By CONOR NICHOLL
Southwest Kansas basketball took center stage Friday with multiple marquee games. SIK looks at the matchups, ramifications and, in some cases, scheduled/possible rematches in Southwest Kansas, along with several games across the state. As well, this week has multiple midseason tournaments, including the Sterling Invitational, Mid-Continent League tournament, Salina Invitational and Mulvane tournament. All records from KSHSAA unless otherwise noted.
Class 3A No. 1 Hugoton girls 42, 3A No. 3 Goodland 38 overtime – Mikyn Hamlin hits amazing shot
Kansas’ top game Friday came with Hugoton and Goodland. This had a lot of attention and billing entering the contest between the two GWAC opponents. Goodland remains one of the last teams to defeat Hugoton. Two years ago, Goodland finished 13-11 and upset Hugoton, 29-27, in sub-state.
Last season, Hugoton finished with two losses and was a state final four squad. Hugoton only fell to Liberal, a 5/6A school, and on a buzzer-beater to Sabetha at state. Goodland finished 18-4 and lost, 54-43, in its lone meeting against Hugoton.
This winter, both teams returned a bevy of key players. Hugoton has its three well-known juniors of Gianna Vos, Summya Adigun and Mikyn Hamlin, a Wyoming commit. Goodland, which owns a win against 6A Dodge City, counters with juniors Talexa Weeter, Lindsey Cure, Olivia Lehman and senior Emma Lehman. All are at least 5-11.
Goodland entered 9-0, including quality victories versus Dodge City (47-39), Scott City (43-40), Cimarron (51-36) and rival Colby (44-23). Hugoton opened with a loss to 6A Olathe West, and then has nice wins against Thomas More Prep-Marian (52-40), Cimarron (66-44) and Scott City (51-38).
Hamlin hit a wild 3-pointer where she quickly turned to the basket and threw up a shot in the final seconds of regulation to tie the game. She finished with 21 points. Hugoton and Goodland are in separate sub-states. Hugoton goes to Kingman and will be the significant favorite with Cimarron (6-2) as the main competitor. Goodland, though, hosts its own sub-state in possibly the state’s best sub-state.
Goodland is 9-1, Phillipsburg is 8-2 and features junior point guard Taryn Sides, a Kansas State commit, TMP is 6-2. Russell, Scott City, Colby, and Hoisington are all 4-5 or 5-4.
Cimarron is ranked No. 10 in 3A and features McKayla Miller, who has multiple Division I offers. Phillipsburg is ranked No. 8 in 3A and will be the favorite to win the Mid-Continent League tournament this week at Plainville. TMP has been ranked.
In 3A girls, No. 2 ranked Nickerson is 10-0 and features its great talent, including 6-foot-2 junior Ava Jones, an Arizona State commit, and Josie McLean. No. 5 Silver Lake, named a SIK preseason breakout team in December with coach Kyle Porter and a veteran group, is 7-0.
Class 3A is perennially loaded and seeding like 4-6A would significantly help this classification. Nickerson and SL are the lone undefeated teams. However, in SL’s sub-state, five teams are 5-4 or better, including 7-1 Hiawatha.
The Prairie View sub-state features three teams with one loss: Eureka (6-1), Frontenac (5-1) and Girard (4-1).
This week, Hugoton is at the Sterling Invitational, along with Smoky Valley and Sterling. SV, a SIK Potential Breakout team, is 6-2 and ranked No. 9 in 3A.
No. 10 6A Liberal girls 49, No. 8 6A Dodge City 47 – huge WAC game between highly talented squads
The Western Athletic Conference had a big contest between Liberal and Dodge City, which are the league’s top-two squads. Liberal held off Dodge City, 49-47, on Friday and took control of the WAC. The rematch is scheduled for Feb. 24.
Liberal is 7-1 and has won five in a row after its 45-38 loss to Olathe North, ranked second in 6A. The Redskins have its talented offense paced by seniors Ashley Carrillo and Bree Horyna and sophomore Hailey Contreras. Entering Friday, Carrillo has 16 points, four assists, 3.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Carrillo has signed with Division I Presbyterian College, Horyna with Hutchinson Community College. Horyna has 11.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.3 steals per contest. Contreras has 12.3 points a game.
