Basketball in Kansas: Around the State Update (12/23/19)

Class 3A: Colby girls with milestone wins, off to strong start with experience, father-daughter duo

Around fourth or fifth grade, current Colby senior guard Hallie Vaughn played on her first 5-on-5 basketball team with Jill Stephens. At that point, Jill’s parents, Tom and Dawn, served as the head and assistant coaches, respectively, for the Colby Community College women’s basketball program.

Dawn Stephens (Chambers) is a Colby native and played for the Trojans from 1986-88. When she graduated, Stephens held school records in 16 categories, including career points (1,094), assists (373) and steals (239). A junior college All-American, Dawn played point guard at Penn State, and then professionally in ’93-94. She earned induction into the Colby CC Hall of Fame in 2015.

Tom is the seventh of 10 children from a dairy farm near New Almelo, Kan., in Norton County. He has coached a variety of sports at junior high and high school levels, including volleyball, basketball and track, at Gorham, Brewster, Copeland, Ulysses and Maize before Colby CC. His sister, Rose McFarland, is a longtime coach, notably with more than 100 wins in her current stint with Thomas More Prep-Marian girls.

The Stephens duo coached the Trojans from ’97-09 and delivered a 186-165 record. From 2003-06, Colby finished 29-4, 25-7 and 32-5, the three best showings in school annals. After several sub-.500 seasons, the Stephens’ family moved to Stockton, and Tom led the Tiger boys.

The Stockton teams included the Stephens’ oldest child, Reed, who played in 57 games the last two winters at Bethany College.

The Stockton boys had not made state in 30 years, but took fourth in Class 1A, Division I in 2013. Two winters later, the Tigers finished 19-7 and third in 1A-I.

“I just like to coach players that try hard, are good teammates, have a good attitude,” Tom said. “That’s what’s fun. It doesn’t matter what level. Just coach kids that are ready to go, kind of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.”

Then, the Stephens family eventually moved back to Colby three years ago.

Jill reunited with Vaughn and delivered a turnaround for the Eagle girls’ basketball program, including two key milestone victories in the first month. Colby has opened 6-0, though remains outside of the Class 3A rankings. The Eagles capped the pre-Christmas schedule with a 66-24 win versus Ulysses on Friday.

“I like playing with them,” Jill said. “They are great teammates.”

“An exciting feeling,” Vaughn added. “Our basketball program had struggled for awhile.”

In addition to several milestone wins and streaks for several programs, Colby is also one of multiple teams having success early where the father coaches his daughter. Tom Stephens, with 460 career wins over 32-plus seasons, has one more son, Grant, a seventh grader.

“I might have to coach forever,” he said with a smile.

Two weeks ago, Colby played in the Topside Tipoff tournament. After two big wins, the Eagles defeated Goodland, 41-24, in the Dec. 14 championship game, the Eagles’ first title in the tournament since ’07.

On Tuesday, Colby ended a seven-game losing streak versus Hays High with a 47-31 road win, the first victory against HHS since Dec. 12, 2013.

“Our first two games, we had a lot more ability than they did,” coach Stephens said after the Hays High win. “The last game was Goodland, and we had to really play. We had to really play that game. We had to really play tonight, and I think the rest of the season, our league is really good. We’ve got to really play, and we have to be better than what we were tonight.”

Vaughn and Jill have elicited college interest. Jill talked with veteran Barton County coach Alan Clark after the Hays High victory.

“She has great basketball IQ,” HHS coach Kyle Porter said of Jill. “She sees the floor well. She doesn’t force shots. She plays well within the structure of their offense, just a really nice high school basketball player.”

Colby girls delivered a run of success in the mid-2000s with several strong seasons coming with coach Parker McKee, currently the Eagle boys’ coach. Colby girls won state in ’07, earned a state final four trip in ’08 and went to state in ’11.

McKee, with four young children, had stepped aside from coaching for a couple of seasons.

Colby had 28 total victories from 2013-17. Three years ago, he did apply for the girls’ opening. Stephens and McKee are good friends and cousins. McKee labeled Stephens “the right man for the job.”

