By CONOR NICHOLL
This week, Sports In Kansas highlights individual standouts and teams across the state – primarily coming from programs that have not been featured on SIK in detail this winter. Several historical individual milestones and some significant winning streaks for teams enjoying nice success in its program history.
Northern Valley captured the Western Kansas Liberty League tournament championship, annually held in Colby. The Huskies improved to 14-1. NV has made the WKLL finals six consecutive years and won four finals. Northern Valley has just one loss, to WaKeeney-Trego, in Trego’s Purple and Gold tournament in early December. NV has rival Logan-Palco (11-4) in its sub-state. At this point, defending champion Hanover, Northern Valley and Bucklin (11-4) are the three state favorites in Class 1A, Division II. Currently, Hanover is ranked first, Northern Valley second and Bucklin fifth in the classification. NV has most recently reached state in ’14, ’18 and ’21, including a state title in ’18. Senior Bailey Sides has delivered 15.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, six assists and 5.1 steals a contest. Senior Eric Loya has 11.9 points and 4.5 rebounds a game. Junior Foster Brands has 11.2 points and 6.8 rebounds. Last season, NV opened 14-10 after an 0-7 start.
Golden Plains girls stayed perfect with a 57-49 win against Wheatland-Grinnell in the WKLL championship. GP is the lone undefeated team in Class 1A, Division II. The Bulldogs have by far the longest regular season winning streak in Kansas. GP stands at 13-0 and is ranked third in Division II.
Parsons had a slow start, though has turned the season around behind senior Paxton Swanson. The Vikings have won four of their last five. In that 4-1 stretch, Swanson has delivered 22.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, three assists and three steals a game. This winter, Swanson delivered 17.5 points, four rebounds and two assists per game. Overall, Parsons is 5-10 in relatively open 4A East. Every 4A East team has at least two losses. Four teams are 8-5 or better. Parsons has averaged 60.5 points per game, which is second-best in 4A East. However, Parsons is easily the highest statistical points allowed a contest at 64.33.
Katy Harris, a returning 4A all-state pick from Atchison, cleared 1,000 career points. The Phoenix are 8-7. Atchison finished 9-6 last winter. Harris paced her team with 18.1 points, 14.7 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks a contest last winter. This season, she delivered 14 points, 13.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a contest.
Osage City junior Landon Boss went over 1,000 career points Friday. Boss accomplished the feat in the exact career game and against the same opponent that his mom Kate Boss (DeBaun) went over 1,000 during her junior year in 1997. Boss is a terrific quarterback and one of the best three-sport athletes in Kansas. OC is 14-1 and paces the Pomona sub-state. Pleasant Ridge is second in the sub-state with an 11-3 mar. Osage City is currently ranked eighth in 3A.
Wellsville’s Jimmy Dorsey scored 45 points on Friday and broke his father, Brent Dorsey’s school mark of 43 in a game. Jimmy is a two-time all-state selection at Wellsville. Brent was the all-classes Player of the Year for Wellsville in 1994. Brent cleared 1,800 career points at Wellsville and more than 2,500 at Baker. Wellsville, which is in Osage City’s sub-state, stands at 9-4.
Abilene’s Kaleb Becker went over 1,000 career points. Abilene is second in 4A West with a 12-4 mark. The Cowboys collect 61.3 points a contest, which is third-best in 4A West. Abilene stands seventh in the 4A rankings. The Cowboys recently became the first team to beat Thomas More Prep-Marian, the Monarchs’ first loss since December.
Valley Heights’ Emma Yungeberg reached 1,000 career points. She is one of Kansas’ best multi-sport athletes and top U.S. javelin throwers. She has signed with Michigan track and field. Valley Heights is the clear favorite in the Belleville sub-state with a 14-1 mark. Defending state champion Sterling, defending runner-up Colgan and Berean Academy remain the lone undefeated squads in 2A. VH’s lone loss came to Centralia in the Twin Valley League championship. Valley Heights is ranked second in 2A, sandwiched between Sterling, Colgan and Berean Academy.
Hill City coach Keith Riley has 740 career wins and coached more than 50 years with the Ringnecks. He and South Gray coach Mark Applegate are 1-2 on the all-time Kansas list for wins among primarily boys’ basketball coaches. HC is known for getting on midseason runs. The Ringnecks opened 3-3 and were 5-4 before six straight victories. That included a mild 54-52 upset of Ness City on Feb. 1, and a 58-46 victory against Phillipsburg on Friday. HC will be the favorite in at least three and likely four of its final five games. Hill City remains unranked in 2A. Derek Keith has 17.9 points a game, while Trent Long is at eight rebounds a contest. Kaleb Atkins, who switched from wrestling to basketball this winter, has 4.4 assists and 2.8 steals.
Medicine Lodge’s Rachel Fischer cleared 1,000 career points. Medicine Lodge is 6-7 and is part of the Sublette sub-state along with Sterling (14-0) and Elkhart (14-1).
