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Sports in KS: Around the State Basketball Update 2/5/19

Grill went over 1,000 points on Monday as he scored 43. (photo: Maize Schools)
By: Conor Nicholl for Sports in Kansas w/ Chet Kuplen
Feb 5, 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

Boys & Girls Rankings from the KBCA can be viewed here

Class 6A

Blue Valley Northwest is 13-1 and remains perfect against Kansas schools and 6-1 versus Missouri. BVNW averages 72 points a contest. Against in-state competition, Pittsburg and Blue Valley North have been the closest with six-point margins.

Washburn Rural, under coach Kevin Muff, formerly at Cloud County and Pittsburg State, is 14-0 and is the only undefeated Class 6A boys’ team. WR is ranked second in 6A behind BVNW.

Olathe North’s Tymer Jackson has paced Olathe North, which vaulted three spots from sixth to third in Class 6A this week. Jackson delivers 26.3 points as North is 9-1 in the last 10 games. North is one of the top scoring teams in 6A boys at 71 points per game, which ranks second in the class.

On Monday, Derby girls, ranked No. 1 in 6A, moved to 14-0 and 8-0 in league play with its second victory against Maize this season. The Panthers won 44-31 behind 17 points from Kennedy Brown and limited the Eagles to six points in the fourth quarter. Alexis Cauthon had 12 points from Maize.

Liberal, ranked No. 2 in Class 6A girls, are undefeated at 13-0. Juniors Katie Horyna and Machia Mullens have combined for 30.3 points and 10.6 rebounds.

The Sunflower League – specifically the Olathe schools – are well-representing the Class 6A rankings. Olathe South is fifth, Olathe North is seventh, Olathe Northwest stands ninth and Olathe East stands tenth. Olathe Northwest’s Sarah Beth Gueldner leads the league with 23.1 points a contest, according to Sunflower Smack, a media entity that closely follows the league. Chisom Ajekwu averages 17.3 points and 10.1 rebounds a contest. ONW is in the poll this week.

Lonnell Lane is having a big sophomore year for JC Harmon in averaging over 25 points per game, he averaged 17 ppg as a sophomore last season. Harmon is also 10-3 on the year.

6A boys east sub-state standings outside of the top seems to have a little bit of parity. There are just four teams with 10 or more wins. 11 of the 18 teams have over a .500 record. There will be some interesting first round sub-state matchups with a lot of teams just above or below .500. 6A west sub-state has 12 teams above .500 at this point. Six teams have 11 or more wins of the 18. The mix of schools from Lawrence, Topeka, Wichita and Western Kansas will be a fun one come sub-state.

Class 5A

Maize South girls enjoyed one of the biggest weeks of any team this season. After the Mavericks throttled Mill Valley to capture the El Dorado tournament on Jan. 26, Maize South defeated Goddard, 48-39, last Tuesday and then rival Maize, 54-47, on Friday. Goddard was ranked No. 1 in 5A, and Maize had just one loss, to undefeated Derby. This week, Maize South is up to No. 1 in 5A, Goddard is second and Maize is eighth. It marked the first time Maize South had beaten Maize in school history.

Maize South broke the school mark for victories in the comeback win against Maize. The Mavericks were 8-13 last year but added standout transfers Alexis Snodgrass and Zayda Perez and brought back starters Lauren Johnson and Katie Wagner. Snodgrass came from Wichita Northwest, and Perez from Valley Center.

Additionally, the Maize boys stayed perfect and No. 1 in 5A after a 65-63 win versus Maize South in front of a huge crowd. Caleb Grill paced the Eagles with 21 points and delivered key defense on Maize South’s final shot. 

Maize is 15-0, while Maize South is 10-4 and bumped a spot from ninth to eighth in the 5A poll. On Monday, Maize improved to 15-0, and Grill went over 1,000 career points while going for a career high 43. Additonally he also had his Shrine Bowl ceremony on Monday night after throwing for over 2,000 yards in each of his last two seasons. Grill, a South Dakota State commit, has enjoyed great support from Devon Koehn and Brandle Easter. Maize is the only undefeated Class 5A boys’ team.

Bonner Springs averages 67 points a contest and is currently No. 6 in 5A and ranked first in 5A East. Keyon Thomas delivers 20.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.5 steals and 3.9 rebounds per game. The Braves have an 18-point average margin.

Hays High girls earned back-to-back home WAC wins on Friday and Saturday versus Dodge City and Garden City and remained No. 10 in Class 5A. Versus GC, Hays High trailed 38-35 when Mattie Hutchinson tied the game with a trey with 12 seconds remaining. Then, GC had a turnover and Brooke Denning made a 3 from NBA range for a 41-38 victory. Hays High is 10-4 and has won seven straight home contests.