“I am really happy for them,” McKee said. “I think Tom has done an excellent job with the kids, and the girls really put in the time, and it shows. They put in the time in the offseason, and they are rolling really good right now, and I think the sky is the limit for them.”

Stephens posted an 11-11 mark in ’17-18, his first season. Jill, who was a key player as a freshman for a Stockton girls’ squad that finished 20-4, averaged 10.9 points per contest as a sophomore for her dad.

Vaughn delivered 14.1 points per contest, and Brittany Foss averaged 3.9 points and 3.5 assists a game.

Last season, Colby opened 5-2 with a three-point loss to Norton, an eventual 3A state final four squad, and a 47-44 defeat to Hays High. In a 52-38 victory against Hoxie on Dec. 18, Jill went up to steal the ball, and dislocated her shoulder. She went to see the doctor, was diagnosed with a torn labrum and needed surgery.

Jill, who collected 12.6 points per game, missed the rest of the season. Colby went 9-6 the rest of the year, including a 50-19 loss to Hays High in January.

“It was really hard,” Jill said. “Anybody that has injuries knows what it’s like, and to sit out your favorite season is very difficult. And my parents, and my friends and my teammates, really helped me through it.”

This year, Jill is back to 100 percent. Vaughn and Foss are both four-year starters.

“Jill can play anywhere on the floor,” coach Stephens said. “She can play point guard for us. She can play the five, she can play every position.”

Last winter, Vaughn delivered 13.6 points a game. Brooklyn Jones, a sophomore, delivered 10.6 points per contest. Vaughn, Foss and Jones all earned some form of all-league honors in ’18-19.

“There is no person trying to score a lot of points, and we just try to take an open shot,” coach Stephens said. “It’s an easy team to coach.”

Plus, senior Kailey Shields returns after she started once Jill was hurt last year. Sophomore Kennedy Stanley is a starter, too.

“This is our third year together, all playing together, and I think just that team chemistry has built from the years,” Vaughn said. “And we are just working really well all together, and our hard work and good teammates have really paid off.”

Jill said she used to get “really nervous.” She doesn’t feel pressure since she returned.

“I am just grateful that I can play,” she said.

In the Hays High win, Vaughn delivered 15 points, four rebounds and two steals. Jill had 13 points with four rebounds. Foss contributed two steals and two assists. Junior Mackenzie Dodson tallied 10 points.

“I really enjoyed having coach Stephens as a coach, and I think he definitely knows his basketball, and we’ve had the same girls,” Vaughn said. “He just has coached us to be better on the court.”

Colby had just eight turnovers, did not foul until 2 minutes, 5 seconds remained in the first half, and hit its first four 3-pointers. Porter was impressed with Colby’s matchup zone.

“Colby is a well-oiled machine right now,” Porter said. “They executed all their stuff well. Credit to them, and credit to their coach and their team for how they played. They beat us in every facet of the game.”

Additionally, Colby showed great teamwork off its assists. In the second quarter, Stanley delivered a fist pump after she delivered an assist on a Stephens’ basket off a high-low.

Later in the quarter, Jones went left around a Stephens’ screen and tallied a basket. In the third, Foss had a fist pump on an assist for a Vaughn transition trey.

Also in the third, Vaughn clapped her hands for an assist on a Stephens’ basket. Jones let out an exclamation after she found Stanley for a basket.

“When kids start taking pride in passing, it’s kind of like getting the flu,” coach Stephens said. “And that’s really good for me, because our offense, we don’t do a lot of off the dribble stuff, it’s screen and move and use spacing, and try to get an open shot.”

Class 1A: Coach Stiles salutes coach Ryan

Central Plains has opened 6-0 and extended its state record winning streak to 117 straight contests. The Oilers, ranked No. 1 in 1A, earned a quality 60-33 home win versus Haven on Friday. CP has delivered two victories versus teams ranked at the time of the matchup (Haven, Smith Center) and three victories against opponents with an elite scorer (Phillipsburg, Beloit/St. John’s-Tipton, Haven).

