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2020 Boys State Basketball Tournament Preview

St. Marys punched their ticket to the 2020 state tournament with three upsets.
By: Conor Nicholl for Sports in Kansas w/ Chet Kuplen
Mar 11, 2020

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By CONOR NICHOLL

Cnicholl1@gmail.com

A look at all boys’ state qualifiers. Many of the favorites, including Haysville Campus, Andover, and Bishop Seabury, are on the verge of historically great seasons for their programs. Per-possession breakdowns of Andover, Hays High and St. John. All history notes from Kansas historian Carol Swenson, unless otherwise noted.

Class 6A

1.Haysville Campus (22-0) – Campus has its ninth all-time state appearance, first since ’96. The Colts have Sterling and Steele Chapman, along with three new players: Shawn Warrior, Keither Florence and Thomas King. Warrior transferred from Wichita Southeast last winter. This year, Florence transferred from Wichita Heights, and King came out of the home school ranks. Campus, led by coach Chris Davis, won the Dodge City Tournament of Champions. Campus had to beat rival Derby three times this year, including the sub-state finals. Guard Tai Johnson has recently earned a Kansas Wesleyan offer. In the sub-state win against Derby, Sterling had 16 points and 11 rebounds. King has 15 points and eight rebounds, and Florence has delivered 14 points, six rebounds and four blocks. Steele Chapman had five points, five rebounds and seven assists.

8. Manhattan (15-7) – This is Manhattan’s 28th all-time trip to the state tournament. Manhattan’s last appearances came in ’10 and ’17. Manhattan has a seven-win improvement from last year. The Indians feature Raeshon Riddick, Chandler Marks and Tyce Hooever. Manhattan earned third in the Dodge City TOC behind Campus and Bishop Miege.

4. Blue Valley North (19-3) – Blue Valley North has a tenth state appearance, the first since ’17. BVN has won five straight contests, including a 51-49 sub-state title win versus Blue Valley West. BVN’s only two losses against Kansas teams came versus Blue Valley Northwest. North is battle-tested with a top notch schedule in the Eastern Kansas league. 

5. Lawrence (18-4) – Lawrence features Mayson Quartlebaum, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound commit to Division I Kennesaw State. The Lions have six straight state appearances. Lawrence has been a very consistent Class 6A program in recent memory. This is their 40th trip to the state tournament. 

2. K.C. Harmon (20-2) – Junior Lonell Lane has cleared 1,000 career points. He delivered 16.9 points, 5.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 steals a contest. Senior Walzel Evans has 14.9 points, five assists, four rebounds and 2.9 steals a game. Junior Mike Carson has 14.8 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. Harmon lost, 57-46, to Shawnee Mission South in the first round of the state tournament last year.

7. Olathe South (16-6) – This is Olathe South’s 13th all-time state appearance, the first one since ’12. OS has two titles with the most recent in ’04. South went through their sub-state pretty easily with a 18 point win over KC Wyandotte and a 14 point win over rival Olathe East in the sub-state title matchup. 

3. Blue Valley Northwest (20-2) – Legendary coach Ed Fritz has won five state titles in ’13, ’14, and the last three years. BVNW has not lost to a Kansas school this winter. The school has produced Clay Custer, Ben Richardson, Darien Jackson, Christian and Parker Braun, plus Michael Peake at Georgia to name a few. Christian Braun, now at Kansas, was Sports In Kansas all-classes Player of the Year last season. Northwest has only permitted 51 points a game. Markell Hood and Jack Chapman are players to watch for the Huskies as both have Division I talent. Also look for Joey Robinson, Ben Fritz and  Alston Mason. 

6. Lawrence Free State (17-5) – Free State is at state for a fourth straight season. FS has never won a state title, though was runner-up in 2018. Coach Sam Stroh is in his fifth year, and senior D.K. Middleton paces the team.

Class 5A

1.Andover (22-0) – How good is Andover’s offense? Andover has some similar qualities to last season’s Andover Central team that had three 1,000 point career scorers (an extreme rarity) and won the state title. In ’18-19, AC averaged 71 points a game and 1.19 points per possession with turnovers on just 15.6 percent of the time. This winter, Andover averages 68 points a contest with 1.096 points per possession. Andover turns the ball over just 17 percent of the time. Junior Jack Johnson has 19 points, five rebounds and 2.3 assists a contest. Senior Harper Jonas has 15.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Junior Isaiah Maikori has 11.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest.  Andover has doubled its win total from last season. Andover owns quality wins versus Andale (59-41), at Kapaun-Mt. Carmel (54-52), versus Andover Central (68-51), at Derby (48-43) and at Andover Central (56-54).

