By CONOR NICHOLL
SIK looks at the first week of basketball in January, including Nickerson’s Ava Jones clearing 1,000 career points. First, though, multiple Class 1A, Division I girls’ teams picked up big wins Friday and Natoma girls delivered its first victory in several years. Plus, Olathe Northwest girls ends SM Northwest girls winning streak at 26 games, the longest current run in Kansas. As well, Salina South boys upset Maize boys, ranked No. 1 in 5A.
Big Friday wins from Burlingame and Hodgeman County shows elite teams headlining Class 1A, Division I girls
On Friday, Burlingame, ranked No. 1 in Class 1A, Division II girls, continued its highly impressive season with a 53-44 win versus longtime power Olpe. It marked Burlingame’s closest contest this season. Burlingame had not allowed more than 28 points in any other game and has started 8-0. Sophomore Kaylin Noonan delivered 25 points and 12 rebounds. Senior Daelyn Winters finished with 15 points, eight steals and five assists. Burlingame is 4-0 in LCL play.
Last season, Burlingame went 19-3 with a two-point loss to Lebo and a pair of losses to Olpe, including one in the playoffs. Olpe completed an undefeated season and won the 1A-I state championship under Jesse Nelson, the state’s all-time winningest season. Olpe graduated all five starters and Nelson retired, which left an opening in the classification.
Thus far, Burlingame, which finished second in state softball last spring and qualified for state volleyball this fall, is among the leading contenders in a highly intriguing classification. Class 1A, Division I girls might be the most balanced class as the top teams are, by and large, separated throughout the state. Many of the teams are senior laden. Burlingame also has seniors Emma Tyson, Brooke Lewis and Kenna Masters.
Burlingame coach Jeff Slater is the Bearcats’ longtime football coach and track coach and has done an impressive job with those programs, too. The new-look Olpe girls are 4-5, though four losses are by 12 points or fewer and three by a combined 19 points.
This marks Burlingame’s first win against Olpe since at least prior to 2008. Burlingame had lost 22 straight to Olpe in that span. Burlingame next plays Madison (4-0). The teams don’t play each other every year, but in the last matchup, Burlingame won 47-30 on Jan. 17, 2020. Madison had won eight in a row versus Burlingame since 2006.
In 1A-I, Centralia (6-0), Jetmore-Hodgeman County (8-0), Burlingame, Osborne (8-0), Pretty Prairie (9-0), Norwich (7-0) are undefeated teams. Hodgeman County is the lone squad to beat 2A WaKeeney-Trego (6-1) and Class 1A South Central (7-1).
Pretty Prairie and Norwich are in the same sub-state.
Burlingame is ranked first in the classification, Pretty Prairie second, and South Central third. One-loss Little River stands fourth, followed by Centralia, Hodgeman County, Osborne, St. Paul, Doniphan West and Frankfort.
PP beat Caldwell, 62-13 on Friday. The Bulldogs have won every game by 27 points. Norwich and Pretty Prairie will play next Friday. Senior post McKenna Vogl, who has KCAC offers, has 16.1 points, nine rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.8 assists per contest. Senior Jorah Harbaugh has 14.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.6 steals per game. Junior Bailey Young has delivered 13.2 points and 7.2 rebounds a contest.
On Friday, Hodgeman County, a surprise state final four team last winter, gave South Central its first loss this year. SC led 15-14 after the first quarter and the game was tied at 24 at halftime. Hodgeman County outscored SC, 20-16, in the third quarter and 9-7 in the fourth.
Andover Central girls beat Goddard, 46-40, behind 25 points from Ellie Stearns, a Fort Hays signing. Stearns made six treys. Goddard standout Maycee James, who nearly had a quadruple-double earlier this winter, finished with 23 points. AC improved to 5-1, and Goddard is 6-1. Goddard has made a sizable improvement after a 7-14 year last winter. AC is the defending 5A runner-up to St. Thomas Aquinas.
AC has its loaded talent. Senior Brittany Harshaw, a Creighton commit, has delivered 20.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals a contest. Stearns is at 17.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.5 steals per game. James has 15.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 8.8 steals and six assists per game in one of Kansas’ best statistical lines.
Osborne’s Trinity Lutters cleared 1,000 career points last Tuesday in a 67-39 win versus Thunder Ridge. On Friday, Osborne beat Lakeside, 71-28. Osborne’s league is not statistically strong and deep, but the Bulldogs do own a quality 50-43 non-conference victory versus Victoria. Through her first six games, Lutters has 22 points, 3.5 steals, 2.3 assists and 2.2 rebounds a game.
