WAVERLY — The Lebo Wolves ended the season for the St. Paul Indians by a score of 62-28 in a KSHSAA Class 1A D-II Sub-State semifinal matchup here Friday.
“We just had a hard time scoring, and that’s been our achilles heel all year,” St. Paul head coach Kieith Wiatrak said. “We play so hard on defense which keeps us in games like tonight, but eventually you have to start scoring. And we were missing easy shots, it isn’t like we were forced to take tough shots.”
St. Paul shot just 22% on the night, with many shots failing to even hit the rim. They still managed to stay close with a locked in defensive effort, trailing just 15-9 after a quarter and 30-17 at halftime.
Key to St. Paul’s defense was a high-energy performance from senior Kiser Wiatrak, who finished with five steals and five rebounds.
“I thought he played his butt off on defense,” Keith Wiatrak said of his son.
That defense would only hold so long, as the Wolves went on a 12-2 run in the third quarter and a 16-0 run in the fourth to break away.
Entering the night averaging over 22 points per game, senior Trey Peters was held to 16 on Friday. The guard was finding unimpeded ways to the basket, but came up short when finishing.
“He was off tonight, but he’s a good basketball player,” Wiatrak said.
Peters also tallied three rebounds, a pair of assists and a block.
Though he was kept in check offensively by a pair of Lebo forwards, junior Zakary Kirkpatrick hauled in seven rebounds and had a pair of blocks to go with 5 points.
Kiser Wiatrak finished with 4 points and sophomore Braxton Irish had three.
St. Paul finished the season with a record of 8-13.
Friday marked the last time Peters, Kiser Wiatrak and Dylan Paulie would don their maroon jerseys, as the trio is set to graduate in May.
“You couldn’t ask for a better group of kids to coach,” Keith Wiatrak said.
After 25 years of coaching basketball and football at St. Paul, Wiatrak has decided to step down from coaching.
“I’ve done pretty much every sport there is to coach,” he said. “It’s time to let some of the younger guys and girls take over and let them chase the dream for a while.”
Wiatrak has been the head basketball coach since 2012 and the head football coach since 2014. With Kiser competing on the rodeo team at Northeastern Oklahoma next year, Keith wanted to make sure he did not miss an event.
From former offensive linemen and running backs posing together in wedding tuxedos to a former basketball player requesting his presence at their Catholic confirmation, Wiatrak has plenty of memories to look back on.
“I have all kinds of memories, it’ll make me cry to think about them,” Wiatrak said. “I still get texts and snapchats from old players. I’m gonna miss it, but I had a great run.
“I love St. Paul,” he continued. “And I love my wife for putting up with me coaching for 25 years.”
St. Paul: Trey Peters 16, Zakary Kirkpatrick 5, Kiser Wiatrak 4, Braxton Irish 3
Lebo: Landon Grimmett 21, Grayson Shoemaker 15, Luke Davies 14, Zachary Oswald 6, Austin Bailey 4, Samuel Hasenclever 2
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