Overall, Central Plains has limited teams to 29 percent shooting from 2-point range, 17 percent from 3-point and allowed just 21 points a contest. The Oilers have its veteran staff with head coach Pat Stiles and assistant Jim Ryan.

“He should get way more credit for our success than he does,” coach Stiles said.

Jim is the father of Central Plains’ senior point guard Emily Ryan, an Iowa State signee and the reigning two-time Sports in Kansas All-Classes Player of the Year. CP has five seniors, four whom start: Emily, Delaney Rugan, Rachel Lamatsch and Addison Crites, along with reserve Zoe Potter.

“He had those girls in third and fourth grade, and taught them how to play the game,” Stiles said. “…He sees things so well.”

Emily has always enjoyed playing for her father. While Emily is the first in her family to sign Division I, her older siblings Janae, Michael and Devin were all highly acclaimed CP standouts.

“He does a really good job of keeping us calm when we are in pressure situations, and he just puts input in when he needs to, and it’s been a lot of fun,” Emily said.

Haven, WaKeeney, Goddard, Eureka, Cheney, Otis-Bison, Cunningham, Stockton also have success with family combinations in girls’ basketball

Haven veteran coach Dwight Roper has posted an 39-8 record in the last two winters and led the Wildcats to a 4-2 start this season. Haven is currently ranked No. 8 in Class 3A. He previously coached his daughter, Arie, a multi-year starter who graduated after last winter. This season, his daughter, Reese, is a starter.

“Sometimes it’s challenging, you know, but you get to spend a lot of time together, and Reece is a sophomore, and she is learning on the fly,” coach Roper said.

As well, WaKeeney-Trego Community has opened 6-0 and is ranked No. 4 in Class 2A. Junior standout Lili Shubert is again playing for her dad, Donnie.

“I really like it,” she said. “Makes me better, and he’s harder on me, but that’s good.”

Goddard’s Kade Hackerott is coached by her father, Kevin. The Lions went to state last winter and have opened 3-2. Hackerott is also a returning all-stater and has signed with University of Central Missouri. In her first four contests, Hackerott had 16.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and three assists a game, all team-highs.

“Definitely always been very close, in a large part because of basketball,” Kade Hackerott said.

Eureka has moved to No. 6 in Class 3A behind coach Shelly Hoyt. She picked up her 500th career victory earlier this winter. Her son-in-law, Brendan Ptacek, is her assistant coach.

Ptacek’s three daughters (Hoyt’s granddaughters) are all on the roster: junior Chazni, sophomore Brooklyn and freshman Cadence. Eureka has opened 4-1 with the only defeat, 50-48, to Wichita Homeschool, a non-KSHSAA team.

Scheer, M. Meyers with big starts

Cheney, the defending 3A state runner-up to Royal Valley, has coach Rod Scheer and his daughter, Kylie, the reigning Sports in Kansas 3A Player of the Year. Cheney is ranked No. 2 in 3A.

Cheney has opened 5-1, though lost 46-43 in overtime to Sterling this week in the highlighted game of the Heart of America/Central Plains League yearly matchup. Sterling is ranked second in Class 2A. Scheer is at 24.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 steals a contest.

Cunningham, ranked No. 8 in 1A, has longtime coach Eric Meyers. A Cunningham graduate and banker, Meyers has three daughters: Bayleigh, Mikaela and Morgan. Meyers coached Mikaela, who played at Cloud County. In 2018, Mikaela was a senior and Morgan a freshman when Cunningham ended a 30-year state tournament drought. The Wildcats finished third in Class 1A, Division II.

This winter, Morgan, a junior, is again playing for her father. Morgan plays for Ohlde Elite in the summer, and is one of the several top Wichita area players who works with Craig Nicholson, a Wichita graduate and former All-American point guard at Fort Hays.

Cunningham has opened 6-0 with all wins by at least 19 points and captured the Pratt Skyline tournament. Meyers has at least 23 points in four games, including 26 points, eight assists and four steals on Dec. 12.