Congrats to Natoma girls’ basketball for its first win in several years
Natoma has encountered difficulties with its girls’ basketball program in the last several years. Natoma finished 2-19 in 2017-18 with its last victory, 33-26, against Palco on Feb. 20. Then, Natoma lost its last game of that season. The Tigers did not have enough players for a team in 2018-19.
Natoma finished 0-21 in 2019-20. Last year, Natoma went 0-17, which bumped the losing streak to 39 games. Natoma lost its first four games before a 48-42 road win versus Wilson on Jan. 4. Natoma led 11-8 after the first quarter, 20-13 at halftime, and 35-25 after three quarters. Junior Candyce Engling delivered 23 points, and junior Raylyn Paget finished with 10 games. Natoma had all but two of its points from non-seniors.
Other top performances
Wichita Northwest has enjoyed a balanced attack. In the team’s latest statistical release, the Grizzlies are 4-1. Senior Keeon Hutton has averaged 15.8 points a contest, senior Kevin Brown is at 12.2 points per game, senior Demarcus Hoover averages nine points a contest, and senior Geremiah Moore has 8.8 points a contest. Sophomore Tasean Williams has 9.4 points a game.
St. Mary’s Colgan senior Jalen VanBecelaere has averaged 20 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists a contest. VanBecelaere has helped Colgan enjoy a nice turnaround to a 4-1 season. In one contest this year, he had 37 points, seven assists and eight rebounds. Colgan was featured as SIK’s Craw-Kan Southeast Kansas Team of the Week in December.
Goodland girls, which owns a victory versus 6A Dodge City, are 8-0 and ranked third in Class 3A. Goodland has multiple standouts with Olivia and Emma Lehman and Lindsey Cure.
Dodge City held off Colby, 44-43, on Friday after it trailed by 13 points in the second half. Per DC broadcaster Sean Boston, standout senior Camree Johnson finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Dodge City improved 7-1 and is ranked eighth in Class 6A. Johnson recently committed to Hutchinson Community College. Johnson has opened with 18.1 points, five rebounds, 2.7 steals and two assists a contest.
Dodge City boys are ranked fifth in 6A and beat Colby, 62-45, to improve to 8-0. Cooper Scheck paced DC with 23 points. Per Boston, DC is off to its best start since 1997-98.
Ellinwood boys are 8-0 and a strong 2A contender. Junior Brit Dutton is a leader for 2A Player of the Year with 30.8 points, six rebounds, 3.7 assists and 3.7 steals per contest. Juniors Parker Scheck and Koy Behnke has combined for more than 26 points a game. Ellinwood is ranked sixth in 2A.
Lyndon boys are 7-0 after a 2A state semifinal appearance last winter. Lyndon is ranked fourth in 2A.
Southeast of Saline junior Eli Sawyers has averaged 18 points, four rebounds, three assists and 1.8 steals a game. Sawyers has helped the Trojans to a 4-2 record. SES is ninth in 3A.
Lebo girls have opened 7-0 with coach Patrick Gardner. Lebo picked up a win last week versus Olpe. Lebo is ranked second in Class 1A, Division II.
Highland Park are 6-0 after a win versus Atchison on Tuesday. Ketraleus Aldridge finished with 35 points, 13 rebounds and five steals in the win versus Atchison. Highland Park is third in 5A.
Lansing volleyball/basketball star Kamryn Farris has helped the Lions to a 5-0 start. She delivered 24 points versus KC Schlagle last Tuesday. Lansing is fourth in 5A.
Lakin is known for its fast pace under Servando Gonzalez and Allen Martinez. Gonzalez has averaged 26.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.7 steals a game. Martinez has averaged 21.8 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals a contest. Lakin is 6-1 under coach Nate Schmitt, who continues to produce strong years.
Parker Allen hit a buzzer beater to give Fort Scott a win versus Labette County.
Last Tuesday, Olathe Northwest girls delivered a big win, 37-36, against Shawnee Mission Northwest, ranked No. 1 in Class 6A and the defending 6A state champion. SM Northwest had won 26 straight games, the longest current winning streak in Kansas.
Maize boys are the defending 5A state champion. Kyle Grill has committed to Fort Hays. He has averaged 16.8 points, four rebounds and 2.2 steals a contest. Johnson has 10.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Maize is ranked first in 5A.
