We highlight some impressive happenings from last week of high school basketball season in Kansas. Have something that you think is worthy of a mention or story you can suggest it anytime here
Washburn Rural girls, ranked second in 6A behind Derby, defeated Highland Park, 67-52, in a battle of ranked teams in a Centennial League contest. WR moved to 7-0, 5-0 in Centennial League action. Rural led by 29 points in the fourth quarter. Senior Carly Bachelor, one of the state’s top players, delivered 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Freshman Emma Krueger finished with a career-high 22 points, and junior Kasey Hamilton collected 13. Highland Park, ranked No. 10 in 5A last week and up to seventh this week, dropped to 7-2, 4-2 in league. HP has missed a pair of standouts this season, but received 24 points from junior Ariyana Grassity.
Derby girls rolled over Andover, 67-22, behind 17 points from Aliyah Myers. Derby’s defense permitted just five points in the first half and held Andover scoreless in the fourth quarter. Derby (6-0) has allowed just 30.7 points a game.
On the boys’ side, Rural defeated Highland Park, 69-38, and moved to 7-0, 5-0. Rural led 25-11 after the first quarter. Sophomore Joe Berry had 18 points. Rural is ranked fourth in 6A.
Liberal girls, ranked fifth in 6A, had a break of more than three weeks. The Redskins returned with a key 61-42 home Western Athletic Conference victory versus Hays High last Friday. One year and one day before, HHS was the last team to defeat the Redskins in the regular season. Liberal is 7-0 this year and 30-2 since the start of 2017-18. Liberal, the state leader in free throw percentage, went 17 of 19 from the free throw line.
Garden City boys, which ranked No. 10 in 6A before Christmas, bounced back after it fell to Junction City before holiday break, its first loss this year. GC held off Great Bend and earned a key 39-38 Western Athletic Conference road game.
Jarrod Springston sunk two free throws with six seconds left for the win. GC moved to 6-1, and GB dropped to 1-7. Kyler Lamb returned after he missed the last two December games and had eight points and nine rebounds.
Garden City girls moved to 6-1 with a 47-29 win at Great Bend. It marked the first 6-1 start for the Buff girls since ’12-13. Taryn Tabor had 11 points, and Keyhana Turner delivered 11 points and 10 rebounds. GC limited Great Bend to 8 of 42 (19 percent) shooting.
In a great moment, longtime McPherson girls’ coach Chris Strathman returned to the sideline. He missed the first part of the season after recovery from a cancerous tumor. In AVCTL Division III, McPherson picked up a key 37-30 win against Circle. McPherson is ranked fifth in 5A, and Circle is third in 4A. Both teams stand at 6-1.
Upsets and buzzer-beaters were a big part of last week, and Carroll boys and girls were involved in several of them. Entering last week, Carroll girls were ranked second in 5A, and Carroll boys are the defending 5A state champions.
In Friday’s Holy War, Carroll boys defeated Kapaun, 52-50, on an offensive rebound by Carsen Pracht. As he was falling down, Pracht put up a shot that went through for the game-winning basket. Carroll has a huge City League matchup against Wichita Heights, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, this week.
Also in the Holy War, Kapaun girls defeated Carroll, 33-31. The Crusaders halted a seven-game losing streak in the series. Sophomore Ella Anciaux enjoyed a big game for Kapaun with 25 points. It marked the first time Kapaun had defeated Carroll since a 59-48 victory on Jan. 31, 2015.
As well, on Wednesday, Carroll took another upset defeat against Wichita Northwest when the Grizzlies earned a 54-53 victory. Isis Sanders delivered 25 points, including 22 in the fourth quarter. NW trailed by 11 early in the fourth quarter, and came back with Sanders’ game-winning buzzer-beating 3. Northwest (2-4) was 2-20 in the last 22 meetings against Carroll and had not won since Feb. 24, 2011 versus the Golden Eagles.
Heights had a huge week with league wins against Wichita East and Wichita Southeast, ranked eighth and second in Class 6A. Heights beat East, 66-58, and cruised against Southeast, 78-56. The Falcons continue to be an exceptional rebounding team, especially on the offensive glass.
Versus East, Heights was plus-14 in rebounding margin, including plus-8 on the offensive side. Against SE, Heights collected 61 percent of available offensive rebounds – an incredible rate – and trumped 22 points from SE sophomore standout Jackie Johnson. Danair Dempsey led the Falcons with 19 points.