Scott City coach Sarah McCormick has led the Beavers to three straight state tournaments. Senior post Emily Weathers has signed with Emporia State, and seniors Jacy Rose and Madison Shapland are returning starters. McCormick’s daughter, sophomore Brynn, is a key player for the 5-0 Beavers. Scott City is ranked fifth in 3A.

Otis-Bison, ranked No. 9 in Class 1A, has three seniors for coach Bobby Trapp, all key four-year players: Maddie Wiltse, Cora Anderson and his daughter, point guard Cristen Trapp. Wiltse has signed with Nebraska-Kearney for basketball. O-B is 5-0 and has held every team under 32 points.

Stockton girls have opened 4-1, including a 56-53 overtime victory versus Mid-Continent League and Rooks County rival Plainville on Friday. Coach Jana Griffin and senior captain Shae Griffin have led the Tigers. Shae is a returning second team all-league player. Stockton was 3-3 at Christmas break last year, including a 67-41 loss to Plainville.

Victoria coach Kristin Werth (Huser) has turned around her alma mater. Huser led Victoria to two state appearances as a player. In the last four years, Victoria has posted 0-20, 7-14, 12-9 and 2-3 marks.

“They do everything that I ask,” Werth said. “I really can’t imagine having a more coachable team. It’s all on them. They do everything. They are a great team. I really wouldn’t want anything else, to be honest.”

The Knights have two single-digit losses this season. Sophomore Melany Huser is Kristin’s sister. Victoria had just one senior last winter and zero this year.

“It’s really cool. I am probably a little too hard on her sometimes,” Werth said with a smile. “But she takes it well. The girls take it very well. They boost her confidence when she needs it.”

Turnarounds in Barton County; Ellinwood boys with upset win

While Barton County is well-known for Central Plains, several other schools have enjoyed nice pre-Christmas turnarounds.

Ellinwood boys had just 14 total wins in the last three years. The Eagles won the Fairfield tournament and are 5-1 after a 47-43 upset victory at Ellis on Friday. Ellis is ranked No. 5 in 2A

Senior David Hammeke, and freshmen Brit Dutton and Tyler Stuhlsatz pace the squad. Dutton averages 19.2 points and 5.3 rebounds a game. Hammeke delivers 16.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest. He missed two games, including the season-opening loss to La Crosse. Stuhlsatz has 12.8 points and six rebounds a game. Stuhlsatz is 15 of 43 (35 percent) from 3-point range. Against Ellis, the trio all had between 12 and 14 points.

Great Bend boys were 0-6 before Christmas last year and have opened 4-2 with four straight victories to end December. GB has an experienced team that has seniors Alex Schremmer, Dalton Miller, Alex Olivas, Peyton Duvall and Sam Ryan.

Hoisington boys are 3-1 after a 1-3 start last winter. The Cardinals are expected to get Drew Nicholson, the leading scorer each of the last two years, back from injury in January.

The Cardinals receive 90 percent of their points from non-seniors, including double figures from juniors Mason Haxton and Braden Mooney, and sophomore Bralen Thompson.

Big Numbers to start the season – Girls

While we know returning stars and all-state selections Payton Verhulst (Miege), Ashton Verhulst (Miege), Nijaree Canady (Topeka), Emily Ryan (Central Plains), Dani Winslow (Olathe South), Katie Horyna (Liberal), Faith Hawthorne (St. James), Ishante Suttington (Schlagle), Ella Anciaux (Kapaun), Kade Hackerott (Goddard), Laniah Randle (Heights), Grace Pyle (McPherson), Machia Mullens (Liberal) are expected to have huge years we take a look at several other players having huge seasons.

Topeka High (6A) getting it done with young players to 6-0 start. Freshman Kiki Smith (21.1 ppg), Sophomore Nijaree Canady (18.2 ppg, 9 rpg), Lilly Smith (10.4 ppg). Topeka ranked #1 in 6A girls basketball in last KBCA Ranking. Topeka is scoring 68.4 points per game this season. Topeka is also very solid defensively with over 17 steals per game to rank near the top of Kansas.