The McPherson girls, up a spot from sixth to fifth in 5A this week, have captured 11 in a row after a 56-24 victory against Andale. McPherson is 13-1 and received a balanced effort led by Grace Pyle, Cassie Cooks, Andrea Sweat and Lakyn Schieferecke.

Basehor Linwood is one of the more underrated teams in the state, at least teams that are receiving exposure from the media. The Bobcats have the top defense in 5A east as they’ve limited opponents to 47 points per game, while scoring 63. Jacob Coleman, a Pittsburg State signee, is one of the best players in the class. They got a signature win over a loaded Pittsburg squad, 83-56, last Tuesday on the road that shows they are a major contender in the class. Pittsburg has been ranked as high as #2 in 5A this year and remains in the rankings as they took third in 5A last season.

Cevin Clark continues to light it up this season and now has five games with 40 or more points in his career. Ark City, who played in the top four of 4A last season, is now up to 5A. While they’ve lost two in a row, they are capable of hanging around with anyone with a player like Clark who averages over 32 points per game. They will look to bounce back after back to back losses against Andover Central and Andover.

Andover Central boys have won seven games in a row and have a balanced attack with Braden Belt,  Xavier Bell and Easton Leedom. They’ve dropped one game all season (Wichita Southeast in OT). They score the most points per game in 5A at 72 ppg.

Class 4A

Bishop Miege enjoyed a banner last two games. On Jan. 29, Miege defeated Blue Valley North, 57-52. BVN is ranked fourth in 6A, and Miege is first in 4A. On Saturday, Miege traveled across Missouri and played St. Louis power Francis Howell Central. The Stags earned a 51-27 victory.

In the BVN game, Payton Verhulst led with 20 points, 14 rebounds and three assists. Verhulst, a sophomore and one of the nation’s top recruits, averages 15.4 points and 5.8 rebounds. Miege limited BVN to 28 percent shooting.

Against Francis Howell Central, Ashton Verhulst delivered 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Johnni Gonzalez – both Division I commits – had eight assists. Miege limited Howell Central to 18 percent shooting and 0 of 7 from 3-point range.

Ashton delivers 11.5 points and 4.9 rebounds a contest. Gonzalez averages 7.7 points and 3.8 assists a game. Sophomore Faith Hawthorne delivers 7.8 points and 5.1 rebounds.

Anderson County boys defeated Girard (3A No. 5) last Friday at home, 59-54, behind 27 points from Carson Powelson. He averages more than 20 points a contest. Anderson County is 9-4 and averages 70 points a contest, tops in 4A.

Pratt girls are into the 4A rankings at No. 10 this week. The Greenbacks own wins against TMP and Otis-Bison – teams that have a combined six losses – and stand at 11-4 entering Tuesday’s key game with Nickerson, ranked third in 4A. Nickerson, which has battled through an injury to standout Morgan Stout, is 15-1.

Class 3A

TMP girls improved to 11-4 and 6-0 in the Mid-Continent League with a 37-34 home win against Norton, which was ranked third in 3A and hadn’t lost against a Kansas team. The Monarchs, unranked in 3A, have defeated a trio of ranked teams at home: WaKeeney-Trego, Abilene and the Bluejays. The teams are 0-3 versus TMP and have a combined three losses against everyone else. TMP had lost to Norton on Jan. 17 by 30 in a game that had a running clock.

This time, the Monarchs played better versus the Bluejays’ press and had great defense and another big game from senior Emily Schippers. TMP’s leading scorer at 9.9 points a game, Schippers scored 13 against Norton, all in the second half, and had 16 versus Abilene and 12 against WaKeeney. The Monarch girls have collectively shot eight more free throws and attempted 17 more foul shots in the three wins. TMP is undefeated at home this year.

Trey and Ty Sides continue to put up big numbers for Phillipsburg, which is up three spots this week to third in Class 3A. Trey Sides has put up bigger numbers than his Class 3A Player of the Year season last winter. He has 16.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.9 steals and 3.7 assists per game. His brother, sophomore Ty, averages 13.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 3.3 assists a contest. The Panthers have a key week with a home game versus Hoxie (No. 2 in 2A) on Tuesday, and then a road contest Friday at TMP.

Beloit senior Sydney Barrett signed with Kansas Wesleyan for basketball and has averaged 14 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.2 steals a contest. The Trojan girls are 10-5.

