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Sports in KS: Coach of the Year Honors - Boys Basketball

Rod Wescott of Girard was named the All-Classes Coach of the Year. (Photo: Ron Gates)
By: Conor Nicholl for Sports in Kansas w/ Chet Kuplen
Mar 18, 2019

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2019 Sports in Kansas All-Classes Coach of the Year

Rod Wescott, Girard

Girard was ranked fifth in the final Class 3A poll, but coach Rod Wescott helped the Trojans work its way through an upset-filled postseason. No. 3 Phillipsburg and No. 4 Santa Fe Trail lost before state. No. 8 TMP upset No. 1 Maur Hill in the first round. Girard had to beat No. 7 Baxter Springs in the sub-state championship game. Led by senior Caleb Muia – who averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds a game the last two years – the Trojans went 22-3 and won the first boys’ basketball title in school annals. Girard had previously made two state titles, the last coming in 2009. It was also the first boys team state title of any sport in Girard history.

At state, Girard beat Kingman, 57-40, in the first round, then held off TMP, 62-50, in the semifinals before a 49-45 victory versus Beloit in the finals. Beloit was ranked second in the final poll. In the state finale, Muia had 15 points and eight rebounds, while Tyder Worrell tallied 12 points on 4 treys. Girard outscored Beloit, 13-4, in the final quarter and overcame a nine-point deficit. The Trojans held Beloit without a field goal for the final 7:48 of the contest. Overall, Girard led 3A state in field goal shooting (48.7 percent), scoring defense (45 ppg/allowed) and field goal percentage defense (34 percent). Wesoctt who has been at Girard since 2008 has had a lot of sucess and spent 12 previous years at Northeast Arma.

Producers Co-Op Farm Store, Ag Choice of Hepler, GNBank would like to congratulate the Trojans on the 2019 3A State Title and to Coach Wescott on the 2019 Sports in Kansas All-Classes Coach of the Year and 3A Coach of the Year in Kansas. We are proud of you and the Trojans! 

2019 Sports in Kansas 6A Coach of the Year

Kevin Muff, Washburn Rural

Kevin Muff, who previously served as head coach at Cloud County Community College and Pittsburg State University men’s programs, is in his second season with Washburn Rural. Last year, Muff went 12-10. This season, WR was the No. 1 seed in the Class 6A state tournament and finished runner-up to Blue Valley Northwest. Rural went 23-2. The Junior Blues made their first final since 1985 behind senior Jordan White. Rural was not ranked in the top-10 to start the season.

2019 Sports in Kansas 5A Coach of the Year

Jesse Herrmann, Andover Central

Powered by an incredible offense, coach Jesse Herrmann led No. 4-seeded Andover Central to a 22-3 record and Class 5A state title. AC had been a final four team in Class 4A, Division I the last three years and had improvements both individually and collectively in a deep class this winter.

Andover Central was in its seventh semifinal and had made just one previous final, a 2004 runner-up showing. Entering the postseason, AC was ranked second behind Maize. The Jaguars opened with a 78-61 win against Pittsburg, and then defeated Maize, 74-66, in the semifinals. In the championship, Andover Central beat Basehor-Linwood, 58-47.

Last year, the Jaguars averaged 58 possessions a game and 1.08 points per possession, still a great average. AC shot 37 percent from 3-point range, collected 26 percent of available offensive rebounds and turned the ball over just 18 percent of the time.

This year, Andover Central made a strong case for Kansas’ best offense. The Jaguars averaged 71 points a contest and 1.19 points per possession. AC turned the ball over just 15.6 percent of the time and collected 30 percent of offensive rebounds. The Jaguars upped their 3-point shooting to 39 percent.

Last year, AC’s big three of Xavier Bell, Braden Belt and Easton Leedom all averaged at least 13.4 points per game. This year, they all had at least 16.6 points per contest. Each player cleared 1,000 career points. Bell led with 20.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, while Leedom was one of the top passers in Kansas with 5.6 assists per contest.

Central Jaguars Booster Club would like to congratulate head coach Jesse Herrmann on his Coach of the Year honors in Class 5A from Sports in Kansas and the 2019 5A state champions! Congrats to all of our coaches and players on their honors in 2018-2019! GO JAGUARS!

2019 Sports in Kansas 4A Coach of the Year

Toure' Grimes, KC Piper

No. 4 seeded K.C. Piper finished 21-4 and coach Toure’ Grimes led the Pirates to a title in a close classification that saw No. 1-ranked Bishop Miege fall to Chanute in the sub-state title game. Piper, ranked second behind Miege throughout the year, eked out two wins in the first two state rounds. In the quarterfinals, Piper narrowly beat Parsons, 55-52, and then held off one-loss Wichita Trinity, 57-54, in the semifinals. For the championship, Piper won 86-53 against No. 7 Augusta – which had pulled three straight upsets.

Piper was in its second state semifinals appearance ever and reached its first state game in school annals. The Bates brothers, Trey and Tamar, combined for 37 points in the state title, and junior guard Ty Shelley tallied 15 points. Additionally, Piper won its first Frontier League title this winter.