Dodge City, which has a victory against McPherson, features senior Camree Johnson, who also has signed with Hutchinson Community College, and junior Becca Unruh. Liberal’s win ended a three-game losing streak in the series. DC had captured the last three by nine, 17 and nine points.
Dodge City led 8-5 after the first quarter, though Liberal outscored DC, 15-4, in the second quarter, per boxscore provided by DC broadcaster Sean Boston. Overall, Carrillo finished with 22 points, including 7 of 14 shooting. Horyna delivered 14 points and eight rebounds. Johnson enjoyed a big contest with 23 points on 9 of 13 shooting. Dodge City shot 50 percent from the field. Liberal went 5 of 20 from 3-point range, DC was 1 of 9.
Both squads are known for offensive efficiency. Liberal had 0.87 points per possession, DC with 0.83. In addition to the next scheduled matchup on Feb. 24, it’s possible the two teams could meet in the 6A state tournament. Dodge City stands at 8-2.
Class 1A, Division I No. 1 South Gray boys 78, Class 1A, Division II, No. 10 Bucklin 74 – SG stays undefeated; Bucklin emerges as Division II state contender – Price with 994 career points
Both of these teams were significantly featured on Sports In Kansas last week. Each features star players with South Gray’s Brady Deges and Brent Penner for SG, and Bucklin’s Scott Price and Nathan and Andrew Bowman. Recently, South Gray coach Mark Applegate and Hill City coach Keith Riley both surpassed John Locke’s 731 career victories for the most wins by a primarily boys’ basketball coach in Kansas.
South Gray, known for its high-octane offense, led 18-9 after the first quarter in a huge Southern Plains Iroquois matchup. However, Bucklin outscored SG, 18-6, in the third quarter. Penner finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Both teams shot 46 percent from the field, per Bucklin’s box score. SG (9-0) had single digit turnovers in its first eight games this season. The Rebels finished with 16 turnovers, one more than Bucklin. South Gray senior Brady Deges delivered 14 points and five rebounds. SG finished plus-15 on the glass.
Price finished with 32 points on 11 of 20 shooting for Bucklin. He is at 994 career points and should clear 1,000 on Tuesday. Deges has cleared 920 career points. These two teams could match up in the SPIAA midseason tournament in Dodge City in two weeks. Bucklin coach Derek Bevan has done a nice job with turning around the Red Aces in basketball. Trever Powell has done similarly with Bucklin football.
Much improved Bucklin is 6-4 but has established itself as a contender in relatively wide-open Division II. Price and the Bowmans were among those that helped Bucklin to its best football team since the mid-90s. This year, Bucklin lost twice in the Hoisington tournament, to 3A Hoisington and 2A Ellis, along with a defeat to non-KSHSAA Wichita Homeschool. Plus, Bucklin has a 77-51 win versus Pawnee Heights and a 64-49 win versus Attica (5-3).
PH has been ranked in the top-10 in Division II most of the year, and Attic is currently ranked eighth in Division II. While defending state champion Hanover is certainly the favorite, Bucklin is a legit contender by playing South Gray so close. Bucklin has three all-time state tournament appearances: 1917, ’74 and ’94, per Kansas historian Carol Swenson.
This year, Bucklin is in the Fowler sub-state and has a legitimate chance to reach the state tournament. Only Bucklin and Ingalls (4-2) are the only teams that are above .500. However, Ingalls has a 58-point loss to South Gray and does not have the quality of wins or strength of schedule that Bucklin has.
South Gray, the defending 1A, Division I state runner-up to Olpe, is 33-1 since the start of last season. SG moved to 18-0 against Bucklin since 2006. However, the Red Aces have made big strides in the last year. Last year, South Gray defeated Bucklin three times, by 30, 28 and 32 points. This marked the closest game in the series since Feb. 2009. Bucklin had multiple seasons of well under .500 records before 13-9 and 12-10 marks the last two seasons.