Andover Central girls have made 42 three-point shots going into the break. Bailey Wilborn and Brittany Harshow are each averaging in double figure points this season.

Kylee Scheer of Cheney, last years 3A player of the year, is averaging 24.4 points per game this season for the Cardinals. Cheney has made 34 threes as a team going into the break.

Christy Wiebe of 1A #4 South Gray is averaging 18.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.3 spg this season. The 5-foot-10 senior has led her team to a 5-1 record going into break. Double figure points in all-games this season. Lone loss is to 2A #5 Spearville.

Ehlaina Hartman of 2A Spearville, who just went over 1,000 points in her career, is averaging 18.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.4 spg, 1.2 bpg heading into break. Teammate Alissa Heskamp is averaging 15.6 points per game, 4.4 assists, 4 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. Spearville is scoring 59.4 points per game. Hartman, an Emporia State basketball signee, was also the 2A KVA Volleyball Player of the Year.

Tessa Hauser (6’2″ Junior) of Norton is averaging 19.8 ppg, 11 rpg, 1.2 bpg going into the break for the Bluejays.

Aubree Dewey of Plainville could reach just below that 2,000 point mark this season if she continues to have 30 point outings as she is putting up nearly 25 points per game. Dewey, also a state champion in track and field that’s headed to play basetball at Washburn, is one of the top scoring threats in Kansas.

Josie Weishaar of Jefferson County North is one of the states top small school players averaging over 20 points per game this season. JCN, led by head coach Steve Noll, is ranked 6th in 2A. 

We have some solid freshman just to name a few in the state with some solid performances so far. Kik Smith of Topeka (22 ppg), Taryn Sides of Phillipsburg (16.8 ppg), Maryn Archer (Derby), Addy Brown of Derby (9.6 ppg) and Mykayla Cunning of Salina Central.

Grace Eck of 2A Ellis, a junior guard, is averaging 19.6 points per game this season, 2.2 steals, and 4.4 rebounds per game. Eck is lighting it up from 3P w/ 15/34 (44%).

Josena Frame of Kinsley is averaging 19.0 points per game, 3.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game for the Coyotes (5-2).

Demi Aamold of Wellsville, an SIK All-3A selection last season, went over 1,000 points to start off the 2019-2020 season. The 3A class has some solid players back that include several of the ones already mentioned plus Faith Paramore of Haven, who went over 1,000 points this season and has signed with Oral Roberts, Elise Kaiser of Hesston, Kareena Gerber of Halstead, Alleigh Kramer of Nemaha Central, Clara Edwards of Clay Center, Madelyn Koop of Eureka, Saydee Tanking of Holton, Jordyn Beard of Hugoton. Hugoton also features a freshman to keep an eye on in Mikyn Hamlin.

Kara Koester of Conway Springs is averaging 18.5 points per game and 11 rebounds per game.

Lauryn Dubbert, junior at Beloit-St. John’s-Tipton, is having another solid start with 16.8 ppg, five rebounds, 4.2 steals and 2.5 assists per game. SJT is 6-1 to start the year in 1A. It seems like we have been talking about the Dubbert last name forever at SJT, looks like we have at least another entire year in 2020-2021.

Kade Hackerott and Brooke Sullivan of Goddard combine for 33 points per game as they each average 16.5 points per game for the Lions. Hackerott, a 5-foot-11 senior, is averaging a double double with 10.8 boards per contest.

Karsyn Youngblood of Columbus (3A) has the Titans off to an undefeated start going into the holiday break as the 5-foot-11 senior has one of the better stat lines in Kansas with 15 points per game and 14 boards per game. Youngblood and Baxter Springs senior 1,000 point scorer Delaney Barnes are two of the top players in the Southeast Kansas area this year with multiple all-state selections for each.  

Junior Grace Pyle is averaging 17 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game and 4.5 assists per game this season. She is coming off a 27-point outing last week in which she hit six three pointers. Her older brothers are two of the best to come through McPherson and by the time she is done, she could join the long list of McPherson greats. She doesn’t do it alone as several key players are back for McPherson and Kassidy Beam also putting up 14.3 ppg. Lakyn Shifferecke also earned All-5A second team from SIK last season and Emma Ruddle is a nice multiple sport athlete back for Mac. 

