Basketball in Kansas: Central Plains girls, Wellington girls with huge resume-bolstering wins; Burlingame girls to No. 1; Dodge boys perfect; quick looks at key games this week


This week, SIK looks at midseason tournaments, and some impressive early season resumes, especially from Central Plains girls and Wellington girls. Plus, huge performances from arguably the state’s top-two junior girls: Shawnee Mission West’s S’Mya Nichols and Phillipsburg’s Taryn Sides.

As well, change at the top in 1A-I Girls with Burlingame the new No. 1 team and plenty of key 3A girl results. This week has several huge matchups: Andover Central/Salina girls and Hugoton/Cimarron girls. Macksville and Cheney with big weeks on the girls’ side.

Central Plains with three wins in the last week against ranked teams

This marked another another huge week for Central Plains girls’ dynasty. In the last eight years, CP has a state-record 138-game winning streak, seven state titles and an undefeated Forever Four team.

This week, Central Plains defeated a pair of Mid-Continent League powers, Smith Center and Phillipsburg. CP beat Russell, 66-21, in the Amos Morris Russell championship Saturday.

The Oilers are 5-0 overall with three wins against ranked teams. Central Plains has yet to play a home game. Longtime coach Pat Stiles and veteran assistant Jim Ryan continue to do a remarkable job.

Here is Central Plains’ first five games:

Dec. 3: 54-34 non-conference win at Barton County rival Hoisington. The Cardinals went 3-0 and won the Gene Keady Larned Classic last weekend before a road loss at 5A Hays High on Tuesday.

Dec. 7:  61-57 versus Smith Center in Russell tournament quarterfinals. SC is currently ranked No. 5 in 2A. SC is 3-0 in non-Central Plains games.

Dec. 10: 56-53 versus Phillipsburg in Russell tournament semifinals. Phillipsburg junior Taryn Sides, a Kansas State commit, continued her sensational career with 42 points in the marquee matchup against Central Plains.

Last year, Phillipsburg ended Central Plains’ state record 138-game winning streak in this exact game. Sides became the first Panther girl to exceed 1,000 career points. Sides comes from one of the most-known athletic families in Kansas. Phillipsburg is a legit 3A contender. Three of the top-three 3A contenders – Hugoton, Cheney and Phillipsburg – have all taken a loss to a quality team. Phillipsburg beat Ellis by 27 on Tuesday and is 4-0 in non-CP contests.

Dec. 11: 66-21 championship game win versus Russell.

Dec. 14: 38-28 road win versus Central Prairie League rival St. John, which is 3-1 in non-CP games. SJ is ranked No. 7 in Class 1A, Division I.

For Central Plains, Brynna Hammeke, Kassidy Nixon and transfer Madison McGuire were named to the all-tournament team.

Nixon is one of Kansas’ most decorated athletes as a first team all-state pick in three sports and a player of the year in volleyball. Nixon and Hammeke were first team all-state (top-five) in Class 1A, Division II last season. McGuire played on Cunningham’s squad last winter, which finished as state runner-up to Central Plains.

Smith Center had Maile Hrabe, Ashlyn Long and Tallon Rentschler on the all-tournament team. The group included Russell’s Rylan Reeves, and Ellsworth’s Natalie Rolfs, along with Phillipsburg’s Sides and her teammate Kayla Jacobs.

The boys’ side had Ellsworth’s Will Cravens, Phillipsburg’s Joel Ford, Russell’s Jackson Cross and Josh Sohm, Smith Center’s Wyatt Overmiller, St. John’s-Tipton’s Daniel Eilert and Jaret Eitzmann, Central Plains’ Peyton Ryan, Plainville’s Anders Dewey and Ulysses’ Ryan Nightengale.

Phillipsburg boys defeated Russell, 41-40, to win the Amos Morris. Plainville beat Smith Center for third place. On Saturday, Phillipsburg defeated St. John’s/Tipton for third place.

Nichols earns tournament MVP

Shawnee Mission West won the De Soto Hardwood tournament. Olathe Northwest finished second. S’Mya Nichols from SM West earned Tournament MVP honors. Nichols has multiple Power 5 offers. She and Sides are considered the top-two juniors in Kansas.

Mill Valley’s Emree Zars, SM West’s Izzy Joyce and Taedyn Gray, Olathe Northwest’s Skyler Pierce and Emily Fischer, De Soto’s Mack Carson, Violet Conley and Makenzie Farmer, and Blue Valley Northwest’s Josie Grosdider picked up all-tournament team honors.

