WELCH — An 18-2 run in the second quarter helped the Welch boys get some breathing room in their first-round Kenneth Sooter Invitational battle with South Coffeyville.

The Wildcats led by 21 at the half then coasted to a 45-30 victory here Monday night.

The Welch girls also coasted to a 47-28 victory.

Both of the tournament’s defending champs posted wins earlier Monday.

The St. Paul, Kan., girls routed Foyil 47-23 while the Foyil boys, shooting for a third straight title here, pulled out a 38-24 victory.

Today, it’s the Watts vs. Ketchum girls at 4 p.m., Watts vs. Ketchum boys at 5:30 p.m., Chetopa, Kan., vs. Commerce girls at 7 p.m., and Chetopa, Kan. vs. Commerce boys at 8:30 p.m.

The tournament continues through Saturday.

Welch (4-1) had blistered the Lions 70-29 in the season opener for both teams on Nov. 21.

 But South Coffeyville (2-2) was within striking distance up until the midway point of the second quarter.

That’s when Austin Buchanan nailed a 3-point goal for the Cats.

Kyle Cantrell countered with a layup for the Lions, cutting the gap to 13-7 with 3:32 left in the half.

Back-to-back treys by Buchanan and Joey Powers, followed by a conventional 3-point play by Powers sent the Cats on their game-breaking run.

“We didn’t shoot very well in the first quarter, but Buchanan hit a couple of big ‘3s’ that kinda sparked us,” Welch coach Josh Schertz said. “Our press picked it up, put some pressure on the ball. Powers got two or three easy buckets off that.”

The Cats carried a 43-13 lead into the fourth quarter, where South Coffeyville held a 17-2 edge.

Welch got its only points of the final stanza with 1:39 left on a shot from outside by Alex Smith.

Powers finished with 19 points and Buchanan added 10 for the Wildcats.

Cantrell’s nine points led the scoring for South Coffeyville.

The Welch girls jumped out to a 14-2 lead in the first quarter and coasted.

The Lady Wildcats (3-2) were up 27-12 at intermission then held a 10-7 advantage in the third quarter.

Welch outscored the visitors 10-9 over the final eight minutes.

Allison Chenoweth and Sierra Hankins had 15 and 13 points, respectively for Welch, which was playing minus leading scorer Jordan Amos.

Alisha Turney scored a game-high 17 for the Lady Lions (0-3).

Boys

St. Paul, Kan    8    5    5    6 — 24

Foyil    10    5    10    13 — 38

St. Paul — Leistikow 7, Schibi 7, Giefer 4, Carter 2, Winter 2, Meins 2.

Foyil — Noland 14, Ridgway 11, Simerly 6, Cunningham 3, Ward 2, Thomas 2.

3-point goals — Schibi 1, Noland 3.

South Coffeyville    4    5    4    17 — 30

Welch    8    22    13    2 — 45

South Coffeyville — Cantrell 9, Garretson 7, Phipps 6, Faulkner 4, Cook 2, Holsinger 2.

Welch — Powers 19, Buchanan 10, Mount 8, Sandusky 4, Smith 2, Bullard 2.

3-point goals – Powers 2, Buchanan 2.

Girls

St. Paul, Kan.    10    19    7    11 — 47

Foyil    2    1    5    15 — 23

St. Paul — H. Beachner 8, M. Borum 8, Westhoff 8, Burke 6, K. Borum 6, E. Tuck 3, Stein 3, Harmon 2, B. Beachner 2, J. Tuck 1.