Morgan Meyers of Cunningham (6-0) is averaging 22 points per game this season. Her team is 5-0 headed into the break. 

Sophomore Aubrie Kierscht of Salina Central is averaging 17.8 points per game this year in 5A. The 5-foot-5 points guard is also racking up over two assists, two boards and two steals per game.

Other returning all-state players that we expect big years from and not listed above (or don’t have stats on): Katie Coomes of St. Paul, Maddie Wiltse of Otis Bison, Brittney Byers – South Haven, Megan Foster of Waverly, Kinzie Comley of Sterling, Kylie Dohl of Jackson Heights, Abby Gordon of Garden Plain, Madelyn Hutley of Wasbunsee, Khylee Massey of Northern Heights, Megan Mclendon of West Elk, Lili Schubert of Trego, Karma Fields of Frontenac, Ali Vigil of Piper, Kori Babcock of Chanute, Austin Broadie of Trinity, Jordyn Gonzalez of Miege, Camryn Turner of Seaman, Camille Evans of Schlagle, Caely Keston of Free State, Kierra Prim of SM West, and Lele Love of Olathe North.

Coaches are encouraged to tweet in high points, submit stats or use MaxPreps stat leaderboards. The more info we have on your team, the better coverage will be on your team. It is a very large project to track nearly 700 teams (girls and boys), cooperation is appreciated! Have a tip? You can always email [email protected]. Sports in Kansas also covers KSHSAA ONLY, we are not a recruiting service nor do we cover AAU basketball. 

Big Numbers to start the season – Boys

Dameion Hatten, sophomore of Sedan, is off to a solid start in 2019-2020 with 29.6 points per game this season. The 6-foot-2 sophomore guard/forward with a lot of versatility is also picking up 9.5 boards per game to go along with 2.5 steals.

Brayden Sadler, featured on Faces in Kansas, last season continues to light it up with 27.4 points per game this season for Udall.

Patrick Cassidy, a senior guard with unlimited range from 3A Columbus, is off to a huge start with 28 points per game this season. Cassidy also helped lead Columbus to an 8-2 record as the Titan QB, one year after going 1-8.

Jayden Garrison has been one of the top small school players in Central Kansas for Little River as he has averaged 24.2 points per game this season. The junior is also averaging over seven rebounds per game. Teammate Trey Rolfs is pulling down 8.2 boards per game.

Kyler Haffner of 1A Wheatland Grinnell is averaging 8.6 assists per game this season. He is also averaging 13 points, five rebounds and four steals per game as one of the better stat lines in the state.

Jaren Jackson continues to make the high point leaders and is back after leading Augusta to a second-place finish last year.

Ty Sides is averaging 13 points, six assists, eight boards and five steals per game for one of the most complete stat lines in the state. His younger sister Taryn, a freshman, is having one of the best freshman seasons in the state. Older brother Trey, a graduate last year and former SIK POY in 3A, now has starts for Division I Jacksonville as a true freshman. Ty is just a junior this season so don’t expect to stop hearing about the name Sides and Phillipsburg over the next few seasons.

Scott Price of Bucklin (1A) had 42 points in a game earlier this season. He is averaging 23.2 points per game for the Red Aces.

Charles Snyder of Emporia is averaging 22 points per game and nine rebounds per game at the break. He was also a Non-Senior pick at TE this fall for the Spartans. 

Tamar Bates is one of the best prospects in the state after leading Piper to their first ever state basketball title as a sophomore last season. In addition to being a versatile player on both sides of the court and elite defender he gets it done in the classroom with a 4.0 GPA. Bates is averaging 24.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game in 2019-2020.