3A Goodland beats 6A Dodge City in battle of ranked teams to win Goodland tournament

Goodland girls picked up a high-quality win with a 47-39 victory against Dodge City girls to win the Goodland Top-Side Tip-Off. DC was the defending tournament champion, returning 6A Final Four squad and beat McPherson in the season opener.

Dodge City’s Camree Johnson, Becca Unruh and Victoria Gonzales picked up all-tournament team honors. Junior Talexa Weeter, junior Lindsey Cure, and senior Emma Lehman collected all-tournament honors for the Cowgirls. All three are highly experienced and either 5-11 of 6-feet tall. Class 3A is really deep, and Goodland, 18-4 last season, is among the elite squads. Goodland is now fourth in 3A. Goodland is 5-0. Dodge City is ranked sixth in 6A.

WaKeeney boys, Hodgeman County girls win Purple and Gold titles

In the Purple and Gold, host WaKeeney boys had another double-double from senior Charlie Russell and beat Hoxie for the championship. Trego is ranked ninth in 2A. Hoxie was a final four 2A team last season. Trego went 16-6 last season, including 0-3 versus the Indians. This time, the Golden Eagles beat Hoxie, 47-35.

On the girls’ side, Hodgeman County beat Trego, 41-37, for the championship. Trego had won the last three Purple and Gold titles. Trego is ranked eighth in 2A. HC is sixth in 1A-I. Check out more on Trego later this week on SIK.

Wellington girls win Cheney tournament, then beat Andale on Tuesday

Andale girls beat Maize on Friday, and that set up a huge game with Wellington this week. As of Tuesday, Andale is third in 4A, Wellington is sixth in 4A, and Maize is a perennial power in 5A.

Wellington had its win against Cheney earlier last week that SIK highlighted. The Crusaders collected the Cheney Cardinal Classic title on Saturday. On Tuesday, Wellington girls enjoyed another impressive win with its 62-54 win versus Andale. Wellington, with its wins against Cheney and Andale, has probably the best resume of any team thus far in Kansas.

Wellington (5-0) had lost nine in a row to Andale dating back to Feb. 10, 2017. Overall, Wellington was 5-25 in its last 30 games versus the Crusaders. Wellington has its two seniors of Ali Zeka and Airalyn Frame, junior Kami Reichenberger and freshmen Britt Zeka and Valerie Norwood.

Remington holds first tournament

In the first-ever Remington Bronco Invitational, the Remington boys earned a 35-32 win against Wichita Classical, a state ranked 1A, Division II squad.

On the girls’ side, Kaleigh O’Brien, Bri Hochestetler, Rebecca Hajdukovich, Mariah Barkus and Logan Stucky picked up all-tournament team honors. Hajdukovich and O’Brien are terrific juniors and already among the state’s most well-known players. Sedgwick defeated Douglass for the title.

On Tuesday, Remington swept Halstead. Remington boys improved to 5-0, and the girls moved to 4-1. O’Brien was a standout for Halstead last year. Remington girls has already exceeded its win total from last year.

All four Andover teams ranked

Andover swept McPherson on the road at the Roundhouse. Andover boys beat McPherson, 72-54, and moved to 3-0. Andover beat McPherson, 38-28, behind 18 points from Brooke Walker.

All four Andover teams are ranked. Andover Central is second in 5A girls. Andover is tenth in 5A girls. Andover is second in 5A boys. AC is seventh in 5A boys.

Burlingame girls up to No. 1

Burlingame girls moved to No. 1 in 1A, Division I after Little River’s loss. Burlingame beat Southern Coffey County, 61-28. Coach Jeff Slater continues to do nice work in multiple sports with the Bearcats. Burlingame is 5-0. Last season, Burlingame went 19-3 and lost twice to eventual state champion Olpe. With Olpe effectively starting over this year, the Bearcats have emerged as the early season favorite in the classification. Gracie Simmons delivered 19 points and seven rebounds. Kaylin Noonan had 18 points and seven rebounds. Isabella Tyson delivered eight points and six assists. Kenna Masters had seven points and four assists.

Salina Central/Andover Central headed for big matchup

Salina Central girls improved to 4-0 with a 71-15 win versus Arkansas City. SC and sets up the huge game with Andover Central on Thursday. AC is the defending 5A state runner-up to St. Thomas Aquinas. Andover Central beat SC three times last year: by eight, 10 and nine points, the last one coming in the state final four. Andover Central is ranked second in 5A, and Salina Central is third in 5A. The teams’ current rosters have combined for three D1 signings and a Fort Hays signing; FHSU was No. 1 in Division II entering this week.