Campus boys defeated Salina Central, 55-45, in a big upset. SC was ranked second in Class 5A and dropped to sixth in 5A. Both squads are 5-1. Since Jan. 2007, Campus had lost 20 straight to Salina Central.
Hays High boys defeated Liberal, 68-56, and moved to 4-2. Liberal dropped to 5-2. HHS’ Tradgon McCrae had 20 points, the third straight contest he had at least 20.
McPherson’s Jake Alexander delivered 35 points, including four big dunks, in a win against Circle.
Pittsburg, ranked No. 4 in Class 5A, had a big game versus Labette County with a pair of dunks from Trenton Austin. The Purple Dragons are 7-0 after the 75-35 victory against LC.
Arkansas City, ranked fifth in Class 5A, moved to 6-1 with a 68-56 win against Salina South. Cevin Clark earned team player of the game honors with 40 points on 14 of 22 shooting. Clark is averaging 30.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists this season.
Bishop Miege girls, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, delivered a 72-49 victory against previously undefeated Mill Valley, ranked No. 9 in Class 6A. Payton Verhulst had 24 points, five assists and four rebounds. Her sister Ashton had 13 points, six rebounds and two assists.
In a matchup of top-ranked 4A girls teams, KC Piper defeated Baldwin, 63-48. Piper led 21-5 after the first quarter. The Pirates are 8-0 and continue to be ranked second in 4A behind Miege. Baldwin dropped from fourth to fifth.
Abilene, up two spots to No. 4 in 4A girls, defeated Marysville, 55-47, in North Central Kansas League action. Hannah Willey, a Washburn signing, finished with 12 points, and Sydney Burton delivered 21.
Both Willey and Burton, the team’s lone seniors, sunk three treys. Abilene is 6-0 and both players average 17.5 points a contest. Abilene owns an overtime road win, 45-43, against Augusta on Dec. 7. Augusta is ranked ninth in 4A. Abilene and Nickerson (8-0) are the lone undefeated teams on the west side of Class 4A.
Nickerson (8-0) defeated Andale, 48-43, in a matchup of ranked teams. Nickerson girls are seventh in 4A, and Andale was eighth in 4A and dropped out of the rankings this week. Nickerson’s Morgan Stout, a 6-1 junior standout who averages 22 points a contest, went down with a knee injury in the contest. Nickerson held on behind freshman Kieryn Ontjes and several made technical foul free throws late.
Ulysses girls, ranked eighth in 4A, held off winless Holcomb and pulled away in the second half for a 48-36 road victory. Gina Ballesteros had 22 points for the 5-1 Tigers. Ulysses went 7 of 15 from the 3-point line, including four 3s from Ballesteros.
Beloit continues to have a strong season for both boys and girls. Beloit boys, ranked eighth in 3A with a win against Phillipsburg, are 7-0 after a 62-28 road victory against Russell. Junior Vincent Palen finished with 17 points, one of three players in double figures. Beloit girls (5-2) held off Russell, 40-36, behind 12 points apiece from junior Shea Larson and senior Sydney Barrett. Barrett went 8-10 from the free throw line.
Beloit trailed 29-22 but ended the game on an 18-7 run. Barrett has done a great job of getting to the foul line this season. In three wins by a combined 23 points – including Friday – Barrett has 53 points and is 33 of 40 from the foul line in those contests.
For the second time this season, Phillipsburg girls pulled off a close win against Plainville. After a 42-41 victory in the Russell tournament, Phillipsburg delivered the Cardinals, 45-43, on the road Friday.
Phillipsburg is now 4-3, but 4-1 when it doesn’t face Central Plains. The Panthers have faced a challenging schedule and had just one home game so far this season, though does get rival Smith Center at home Tuesday.
On the boys’ side, Phillipsburg, ranked No. 10 in Class 3A, moved to 5-2 with a key 73-62 road win against Plainville in Mid-Continent League play. The Panthers led 22-20 after the first quarter and 42-30 at halftime.
Sophomore Ty Sides earned team player of the game honors with 28 points on 11 of 17 shooting. Senior Trey Sides had 17 points on 6 of 11 shooting. For Plainville, senior Tanner Copeland had a huge performance with 30 points on 11 of 19 shooting. Junior Jared Casey had 16 points on 5 of 16 shooting.