2019 Sports in Kansas 3A/All-Classes Coach of the Year

Rod Wescott, Girard

Girard was ranked fifth in the final Class 3A poll, but coach Rod Wescott helped the Trojans work its way through an upset-filled postseason. No. 3 Phillipsburg and No. 4 Santa Fe Trail lost before state. No. 8 TMP upset No. 1 Maur Hill in the first round. Girard had to beat No. 7 Baxter Springs in the sub-state championship game. Led by senior Caleb Muia – who averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds a game the last two years – the Trojans went 22-3 and won the first boys’ basketball title in school annals. Girard had previously made two state titles, the last coming in 2009.

At state, Girard beat Kingman, 57-40, in the first round, then held off TMP, 62-50, in the semifinals before a 49-45 victory versus Beloit in the finals. Beloit was ranked second in the final poll. In the state finale, Muia had 15 points and eight rebounds, while Tyder Worrell tallied 12 points on 4 treys. Girard outscored Beloit, 13-4, in the final quarter and overcame a nine-point deficit. The Trojans held Beloit without a field goal for the final 7:48 of the contest. Overall, Girard led 3A state in field goal shooting (48.7 percent), scoring defense (45 ppg/allowed) and field goal percentage defense (34 percent). Wesoctt who has been at Girard since 2008 has had a lot of sucess and spent 12 previous years at Northeast Arma. 

Producers Co-Op Farm Store, Ag Choice of Hepler, GNBank would like to congratulate the Trojans on the 2019 3A State Title and to Coach Wescott on the 2019 Sports in Kansas All-Classes Coach of the Year and 3A Coach of the Year in Kansas. We are proud of you and the Trojans! 

2019 Sports in Kansas 2A Coach of the Year

Brandt Rogers, Ness City

Ness City coach Brandt Rogers, known for his energy and enthusiasm, delivered a magical two-week run with Ness City. NC, the No. 4 seed, finished 22-4 and 6-0 in a postseason with five of the wins by single figures. Ness City won the first boys’ basketball title in school history. The Eagles had never made a state title or a championship before this winter.

The Eagles beat Stanton County in sub-state, and then Bishop Seabury, Inman and Hutchinson Trinity at state. Ness City was ranked fourth in the final KBCA poll, while Trinity was first, Inman second, Stanton County seventh and Seabury tenth.

Rogers had 2A Player of the Year John Pfannenstiel, but the Eagles had key players emerge at big moments, including Andres Rios, Landon Reinhardt, Clayton Beutler and Easton Seib.

In the first round of state, Seib, who averaged 3.8 points per contest, hit a game-tying buzzer-beater against Bishop Seabury. In the finals, Rogers told Seib to shoot the ball. Seib responded with 5 of 6 from the field for 16 points, easily his season-best. Beutler, known for his 3-point shooting, had averaged five points a game this winter, but tied his season high with 15 points against Inman in the state semifinals.

Rogers also gave credit to his assistant Case Beckman, a Ness City graduate, for helping daily and staying after practice whenever to assist players. In early season, after Ness City beat Northern Valley to win the WaKeeney Purple and Gold tournament, Rogers surprised Pfannenstiel on the court with a banner marking his 1,000 career point.

Additionally, Rogers has brought stability to a program. The Eagles have enjoyed multiple recent state tournament appearances and standout individuals but have gone through several head coaches in the last decade. Before this season, NC’s  only trip to the final four since 1968 came in 2013.  From ’93-17, Ness City was 1-6 in first round state games, including 1-3 since ’11.

Ness City High School would like to congratulate head coach Brandt Rogers on his 2019 2A Coach of the Year selection from Sports in Kansas. We are proud of you and the 2019 2A State Champs! 

2019 Sports in Kansas 1A Coach of the Year

Brett Rolfs, Central Plains

Rolfs won his second straight state title and posted back-to-back perfect seasons with the Oilers. Claflin-Central Plains won Class 2A last year and 1A this season. CP was 26-0 in ’17-18, and including a postseason bye, went 28-0 this year. Central Plains has won 53 straight games, within striking distance of the boys’ consecutive wins streak of 63 set by St. John from 2013-15.

Rolfs had four senior starters back with Devin Ryan, Alex Hickel, Brett Liebl, and Myles Menges, and quickly meshed Lawson Oeser into the starting lineup after Alex Barton graduated. Central Plains became the first Kansas school in state history to post back-to-back girls’ and boys’ perfect seasons. Central Plains never had a contest within single figures and had to beat rival St. John four times, including 40-28 in the state title.

Known for ball control and defense, Central Plains had 14 fewer turnovers than their opponents and allowed just 33 points a game at state.

Prior to last year, Central Plains or the past schools that currently make up Central Plains (including Claflin and Quivira Heights) had never won a boys’ basketball crown. Rolfs, a QH graduate, is 148-25 in seven years as head coach.

First Kansas Bank is a proud supporter of the Central Plains High School Oilers. Congrats on all of your success in 2018-2019

Central Plains High School would like to congratulate all of the Oilers on their success this school year. Congrats to the back-to-back boys state champs and six in a row girls state champion! Congrats to all of our players and coaches on their honors from Sports in Kansas! What a GREAT year!