Sports in Kansas has released its annual player of the year honors. A media panel of over 35 members in Kansas vote to compile finalists and winners each and every year.
Capsules are provided by Conor Nicholl of Sports in Kansas. Media day was handled by Bethany Bowman of Sports in Kansas and Chet Kuplen of Sports in Kansas. Photos by Terry Rinehart for Sports in Kansas. Postseason honors are powered by Watco, Mammoth, Nex-Tech Wireless, SAFE, Lewis Automotive Group.
Be on the lokoout for all-state teams being released later this week from Sports in Kansas by class. We also have patches available for postseason honors at [email protected] and we will have an apparel shop opening after the all-state teams are launched for t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies to remember your 2022-2023 season.
Finalists lists are on the mainpage of the website.
Thanks to the media members who participated in voting for our player of the year honors and a big shout out to all of the coaches and athletic directors who continue to send in their stats to us all season over the last several years.
Below are the players of the year from the 2022-2023 girls basketball season in Kansas.
Sports in Kansas All-Classes & 6A Boys’ Player of the Year: Grant Stubblefield, Blue Valley Northwest
Blue Valley Northwest senior Grant Stubblefield repeats as the clear Class 6A player of the Year. Stubblefield was also a multiple first team all-state running back. He has committed to Division I University of Nebraska-Omaha basketball. Stubblefield helped BVNW finish with 13 straight wins, a 21-4 record and a Class 6A state title. He delivered 17.9 points, four assists and 1.9 steals per contest.
Plus, he ranked second with 5.4 rebounds per contest. The state’s No. 1 point guard, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Stubblefield led BVNW to a 55-50 championship win against Wichita Heights. The year prior, Heights bested Northwest in the final. Before the game, Northwest was 0-7 against Heights, a longtime power. Stubblefield repeated as Eastern Kansas League player of the year. He tallied 22 points in the championship game. Stubblefield won state crowns in football and basketball. Stubblefield scored 77 points in the three tournament games.
Congratulations Grant Stubblefield of Blue Valley Northwest High School all being the 6A POY, All Class POY, and Top Five in the state. Your family is proud of you!
Sports in Kansas 5A Boys’ Player of the Year: Bo Aldridge, Topeka Highland Park
Topeka Highland Park’s Bo Aldridge scored 22 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks a game for a 24-1 Scots program that finished third in 5A. Via Massey Ratings, which incorporates strength of schedule, Highland Park had the No. 1 offense for all classes most of the year. Highland Park averaged 76.2 points per game. Aldridge was a top-10 all-classes scorer throughout the year.
Aldridge and Tre Richardson, who is a Division I football recruit and a basketball defensive player of the year finalist, led the Runnin’ Scots offense. Highland Park held off a quality St. James Academy team, 80-52, in the sub-state championship game, and beat Basehor-Linwood, 60-49, in the first round of state. Highland Park reached its first final four since 2016 and 19th overall. The Scots had lost in the state’s first round twice in the last three years. Aldridge led the 5A state tournament with 15.7 points per game.
Sports in Kansas 4A Boys’ Player of the Year: Ryle Riddlesperger/Carson Bennett, Hugoton
SIK noted Hugoton as a state contender since the season-opening Hays City Shoot-Out. The Eagles opened 1-2 with a single-figure loss to 6A Olathe West and an overtime defeat at Hays High. Hugoton never lost again and picked up its first-ever boys’ basketball state title. Coach Trey O’Neil, a two-time SIK Player of the Year at Scott City, has done superb work in his first two seasons as Hugoton’s head coach. Before this season, Hugoton had made two all-time final fours, in 1951 and 2016, per historian Carol Swenson.
Seniors Ryle Riddlesperger and Carson Bennett were interwoven in the Eagles’ success. They led Hugoton to the state tournament three of four seasons. This winter, Hugoton was 23-2.
They finished 2-3 in GWAC voting behind Hunter Vaughn of 3A Colby. Riddlesperger delivered 18.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest. This season, Riddlesperger scored 464 points and made a school record 112 treys, which led Kansas. He shot 52 percent from the field and 47 percent from 3-point range. Riddlesperger sank 80 percent of free throws (28 of 35). In 84 career games, Riddlesperger scored 1,033 points, along with 164 rebounds and 142 assists. He is Hugoton’s all-time leader in made 3-pointers.
Hugoton won the GWAC all four years and the Sterling Invitational three straight seasons. Riddlesperger has an offer from Seward County Community College. He was the Most Inspirational Player of the Sterling tournament this weekend and broke the tournament record for most 3s made.
“We really did that!,” Riddlesperger said. “A team full of champions all because of hard work and showing up for each other, every single day. Proud to represent Hugoton, Kansas. The community support we have is the best. “
The 6-foot-2 Bennett delivered 16.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest. In his career, Bennett averaged 15 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists a contest. Bennett also has a Seward CCC offer. He was the Sterling Invitational Most Inspirational Player as a junior.
