eight points and never looked back.

Kingfisher’s pressure forced the Buffaloes into 22 turnovers, which turned into 24 points.

The Jackets also took apart the defenses Sunrise Christian threw at them.

Caden Kitchens scored 10 points in the first quarter as the Jackets jumped up 22-7.

They added a 16-3 run in the second quarter and another 20-4 spurt in the third.

Kitchens finished with 25 points on 10 of 15 shooting. He was 3 of 5 from 3-point range.

Xavier Ridenour added 12 points and five boards.

Drake Friesen and Jud Birdwell scored six points apiece.