Campus has a solid cast of players that are the reason they are the number one ranked team in 6A. Sterling Chapman is averaging 19 points ,six rebounds, three assists and two steals per game as a junior. Keither Florence is a rising prospect in the class of 2021 at 6-foot-7. Tai Johnson, Shawn Warrior, Thomas King, Sterling Gaston,

Harlan Obioha, a 7-foot-0, 300-pound, junior, from Hoxie, is averaging 28 points per game and 15 rebounds per game at the Break.

As his brother, Kaleb, did last year, Lucas Hammeke, could be one to watch of Hutchinson Trinity this year with high flying dunks. He had 39 points versus Cheney and then two dunks against Trinity Academy on Friday.

Junior Trey Abasolo is averaging 23.3 points per game this season for Mulvane (4A). He is also pulling down 9.5 rebounds and three assists per game.

Lawrence has the shot to have a solid team this year with Mayson Quartlebaum Zeke Mayo and Bryce Johnson.

Tuck Lang had a huge year statistically for Minneola in football and is following that up in basketball with 26.2 points per game to start the season off.

Jordan Vincent of Eisenhower (5A) in Goddard is a multiple time all-state selection from Sports in Kansas and is averaging 21.5 points per game, 7 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals for one of the best stat lines in the state.

Colton McCarty was the Sports in Kansas 6-man player of the year in football in Kansas, yes we have 6-man football in Kansas. McCarty is following that up with a solid start to a junior basketball season with 21 points per game for Cheylin (Bird City). Andrew Schields is also off to a big start with over 17 points per game.

Koby Cambpell of Rose Hill has had a breakout year for the Rockets with averages of 28 points per game and 10 rebounds per game. He also distributes well with four assists per game.

Aidan Shaw is a rising recruit in the class of 2022 from Blue Valley that stands 6-foot-7. He has had some big outings before the break that have included 28 and 26 points. The Class of 2022 is quite loaded with Shaw, Mark Mitchell (Miege) and Gradey Dick (Wichita Collegiate) who are all rising national recruits.

Jack Sheplak, a 6-foot-4 guard at BV North, is one of the most complete players in KC this season with 23 points per game.

The Class of 2021 has some solid players, many who have been highlighted, however covering high school basketball and covering recruiting/AAU are completely different and our focus is only on the high school basketball season. Zach Bloch should be one of the top juniors in the state this season for Seabury Academy and lit it up last season. Branden Estes of Olathe South is also a player to watch for this season. Jackie Johnson of Wichita Southeast can light up the scoreboard and is a returning all state selection the last two seasons.

Nate Barnhart of De Soto is a big man who is very skilled that can play inside and out. He has 18 blocks through five games this season. We’ve seen Barnhart listed as tall at 7-foot-0. 

Wichita West junior Jalen Henderson is averaging over 20 points per game this season for the Pioneers.

St. John is one of the most consistent programs in the state under head coach Clint Kinnamon. Tanner Halling, a 6-foot-7 senior, is one of the top small school players in the state with 17.2 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game.

Several small school players are over 20 points per game this season including Cooper Wolf of South Haven, Wyatt Eberle of Lakeside, Peyton Price of Kingman, Trent Beier of Linn.

Xavier Bell was one of the top players in all classes of Kansas high school football this fall as the Jaguars took second in 4A. After leading his team to the 5A state championship in basketball alongside graduated players, Braden Belt and Easton Leedom. Bell, a 6-foot-3 senior, is averaging 19.8 points per game and seven rebounds.

Lonnell Lane always seems to make our high point leaders from JC Harmon in Kansas City over the last couple of seasons. That hasn’t changed this year as the 6-foot-1 junior is averaging 19 points, 5.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest. Walzel Evans is also having a huge year with 17.2 points per game.

Dawson Zenger of Rock Creek, a junior, has lit it up this season with several 20+ point games so far.

McPherson may be known as the basketball capital of Kansas, at least to us. This season they are led by Seth Madron at 19 points per game and KSU football signee Cody Stufflebean at 14 points per game.

