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Sports in KS: Around the State Basketball Update 2/22/19

Sabetha HC Scott Burger went over 500 career wins.
By: Conor Nicholl for Sports in Kansas
Feb 22, 2019

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We highlight some impressive happenings of week one of the 2018-2019 high school basketball season in Kansas. Have something that you think is worthy of a mention or story you can suggest it anytime here

Class 6A

Derby girls, undefeated and ranked No. 1 in 6A, celebrated Senior Night with its highly decorated group of Kennedy Brown, Tor’e Alford, Aliyah Myers and key support members Kaylan Cook and Erin and Allison Kooser. Derby moved to 17-0, 10-0 in AVCTL Division I play with a 64-30 win against Salina Central. Brown tallied 20 points, and Alford delivered 17. Myers had 12.

At the time of sub-state seeding, Derby is 18-0 and seeded second in 6A. Derby, the defending 6A titlists, has won 41 straight games.

Washburn Rural girls are 17-2, 12-1 in league play and can clinch a share of the league race Friday. On Monday, WR held off Highland Park, 59-58, behind 18 points and 12 rebounds from senior Carly Bachelor. Freshman Emma Krueger had 17 points, and junior Kasey Hamilton tallied 16.

The WR boys are 18-1, 12-1 and can also clinch a share of the league race. Topeka High girls and boys are both 18-2, 13-1 and are currently in first place in the league.

In the rankings, Rural girls are fifth in 6A behind Blue Valley North and Topeka High, and the Rural boys stand second behind Blue Valley Southwest. Rural boys are the No. 1 seed in 6A West, while Topeka High is second.

On the girls’ side, Topeka High is third, and Rural is fourth.

The Liberal girls, ranked No. 2 in Class 6A, defeated Garden City, 55-35, and went 20-0. The Redskins have enjoyed their best regular season since the ‘70s and first undefeated WAC season since 2009.

Liberal, third in 5A last season, have enjoyed outstanding years from junior point guard Katie Horyna and junior post Machia Mullens, who have consistently combined for 30 points a game. Liberal is the top seed in 6A and will likely need to beat Garden City or Free State in the sub-state title game.

Haysville Campus guards Shawn Warrior and Sterling Chapman recorded 23 and 21 points, respectively, in a 68-58 win against Derby. The Panthers received 25 points from Tre Washington.

KC Harmon has enjoyed a nice turnaround with a 16-3 mark and ranked No. 9 in Class 6A. Harmon earned a share of the KCAL crown, the first shared/outright title for Harmon since 1989. Sophomore Lonnell Lane has averaged 22.8 points and 4.4 assists. Harmon is the No. 2 seed in Class 6A East behind Blue Valley Northwest (17-2).

Wichita Southeast boys, ranked fourth again in 6A, captured the City League crown for its first outright league title since 2008. SE is 17-3 and the No. 3 seed is 6A West.

Garden City boys won the WAC with a 55-49 home victory against Hays High last Friday. It moved the Buffs’ winning streak to seven games and has helped GC win its most games since 2013. Kyler Lamb had 20 points. GC boys are the No. 5 seed in 6A West at 16-4 and will likely see No. 4 Lawrence (16-3, ranked No. 4) in the sub-state title game next Friday.

Olathe East girls, ranked No. 7 in 6A, leads a contingent of Sunflower League girls’  teams. OE bumped from tenth to sixth in the final rankings. After OE comes Olathe South, Olathe North, Olathe Northwest, three other Sunflower teams.

Olathe East led the Sunflower League with 34.4 points permitted per contest and is 15-4. Olathe South stands 16-4, while Olathe North is 14-5, and Olathe Northwest is 12-7, but has the league’s top scoring offense at 54.4 points a contest.

ONW’s Sarah Beth Gueldner led the Sunflower with 21.6 points per game. Gueldner is the first player in ONW history to reach 1,000 career points and has signed with Drake.