At state, Riddlesperger had 18.3 points per game, Bennett at 16.7. Hugoton, who was 3A last year, was the second smallest 4A school in the state and won the state championship over a school double their enrollment.
The Hugoton Sports Boosters and Farm Bureau Financial Services-Jeff Ramsey Agency are very proud of Ryle and Carson for being selected 4A co-players of the year! Your leadership and hard work in helping your team achieve the school’s first state championship in boy’s basketball will always be remembered by your Hugoton community and fans!
Congrats to the Hugoton Eagles on an awesome 2022-2023 season! Congrats to all of our players and coaches on a state championship! We are proud of you. A big congrats to Ryle & Carson for 4A POY from SIK! – from Hugoton High School and Hugoton High School Athletics.
Ghumms Auto Center would like to congratulate Carson Bennett on the 2023 SIK 4A Co-Player of the Year and the 4A state championship! We are proud of you!
Congratulations, Ryle! The countless hours spent in a gym, the early mornings and late nights, the weekends spent on the road away from home, the ups and downs, and the struggles and triumphs, all of these things have made you the player you are today, and most importantly, shaped you into a fine young man with the biggest of hearts. We could NOT be prouder of you! Thank you for the memories. We see you #4, always have, and we can’t wait to see what your future holds! Love, Your Family
Sports in Kansas 3A Boys’ Player of the Year: Jake Proctor, Hesston
Hesston senior Jake Proctor was the lone starter who returned from the Swathers’ back-to-back state championship teams. Proctor was a clear choice for all-classes top-5 and 3A Player of the Year. Hesston lost to Southeast of Saline in the season opener and reeled off 25 straight victories under first-year coach Garrett Roth, a Hesston graduate and former Swather assistant coach under Greg Raleigh.
Roth said Proctor helped Hesston “win us some big games throughout the year and was a dude each and every night.” Proctor averaged 16.7 points a contest at state. He consistently ranked second in 3A in scoring at 21 points a game, along with three steals a contest. Hesston beat undefeated Haven, 47-41, in the sub-state title game. In a matchup of first team all-state players, Hesston beat Colby, 59-46, in the state quarterfinals. Colby featured Hunter Vaughn, the GWAC player of the year. Hesston beat Southeast of Saline, 53-51, in the state semifinals after SES’ last-second shot barely missed.
Congrats to Jake Proctor of Hesston High School for being named 3A Basketball Player of the Year and Top 5 all-classes! Swather Power Club is proud of you and loves to support Hesston High School athletics and activities!
Congrats to Jake for being named 3A Player of the Year and All-Classes Top 5! Jake, you had a great high school career including being a 3-time basketball state champion! We are proud of you – BMG, Jim Brenneman.
Mid America Youth Basketball is honored to congratulate Jake Proctor as Sports in Kansas 3A Player of the Year and Top 5 All-Classes. As an employee, player and student athlete in high school you definitely deserve this award. Congrats and good luck in the future! – MAYB Basketball
Atomic Sports would like to congratulate Jake Proctor on being named the Kansas 3A Player of the Year. We would also like to congratulate Jake and the whole Swather team on winning their third consecutive 3A state championship. Go Swathers!
Congratulations Jake on your honors this postseason from Sports in Kansas (3A POY, Top 5 All-Classes). We are very proud of you and your teammates – Your family!
2A Boys’ Player of the Year: Logan Churchill/Landon Kaufman, Moundridge
Moundridge’s duo of Logan Churchill and Landon Kaufman helped the Wildcats deliver a remarkable run to the Class 2A state title. The top basketball story in Kansas in March, Moundridge won a state title in legendary coach Vance Unrau’s final season. Unrau had won five state titles at Moundridge, ’90-93 and ’97. Churchill’s mom is Tara Holloway Churchill and uncle is Jacy Holloway. Tara played at Emporia State, Jacy at Iowa State and is currently coaching at Lakin after a long stint at Garden City. Tara was recently inducted into the KSHOF.
Logan credited his parents, Tara and Nick Churchill.
She “knows what it takes to be successful,” Logan said. “My dad has been in the military for over 20 years. He is very tasked orientated and organized and helps me stay on track and focused.”
This season marked Moundridge’s first state final appearance since ’97 and first state trip in a decade. Several players contended for the POY honor as the majority of the votes in 2A went to five different people. The Moundridge duo wins 2A player of the year over three stellar standouts whose teams either didn’t make the state tournament or lost in the first round: Ellinwood’s Brit Dutton, St. Marys’ Keller Hurla and Hillsboro’s Brekyn Ratzlaff, the defending 2A player of the year. Dutton cleared 2,000 career points and Hurla is one of the states top small school multiple sport athletes, earning top 11 honors in the fall from SIK and 1A POY.