Beloit boys are 14-1, 8-0 in NCAA play and rank fifth in Class 3A. Last Friday, Beloit defeated Ellsworth, 52-37. On Jan. 29, Beloit cruised past Republic County, 58-22. On Jan. 24, the Trojans defeated Sacred Heart, 58-51, behind 19 points from Vincent Palen. The game ended Sacred Heart’s 45-game NCAA winning streak, according to North Central Kansas Sports.

We really expect Haven boys sub-state to be as good as advertised and we are not just saying that because all teams have a winning record. We are saying that because the majority of those teams have proven they can get up to state and compete over the years. All teams are 8-7 and above. Five teams have 11 or more wins in the field of eight. Five of the eight are pretty solid defensively as they all only allow under 50 points per game. Kingman (12-3), Cheney (12-3), Haven (11-4), Belle Plaine (11-4), Hesston (11-5), Halstead (9-6), Collegiate (8-6) and Chaparral (8-7) make up the field. Halstead, the current six seed, won the state title in 3A last season.

We also expect the Caney Valley boys sub-state to be very solid. While Girard and Baxter have dropped some games that maybe we wouldn’t expect and have shown signs they can be beaten on a few off nights, we still expect the two to be contenders. Girard (12-2) and Baxter (12-3) are both ranked in 3A, however most of these teams in this are in the same league (6 of 8 in the CNC) and we’ve seen some crazy upsets in this league this season. Anyone can beat anyone in this no matter if it’s the four versus five and one versus eight match-up. Also making up this field is Caney Valley (10-5) , Cherryvale (9-6), Columbus (8-6), Riverton (8-6), Frontenac (7-8) and Galena (7-8).

Class 2A

On Monday, Ness City boys defeated WaKeeney-Trego Community in a makeup game, a few hours after the Eagles bumped from No. 4 to No. 3 in Class 2A. Andres Rios finished with 23 points and John Pfannenstiel tallied 15 as four players reached double figures. On Friday, NC beat La Crosse, 83-40, behind 22 points apiece from Rios and Pfannenstiel.

Landon Reinhardt tallied 14 with a big dunk against the Leopards and delivered 10 on Monday. Last Tuesday, NC beat Hill City, 76-55.

Pfannenstiel collected 32 points, while Rios tallied 11 points and eight rebounds. Clay Beutler delivered 15 points on 5 of 8 from 3-point range. Beutler then tallied 11 versus WaKeeney. Pfannenstiel is averaging 23 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals a contest.

WaKeeney-Trego girls are up to No. 1 in 2A this week at 12-2. The Golden Eagles, led by coach Donnie Shubert, were unranked in the preseason and moved from third to first this week. WaKeeney had a big jump last winter and has made another increase this year led by sophomore Lili Shubert and junior Libby Frost.

Coach Shubert won a state title as the Golden Eagles’ boys coach in the mid-2000s. Lili Shubert went over 500 career points in the 45-43 overtime win against Phillipsburg last Thursday.

Sacred Heart boys, in the first season after a long run with former coach Pat Martin, bumped from seventh to sixth in Class 2A. Senior Trace Leners has put up a strong all-around year with 8.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.9 steals and 4.8 assists a contest. He leads the state in steals, according to MaxPreps’ statistical lists.

Inman boys, ranked No. 1 in 2A, defeated Sedgwick, 52-32 and improved to 13-1. Mason Thiessen, who has signed with Emporia State, had 14 points, while Jaxon Eddy led with 16 points.

Plainville girls defeated Oakley, 36-27. Cardinal junior Aubree Dewey, one of the state’s top scorers, finished with just 10 points. However, junior Jersey Kaiser enjoyed 12 points and made both of her shots. Kaiser went 8 of 15 from the three throw line. Kaiser, known for her defense, set a career-high for points and helped the Cardinals improve to 8-7.

Leoti-Wichita County continues a big turnaround and is 12-2 with a No. 8 ranking in Class 2A. On Friday, WC defeated Sublette, 59-49 with a 19-9 advantage in the fourth quarter. Sublette led 15-10 after the first quarter.

Leoti has four players average double figures with junior Sonnie Altman, junior Gabe Hernandez, sophomore Kayde Rietzke and senior Oscar Jimenez. Altman is at 17.4 points and 9.1 rebounds a contest.

Colgan (12-3) picked up a huge victory over 3A ranked Baxter Springs 39-38 last Tuesday. Wayne Cichon is one of the most successful coaches in Kansas, going over 600 victories last season. He's also played in 11 state championships in basketball, winning five. All of those coming since 1996. Colgan can slow the pace down and uses a balanced attack of scoring, led by Aaron Higginbotham. All of their wins this season, they've held opponents to under 48 points. They are a major factor in 2A but will have some impressive teams in their sub-state in Yates Center (13-2), led by Aaron King, and Northeast-Arma (13-3), led by Tre McLaughlin. All three teams have 12 or more wins.