Olathe East is the No. 2 seed in 6A East behind Blue Valley North (16-2). Olathe South is third, and Olathe North is fourth.

OE won the Sunflower League with a 10-1 mark, just ahead of 10-2 OS and ON. O. East had the top defense in just conference play with 33.9 points allowed, according to Sunflower Smack, a media entity that closely covers the league. It marked the second straight league title for Olathe East.

The Hawks had three seniors this year, Jillian Weishaar, Makenna Winemiller and Gracie Davis. Winemiller leads the Hawks with 13.8 points, 2.7 assists and 2.2 steals per contest, while Molly Kaemmer delivers 9.2 rebounds a game.

Olathe West’s Bailey Collar continues to enjoy a huge sophomore year with 16.8 points per game for the Hawks. Her teammate Mackenzie Hart led the Owls with 4.6 assists and 3.6 steals a contest for the 7-12 team, in its second year as a program. Lawrence’s Chisom Ajekwu was the only player to average a double-double with 16.3 points and 10.7 rebounds a game for the 11-8 Lions.

Class 5A

Class 5A on the west side is loaded. Maize is No. 1 at 20-0, Andover Central is second at 17-2, Carroll third at 15-5, and Wichita Heights fourth at 15-5.

Bishop Carroll is back in the rankings at No. 8 this week in Class 5A. The Golden Eagles are 15-5 and the third seed in Class 5A West.

Carroll finished the regular season with five straight victories, including a 62-42 thwarting of Wichita Heights in the regular season finale. Heights is ranked No. 5 in 5A. On Feb. 12, Carroll beat rival Kapaun, 52-40, which is the Golden Eagles’ first-round opponent in Class 5A.

Carroll could see No. 6 seed McPherson (14-5) in the sub-state title game.

 Since Jan. 15, Carroll has lost just twice and defeated Heights twice this year by an average margin of 17.5 points. The Golden Eagles enjoyed great balanced scoring with its top-four between 9.6 and 11.4 points a contest.

Junior Tanner Mans averages 9.6 points and 4.1 rebounds. Sophomore Enrique Lankford has 10.5 points, while sophomore Alex Littlejohn has 11.3 points and 8.5 rebounds. Senior Carsen Pracht has 11.4 points and 3.4 assists. Carroll, the defending Class 5A state champions, is incredibly offensively efficient with 37 percent from 3-point range, 1.08 points per possession and turnovers on just 18.5 percent of possessions.

Spring Hill’s Brennan Feeback tallied 35 points against Bonner Springs in Tuesday’s Senior Night contest. He has tallied 372 points, which is a single season boys’ school record.

Andover Central junior Xavier Bell had 33 points and went over 1,000 career points as the Jaguars defeated Valley Center, 76-53, and won AVCTL Division III. Bell averages 21.2 points, while senior Braden Belt has 19.3 points a contest, and senior Easton Leedom has 15.3 points a game.

Maize, undefeated and ranked first in 5A boys, defeated No. 9 Salina Central, 58-45, to win AVCTL Division I. Maize will likely see No. 8 seed Arkansas City (12-6) and Cevin Clark (33 points per game, 43 percent from 3-point range) in the title game.

The girls’ side in 5A West is also deep, too. In the rankings, Maize South is first, Goddard second, Wichita Heights fourth, McPherson fifth and  Maize sixth.

McPherson girls, which are fifth in 5A, won the AVCTL Division III title with a 58-47 victory against Circle. After the win, McPherson moved to 17-1 and bumped its winning streak to 15 straight contests. Sophomore Grace Pyle had a big game with 15 points. McPherson improved to 8-0 against Circle since ’13. The Bullpups have only lost to Derby this year. McPherson was 18-1 at the time of seeding, is the third seed and might have to play Bishop Carroll (14-6) in the title game.

Wichita Heights, which won the City League, is seeded fourth at 18-2.

