By CONOR NICHOLL
This week takes a look at several high-profile games, including on the girls’ side where Topeka High, Andover Central and Cheney all had its winning streaks tested. Plus, two Western Kansas Liberty League players – Bird City-Cheylin’s Colton McCarty and Golden Plains’ Wade Rush – were among those that cleared 1,000 career points. As well, South Central coach Tim Rietzke hit 800 career wins, and Bishop Miege’s Terry English reached 900.
We start, though, with the milestones, upsets and winning streaks in Ellis County on Friday:
Hays High boys, TMP girls, Victoria teams with big wins
Ellis County consists of four high schools: 5A Hays High, 3A Thomas More Prep-Marian, 2A Ellis and 1A Victoria. Four of the squads – Hays High boys, TMP girls, and both Victoria teams – were involved in impressive happenings Friday.
Thomas More Prep-Marian girls delivered an impressive 44-32 road win at Phillipsburg, ranked fourth in Class 3A. TMP received 10 points from Megan Hamel, nine by Jaci VonLintel and six points, nine rebounds and three blocks by Kassidi Yost, per Eagle Radio.
Since December, SIK has noted the overall strength and depth of the MCL this winter. With two weeks left in the regular season, the MCL girls has enjoyed a banner year. On the boys’ side, Hoxie is undefeated and ranked No. 1 in 2A, and TMP boys are 14-4. Norton boys are 12-4.
The current top MCL girls’ records are: Phillipsburg (13-2), TMP (14-3), Norton (13-4), WaKeeney-Trego (14-3), Smith Center (13-4) and Ellis (9-8).
Phillipsburg is ranked fourth in 3A, WaKeeney is seventh in 2A, and Smith Center is ninth in 2A.
Phillipsburg, TMP and Norton are all in the same sub-state, along with Goodland (15-2. No. 7 in 3A). Phillipsburg has lost only to TMP and Norton. TMP is 1-1 against WaKeeney. WaKeeney has overtime wins against TMP and Ellis.
Smith Center captured the MCL midseason tournament, though has a loss to Ellis. TMP has one non-tournament league loss and will have a home game Friday versus Norton with huge league title ramifications. Norton has routinely started five seniors.
Hays High boys, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, pulled away to beat Colby, 73-40, on the road. HHS improved to 16-0 and won its 24th straight contest. Hays High beat Colby for the second time this season after a win in the Orange and Black tournament championship. This is believed to be the school’s longest winning streak in more than 60 years. In ’13-14, Hays High won its first 23 games and opened 23-0, which is the school mark for single season victories.
Junior point guard Carson Kieffer has delivered an exceptional season and has been highly instrumental in the winning streak. He hit the game-winning buzzer-beating layup versus Salina Central at home. He averages 10.4 points, 6.1 assists, two rebounds and two assists a game. Kieffer has ranked in the top-5 in Kansas for assists per game this year. Kieffer is shooting 50 percent (20 of 40) on treys. HHS has shot 39 percent on treys with 5.5 made 3s a game.
Victoria girls improved to 13-4 and won its ninth straight game. Coach Kristin Werth has done an impressive job with the Knights at her alma mater. Victoria held off St. John, 48-45, on Senior Night on Friday. The highly athletic Knights returned all players from last winter.
Junior Melany Huser, Werth’s younger sister, has delivered 11.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.1 steals, all team-highs. Senior Lydia Sander delivered 10 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.4 steals a contest. Sophomore Macy Hammerschmidt has delivered a great year with 8.5 points and 3.2 steals a contest. Senior Brooklynn Kuhn had 6.1 points, 4.2 points and 1.9 steals per game.
Victoria boys and St. John were both 6-11 entering Friday. The game was tied at halftime at 19. Victoria led 25-23 after three quarters. Then, the Knights enjoyed a big fourth quarter for a 50-33 victory.
St. John has a rare down season. Victoria had been 0-15 against St. John since ’05. This marked the first time Victoria had played SJ to single figures since Feb. 11, 2011. Victoria senior Jason Karst tallied 16 points, including a pair of key 3s in the fourth quarter.
English reaches 900 career wins
Bishop Miege girls’ coach Terry English picked up his 900th career win in a 71-23 win against K.C. Schlagle on Feb. 11. He and Olpe coach Jesse Nelson, with more than 900 career wins, leads on the girls' side. Rietzke has coached both boys and girls. For the boys, Hill City's Keith Riley and Montezuma-South Gray's Mark Applegate have not quite reached 750 career victories. English has a state-record 21 titles in 44 years with Miege. The Stags, ranked No. 1 in 4A, are 14-1 this winter.
Miege has long produced high-level collegiate players. Alum Hunter Bentley cleared 1,000 career points at Washburn this winter.