While the Sides’ brothers and Casey/Copeland all individually average at least 15 points a contest, credit to the secondary players for Phillipsburg for separation in the victory. Plainville sophomore Eli Hays had 11 points on 4 of 5 shooting, but the Panthers had eight players score, versus just five for the Cardinals.
Plainville went 13 of 28 shooting from 3-point range, but Phillipsburg was 13 of 22 from the free throw line. Plainville was 5 of 8 shooting on free throws. Senior Nathan Moon – also a starting wrestler for the Panthers – had five points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Belle Plaine boys, ranked fifth in Class 3A, earned a 63-53 victory against Garden Plain. BP pulled away with a 17-6 fourth quarter. Three players scored in double figures, led by 14 points from Bo Gooch.
Johnson-Stanton County girls and boys were involved in key results and rankings last week. Stanton County girls are 7-0 under sixth-year coach Trevor Siebert, who has done a nice job building the program. Stanton County moved into the Class 2A rankings this week at No. 8, ahead of traditional powers Hoxie and Colgan. SC is 5-0 at home, 2-0 in neutral site games and allows just 28.9 points per contest. Stanton County defeated three Colorado teams at the Border War at Syracuse and earned wins against Lakin (54-33) and Wichita County (44-31) last week.
Stanton County was 8-12 last season and Siebert was 41-61 in his tenure entering this winter. SC returned all five starters, all non-seniors. Junior Rylie Cook averages 15.1 points and 3.6 assists per contest. The Trojans average .89 points per possession and allow just .522 points per possession, a defensive number that’s on par with multiple recent state championship teams. As well, SC has done well in turnover percentage with miscues on just 21.7 percent of possessions, a significant improvement from last year. The Trojans have collected 33 percent of available offensive rebounds, also a big jump.
On the boys’ side, Stanton County was ranked eighth in 2A in the last poll but took an upset loss to Wichita County and dropped to tenth. Leoti (5-2) defeated SC, 63-44. The Trojans moved to 6-1.
The Oakley girls have been known for defense this season. Oakley has a runner-up finish in the Trego Purple and Gold tournament and has taken three losses to high-quality teams – two to undefeated Trego and one to power TMP – and earned a marquee 31-26 overtime win against Smith Center on Friday. SC has been ranked in 2A much of the year.
Oakley led after every quarter before SC outscored Oakley, 7-3, in the fourth quarter. Oakley had a 4-0 overtime edge. Jordyn Lowrie continued her dominating defensive season with 14 points, eight blocks and seven rebounds and held Smith Center to 22 percent shooting. Oakley moved to 4-4.
In a pair of road games, TMP girls defeated Ellis, 63-38, on Friday and then beat Sacred Heart, 73-51, on Saturday. TMP outscored SH, 44-22, in the second half and have captured three straight wins. Adell Riedel had 17 points, and Emilee Lane delivered 16 points and 10 rebounds. On Tuesday, undefeated Trego, ranked fourth in Class 2A, travels to TMP (5-3) in a huge contest that will have significant MCL ramifications.
In another upset, Ellis boys ended TMP’s four-game winning streak Friday. Since the Ellis County rivalry resumed in 2015, TMP had been 5-0 versus the Railroaders. TMP led by 15 in the second quarter before Ellis (5-2) came back for a 53-49 victory. Zachary Eck led the Railers with 26 points.
Bluestem girls (7-1) are not ranked Class 2A, but have earned two recent victories against ranked foes. On Dec. 18, Bluestem beat Shelly Hoyt-coached Eureka, 50-38, for the Tornadoes’ lone loss this season. Eureka is ranked seventh in Class 3A. On Jan. 4, Bluestem won at Erie, 46-38. In the final poll before Christmas, Erie was ninth in 3A girls. Senior Addyson Emmons has cleared 1,000 career points. Last year, Bluestem went 14-9, and Emmons averaged 21.3 points per game.
Tre McLaughlin of Northeast-Arma is averaging 25.9 points per game through seven contests, including 33 points Friday. The Vikings are 6-1 after a 68-60 win versus Southeast-Cherokee.
In a key Central Prairie League boys’ contest, St. John defeated Ness City, 64-56, and gave the Eagles their first loss. St. John is ranked fourth in 1A, and Ness City is fifth in 2A. St. John (7-2) had a 19-11 advantage in the third quarter for the difference. Junior Tanner Halling and senior Mason Osborne again had big performances.
