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Basketball in Kansas: Around the State Update (12/6/20)

Sterling Chapman named 6A Sports in Kansas POY last season. (Photo: Channel 060 - Campus)
By: Conor Nicholl for Sports in Kansas
Dec 7, 2020

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Looking at games & happenings across the state of Kansas on 12/3 and 12/4. This update is presented by Seatbelts Are For Everyone (SAFEKS), American Implement, Rainbow Communications, Nex-Tech Wireless, Mammoth Sports Construction, Craw-Kan Telephone, Wheat State Elite and Sign Brothers. 

By CONOR NICHOLL for Sports in Kansas

In a well-publicized multi-hour board meeting two days before Thanksgiving, KSHSAA voted to start winter sports on time with a full schedule.

A high number of teams opened play Thursday or Friday. The Hays City Shoot-Out, featuring Hays High School, Thomas More Prep-Marian and Hugoton and non-KSHSAA Life Prep in a four-team round robin, was the only tournament last weekend. The competition went Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Usually after a season ends, only 1-2 boys’ and girls’ teams carry a winning streak into the next winter. However, when COVID-19 ended the state basketball tournament in the semifinals, an historical number of squads finished the 2019-20 season with perfect records.

On the girls’ side, 1A Central Plains, 1A Olpe, 6A Topeka, 6A Liberal, 3A Nemaha Central and 2A Spearville all had perfect records. The boys’ side had two perfect squads: 6A Haysville-Campus and 5A Andover. At least in 1A and 6A girls, at least one of those squads would have lost had the state tournament been completed.

Central Plains and Olpe collected 26-0 marks. Topeka and Liberal were 23-0, and Nemaha Central and Spearville finished 24-0. Campus and Andover went 23-0.

In this year’s preseason KBCA rankings, Central Plains is ranked No. 1 in Class 1A, Division II, and Olpe is No. 1 in Division I. Topeka is No. 1 in 6A, while Liberal is unranked after it graduated a pair of Division I signees with Katie Horyna and Machia Mullens. Nemaha Central is No. 3 in 3A, and Spearville is No. 2 in 2A.

Campus and Andover both won Friday – and play each other Tuesday in a marquee matchup of undefeated teams. Campus is ranked No. 4 in 6A. Andover is No. 1 in 5A.

From 1973-2019, the girls averaged 1.7 undefeated teams per season, the boys slightly under 0.7, according to KSHSAA archives and Kansas historian Carol Swenson.

The first Friday yielded wins for Campus and Andover, along with Central Plains, Olpe, Liberal, Nemaha Central and Spearville.

Topeka High opens Tuesday versus Junction City.

These teams extended the rare winning streaks from last year. We start Week 1 with the state’s longest all-time winning streak: the Central Plains girls.

1A-II: Central Plains wins No. 137

Central Plains graduated point guard Emily Ryan, the three-time SIK All-Classes Player of the Year and the starting point guard as a true freshman for Iowa State this winter. CP graduated Addison Crites, who signed for Barton CC volleyball and earned all-state recognition in volleyball and basketball.

However, the Oilers were expected to continue to roll. CP returned exceptional junior Kassidy Nixon, along with senior Lexi Oeser and sophomore Brynna Hammeke. Oeser has committed to Barton CC basketball. Nixon was a third team 1A all-state pick by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association and 1A Player of the Year in volleyball this fall. Hammeke was expected to step up into a starring role. That occurred Friday in a home game versus in-county foe Hoisington.

Central Plains led Hoisington, 25-11, after the first quarter as Hammeke tallied 13 points. CP led 39-13 at halftime with 22 from Hammeke. Overall, Central Plains defeated the Cardinals, 55-24. Hammeke scored 24, Nixon with nine and Oeser six. Central Plains won its 137th straight game, the third-longest in United States girls’ basketball history. Class 1A has split again into two classes, Division I and Division II. CP is ranked No. 1 in Division II.

6A: Chapman clears 1,000 points as Campus continues winning streak

Campus senior Sterling Gaston-Chapman tallied his 1,000th career point in the season-opening win, 65-58, at Salina Central. Chapman is the reigning Class 6A Player of the Year and became the fourth player in school history to clear 1,000 career points. He has a strong chance to become Campus’ all-time leading scorer.