8. Blue Valley Southwest (9-13) – BVSW has increased its win total in the last four years. The Timberwolves have not posted a winning record since a 13-12 mark in ’14-15. Throw their record out as they play in the top league in the state that features state power Blue Valley Northwest, Blue Valley North, Aquinas and Miege to mention a few. BVSW kicked off their tournament run with a win over highly regarded Pittsburg in the opening round of sub-state. 

4. De Soto (16-6) – De Soto has won three straight, though did lose 58-36 at Basehor-Linwood on Feb. 18 and 58-43 on Jan. 17. This is De Soto’s sixth all-time state trip, first since ’94. Nate Barnhart has a lot of length, listed as tall as 7-foot-0 by some publications, scored 30 and 16 in the sub-state final. Barnhart is a shot blocking machine as well for the Wildcats. Wyatt Noll and Tyler Schultze are also other players capable of lighting up the scoreboard for De Soto. 

5. Kapaun-Mt. Carmel (16-6) – This is Kapaun’s 24th all-time appearance, most recently in ’15 and ’16.

2. Basehor-Linwood (20-2) – Basehor-Linwood is the only team to beat Kansas City Piper, the reigning 4A state champion. The Bobcats graduated their top player from last year in all-state selection Jacob Coleman but have been a team flying under the radar this season. Eight all-time state appearances for the Bobcats with seven of those coming since 2009. They've been a very solid 4A/5A program in that time frame. 

7. Andover Central (14-8) – Xavier Bell has cleared 1,000 career points and has signed with Division I Drexel, in Philadelphia. Bell was also a Shrine Bowl wide receiver. Bell helped Andover Central basketball to a state championship last winter, and a runner-up showing in football this fall. AC lost to Bishop Carroll in early season, and then defeated the Golden Eagles in sub-state. Bell had 32 points, including 6 of 10 from the 3-point line, in the BC victory. He averages 24.4 points per game. The Jaguars were down seven in the final 30 seconds in the sub-state title game.

3. Hays High (16-6) – Hays High has enjoyed a seven-win improvement from last winter under new coach Alex Hutchins, who took over for Rick Keltner. He led the Indians for 34 years. HHS won at rival Great Bend in the sub-state title game. Junior T.J. Nunnery is at 10.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists and has delivered several impressive dunks this year. Sophomore Carson Kieffer has quietly enjoyed a great season with ball distribution. He averages 7.4 points and 4.2 assists a contest for a 2/1 assist to turnover ratio. Junior Dalyn Schwarz is at 9.8 points and 5.8 rebounds. Senior Dylan Ruder has 6.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and two blocks a contest. Sophomores Jace Linenberger and Jordan Dale, and junior Jason Krannawitter have been key players. HHS has won seven in a row. Last season, the Indians finished the year with five straight losses. The Indians have averaged 54.7 possessions per game with .984 points per possession after 63.3 possessions a contest and .894 points per possession last year. Notably, HHS shot 39 percent last winter and 46 this year. HHS’ last state berths came in ’13 and ’14.

6. Highland Park (15-7) – Highland Park is at state for a 32nd time, most recently in ’12-13-14-16.  The Scots had a rare down season with a 3-18 mark last winter. HP is the only Topeka area boys’ school to qualify for state, a rarity. HP defeated Aquinas, 51-50, to earn a trip to state. Juan’Tario Roberts, C.J. Powell and Mu’Khajhae Daniels are key players for Highland Park.

Class 4A

1.Parsons (21-1) – Parsons lost in the first round to K.C. Piper. Parsons has three excellent players with Dariq Williams, Zeke Lyons and Daquan Johnson, the reigning SIK 4A Player of the Year. However, Parsons will be without the services of Williams, one of the top players in any class, because of a knee injury suffered in sub-state. Parsons, which owns a win against Wichita Collegiate, has not lost to a Kansas school with just a loss to Liberty North (Mo.). Parsons has an average score of 66-47 and won the SEK league title. Parsons has reached state three straight years and defeated Eudora, 43-34, in the sub-state title game. Johnson led with 20 points. Parsons also has some length inside with 6-foot-7 Pierce Thomas. Not the same team without Williams but did play eight games without him a year ago due to a football injury and have enough pieces to still make some serious noise. They'll have to depend on juniors Julius Smith-Reece and Ethan Houk for some major roles in the 2020 state tournament. 