Ashton Verhulst is a freshman at Division I Central Florida. Her sister, Payton, is the state’s top recruit this winter and has signed with Louisville. Gabi Henderson-Artis and Emajin McCallop are also key players. Miege is long known for its press.
Andover Central girls bump win streak to 37; among other impressive statistics, extremely low turnover rate
In a game moved from earlier in the season, Andover Central defeated McPherson, 62-46, on Saturday. AC led by 17 at the end of the third quarter. Ellie Stearns paced the Jaguars with 17. Andover Central, Bishop Miege and Topeka High, in some order, have created the best resumes in Kansas this season.
AC, with multiple Division I/II commits, improved to 16-0 and continued its highly efficient offense. Last year, AC went 22-1 and lost in overtime to McPherson in the second game of the season. This winter, McPherson dropped to 12-3.
The Bullpups had permitted just 36.6 points per game and included wins against Dodge City and Derby. McPherson had won nine straight and had just one loss against a Kansas team this season. Andover Central is ranked No. 1 in 5A, and McPherson is third in 4A.
Andover Central has wins against Maize South (64-30), Wichita Heights (56-48 in overtime), Salina Central (60-52), Bishop Carroll (56-49), Kapaun Mt. Carmel (84-43), Goddard Eisenhower (58-42), Salina Central (66-56), Derby (67-57) and McPherson. Overall, AC has 65 points per game and 19.9 assists a contest.
Maize South is ninth in 5A, Wichita Heights is ninth in 6A, Salina Central is eighth in 5A. Bishop Carroll is seventh in 5A. Eisenhower is fourth in 5A and Derby eighth in 6A
Andover Central has 1.07 points per possession and allowed just .67 points a possession. The Jaguars are shooting 37 percent from 3-point range and have turnovers on just 14.3 percent of possessions, which is incredibly low. In the last three games, AC had three turnovers versus Derby, and seven apiece versus Andover and McPherson.
Entering Saturday, Dodge City’s Camree Johnson and AC’s Bailey Wilborn, a University of Maine signee, leads Kansas in free throw percentage. Johnson is 92.1 percent (35 of 38) and Wilborn at 91.7 percent (33 of 36). As well, Wilborn is shooting 43 percent from 3-point range with 52 treys.
Topeka High wins second meeting against Washburn Rural; run winning streak to 39
Topeka High and Washburn Rural are the clear separators in the Centennial League. Topeka is ranked No. 1 in 6A, Washburn Rural is third in 6A.
They are highly expected to meet up again in the Washburn Rural sub-state. Since Kansas went to geographic sub-states because of COVID-19 concerns, Topeka and Washburn Rural are in the same sub-state. Topeka High bumped its winning streak to 39 straight with a 59-53 road overtime victory on Friday.
Topeka High stands at 16-0, and WR is 13-2 with both losses to the Trojans. Topeka’s last loss came versus the Junior Blues in the 2019 Class 6A state championship game. Rural led 16-4 after the first quarter, 30-24 at halftime and 41-38 after three quarters. Topeka scored all of the six overtime points.
Rural led 49-42 with around three minutes left in the fourth quarter when Ja’neysha Hendricks sunk a trey, and Talayah Thomas tallied a basket. Rural was up 53-47 with under a minute to go. Thomas and Faith Shields then sunk treys, and WR made a key turnover.
In the overtime, Nijaree Canady, who has recently cleared 1,000 career points, scored the first basket. Lilly Smith sunk a pair of free throws for a 57-53 edge, and Smith tallied the game’s last basket.
Canady is a two-time all-state pick and has nine double-doubles with 20 points and 11 rebounds a contest. Topeka has an average score of 70-36. The Trojans also beat Rural, 53-49, on Jan. 14.
Cheney girls defeats Garden Plain – pushes win streak to 27
Cheney, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A all season, completed a big week with a pair of huge victories. The Cardinals defeated Wichita Trinity Academy, 68-39, on Tuesday. Trinity features Austin Broadie, a Washburn commit.
On Friday, Cheney used a run at the end of the third quarter to beat rival Garden Plain, 54-50. GP is 12-4. Cheney also beat Garden Plain, 63-50, on Jan. 12. The Cardinals are 16-0 this winter and have won 27 in a row. Garden Plain is fourth in 2A after state champion, state champion and Forever Four the last three years.
Cheney captured the final 11 in a row last winter and has not lost since a 45-43 defeat against Halstead on Feb. 1, 2020. Cheney’s Kylee Scheer finished with 16 points, and Alli Puetz paced Garden Plain with 14. Cheney senior Lexi Cline, in her third game back from injury, had several key plays in the pivotal run at the end of the third quarter. Cheney is elite or at least above average in all categories, especially offensive efficiency, turnover rate, scoring defense and offensive rebounding rate. Cheney has averaged 63 points per game.