Chapman first committed to Wichita State, and then very recently changed his commitment to Tulsa shortly after WSU coach Gregg Marshall left the program. Chapman scored 25 points in the victory. Campus was the consensus top team for all Kansas classes last year. The Colts extended its winning streak to 24 games.

With two minutes left in the game, Campus led, 59-56. Chapman went to the line and helped seal the game. The game had zero fans with the cheerleaders the only ones in the stands opposite the players’ benches.

5A boys: Andover extends winning streak – gets Campus on the road Tuesday

Andover boys, ranked No. 1 in 5A, was 22-20 in two seasons before the 23-0 mark last winter. Andover beat tradition-laden McPherson, 73-44, in a high-profile season-opening matchup. This marked the third straight year the Trojans beat the Bullpups. Jack Johnson, who has signed with Dallas Baptist, delivered 19 points. Brady Strausz tallied 15, and Kaleb Gaddis delivered 10. Isaiah Maikori, with multiple football offers, is another key player.

In the last three years, Andover has defeated McPherson by two, 19- and 29-point margins. Before then, Andover was 2-8 in its last 10 meetings with the Bullpups.

6A/3A/1A: Liberal girls continue win streak with new coach Brandi Fowler; Nemaha Central and Olpe wins

Liberal has historically been a 5A squad, though bumped to 6A last winter. This season, Liberal is back down to 5A with the classification’s largest enrollment for football-only. Liberal is 6A for other sports. Liberal opened with a 41-30 victory at Colby after the Redskins graduated Mullens (UM-Kansas City) and Horyna (Abilene Christian). Former coach Carter Kruger took a job in Liberal administration. Former assistant Brandi Fowler, a teacher in Liberal for 15 years and the varsity assistant for the last six, took over as head coach.

The Redskins returned talented players with senior Aubrey Warden, junior Ashley Carrillo, and junior Bree Horyna. Warden has signed with Newman University. Carrillo tallied 15 and Hailey Contreras finished with 11. Liberal fought foul trouble but held Colby to 1 of 18 shooting from 3-point range. Liberal won its sixth straight season opener and 28th consecutive road game, according to Redskin broadcaster Brock Kappelmann.

In Class 3A, Nemaha Central easily defeated Perry-Lecompton, 52-21.

In 1A, Olpe beat St. Marys, 72-48, in a quality non-conference victory. Olpe returns all but one player and has Macy Smith, an Emporia State signing.

2A: Spearville girls win against Coldwater South Central behind Heskamp career high

In a key Southern Plains Iroquois conference matchup, Spearville won 62-46 against Coldwater-South Central behind a career-high 32 points from senior Alissa Heskamp, an elite player in volleyball, basketball and softball. She has 883 career points. Heskamp’s previous career best was 26 points against Leoti-Wichita County on March 2, 2020.

SC is down in numbers for legendary coach Tim Rietzke (750-plus career wins), though does have plenty of experience with juniors Sierra Jellison, Hadley Lohrding and Kirsten Hackney and sophomores Kodie Herd and McKenzie Jellison. Abby Robles is the only senior. SC went 16-8 last year behind 16.1 points per game from Sierra, and 11.2 points and 6.2 rebounds a game from Herd.

Heskamp averaged 14.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.3 steals as a junior. Spearville graduated Ehlaina Hartman, now at Emporia State basketball after she earned 2A Player of the Year in volleyball and basketball.

3A: No. 1 Cheney cruises without Cline

Cheney girls returned 99 percent of its scoring from last year’s final four squad. Cheney was the 3A runner-up two seasons ago. Cheney added Scott City junior transfer Brynn McCormick. However, senior point guard Lexi Cline will miss likely the entire regular season after a preseason collarbone injury. Cheney led 21-3 after the first quarter and won at Conway Springs, 59-26.

5A: Salina Central, with its Division I duo, opens with big victory

Salina Central girls rolled over Campus, 64-21. SC is expected to be a leading contender in 5A girls. Juniors Aubrie Kierscht and Hampton Williams have committed to Division I’s Navy and Abilene Christian respectively. Kierscht, on the short list for Kansas’ best 3-point shooter, tallied 24 points, all in the first three quarters. She made six treys. SC’s Mykayla Cunningham tallied 11. Salina Central is ranked fifth in 5A girls.