However, on Friday, Salina South boys upset Maize, 58-55. Salina South is 2-5 this year and had lost five in a row.
Liberal is off to a 5-1 start behind senior duo Ashley Carrillo and Bree Horyna. They have signed with Division I Presbyterian and Hutchinson CC, respectively. Liberal is tenth in 6A. More on Liberal girls this week on Sports In Kansas.
Sophomore Brooke Walker, who has been the No. 1 ranked Kansas player in her class by Prep Girls Hoops, has helped Andover to a 4-1 start. She has averaged 16.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists a contest. Andover is ninth in 5A.
Hays High senior post Jace Linenberger has helped the Indians to a 6-1 start and tallied 25 points in a big home win versus Liberal on Friday. He has averaged 18 points and eight rebounds a contest. Hays High is ranked eighth in 5A and has only lost to Lawrence Free State, ranked first in 6A. HHS is extremely experienced with eight seniors. Carson Kieffer continues to rank as one of Kansas’ top assist playmakers for a third straight year with 9.4 points and 4.3 assists a contest.
WaKeeney-Trego boys stayed undefeated and picked up a big road win versus Hill City on Friday. Trego is ranked ninth in 2A. Trego won 48-35 and is 6-0. Trego is the only team to beat Northern Valley (8-1) and owns wins versus Ness City and Hoxie. Trego seniors Cole Feldt and Charlie Russell are great basketball players and also earned selection to the eight-man all-star game this summer. Voting for the eight-man all-star games was done this weekend.
Santa Fe Trail girls are off to a 4-1 start with only a 57-51 loss to Lebo, ranked second in Class 1A, Division II. Sophomore Kaelee Washington has delivered 15.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals a contest. Senior Jaycee Long has 13.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.3 assists per contest.
Atchison County is 6-1 behind junior Addison Schletzbaum has averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, three assists and 1.7 steals a contest. Junior Natalie Nitz has delivered 13.9 points, 2.9 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.
Nickerson junior Ava Jones, an Arizona State commit and multi-time first team all-state selection in volleyball and basketball, cleared 1,000 career points Friday versus Larned. Jones, also the defending 4A state high jump champion, is part of a loaded Panther squad that is a high state contender. Nickerson is second in 3A.
On Friday, Frontenac boys (5-1) matched up with Galena (6-0). Galena is the defending 3A state runner-up and features returning 3A Player of the Year Brett Sarwinski. Frontenac beat Galena, 63-51, on Friday. Key Galena player Tyler Little didn’t play as he is at the Adidas All-American combine in Houston. As well, Frontenac’s duo of Collin McCartney and 6-foot-9 Jordan Fudge didn’t play either. The teams will match up Feb. 8. They are also not in the same sub-state despite being in the same league and only 31 miles apart. Galena is ranked third in 3A.
Osage City’s Landon Boss, a two-time all-state pick at quarterback/athlete and a 190-foot javelin thrower, tallied 32 points on Friday.
Kapaun Mt. Carmel junior Will Anciaux, a 6-foot-6 top-10 football recruit for the Class of 2023, has enjoyed a big basketball season for the 5-1 Crusaders. Anciaux delivered 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocks a contest. KMC is sixth in 5A.
Macksville junior Ryan Kuckelman enjoyed massive back-to-back years in football. Macksville, which already owns a quality win versus Ness City, is off to an 8-0 start. He has averaged 10.8 points and 10.8 rebounds a game. Macksville is ranked fourth in 1A-I.
Ness City standout Taylor Cable, featured on SIK several times, continues his dominant career and reached his 1,000 career point. Cable first emerged in the season opener his sophomore year. In the last year, Cable has fought back from a torn labrum. This year, Cable has averaged 16.3 points and 10.9 rebounds a contest. NC is 4-3. In his career, Cable has 18.4 points and 11.9 rebounds a contest. As well, senior teammate Corbin Ross (6-6, 205) also averages a double-double with 11.4 points and 10.1 rebounds a game.
Logan-Palco 6-foot-4 senior Dylan VanLaeys has averaged 16 points, 14.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.1 steals and a block a contest. VanLaeys has continued the great athletic family. His mom, Robyn, has won more than 500 matches and a state title as Logan’s volleyball coach. His older sister, Kodi, was an all-state volleyball player. Josh VanLaeys was an exceptional football and basketball player. L-P opened the season with a quality win versus Wheatland-Grinnell, ranked in the top-10 in Class 1A, Division II. The Trojans are 3-4.