Scheer has 23.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 2.5 assists per game. Junior Brooklyn Wewe is at 7.4 points, 4.6 steals, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists a contest. Junior Brynn McCormick has 10.7 points and shooting 41 percent (31 of 75) from 3-point range.
Derby boys end Salina South’s perfect season
Salina South has been one of the surprises this winter. The experienced Cougars have bumped to No. 2 in Class 5A after 13 straight wins. However, Derby beat Salina South, 74-68. Salina broadcaster Pat Strathman reported SS was up 13 in the third quarter.
Devon Junghans had 16 points, and Tejon McDaniel finished with 14. The Panthers are 7-6 overall and 4-1 in the last five games with only a 78-57 loss to Blue Valley Northwest on Feb. 6.
Bishop hits game-winning 3 for Lansing
SIK has documented the impressive seasons for Lansing volleyball and girls’ basketball this year, notably with Caitlin Bishop and Kamryn Farris. On Friday, Farris ran down an offensive rebound after a missed Lion free throw. She quickly kicked to Bishop, who nailed the trey. Lansing is sixth in 5A at 12-2. The Lions defeated Shawnee Heights, 45-42.
Dodge City girls win key matchup
On Saturday, Dodge City delivered a 48-32 win against Maize. DC moved to 14-1, Maize stands at 13-2. Dodge City is ranked fifth in 6A, and Maize is third in 5A.
Kierscht clears 1,000 career points, along with Pittsburg’s Petty and CC’s Ibarra
Salina Central junior Aubrie Kierscht, named the SIK Nex-Tech Wireless Athlete of the Month, was expected to clear 1,000 career points Friday. She did in a 66-34 win versus Goddard.
Kierscht, statistically the state’s best shooter and a Navy commit, became the fifth player in SC history to clear 1,000 career points since 2002. Kierscht has a great chance to become the Mustangs’ top scorer in the last 19 years. Amanda Morris is No. 1 with 1,167 points.
SC improved to 12-4 and bounced back last week with wins against Goddard Eisenhower and Goddard after a 1-3 stretch that included a last-second loss to Liberal on a buzzer-beater, a defeat against rival Salina South and a close loss versus Andover Central. Versus Goddard, Kierscht finished with 15 points. Sophomore Mykayla Cunningham had 10 points and three assists, and junior Chaliscia Samilton finished with 11 rebounds.
Kierscht is at 19.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per contest. She is shooting 49 percent on treys, 55 percent on 2-pointers and 88 percent from the free throw line. Salina Central is eighth in 5A, Eisenhower is fourth in 5A.
Additionally, Pittsburg senior Madden Petty cleared 1,000 career points. Petty, like Kierscht, accomplished the feat midway through her third year of play. Petty did not play basketball as a junior. Central Christian’s Adre Ibarra reached 1,000 career points against South Barber. Petty has helped Pittsburg enter the 5A girls’ rankings for the first time in many years. CC is a longtime 1A power under coach Adam Clark. Central Christian beat South Barber, 58-33.
1,000 career points
Osawatomie’s Amiah Simmons, the state’s leading scorer at 32 points per game, went over 1,000 career points. As well, Golden Plains’ Wade Rush and Bird City-Cheylin’s Colton McCarty reached the milestone. McCarty and Andrew Schields have both reached 1,000 career points this season. They are the only Cheylin boys to reach the milestone in school history. Lakin’s Hunter Davis cleared 1,000 career points for the Broncs, 16-0 and now ranked No. 1 in 3A.
Lakin, Hugoton (13-2), Hoisington (13-3) and Holcomb (12-4) are all in the Larned sub-state. Hugoton has won 13 straight after an 0-2 start with losses to Hays High and TMP.
Rose Hill boys with wins against ranked teams; Abasolo expected to break Mulvane’s scoring record this week
Rose Hill opened the season 1-3 with losses by three, four and five points. That included a 63-58 defeat to Mulvane on Dec. 15. However, RH has continued earn big wins. The Rockets, led by transfer Adriel Smith, beat Wichita Collegiate, 68-57, on Jan. 15. On Feb. 9, Rose Hill defeated Augusta, 71-58.
On Friday, Rose Hill beat Mulvane, 68-60, in the rematch. RH is 9-6, and Mulvane stands with three losses. Mulvane’s Trey Abasolo led with 22 points and stands with 1,375 career points. He is second behind Drew Ellis’ 1,382 from 2015-19.
Collegiate is ninth in 3A, Augusta is fourth in 4A, and Mulvane second in 4A.