8. Rose Hill (12-10) – Rose Hill is 3-1 in four overtime games, including a 52-49 road overtime win versus Clearwater in the sub-state championship game. RH also has overtime wins versus Minneapolis and Andale, the latter a 4A state qualifier. As of March 5, Rose Hill’s Koby Campbell averages 27.2 points per contest with 1,374 career points.

4. Augusta (18-4) – Augusta, led by alumnus and former Fort Hays player Jake Sims, is the defending 4A runner-up. Augusta is also one of two teams to defeat Bishop Seabury, the 2A favorite. Last year, Augusta defeated Andale, 57-43, in the first round, and beat Chapman, 46-40, in the semifinals. In the finals, K.C. Piper beat Augusta, 86-53.

5. Ottawa (16-6) – This is Ottawa’s 24th all-time state appearance, most recently in ’08-09-10-11-12-13 and ’15. Last year, Ottawa lost to Chanute in the sub-state title game. This year, Ottawa defeated Independence, 48-42. Ottawa finished 9-0 at home and finished 11-1 after a 5-5 start that featured two losses to Piper.

2. K.C. Piper (21-1) – Piper is the defending state champion and features Tamar Bates, one of the state’s best players. Bates has offers from Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri. Last year, Piper beat Parsons, 55-52, in the first round, then knocked off Trinity Academy, 57-54, in the semifinals before the Augusta victory.

7. Buhler (15-7) – Buhler, with transfers Max Alexander and Myles Thompson, has produced a big turnaround after a 6-14 mark last season. The Crusaders also have key seniors Isaac LeShore, Drake Dick and Braden Sides. Buhler has seven all-time titles, though the last since ’67. This is the first state trip since ’11.

3. Bishop Miege (18-4) – Miege, the Tournament of Champions runner-up, has five-star recruit Mark Mitchell. He has an offer from Kansas. Miege has five state titles in ’01-10-16-17-18. The Stags have very non-senior heavy for longtime coach Rick Zych. Other key players include junior Harrison Braudis and sophomore Christian Bowen-Webb.

6. Andale (16-6) – Andale has seven state trips in the last decade, including three third-place finishes. The Indians have just 33 total losses in the last 10 years. However, this was Andale’s fewest wins in that span. Andale went 16-6, though finished the season on a 4-1 run. Since Dec. 17, Andale lost only to Rose Hill, Cheney, and twice to Wichita Collegiate. RH and Collegiate qualified for state.

Class 3A

1.Haven (21-2) – Haven is one of the state’s biggest surprises based upon preseason rankings. Haven was unranked until after Christmas. The Wildcats have routinely ran a 1-3-1 defense with coach Lonnie Paramore. Haven defeated Hesston in the sub-state title game. Hesston had beaten Haven in the regular season. Senior forward Wyatt Carmichael has produced another big season. The Wildcats also have senior Clay Schmucker, along with juniors Darby Roper and Zane Jacques.

8. St. Marys (13-10) – St. Marys defeated three ranked teams en route to state including wins over Riley County, Rock Creek and Royal Valley. SM is coached Will Spradling, a former Kansas State standout. Eighth state tournament appearance in school history for the Bears. 

4. Galena (18-5) – Galena won the CNC league title and then defeated Frontenac in the sub-state championship game. What's impressive is that Galena was preseason picked sixth of seventh by the leagues coaches in the league. Brett Sarwinski has been one of the top point guards in 3A basketball this year as he controls the pace of the game and has great scoring ability. Deacon Henson also had a very solid sub-state tournament and Tyler Little is one of the top freshman in the class at 6-foot-5. 

5. Burlington (18-5) – Burlington opened 7-5 and then won 11 straight contests. Burlington has eight consecutive victories by double-figure margins. 11th state tournament appearance Burlington team in the history of their program and first since 2017. 