Class 4A

Circle’s Jude Warren tallied a school record 50 points in a 81-65 ACVTL Division II upset win against McPherson last Friday. The T-Birds finished the regular season 11-10 and are the second seed in its own sub-state. Circle has enjoyed its best season since 2015-16 and won against McPherson for the first time since 2013. Warren went 16 of 20 from the field with five treys, and 13 of 19 from the free throw line, along with 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals in one of the one of the best individual contests of the season.

The Circle girls, which are ranked fifth in 4A, are 15-4 in a quality sub-state that features Topeka Hayden, Pratt and Andale. Pratt has been ranked in 4A most of the year. After a loss last Friday to McPherson, the Circle girls came back to beat Buhler, 50-42.

Miege has its rematch with rival St. Thomas Aquinas on Tuesday and won 50-38. Miege led 14-2 at the end of the first quarter. Payton Verhulst had a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds.

 The Stags also picked up two road wins against Blue Valley (55-28) last Tuesday and Blue Valley Southwest (61-42) on Friday. Against Blue Valley, Miege had its normal high turnover creation defense with 17 steals, 14 more than BV recorded.

Miege led 13-8 after the first quarter and steadily pulled away. Verhulst and Faith Hawthorne led with points (14) and Hawthorne (five). Johnni Gonzalez had five assists to pace Miege.

Ashton Verhulst also recorded 12 points.

Against BVSW, Miege led 17-14 after the first quarter and then had a 14-1 second quarter. Ashton Verhulst delivered 19 points, and Payton Verhulst recorded six rebounds with 17 points and four assists from Gonzalez, who averages four assists a game.

BVSW shot well with 45 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc, but Miege held plus-three advantage on the glass and had seven fewer turnovers. As well, the Stags blocked seven shots, while Blue Valley Southwest had just one.

In the East, Miege is the top seed in 4A girls and 4A boys (17-2). Also in 4A East boys, KC Piper is seeded second at 13-4, Parsons is third at 14-5, and Anderson County is fourth at 14-5. For the girls, KC Piper is also undefeated and seeded/ranked second at 16-0.

In 4A West boys, Trinity Academy is first at 18-1, Andale second (16-2), Abilene third (16-3) and Chapman fourth (16-4). For 4A West girls, Abilene is first (17-2), Nickerson second (16-3), Circle third (15-4) and Ulysses fourth (15-4). The top-seven teams are all 12-6 or better.

Last week, Abilene seniors Sydney Burton and Hannah Willey each averaged 20 points a game in wins against Hays (No. 10 in 5A) and rival Clay Center (No. 6 in 3A). Abilene went perfect at home through the regular season. The 48-32 win against Clay Center clinched the NCKL title for Abilene.

Class 3A

Baxter Springs’ junior Delaney Barnes, one of the best players in all of Kansas, cleared 1,000 career points. Barnes is a returning all-state player and her mother, Kelly St. Clair, was a former Miss Kansas Basketball in the ‘80s for Baxter Springs. Barnes had 31 in the contest.

Sabetha boys’ basketball coach Scott Burger won his 500th career game Tuesday when the Bluejays defeated Nemaha Central.

Caney Valley boys’ coach Jim Deaton picked up his 500th career win Monday against Erie, 58-55.

The Maur Hill boys continue to be No. 1 in Class 3A and are the classification’s lone undefeated team. MHMA is 18-0 and has won the Northeast Kansas League. The Ravens went to state last season for the team’s first appearance since 2006.

Nemaha Central girls have stayed No. 1 in 3A  and captured the Big 7 league title with an 11-1 record.

Beloit bumped a spot up to No. 2 and finished the regular season 19-1. The Trojans have marquee wins against Phillipsburg (No. 3 3A) and Sacred Heart (No. 9 2A).

In its regular season finale, Beloit beat Smith Center, 75-54, in a non-conference game. Senior Hayden Budke tallied 18 points, while junior Vincent Palen delivered 12, senior Hudson Smith had 10 and junior Carson Cox had 10. Beloit had just seven turnovers in the game, 20 fewer than SC.