Meade boys sub-state is putting together quite the season of nice records. Five of the eight teams have 11 or more wins and six of the eight have above .500 record. Pratt Skyline (15-1), Stanton County (13-2), Syracuse (12-3), Ness City (12-3), Meade (11-5), Lakin (7-7). Should be a fun one. 

Class 1A

Overall, Class 1A, especially on the girls’ side, continues to have a banner year. The MaxPreps statistical rankings, which factor in quality of wins and strength of schedule, has 10 1A girls’ teams in the top-60 for all classes. Central Plains is second, Coldwater-South Central stands at No. 20 and Frankfort is 23. As well, Spearville is No. 39, Thunder Ridge is 40, Olpe 41, Golden Plains 45 and South Barber is No. 50. There are likely a lot of teams in here that you could throw in 2A or 3A and they would be one of the favorites to win it all. Dodge City is going to be fun next month. 

While South Barber is unranked in the latest coaches’ poll, Central Plains, Olpe and Frankfort are 1-3, respectively. South Central is fifth, Spearville stands seventh and Golden Plains is eighth.

The Coldwater-South Central regional is especially strong with South Central (15-2), Cunningham (14-2), South Barber (12-4), Bucklin (12-5), Attica (11-5) and Kiowa County (11-7). KC, which won 20 games last season, is 5-2 in the last seven contests.

For the third time this season, Central Plains boys, ranked No. 1 in 1A, defeated rival St. John. This time, the Oilers held a 55-35 advantage and have captured 41 straight contests. Brett Liebl finished with 17 points for the Oilers, while Devin Ryan tallied 18 and Alex Hickel added 14. Tanner Halling scored 18 for St. John. On Saturday, the Oiler girls won their 100th in a row with another huge victory, this time at Concordia.

St. John has lost just four times and has two wins against Ness City but dropped out of the 1A poll from No. 8 last week.

Frankfort girls continue to impress with a 59-49 key Twin Valley League victory versus Centralia. The Panthers were fifth in 1A last week but dropped out of the poll. Emilee Ebert exceeded 1,500 career points. As well, Kennen Brandt has enjoyed a nice season and tallied 19 points in the victory. Alli Toomer delivered 16, and Mariah Broxterman scored 13.

Almena-Northern Valley senior Riley Sides paced the Huskies to a Western Kansas Liberty League title with a 92-25 victory against Triplains-Brewster in the league tournament championship Saturday and moved to 14-1.

NV, the defending 1A-II state champion, is ranked fourth in 1A. Sides delivers 15.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.4 steals a contest.

In the title, Sides had just six points, but NV continues to have great balance. Senior Nick Stutsman scored 22 points on 9 of 12 shooting, and junior Fabian Loya tallied 21 points on 10 of 11 shooting. NV is up to 70 points a contest and is shooting 35 percent from 3-point range with 131 treys. The Huskies average 1.10 points per possession with 39 percent offensive rebounding rate and turn the ball over on just 21 percent of possessions, all outstanding rates.

Golden Plains girls are up two spots from tenth to eighth in 1A and stand at 15-0 after a 58-34 win against Weskan.

Hutchinson Central Christian girls, with no seniors, improved to 15-1 and bumped into this week’s Class 1A poll at No. 10 after a 42-33 victory against South Barber on Friday. CC has ended losing streaks of at least three games versus Berean Academy and South Barber this season.

Otis-Bison girls, which again stood ninth in this week’s 1A poll, remained with two losses and defeated Digton, 53-39, on Monday. Otis-Bison boys beat Dighton, 43-42.

Last Friday, Rural Vista sophomore Cameron Campuzano nearly had a triple-double on Friday with 11 points, nine rebounds and nine assists and didn’t play in the fourth quarter. On the girls’ side, RV is No. 4 in 1A at 15-0.

Rock Hills’ Dereck Gillett finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks, two steals and two assists last Friday in a 54-47 loss to Downs-Lakeside.Gillett also has 17 dunks on the year. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound, senior is a nice multiple sport athlete.

Friday, Little River girls defeated Goessel, 52-37, behind 18 points from Emma McBride and 12 by Kylee Zimmerman. Little River is 11-5.

On Monday, Doniphan West defeated Washington County, 59-50. Makinley Smith paced DW with 26 points and Myah Olson scored 14.

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