2. Wichita Collegiate (20-3) – Collegiate features sophomore shooting guard Gradey Dick, a four-star recruit with offers from Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Creighton and Baylor. Cole Thornton is also a key player for a squad that routinely goes five-in, five-out on subs. 16th appearance for the Spartans and first since 2017. 

7. Colby (16-7) – First-year coach Parker McKee had led the Colby girls to state. He stepped aside from coaching for several seasons, and then returned to the Eagle boys this winter. Ryan Myers made a buzzer-beater 3-pointer to beat Lakin and win the Cimarron sub-state. This is Colby’s 19th all-time appearance, first since ’08.

3. Beloit (20-3) – Senior Vincent Palen, an all state pick in 3A last season featured on Faces in KS, has collected 16 points, three rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest. Senior Bryce Mason has 12.3 points and 8.9 rebounds a game. Senior Carson Cox has 12 points a game, along with 2.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists a game. Senior Hudson Gray has 9.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest. Beloit was second to Girard last winter. Beloit has made six finals in school history, though has never won a championship.

6. Nemaha Central (17-6) – Nemaha Central, which won the 2A football crown in the fall, earned three close wins in the postseason against Sabetha (44-39), Maur Hill (48-44) and Marysville (46-41) to move into the state tournament. NC’s roster lists eight seniors, many whom were key players in football: Dylan Schutlejans, Easton Emmons, Gavin Duryea, Bryce Uphaus, and Austin Ahlquist. First trip to the state tourney as Nemaha Central as Nemaha Valley made it in the last year of the school before consolidation with Baileyville B&B in 2014. 

Class 2A

1.Pratt-Skyline (21-1) – Skyline is in the state tournament for the first time in five years. Skyline finished 20-2 last season, though lost in sub-state. Third-year coach Kenny Eddy is 58-8. This is Skyline’s fourth all-time state appearance, joining ’87, ’95 and ’15.

8. Hillsboro (14-9) – Hillsboro, like Haven, qualified out of the highly challenging Central Kansas League. Coach Darrel Knoll is in his 32nd year with the Trojans. Caleb Potucek was the only returning starter this season. He has won three titles in ’91, ’95 and ’98. 19th trip to the tourney for the Trojans. 

4. Erie (19-4) – Erie is in the state tournament for the first time since ’93. Matt Vail and Mark Bogner have averaged 14.2 and 13.8 points per game, respectively. Nick Pfeifer has played some solid opponents out of the CNC League as well as the Tri Valley League. Eric Dillinger has also came on nicely as an inside guy this season for the Red Devils. For years this 2A sub-state was controlled by Colgan who has only missed state three times since 1996. Erie has great court vision and sharpshooting ability with Vail and Bogner. Vail is the only senior that is a starter. 

5. Sterling (19-4) – Sterling features Tyus Wilson, a 7-foot high jumper. The Black Bears won their own tournament this season. Wilson has enjoyed several marquee games, including 27 points in an 84-77 triple overtime victory versus Hutchinson Trinity to win the Sterling tournament. In addition to Wilson, Brady Meyers, Caden Bressler, Cody Oden and Logan Weigel are key players for the Black Bears. Sterling defeated Ellinwood, 43-37, in the sub-state championship after a 41-30 sub-state semifinals win versus Hutchinson Trinity Catholic. TC is the defending 2A runner-up. Ellinwood enjoyed its best team in more than 30 years.

2. Bishop Seabury (21-2) – Seabury lost in the first round of the state tournament last season to eventual champion Ness City. The Seahawks have junior Zach Bloch, a first team all-state 2A pick last winter. Seabury has been ranked No. 1 all year and defeated Lyndon, 59-38, in the sub-state title game. Coach Jonathan Raney has stressed unselfish play with a highly talented roster. Seabury is into state for a fifth time and second straight year. The Seahawks have never made a state final. Sophomore Joao Carlos Ramirez, a Division I prospect, had 26 points versus Lyndon. Stavian Jones, Cobe Green and Bloch also reached double figures. Green missed nearly all of last season with health issues. Seabury enters state as the tournament favorite. In the semifinals, Seabury defeated Mission Valley, 79-54, with 32 points from Jones. Seabury has won 14 straight contests. Raney played at Fort Hays, served on the FHSU staff, was the head men’s basketball coach at Labette County Community College. He was previously an assistant at Barstow (Mo.) under Billy Thomas, a former KU great.