Cimarron girls win own tournament; set up big matchup with Hugoton

Cimarron girls earned the Bluejay Invitational championship. Cimarron, which faces Hugoton in a huge Southwest Kansas contest this Friday, is ranked seventh in 3A. Cimarron junior McKayla Miller has multiple high major Division I offers. Cimarron has started 4-0 with first-year coach Austin Stebens, who has spent several years at the school and was a former Ashland standout. Since the rivalry resumed in 2017, Hugoton is 4-0.

Hugoton improved to 3-1 and cruised to an 87-30 win versus Southwestern Heights.

Other top performances, key results

Mulvane boys beat Wellington on a buzzer-beater in its season opener. On Friday, Independence senior Brecken Bertie hit the game-winning 3-point shot against Mulvane in the final seconds of the Circle Thunderbird Classic, 46-44. Independence was named as one of SIK’s 16 Potential Breakout Teams last week.

The Chapman Invitational all-tournament team included three players from Rossville: sophomore Kinsey Perine, senior Briar Gillum and sophomore Emma Mitchell. Rossville stands at 3-1 entering this week.

No. 3 Lebo girls beat Santa Fe Trail, 57-51. Freshman Saige Hadley delivered 18 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Audrey Peek delivered 13 points. Junior Brooklyn Jones had a big game with 12 points. Senior Abby Peek had nine points. Lebo won the Central Heights tournament.

Southeast of Saline’s Karsyn Schlesener went over 1,000 career points against Smoky Valley on Tuesday. SV is now tenth in 3A. SV beat Southeast of Saline, 53-47, and improved to 3-0.

Berean Academy girls went 3-0 and won the Marion Classic. That included a win versus Eureka. Berean beat Eureka, 41-35, on Jan. 7, and earned a 56-21 win versus Halstead on Dec. 11. Berean is now ranked seventh in 2A girls.

Macksville boys won the Keady Classic tournament in Larned. Macksville continues to be unranked and is 4-0, including standout junior Ryan Kuckelman.

Sterling girls are loaded and won the Kingman Classic tournament for the third straight year. Sterling was state runner-up in 2019 and state champions in 2021. The Black Bears brought back basically its entire team for coach Jill Rowland, including reigning 2A Player of the Year Kali Briar. Sterling beat Haven, 62-38, in the championship game. Briar and Sadie Beagley earned all-tournament team honors. Sterling improved to 4-0 after the Haven win. Sterling is ranked first in 2A, and Haven is ninth in 3A.

Standout Valley Center senior Anna Eldridge earned Kingman all-tournament team honors after 12 points, six rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest.

Colby’s Brooklynn Jones, a Division II Metro State (Colo.) commit, scored 33 points on Thursday and 31 on Saturday. Colby took third with a 66-62 win in a victory against Wray (Colo.). Jones set a new tournament three-game scoring record, per Colby broadcaster Dan Lucero.

Cheney’s Harrison Voth hit 1,000 career points. Voth is a three-sport first team all-conference player, and 3A Offensive Player of the Year in football. Cheney is ranked second in 3A, only behind defending state champion Hesston. On Tuesday, Cheney beat Trinity Academy, 77-50.

Clifton-Clyde girls won its third straight T-Bird Invitational championship with a 41-40 win versus Linn. Broadcaster Jesy Strnad noted that CC held Sophia Bott to only six points. Bott had averaged 22 points per game in the first three contests. C-C is still unranked.

Last Tuesday, Nickerson’s Ava Jones, an Arizona State commit, continued her big season with 21 and 15 rebounds against double and triple teams. Nickerson is ranked second in 3A behind Hugoton.

Nickerson beat Garden Plain, 45-35, in a key girls’ game. Nickerson is ranked second in 3A, and GP is fourth in 2A.

On Tuesday, Nickerson beat Haven, 52-31.

On the boys’ side, Valley Center beat Haven, 59-43, in the Kingman championship game. Kingman, Conway Springs, Haven, Sterling, Valley Center and Sunrise Christian were in the tournament.

Prairie View boys won the Linn tournament and have opened the year 3-0. Prairie View girls defeated Osawatomie, 32-29, to take second at the Linn County tournament.