Pittsburg has lost a lot of height and talent off of each of the last two teams that include Marque English, Chase Curtis and Trenton Austin last season. They do return two of the top guards in 5A in senior Gavyn Elkamil and junior Javon Grant. Both have been asked to carry much of the load so far this season. Both have been on the 20 plus point leaders several times this season. Elkamil went over 1,000 points on Saturday in his career and has multiple Division I offers but will go to prep school next season and re-classify.

Buhler added transfer Max Alexander from McPherson this season who is capable of going off for over 20 per night. His brother, dad and several family members were all-state selections at Mac over the years. Isaac LeShore has also had some big games in 2019

Jackson Schulte of TMP is averaging 18.5 points per game this season for the Monarchs.

Beloit (3A) came up just short of winning a state title one year ago after losing to the Girard Trojans in the 3A championship game in Hutchinson. They do return their best player from a year ago as Vincent Palen is back and off to a solid start with 16.8 points per game. Palen also distributes very well with 4.2 assists per game and has 4.2 boards per game at 5-foot-10. Hudson Gray is also pulling down 10 boards per contest for Beloit.

Parsons, led by head coach Anthony Houk, may have one of the best lineups in the state. Senior guards Daquan Johnson (2019 4A SIK POY) and Dariq Williams are two of the best in Kansas in any classification. The Vikings are much more than that. They also feature guard Zeke Lyons who is averaging 18 points per game, 3 assists per game and 3 rebounds per game. All three could go over 1,000 points this season. It doesn’t end with those three as Pierce Thomas, a 6-foot-7 senior, coming off an 18-point performance over Webb City. He’s a game changer as a shot blocker for the Vikings. Julius Smith-Reece is also a very capable double-double guy as he had 21 and 11 against Pittsburg last Wednesday. The Vikings also have sharpshooting Ethan Houk off of the bench.  PK won three games in four days against some legit competition from last Wednesday to Saturday (Pittsburg, Coffeyville, Webb City).

Trey Reid of Maize South is averaging 18.5 points per game this season for the Mavericks. He is also getting four boards and two assists per game.

Cal Leonard, one of the top returning 4A baseball players in Kansas, also having a breakout basketball season for the Mustangs of Iola with 16.8 points and three assists per game this season.

Joshua Jordan of Salina South is a player capable of going off for 20 per night and should be one of the better players in the AVTCL-I this season. 

Devin Loudermilk can jump out of the gym as one of the states top high jumpers and he’s also one of the better small school juniors in the state as he is averaging 16.5 points per game this season for West Elk

Brady Palen, one of the states top high jumpers headed to Wichita State, has had some pretty impressive dunk highlights this season to go along with his 15.8 points per game.

After rushing for over 2,000 yards in football, Conor Haviland also putting up a solid basketball season so far with 15.8 per contest for the Humboldt Cubs.

Alex Littlejohn, a 6-foot-5 junior combo forward from Bishop Carroll, is averaging 15.3 points per game and 12 rebounds per game for the Eagles. Tanner Mans, a 6-foot-6 senior, is averaging 10.5 ppg, 4.5 assists and three rebounds this season.

Tate Davis of Ingalls has a very solid stat line this season with 17.5 points per game, 6.5 assists, 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 steals per game in 1A.

Other returning all-state players not mentioned above (or that we don’t have stats on) that we are looking for big seasons: Easton Hunter of Andale, Ty Berry is now at Sunrise Christian (non-KSHSAA) after leaving Newton, Joe Berry of Washburn Rural, Jack Chapman of BV Northwest, Johnathan Jackson of Blue Valley, KT Raimey of Olathe North, Camdyn Melchiori of Caney, Chance Sager of Larned, Matt Mowry of Cimarron, Jared Casey of Plainville, Cameron Beardlsey of Valley Heights, Quinn Buessing of Axtell.

Coaches are encouraged to tweet in high points, submit stats or use MaxPreps stat leaderboards. The more info we have on your team, the better coverage will be on your team. It is a very large project to track nearly 700 teams (girls and boys), cooperation is appreciated! Have a tip? You can always email [email protected]. Sports in Kansas also covers KSHSAA ONLY, we are not a recruiting service nor do we cover AAU basketball. 

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