Beloit went undefeated in NCAA play. Overall, the Trojans average 60 points a contest. Beloit has averaged 1.07 points per possession and turned the ball over just 14 percent of the time – both outstanding rates. Beloit has been solid on the defensive end with just .778 points allowed per possession.

Phillipsburg also moved up a ranking to No. 3 and stands at 17-2 and the clear favorite in the Hoisington sub-state after a 3A state runner-up showing last season.

The Panthers won the MCL have not lost since a 66-61 road game against Beloit on Dec. 18. The Panthers won at Concordia, 56-54, on Feb. 12 and 60-37 against Stockton on Feb. 14. Senior Trey Sides is in contention for his second straight 3A Player of the Year honor with 17.2 points, seven rebounds, 3.6 steals and 3.5 assists a night.

Sophomore Ty Sides has 13.1 points, 4.2 assists and 4.1 rebounds. Junior Austin Miller has enjoyed a solid year with 7.9 points and 4.4 rebounds, and senior Nathan Moon has 6.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals.

Moon also wrestled for the Panthers and went 5-7 at 145 pounds and fell one match short of the state tournament at the Beloit regional. Phillipsburg plays at a much faster pace than Beloit (61.4 possessions per game compared to 56.4). The Panthers average .95 points per possession, allow .75 and turn the ball over on 21 percent of possessions.

The TMP girls won the Mid-Continent League with a 9-0 record. Monarchs had significant graduation losses after three straight Final Four showings.

TMP has never been ranked this season, but has defeated three ranked teams, including WaKeeney-Trego and Norton in league play. In a game that was shifted from Tuesday to Monday, TMP held off Plainville and Aubree Dewey, 56-51.

The Monarchs are 15-5 and had its eight-game winning streak snapped Thursday at home versus Hutchinson Trinity. The wins against Trego, Norton and Plainville – all at home – came by a combined nine points.

Dewey, one of the state’s leading scorers, finished with 28 points. However, the Monarchs again played well without fouling, the difference in the game.

TMP went 24 of 30 from the foul line, and Plainville was 9 of 14. Emily Schippers had 15 points and six rebounds, and freshman Emilee Lane tallied five assists. TMP had its annual regular season finale against Hutchinson Trinity at home on Thursday.

Class 2A

Plainville girls finished the regular season 11-9, the third straight season of double-digit victories for the Cardinals. Another win would yield Plainville’s best season since a 12-10 mark in ’10-11. Dewey is up to 28.8 points, six rebounds, 4.6 steals and 3.8 assists a contest.

However, while Dewey has scored more than half her points, junior Jersey Kaiser has averaged 1.7 steals a contest, and senior Kate McClellan has tallied 1.6 steals per game. Last year, McClellan tallied 1.3 steals a game and Kaiser 0.6 steals a contest.

It has delivered a much better defense for Plainville, which permitted .823 points per possession last year to .707 this season. The Cardinals’ steal rate has improved from 15.4 percent to 16.9 percent.

Hoxie boys, which improved from No. 5 to No. 3 in this week’s rankings, earned a big win against Almena-Northern Valley, which is fourth in 1A. Hoxie has won four in a row and is 17-2 after  the 80-77 victory.

Sacred Heart shot 57 percent and defeated Council Grove, 63-42, on the Friday to improve to 13-4. Ethan Buckner enjoyed a solid outing with 14 points on 7 of 9 shooting. Charlie Skidmore and Tate Herrenbruck finished with 11, and Trace Leners made all three of his shots – all treys - to deliver nine points. SH has a key NCAA game with Beloit on Tuesday.

Jefferson County North is in the mix for a Class 2A state title. Junior Josie Weishaar had 17 points Tuesday and has cleared 1,000 career points.

Last Friday, Pleasanton’s Kaden McKee cleared 1,000 career points.