Class 2A No. 4 Ellinwood boys 66, 1A-Division I No. 3 Macksville 47 – Dutton with near triple-double
While these teams are more central Kansas-located, this was a huge matchup of undefeated squads in the Central Prairie League. Ellinwood is part of a deep group of 2A contenders that includes St. Marys (8-1, win against 1A-I defending champion Olpe), Cedar Vale/Dexter (7-0), Lyndon (8-1), WaKeeney-Trego (7-0), Erie (8-0), Valley Falls (9-0), defending state champion Hillsboro (9-0) and defending state runner-up Wabaunsee (7-1), among other contenders.
Ellinwood is 10-0 and is the first 2A boys’ team to reach double-digit victories. Ellinwood has put together nice squads the last two seasons with coach Derek Joiner and standout junior Britt Dutton, the state’s leading scorer. Ellinwood has five all-time state appearances, the last coming in 1984, per Swenson. Dutton had missed some time with injury, including a close win versus Ellis. Overall, Dutton has averaged 26.1 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals a game. Ellinwood led by 10 after the first quarter.
Dutton delivered 20 points on 8 of 16 shooting, along with 10 rebounds and eight assists. Junior Parker Scheck delivered 22 points on 11 of 15 shooting. For Macksville, standout junior Ryan Kuckelman finished with 15 points on 5 of 7 shooting. Junior Rogelio Ibarra finished with 10 points. Macksville shot 40 percent from the field, Ellinwood 57 percent.
Macksville dropped to 9-1. Ellinwood has won three in a row in the series, including 64-42 last season.
Class 1A, Division I No. 9 Norwich girls 38, No. 2 Pretty Prairie girls 37 – ramifications for 1A-I rankings, league and sub-state.
In south central Kansas, this was a gigantic game that had ramifications in Class 1A, Division I, Heart of the Plains standings and the Udall sub-state. Both teams entered undefeated. Norwich is the defending state basketball runner-up to Olpe. Pretty Prairie is the reigning state volleyball runner-up to Spearville, and a high number of those key players are PP’s best in basketball, including post McKenna Vogl and Jorah Harbaugh. Mike Klaver has spent 35-plus years coaching at Norwich with various teams.
Norwich, with Anna Kyle, Raina Bates, Teja Samuelson, Haley Sheetz and Kira Kelly, improved to 10-0, and Pretty Prairie are 10-1. They are by far the top teams in the Udall sub-state. Pretty Prairie led 24-18, 25-22 and 34-24 in the third quarter. Vogl, who has KCAC offers, had several key steals/blocks in the game, according to SIK’s reviewal of the Hudl film. Aubrey Young hit a 3-pointer to give PP a 37-29 lead in the fourth quarter.
However, Norwich, helped by two key steals, scored the game’s last nine points.
PP led 37-35 with 55 seconds left before Norwich tied the game. Norwich took a one-point lead with 15 seconds left with Sheetz’s foul shot. Overall, Norwich was plus-seven rebounding margin; PP is known for its rebounding. In a win versus Ellinwood (5-4) earlier this year, Pretty Prairie was plus-12 on the glass.
Norwich has won four straight in the series, including 32-18 and 46-29 last season, the second one in sub-state. Expect the teams to match up against this year.
Class 2A No. 1 Sterling 51, Class 1A, Division II Central Plains 39 – Sterling wins matchup of No. 1 ranked teams; hosts tournament this week with possible matchup with Hugoton
While this game was last Tuesday, highly experienced Sterling solidified itself as the 2A state favorite. Sterling is the defending 2A state champion, and Central Plains is the defending 1A, Division II champion. CP has its well-known dynasty with coaches Pat Stiles and Jim Ryan. The Oilers have won six straight state titles and have an undefeated Final Four stretch. Stiles is 231-8 – five of the losses have come against Sterling, in ’12, twice in ’13 and the last two years.
Sterling has point guard Kali Briar, the reigning 2A Player of the Year, McKenna Linden and many veterans, including Sadie Beagley and Bennie Horsch, who finished with a game-high 18 points. CP countered with its first team all-state tandem of Brynna Hammeke and Kassidy Nixon. Sterling won this matchup last year and is the last team to defeat the Oilers in postseason play.