After key wins versus Humboldt and Erie, Uniontown girls cruised to the Humboldt preseason tournament championship with a 58-22 win versus Crest. On Thursday, Danielle Howard exceeded 1,000 career points, and Dustin Miller earned his 100th win as Uniontown’s head coach. A night later, Howard finished with 19 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists.

Topeka Hayden boys earned a key 50-48 win versus Manhattan. Hayden is ranked eighth in 4A.

St. Paul girls beat Columbus to win the Mark Terlip tournament. SP is ranked tenth in Class 1A, Division I.

Olathe East completed the 2021 Lady Hawks Classic. The all-tournament team featured St. James’ Reese Messer and Riley Bruggeman, Blue Springs South’s Jaidynn Mason, and Olathe South’s Reagan Halliday. In the championship game, Blue Valley beat Olathe South, 62-53. Blue Valley is ranked seventh in 6A.

Rivals Moundridge and Inman went to a four-overtime boys’ contest that Inman won, 51-47 on Dec. 10.

Basehor-Linwood boys took second at the Liberty North (Mo.) Invitational with a 58-34 loss to Park Hill (Mo.). B-L is ranked fourth in 5A.

In a marquee girls’ game, Olathe North defeated Liberal, 45-38. ON, where all five starters have signed to play Division II or higher, made the long trip to southwest Kansas. ON is ranked fourth in 6A.

West Elk boys beat Bluestem, 63-39. Wesley Young tallied 23, and Garrett Toon delivered 19.

Bluestem girls captured the Yates Center tournament with a 50-49 overtime win versus Olpe.

In a key Twin Valley League/Big Seven girls’ result, Centralia edged Nemaha Central, 40-39. Centralia is ranked fifth in 1A, Division I. Nemaha Central is fifth in 3A. Centralia had lost four in a row to NC.

Lyndon boys beat Burlingame, 47-46. Trever Quaney tallied 14 points to lead Burlingame. Lyndon is fourth in 2A.

Paola girls received 29 points from Kate Ediger in a 58-55 win versus Baldwin, per Miami-County Republic. Paola is fourth in 4A girls. Paola had lost five in a row to Baldwin and 1-7 in the last eight.

Weskan boys captured the Brewster Sagebrush Shootout championship with a 56-54 win versus Logan-Palco.

Central Christian girls earned the Goessel Bluebird championship with a 41-36 win versus Little River, then-ranked No. 1 in Class 1A, Division I.

Leavenworth boys played in the Carthage Invitational. Eddie McLaughlin earned all-tournament team honors in the Missouri based tournament.

Tuesday top performers:

Wellsville’s Jimmy Dorsey delivered 38 points and 21 rebounds. He is a returning 3A all-state selection.

Frontenac girls continue to impress after back-to-back final four showings. The unranked Raiders return everyone and defeated Webb City (Mo.) by 33 on Tuesday. Frontenac lost to Arkansas 7A Springdale by one Saturday.

Chanute senior Kam Koester scored 42 points on Tuesday for Chanute. He is a standout three-sport athlete.

Lakin is 3-1. Senior Servando Gonzalez scored 32 points against Sublette. Freshman Colter Oldham, one of the nation’s top throwers as an eighth grader, tallied 23. The Broncs, known for its full court press under coach Nate Schmitt, are unranked in 3A. Lakin has been featured on SIK multiple times in the last two years.

Topeka senior Talayah Thomas averages 18.7 points, four rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.3 steals in a 3-0 start. She was the kicker for the Topeka football team. Her older brother, Ky, was Topeka’s all-time leading rusher (No. 2 all-time in KS history) and is currently playing football at Minnesota. Thomas has signed with Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

Also in 3A, Thomas More Prep-Marian defeated Oakley, 48-23, on Tuesday. Sophia Balthazor led the Monarchs with 19 points, per TMP broadcaster Jonathan Zweygardt.

Dodge City boys completed an impressive first semester with a 61-45 win versus Woodward (Okla.), per DC broadcaster Sean Boston. DC is 6-0. Cooper Scheck had 22 points and is averaging 20.8 points a game. He has made 24 treys and shot 55 percent from beyond the arc in the last four games.

Wamego beat Chapman, 66-30. Jake Fritz delivered 16 points.

On Tuesday, Blue Valley West 6-foot-2 junior Lilybeth Ba delivered 33 points, including six treys, against Lawrence. BVW is unranked in 6A.

Highland Park boys had a late score to beat Topeka Seaman, 71-69. Highland Park is ranked sixth in 5A.

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