Halling finished with 23 points on 9 of 14 shooting, and Osborne had 16 points on 8 of 9 shooting. Senior John Pfannenstiel paced the Eagles with 15 points. SJ shot 57 percent from the field.
Beloit/St. John’s-Tipton girls are ranked No. 8 in 1A. BSJT boys are a traditional power but is unranked. The girls moved to 6-0 with another dominating effort in a 47-12 victory against Hill City. Kara Eilert had 12 points. In the last three games, the Blujays has permitted 18, 19 and 12 points.
On the boys’ side, BSJT improved to 6-1 with a quality 49-39 victory against Hill City. Junior Brandon Bates led the Blujays with 16 points.
Like BSJT, Sylvan-Lucas has enjoyed a fine year with a 7-0 mark for the boys and 6-1 on the girls. Both teams are 3-0 in Northern Plains League. S-L boys are third in 1A and defeated Tescott, 52-16. The girls won 43-21 behind 10 points from senior Lexi Neel. S-L girls have enjoyed excellent team play. No player averages double figures on a team where the top-seven and eight of the top nine scorers are seniors.
Otis-Bison girls continued its excellent defense and moved to 8-0, 3-0 in Central Prairie League with a 50-25 road win against rival Victoria. O-B led 18-7 after the first quarter. Maddie Wiltse delivered 17 points, and Cora Anderson and Sheridan Ewy each had 13. Ewy made four treys. Victoria is 3-4. O-B girls moved into the rankings at No. 9 in Class 1A.
On the boys’ side, Victoria picked up its first victory and moved to 1-6 with a 51-48 home overtime win against Otis-Bison. Victoria outscored O-B 9-6 in overtime. O-B (5-3) had 20 points from Maitland Wiltse, and Victoria’s Nick Dreiling tallied 15.
Central Plains girls rolled over Macksville, 98-25, for its 92nd straight victory. Emily Ryan had 41 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and five steals. CP led 56-13 at halftime, and Ryan already had 30 points. CP continues to rank first in 1A in boys and girls.
Wallace County-Sharon Springs, ranked sixth in 1A, enjoyed a big performance from Trevor Medina, who tallied 31 points and went over 1,000 in his career.
Rural Vista, ranked sixth in 1A girls, earned another big Wheat State League victory with a 53-24 home win against Goessel. RV held Goessel to single figures in every quarter. The Heat were 1-5 in the last six games versus the Bluebirds. RV held Goessel to 7 of 32 (22 percent) shooting.
Fairfield senior Jaetyn Conrad enjoyed a 32-point showing, but Ellinwood girls held on to win 58-57. Fairfield dropped to 5-3. At the buzzer, Conrad had a difficult shot from several feet behind the 3-point line, but the attempt came up short. Ellinwood’s Madison Ward delivered 28 points. Ellinwood trailed by one with 41 seconds left, but Ward scored 18 seconds later for the lead and then blocked a shot.
Fairfield had a steal to set up the last-second shot. Ellinwood (5-3) has received 12.9 points and 12 rebounds a game from Ward this season and has significantly improved its play after a 1-20 season last year.
Ellinwood plays St. John in a key Central Prairie League contest Tuesday. St. John defeated Ellinwood, 42-32, earlier this season. Ward doubled her season best in points against Fairfield. Last year, Ward exceeded 20 points three times, including a season-best 26 on Feb. 6 against Ness City. Sophomore Mya Maxwell has made a huge difference for Ellinwood. She had just three varsity points last year and has averaged 13.9 points and 3.8 rebounds this season, including nine against Fairfield.
In a key SPIAA boys contest last Friday, Ashland went on the road and defeated Pawnee Heights, 58-52, and gave the Tigers their first loss this season. Junior Greysen Gardiner returned from injury and collected 10 points, including two key late baskets. Ashland ran a box-and-one on Pawnee Heights senior Kade Scott, who averaged 27.8 points per contest. Scott had 23.
PH has the best team in the five-year Gustavo Flores era. The 7-1 Tigers have not captured a regional title since 2001 and have a senior-laden squad this year. Ashland (6-2) has captured nine straight in the series.
South Haven girls (5-3) defeated Cedar Vale/Dexter, 77-16 behind 25 points from Brittney Byers.