Wamego’s Fritz with impressive shooting
Wamego junior shooting guard Jake Fritz finished with 23 points and six rebounds with a 57-56 win versus Abilene. Fritz went 8 of 9 on treys. Fritz comes from an impressive sports family. His older brother, T.J., was featured on SIK two years ago. Their dad, Steve, was a former Olympian and K-State track coach. Their mom, Suzie, is the longtime K-State volleyball coach. Earlier in the week, Fritz scored 18 points on nine shots. In the last eight games, Fritz has shot well over 50 percent from the 3-point line. Wamego remains unranked in 4A at 11-4. Senior Tanner Hecht has 19.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Junior Jake Fritz has 11.6 points and 4.3 rebounds a game.
Other top performances
Maize boys defeated Haysville Campus, 65-56, in a key AVCTL contest. Maize is 14-2, including 9-0 at home. The Eagles have won five straight. Campus is 13-2 with Sterling Chapman, the reigning 6A Player of the Year and Tulsa signing. Maize is third in 5A, and Campus is fourth in 6A. Chapman has 18.9 points and 13 rebounds per contest. Campus averages 70 points a game. Stevie Strong has 18.5 points per game. Maize has shot 41 percent on treys with 6.4 treys a contest.
Hugoton girls’ coach Emmanuel Adigun, who has also coached at Pratt, has reached 100 career wins. Entering Friday, Mikyn Hamlin has 20.8 points and six rebounds a contest. Jordyn Beard has 10 rebounds and 2.8 blocks a contest. Summya Adigun has 7.1 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game. Gianna Vos has 12.2 points per game. Hugoton is third in 3A.
On Friday, Nemaha Central held off Royal Valley, 52-49. Cassidy Corby tied the game. Then, with three seconds left, Corby drove in and scored a layup, drew a foul and made the shot. RV’s 3-pointer at the buzzer missed. Nemaha Central is second in 3A, Royal Valley sixth and Sabetha eighth. All three are Big 7 teams. NC coach Hadden Hiltgen earned his 200th career victory. For Royal Valley, Mahpiya and Wakiyan Irving have delivered big seasons.
Mahpiya has 21.4 points, 6.2 assists and 3.8 steals per game. Wakiyan has 6.2 assists and 3.9 steals a game. Corby has enjoyed a huge season. She has 15.5 points and 5.8 rebounds a game entering Friday. Riley Rottinghaus is at 10 points and 3.5 blocks per game.
Hannah Macke has 7.5 points, 2.5 assists and 2.2 steals. Macke dislocated her shoulder Tuesday. She is out for three weeks and will look to come back March 1. All three are seniors. Nemaha Central went 24-0 last winter and stands at 16-1 this season.
In a matchup of Class 4A ranked teams, Clay Center defeated Wamego, 48-47, at the buzzer with a basket from Shelby Siebold. Wamego girls have quietly put together an impressive year and stood at 11-3 entering Clay Center. Wamego has two seniors, Alexis Billings and Toree Hoobler. Clay Center is second in 4A, and Wamego is tenth in 4A.
In the Eastern Kansas League, Bishop Miege defeated St. James, 64-52. Miege senior Payton Verhulst led with 23 points. Verhulst has been a Naismith semifinalist for national player of the year and has signed with Louisville. For SJA, senior Claire Worthington cleared 500 career points. Miege is first in 4A.
Clearwater girls defeated Wichita Collegiate, 48-42. Elizabeth Tjaden finished with 22 points, including 10 of 10 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Clearwater is ninth in 4A and stands at 12-3. Standout Carli Carlson is out with an injury after she played with 11 games. Carlson has 15.7 points a contest. Tjaden, a freshman, has 11.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and two steals a game.
West Elk boys beat Caldwell, 48-33. Devin Loudermilk tallied 19 for the Patriots.
Riley County girls beat Alma-Wabaunsee, 50-15. Jessi Brummett paced RC with 13 points.
Lebo girls beat Lyndon, 52-40, behind another big game from sophomore Brooklyn Jones, one of the state’s top statistical players. Jones delivered 20 points, eight rebounds and seven steals. Lebo is seventh in 1A, Division I.
Cunningham girls beat Central Christian, 47-41. Earlier this season, Morgan Meyers earned 54 Classic tournament MVP honors for a third straight season. Meyers has cleared 1,000 career points and has signed with Barton County CC. Cunningham is fourth in 1A, Division II behind Central Plains and Golden Plains.
Beloit St. John’s/Tipton girls have dealt with COVID-19 issues all season and played just 10 games. BSJT, though, beat Lakeside 61-31, and improved to 9-1. Lauryn Dubbert paced with 19 points. BSJT is fourth in Division II.
Ness City’s Taylor Cable has 15 double-doubles for the 11-6 Eagle boys. The junior is averaging 20.5 points and 14.6 rebounds a contest.
Hoisington’s 6-foot-7 senior Drew Nicholson is shooting 89 percent (56 of 63). Both Nicholson and Mason Haxton have cleared 1,000 career points. Nicholson averages 18.4 points and seven rebounds a contest. Hoisington is 13-3 and ranked sixth in 3A.
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