2A: WaKeeney girls enjoy big night from Shubert

WaKeeney-Trego girls have reached back-to-back Class 2A Final Fours. The Golden Eagles, ranked No. 4 in Class 2A, have a new coach with Shelby Crawford, formerly Trego’s assistant. WaKeeney defeated Dighton, 64-42. Senior Lili Shubert had 38 points, believed to be the most by any Kansas player on Friday. Shubert has cleared 1,000 career points and has been offered by Barton County CC for both volleyball and basketball. She also delivered 15 rebounds, three steals and two assists.

Kaylee Walt had six points, 12 rebounds and two assists. Madison Walt collected six rebounds, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Tillie Malinowsky finished with four points, five rebounds, two assists and three steals. Emma Day delivered four points, five rebounds and three assists. Kya O’Banion had three points, three rebounds and two assists.

3A: Hugoton girls win Hays City Shoot-Out; 5A Hays High wins on boys’ side

On Saturday, Hugoton defeated Life Prep, 50-41, and won the 38th annual Gerald Mitchell Hays City Shoot-Out. The Eagles defeated Hays High, TMP and Life Prep. Hugoton is loaded with talent, including sophomores Mikyn Hamlin, Summya Adigun, and Gianna Vos, along with junior Breckyn Haar and seniors McKenna Hamlin, Molly McClure, and Jordyn Beard. Check out more on Hugoton at SIK as the American Implement Team of the Week. The Eagle girls are SIK’s American Implement Team of the Week. The Hamlin sisters also won the Shoot-Out Hot Shot championship, a longtime part of the tournament.

For the boys, Hays High, very surprisingly not ranked in the preseason, put up big offensive numbers in all three Shoot-Out games. Hays High beat crosstown rival TMP, 70-42, for the title Saturday night. It marked HHS’ first Shoot-Out crown since ’16. Hays High had a 16-0 run in the second half. Jace Linenberger scored a career-high 26, according to HHS broadcaster Dustin Armbruster. Check out more on Hays High on Sports In Kansas.

Class 6A: Z. Walker back for Wichita Heights girls

Wichita Heights enjoyed an undefeated season until late February when star Zyanna Walker went down with a season-ending knee injury. Heights lost to Bishop Carroll, and then lost in the first round of the state tournament. Walker has double-digit Division I offers. Heights defeated Kapaun Mt. Carmel, 68-49. KMC has senior point Ella Anciaux, a Wichita State commit. Heights won 68-49 behind 24 points from Cayanna Stanley, and 22 from Laniah Randle. Wichita Heights is ranked No. 4 in 6A.

Class 3A: Goodland off to solid start

The Goodland girls are expected to be a breakout team this winter. Many of the girls led the Cowgirls to a big volleyball turnaround this fall and final four showing in Class 3A. The group includes Talexa Weeter, Emma and Olivia Lehman and Mikayla Biermann. Goodland was well under .500 two years ago and improved to 13-11 last season, including a sub-state win versus Hugoton. The Cowgirls have opened 2-0 with 40-point wins versus Syracuse (62-22) and Dundy County (Neb.) (76-36). The boys are 1-1 including 31 points from Brennan Brumbaugh in a 59-56 victory versus Dundy County.

Class 6A: Dodge City girls with big win; has interesting postgame awards

Dodge City opened with a 78-19 victory against Newton. The Red Demons went 17-5 last winter and are ranked No. 8 in Class 6A. Dodge City is doing some neat postgame awards for its team. Two players wear boxing gloves as the team’s best “1-2 punch.” “The Rodman” goes to the player with the most rebounds. The Golden Ball is for the most assists, and a Team MVP is named.

For the Newton victory, Camree Johnson was team MVP with 20 points on 8 of 8 shooting and 3 of 3 from the foul line. Kisa Unruh and Lauren Gleason were the 1-2 punch with 17 points and six assists. Amaya Perez was the Golden Ball winner with six assists and four steals. Alisia Solis grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

Class 1A: Fairfield boys have big night from Ethan Waters

Last season, Fairfield opened the season with three straight losses and ended the season with six consecutive defeats. Fairfield went 5-16 with one senior. Ethan Waters averaged 14.4 points and 6.6 rebounds as a freshman. This winter, Fairfield opened with a 77-62 win versus Oxford. Waters collected 33 points, 13 rebounds and five steals. He sunk 10 of 17 from the field and 13 of 16 from the free throw line.