Churchill averaged 15 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.4 blocks and three assists a contest. He was the Canton-Galva tournament MVP the last two seasons. Kaufman’s dad, Steve, was a former Moundridge player and graduated in 1991. Kaufman averaged 13.4 points and led Kansas with 8.8 assists a contest. Kaufman, Churchill, sophomore Bear Moddelmog and sophomore Henry Hecox all averaged between nine and 14.7 points per game.
Congrats to Landon Kaufman, 2A Player of the Year!! We are so excited for you and have loved supporting you! We love you! – Your Family
Sports in Kansas 1A-I Boys’ Player of the Year: Ryan Kuckelman, Macksville
The 1A-I boys’ player of the year voting and debate was possibly the closest and deepest for any classification in years. Six-plus boys received high consideration/votes, including Macksville’s Ryan Kuckelman, Lance Lickiss, and Alexis Barron, South Gray’s Joey Dyck, Wichita Classical’s Jordy Dolloff, Olpe’s Truman Bailey and Little River’s Braxton Lafferty.
Ultimately, Kuckelman prevailed. The 6-foot-6 post, a three-sport star, was a unanimous first team all-league selection for the 1A-I state champion Mustangs. Macksville’s senior class had played together since the third grade and set a goal nine years ago to win a state title.
Macksville captured the 1A-I state title and scored more than 70 points in each state contest. Kuckelman, Rogelio Ibarra and Barron all scored at least 929 career points and Lickiss cleared 400 career rebounds.
Kuckelman and Barron started every game of their careers. Ibarra started nearly every contest, and Lickiss was a multi-year starter.
Macksville’s top-five scorers had between 9.5 and 12.8 points per game. Kuckelman had 10.4 points, a team-high eight rebounds and 1.7 blocks a contest along with 2.4 assists and 1.5 steals a game. He shot a team-best 59 percent from the field. Kuckelman was very consistent with at least eight points in all but six contests. He finished with four double-doubles. Macksville finished 24-2 and did not lose to a 1A team.
In his career, Kuckelman contributed 10.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals a game over four years, one of the most consistent stat lines of any four year player in the state that started in every single high school game.. He has four football offers after he earned conference MVP as a dual threat quarterback, all-state honors from SIK among other honors. He won the 400-meter dash at the 1A state track meet as a sophomore. He is one of the most underrated football prospects in the state.
“Our goal as a team since day one was to win a state championship, and to be able to achieve that with the guys that I’ve played with since grade school was a dream come true,” Kuckelman said.
Congratulations to Ryan Kuckelman on the 1A Basketball Player of the Year from Sports in Kansas. Equity Bank is proud of you and the Macksville Mustangs for winning State!!
Congrats to Ryan Kuckelman of Macksville High School on 1A-D1 Player of the Year! Congrats to the Mustangs on another great season from Bank of Lewis.
Sports in Kansas 1A-II Boys’ Player of the Year: Jackson Brandl, Tribune-Greeley County
Tribune-Greeley County’s Jaxson Brandl repeated as the Class 1A, Division II Player of the Year. GC won its second straight 1A-II state championship. Brandl completely re-wrote the GC record book. He finished with 2,162 points, 763 made 2-point field goals and 1,247 attempted 2-point shots. He also cleared over 1,000 rebounds, a very rare feat.
Brandl finished as the No. 16 all-time scorer in Kansas history, per state historian Kyle Taylor.
He also set records for most field goals made (876), attempted (1,569), most free throws made (297), most free throws attempted (441), most rebounds (1,000), most charges (30), steals (317) and fouls (210).
For a season, Brandl set records for points (637), shots made (261) and field goal percentage (66.2). GC set team marks for shooting percentage (57.1), 3-pointers made (173), winning percentage (25-1, 0.962) and fewest points allowed in a single game (16 against St. Francis).
Brandl was a clear-cut choice for a top-5 all-classes selection. He has mainly received junior college and NAIA offers. Brandl led GC with 25.5 points, 61 percent shooting, 10.2 rebounds, 3.7 steals and a block a contest.
Brandl won the award mainly over Pawnee Heights’ Alec Carlson, who finished with 1,856 career points. Carlson also recieved heavy consideration for Top-5 all-classes and its not everyday that you see two players from the smallest division in Kansas have that opportunity.
Congratulations to Jaxson of Greeley County. We are very proud of you and the Jackrabbits! – Ko & Lori Brandl
Congratulations to Jaxson on Player of the year and all of his accomplishments, very proud of you! – Connie Brandl
Congratulations to Coach Gooch,Jaxson Brandl and all of the team/coaches on their accomplishments. Congrats on Back-to-Back State Championships! Your hard work has paid off! – Dwight and Ronda Gooch