Pratt-Skyline has quietly enjoyed a huge season and is ranked No. 6 in Class 2A. Skyline has the best winning percentage of any 2A squad. They made 22 3-pointers in a win against Fairfield, a state record.

Ness City, fourth in 2A, is in the same Meade sub-state as Skyline, Stanton County and Syracuse. The Eagles beat Victoria, 71-53, last Friday on Senior Night. Senior John Pfannenstiel tallied 39 points. Stanton County is also in the sub-state and moved from ninth to seventh.

The Sublette girls, which have posted three straight seasons of 16-7, 16-7 and 15-7 records, went 12-8 this year and could be a darkhorse in 2A. Sublette is the No. 4 seed in the Meade sub-state that starts next Thursday.

Sublette could face No. 1-seed and host Meade in the semifinals. The Larks lost, 49-44, in overtime to Meade on Dec. 7, but defeated the Buffs, 53-44, on Jan. 25. Sublette also owns a win against Stanton County (43-39) in the Hi-Plains League tournament.

Stanton County is No. 2 seed at 14-6, and Syracuse is the third seed with the same record. Sublette is the only 2A girls’ team to defeat Meade this season. Senior Mia Kells averages 13.3 points and 8.2 rebounds a contest, while senior Mercedes Martinez has delivered 9.3 points and 9.3 rebounds.

Kells and Martinez are excellent offensive rebounders with 3.7 and 2.8 per game, respectively. Sublette has recovered 30.2 percent of available offensive rebounds this year, a solid mark.

Class 1A

Last year, Central Plains girls’ and boys’ joined Wichita Heights as the only teams in Kansas history to post undefeated seasons from the same school in same year. This winter, the Oilers can do it again. Both CP squads continue to rank No. 1 in 1A. The boys have plenty of experienced depth with its four returning starters: Brett Liebl, Devin Ryan, Alex Hickel and Myles Menges, a Fort Hays football signee. Liebl leads with 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds, and all four average at least 8.1 points per contest.

The Oiler girls are on pace to break Hoxie’s all-time record for consecutive victories in sub-state next week. Emily Ryan has joined Claflin’s Jackie Stiles and Moundridge’s Laurie Koehn as the only players in state history to clear 2,000 points in their junior season. She averages 30 points, six assists and 5.5 steals a contest. CP is 149-1 since the end of the 2013-14 season.

St. John boys, the third-place finisher in 1A-I last winter, are a major darkhorse in 1A. SJ is unranked in 1A after a win against then-No. 10  Coldwater-South Central last week. The Tigers are 16-4 with three losses to Central Plains, including the Oilers’ closest game this year.

Junior Tanner Halling has averaged 18.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.7 blocks a contest. Senior Mason Osborne has 13 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game. Junior Marshall Woolf, who came over at semester from Stafford, has played well with 7.1 points on 32 percent 3-point shooting (min. 12 attempts).

The Victoria boys opened the season 0-6, but are 7-7 since. In early January, the Knights beat Otis-Bison, 51-48, in overtime for their first win of the season. In the first round of Monday’s regional, the Knights enjoyed another win against O-B, 61-47.

Caden Oberle tallied 15 points, and Cooper Windholz scored 14 to pace Victoria. O-B standout Maitland Wiltse, who cleared 1,000 career points earlier this season, had 24 in his final game.

In a Tuesday regional game, Moundridge held off Flinthills, 81-55. Moundridge was 1-3 in its previous four contests and had tallied no more than 36 points in any of the games. Dillon Vogts delivered 29 points on 12 of 22 shooting, while Brady Helms scored 22 and Daniel Kaufman had 12. Moundridge opened the game on an 18-0 run and improved to 14-7.

Bucklin girls had beaten Kiowa County early in the year, then took a big loss to KC at the SPIAA midseason tournament third place game. Then, the teams matched up Monday in arguably the most high-profile 1A first-round regional contest. Bucklin held an 11-10 lead at halftime, but then outscored the Mavericks, 12-10, in the third quarter and 11-9 in the fourth quarter. Bucklin trailed the majority of the first half and was down 17-11 in the third quarter. However, the Red Aces took a 29-27 lead with a minute to go and held on to win.