In the Sublette sub-state, Sterling is 9-0, while Elkhart is 8-0. Sterling hosts its own tournament this week and should encounter Hugoton. Hugoton is 4-2 in the last six meetings against Sterling, including 53-44 and 65-44 wins the last two years. Hugoton has won the Sterling tournament in ’17, ’20 and ’21. Sterling girls have captured titles in ’14, ’16, ’18 and ’19.
Central Plains dropped to 7-1 and has wins against Smith Center (No. 5 2A) and Phillipsburg. CP remains the 1A-II favorite, though Lebo, Golden Plains, and Hanover are certainly among high contenders. Undefeated squads in Division II are Lebo (10-0), Golden Plains (8-0) and Hutchinson Central Christian (10-0), all teams that have featured on SIK this year. Lebo is ranked second, Hanover third, Golden Plains fourth and Central Christian in fifth.
Class 6A No. 2 Olathe North girls 69, Olathe West 55
Olathe North, featured on SIK in December, improved to 8-0. All five starters have signed at Division II or higher. On Friday, North earned a quality Sunflower League victory versus Olathe West, which has a brilliant coach in Rick Rhoades and a win versus Hugoton. Five-foot-10 junior Tyriana Stanford, who has averaged 11.4 points per game, finished with 24 points on 10 of 14 shooting, along with six rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Senior Sania Copeland, who has signed with Missouri State, delivered 12 assists. Senior Saniya Simmons, the school’s all-time leader in single season and career steals, had five steals. Six-foot-2 senior Yiibari Nwidadah, who has signed with Washburn, finished with nine points, 11 rebounds and five steals.
Olathe North and Shawnee Mission West lead 6A East with 8-0 marks. West features S’Mya Nichols. She and Phillipsburg’s Taryn Sides are considered the state’s top juniors. OW, which lost by five points to SM West earlier this season, stands at 4-4.
Class 4A No. 3 Wellington girls 50, 4A No. 6 Clearwater 46 OT
This was another huge matchup of top 4A teams. Wellington improved to 9-0 and has wins against Cheney, Andale and Clearwater. Cheney is ranked fourth in 3A, and Andale is ranked fifth in 4A. The Clearwater victory gave Wellington the AVCTL Division I lead.
Wellington improved to 9-0 and is the only undefeated squad in 4A West. The Crusaders pace 4A West with 57.4 points per game. Clearwater stands at 5-2 and has averaged 52.9 points a contest. Airalyn Frame paced Wellington with 19 points, including key late foul shots. Wellington is at the Mulvane tournament this week.
Class 5A No. 2 Salina Central girls 64, Goddard 36 – SC stays undefeated
Salina Central continued its huge season after a final four squad last winter. SC returned everyone, especially senior guard Aubrie Kierscht, likely the state’s best shooter and Navy commit. Kierscht earned statewide attention Tuesday with 40 points, along with 12 treys. She set the single game SC scoring record and tied the most 3s made in a game in Kansas history.
On Friday, Salina Central improved to 8-0 with a key win against Goddard and Maycee James, who leads Kansas in steals and is nearly averaging a triple-double.
Salina Central easily leads 5A West in scoring at 66 points a contest. Goddard is 7-2. Earlier this year, SC beat Andover Central, 70-51, ranked No. 3 in 5A.
Senior Hampton Williams, who has signed with Division I Abilene Christian, delivered 19 points on 6 of 10 shooting. Kierscht delivered 17 points on 5 of 9 shooting. Salina Central finished 11 of 24 from long range (46 percent). Goddard was 1 of 13 from beyond the arc.
James finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and three steals.
Salina Central has a rematch with Andover Central on Feb. 4, and Goddard on Feb. 11.
Class 5A No. 3 Andover Central boys 56, 5A No. 1 Andover 49
In front of a huge crowd, Andover Central won the Battle of Andover against the Trojans with a 56-49 win. AC improved to 8-0. Andover stands at 7-2. AC outscored Andover, 13-12 after the first quarter, 13-9 in the second quarter and 14-12 in the third quarter. AC junior Kobe Smith finished with 22 points. For Andover, junior Eli Shetlar delivered 15 points, and Brandon Redic with 14 points. The rematch is scheduled for Feb. 11.