7. Valley Heights (18-6) – VH hung on to beat McLouth, a returning state qualifier, 40-37 in the sub-state title game. VH had double-digit losses last winter. Both VH boys and girls are headed to the state tournament. Valley Heights is in the state tournament for the fourth time in school history for the boys and first since 2014.

3. Hoxie (21-2) – Hoxie’s 6-foot-11 Harlan Obioha has averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds as a game. The Indians are in the transition to Mid-Continent League play and played in the MCL tournament. Hoxie defeated MCL’s Plainville, 81-66, in the sub-state final to win the Ellis sub-state. Obioha had 27 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks versus Plainville. Freshman Brady Jones tallied 14 points. In the semifinals, Hoxie also defeated MCL’s Hill City, 64-48. Obioha had 23 points and nine rebounds.

6. Garden Plain (18-5) – Garden Plain navigated through the upset-filed Sedan sub-state. GP has won six straight. The Owls defeated Belle Plaine, 76-61, in the sub-state semifinals and Wichita Independent, 76-49, in the sub-state championship game.

Class 1A

1.Berean Academy (25-0) – One of three undefeated teams in 1A, Berean Academy been extremely dominant, notably on the defensive end. The Warriors own wins against Sterling by 22 and 17 points. This is the 15th all-time state trip for Berean, including last year. Berean has eight final four showings, the last in ’12. The Warriors have made four finals: ’95, ’99, ’10 and ’11 with titles in ’10 and ’11.

8. Stockton (14-11) – Stockton reached state after several leading 1A western teams, such as Osborne and La Crosse, lost before sub-state. The Tigers beat Central Plains, 44-41, and defeated Greeley County, 51-33. Ethan Means leads Stockton with 14.2 points a game. Stockton is in state for the first time since 2015. Stockton was under .500 in Mid-Continent League play, a conference full of 2A and 3A schools.

4. Lebo (22-3) – Devan McEwen has paced Lebo and has tallied more than 1,000 career points. Lebo has made two finals in ’88 and ’05. The Wolves have won seven in a row, including 66-55 against Central Christian in the sub-state title game. Lebo has recently qualified in ’11, ’16 and ’19. Its last final four came in ’05.

5. Coldwater-South Central (20-5) – South Central has multiple quality players, including Owen Alexander and Xavier Frazier. South Central suffered two losses in its midseason conference tournament without them available. Alexander is at 15.8 points and 7.4 rebounds a game, while Frazier delivers 13.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest in the team’s latest statistical release. Coach Roe Macias leads the T-Wolves for a veteran unit that also includes senior Chayde Snyder (7.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists). This marks the first time since their consolidation in the state tournament since it happened 20 years ago. 

2. Little River (22-3) – Junior Jayden Garrison has averaged 23.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2.4 assists as Little River has reached the state tournament for the first time in 20 years. LR also features Trey Rolfs, whose sister, Taylor, is a senior on the Fort Hays basketball team and has played a key role the last four seasons. FHSU again qualified for the Division II women’s tournament.

7. St. Francis (16-7) – St. Francis has battled illness all winter, though emerged with the WaKeeney sub-state championship. Senior Brady Dinkel has cleared 1,000 career points and has averaged around 18 points a game. Juniors Colton Neitzel, Adam Krien and Jesse Baxter have been key for the Indians, along with freshmen Ben Busse and Preston Witzel.

3. St. John-Hudson (22-3) – St. John, third and second the last two seasons, has legendary coach Clint Kinnamon. SJ has averaged 7.9 blocks a game. The top-three scorers are seniors with Tanner Halling, Marshall Woolf and Collin Halling, though has played in just seven games before he suffered injury. Halling has averaged 17.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.8 blocks in the team’s most recent statistical release. Woolf has 9.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists. St. John plays at a methodical, yet efficient pace with 52.6 possessions a contest and .970 points per possession. SJ is shooting 50 percent inside the arc.

6. Frankfort (20-6) – Frankfort has a plus-nine win improvement from last winter. Sixth-year coach Nick Anderson is also the football coach for Frankfort. Garret Dalinghaus and Gavin Cornelison are the only seniors.


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