With six steals Monday, Clifton-Clyde junior Jaysie Bowser has 187 steals and broke the team record of 182 held by Jancee Hobbs.

Doniphan West sophomore Myah Olson had eight 3-pointers for 24 points on Tuesday.

Ashland’s Chris White, who transferred from Bucklin before this year, is going to Dodge City on a track scholarship. The 6-foot-4 White had a big dunk in a mid-February game and has helped Ashland to a 16-5 mark. He has averaged 5.5 points and 5.4 rebounds, part of a  balanced Bluejay attack. White is second on the team in rebounding.

Speedy senior point guard Cody Lohrding, who transferred from South Central earlier in his career, a team-high 15.9 points and 4.8 assists.

Junior Brennan Grady (10.5 ppg), senior Konnor Maule (9.9 ppg) and junior Greysen Gardiner (9.7 ppg) have put together solid years. Ashland has enjoyed a three-win improvement from a 13-9 season last year. Ashland has averaged .91 points per possession, allowed .80 points per possession and collected 31 percent of available offensive rebounds while averaging 64 possessions a game, a really quick tempo.

Rock Hills’ Dereck Gillett enjoyed another big game with 34 points and six dunks. He has averaged a double-double this season.

South Gray boys, ranked fourth in 1A, is 19-1 after wins against Sublette (73-37) and Kiowa County (51-42) in its last two contests. South Gray, the defending  Class 1A, Division I champions, have received huge years from Clifton Miller and Austin Jantz and a breakout year from Aaron Skidmore. Against KC, Skidmore finished with 16 points and four rebounds. Ethan Salmans tallied 12 points. Jantz had another stat-stuffing performance with 10 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Miller tallied 10 points with seven rebounds.

The South Gray girls ended the season with two wins against quality teams with a 50-30 victory versus Sublette and 48-41 against Kiowa County. The Rebels have not been ranked in 1A all season but are a darkhorse contender in 1A. The Rebels are 16-4, a three-win improvement off last season. After a 14-point loss to Bucklin in the season opener, SG has two losses against South Central and one to Spearville, teams ranked in 1A.

Against Kiowa County, Christy Wiebe tallied 19 points and five rebounds, while Megan Tarn had 11 points and five rebounds. Wiebe was one off her season high and delivers 11.7 points per game. She has seven straight double-figure contests – and the Rebels have won all seven.

Tarn is up to eight points a game and has four consecutive double-figure contests. Emma Jantz is one of the state’s leaders in assists (3.8 per game), and Hannah Askew continues to average a near double-double with 13.4 points and 9.3 rebounds.

Last Friday, South Central and Spearville girls were both undefeated in Southern Plains Iroquois play and matched up in the final game of the regular season for the conference title. Spearville was depleted, and South Central easily won 50-25 and moved to 18-2. Senior Bri Rutherford had another huge game with 28 points and eight rebounds. For the season, she averages 22.9 points. 5.4 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 2.4 assists.

Senior Jordyn Jellison has enjoyed a strong year with 10 points and 6.9 rebounds. SC has played at a really high pace with 63 possessions a contest and turns the ball over just 15.6 percent of the time. The T-Wolves are ranked fifth in 1A and average .90 points per possession and allow .52 points per possession.

After Thursday, the 1A regional girls’ finals were set. All 10 girls’ ranked teams are still playing – Central Plains, Olpe, Frankfort, Rural Vista, South Central, Golden Plains, Hanover, Spearville, Otis-Bison and Argonia. The Grainfield regional has yielded upsets with No. 4 seeded Quinter, the defending 1A, Division II girls’ state champion, beat No. 1 Weskan. Quinter (9-12) will play No. 2 Dighton (13-9). Grainfield is the only regional where the top seed did not make the regional final.