Other standout performances:

Little River’s Jayden Garrison tallied 26 points for the Redskins in a 69-26 home victory versus Lincoln. Garrison is the defending 1A Player of the Year. He also led LR to the Eight-Man, Division I championship on Thanksgiving weekend. Garrison became the first player in state annals to score on a rushing TD, receiving TD and threw a passing TD in a state championship, according to Kansas historian Brett Marshall. Little River, a 1A Final Four team last winter, was surprisingly ranked No. 9 in Class 1A, Division I in the preseason. As well, senior Graham Stephens is back after he missed last winter with a knee injury.

Leoti-Wichita County’s Kayde Rietzke tallied more than 400 yards in total offense in WC’s state title loss to Little River. He opened his senior basketball season with 22 points versus Elkhart.

Sedan’s Damieon Hatten tallied 35 points in three quarters for Sedan, including a wide-open two-handed dunk. Hatten is 6-foot, 3.5 inches and 190 pounds. Sedan beat Chetopa, 69-25.

Sterling’s Tyus Wilson, a returning first team all-state 2A player, is one of the nation’s best high jumpers with a 7 foot, 1 inch leap. Wilson drove in for a big one-handed dunk at Hillsboro. The Black Bears delivered a quality 48-43 victory. Sterling is No. 3 in 2A.

West Elk’s Devin Loudermilk had three dunks Friday. He is also one of the state’s best high jumper with a personal best 6-9 in ’19. WE beat Oswego, 52-17. He had 30 points in the win. 

Hoxie’s 6-foot-11 senior Harlan Obioha had a dunk down low in the Indians’ opening home game versus Norton, via Open Spaces Sports video. Obioha holds Division I offers in football and basketball. Hoxie, expected to contend for the Mid-Continent League title, beat Norton, 53-44. Hoxie outscored Norton, 17-12, in the fourth quarter. Hoxie is ranked No. 1 in 2A.

Hoisington’s Drew Nicholson had a nice dunk at Central Plains. Nicholson and senior point guard Mason Haxton pair for one of the state’s top 1-2 combination. The 6-foot-7 Nicholson and Haxton helped Hoisington to a 17-5 record. The Cardinals defeated Central Plains, 83-33, including a 27-7 margin after the first quarter. Nicholson tallied 25, and senior Dylan Richards scored 13. Senior Holt Hanzlick tallied 11. Hoisington is ranked No. 10 in 3A.

Legendary St. John boys’ basketball coach Clint Kinnamon left for Wichita East. Former assistant Danton Hilton opened with a 53-34 victory versus Stafford. Hilton had previously won a state title in Class 1A, Division II at Attica. St. John is ranked first in Class 1A, Division I.

Kinnamon led Wichita East with a 62-57 overtime victory versus Wichita Southeast. SE standout Jackie Johnson, with multiple Division I offers, had transferred to a prep school. East has standout senior Daylan Jones.

Ness City boys had just four practices and opened with an 83-70 victory versus Macksville. Junior Taylor Cable, after a big sophomore year, enjoyed 29 points, 14 rebounds, five steals and four assists. Jose Guzman finished with 27 points, seven steals and five assists.

Olathe West girls opened with a 68-41 victory against Barstow (Mo.). Olathe West is ranked No. 7 in Class 6A, and the defending Sunflower League champs. OW features point guard Kenzie Hart, a UM-Kansas City signee, and Bailey Collar, a Washburn commit. OW has a high-profile game versus St. Thomas Aquinas, ranked No. 1 in 5A, next week.

Derby girls, ranked No. 5 in 6A, beat Wichita Northwest, 79-11. Sophomore Addy Brown paced the Panthers with 20 points. The Derby Informer reported the Panthers went on a 51-0 run.

Parsons, ranked No. 3 in 4A boys, defeated Girard, 58-47. Ethan Houk scored 13 and Jessie Jones tallied 12.

Cunnigham senior standout Morgan Meyers, a 1,000-career point scorer, signed Monday with Barton County CC basketball.

In a matchup of quality 2A Mid-Continent League squads, Ellis boys beat Hill City, 45-42.

-Week 2 generally has plenty of smaller-school tournaments. This includes Russell, WaKeeney and Quinter. Russell has a very strong girls’ field with Central Plains, Smith Center, Phillipsburg and Beloit St. John’s/Tipton. WaKeeney features Hoxie (No. 1 2A) and the host Golden Eagles. Quinter has Ellis and Wheatland-Grinnell boys. W-G is No. 4 in Class 1A, Division II.

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