On Friday, Hays High’s Aleyia Ruder hit a game-winning buzzer-beater trey to beat Dodge City, 42-40, in an upset. Much improved HHS earned the signature win under second-year coach Len Melvin. Ruder is one of two seniors. She was all-state honorable mention as a sophomore and missed the bulk of her junior year with injury. The Indians are 9-6 and all of their losses came against ranked teams. HHS has won 9 of its last 13 games after an 0-2 start. Dodge City is ranked No. 8 in 6A and stands at 13-3.
Washburn Rural girls (13-1, No. 3 in 6A) earned a 46-32 win versus Topeka Hayden on Friday. That sets up the huge matchup at rival Topeka High on Friday. On Jan. 4, Topeka High beat Rural, 45-39, for the Junior Blues’ only loss. They are the 1-2 teams in the 6A West standings. Topeka High is 14-0.
Rural is the lone squad to beat Derby, which is currently 13-1 and in third in 6A West. All three teams are loaded with Division I/II talent in basketball or other sports: Topeka’s Kiki Smith, Talayah Thomas and Adisyn Carl; Rural’s Brooklyn DeLeye and Zoe Canfield; and Derby’s Maryn Archer and Addy Brown.
Derby girls have won three straight games since its 54-37 loss to Washburn Rural. The Panthers beat Lawrence (69-53), Hutchinson (73-44) and McPherson (64-36). Derby gets the big home game Tuesday versus Andover Central. That marks Derby’s lone home game between Jan. 21 and Feb. 22. Derby is also one of two teams to beat Wichita Heights (53-40).
Hutchinson has delivered a surprising turnaround season with an 11-3 record. Freshmen Aliyah Green and Grace Posch, who were instrumental in the Salthawks’ turnaround in volleyball, have delivered nine basketball seasons. The Salthawks finished 8-12 last season and have a chance for its most wins in more than a decade.
Valley Center girls’ standout Anna Eldridge picked up an offer from Division II Newman University. Additionally, senior Halle Brittain earned the team’s player of the week award. She delivered 17.5 points per game and 60 percent from the field. Brittain made nine treys and averaged three steals a contest. Eldridge, who transferred from Peabody-Burns earlier in her career, had enjoyed a strong VC volleyball career the past two years, too.
She picked up Wildcat Classic all-tournament team honors with 13 points, 44 percent field goal shooting and 2.3 assists a game. Junior point guard Ali Coash has recently played well. In one week, Coash had eight steals, 10 rebounds and a charge. She permitted eight points and one assist from opposing point guards. Valley Center finished 2-1 at the Wildcat Classic. VC is 6-9 in deep 5A West, though is 1-5 in games decided by eight points or fewer. Last season, the Hornets finished 8-14. VC has most posted a winning season since a 13-8 mark in ’16-17.
WaKeeney-Trego point guard Cole Feldt ranks in the top-15 in Kansas in assists and is headed for an all-conference/all-state type season. The Golden Eagles’ captain, Feldt cleared 500 career points. In a recent game, he finished 7 of 7 for 17 points. Trego stands at 12-2 with both losses to Thomas More Prep-Marian. The Golden Eagles are ranked eighth in 2A boys.
Hillsboro boys, behind a big dunk from Grayson Ratzlaff, rolled over Pratt, 63-34. Pratt has been ranked in 4A. Hillsboro stands at 15-0 in the very deep Whitewater-Remington sub-state. The top-six teams are Hillsboro (15-0), Moundridge (12-3), Berean Academy (11-4), Inman (11-4), Remington (11-4) and Sedgwick (10-5). Hillsboro is first in 2A, Inman seventh and Moundridge is ninth.
Eudora boys, which are ranked second in 4A, are 9-2 after a 9-10 season last winter.
Burlingame’s Trevor Quaney, an eight-man first team all-state picks in football, set a school record with 40 points. The Bearcats are 10-5 and fourth in the Olpe sub-state. Defending state champion Olpe is 15-1, while Madison/Hamilton stands at 13-3, Colony-Crest is 9-4. In Division I, Olpe is first, and Burlingame tenth.
Bluestem girls are quietly 13-2 and ahead of traditional power Garden Plain (11-5) in the Dexter sub-state. While GP has the edge in strength of schedule, Bluestem has delivered a surprising season. Bluestem has won seven in a row. Bluestem was 14-27 in the last two winters. Bluestem has not won more than 14 games in a year since before 2007.
Hugoton, with first-year coach Trey O’Neil, is 10-3 after it graduated more than 73 percent of its scoring. The Eagles were 21-3 and reached the Class 3A state tournament last winter. Hugoton, which captured the midseason Sterling tournament, has won seven in a row. The Eagles have not lost since a one-point defeat to Scott City on Jan. 7. Hugoton has been ranked tenth in 3A boys the last two weeks. Junior Carson Bennett has 14.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists a contest. Junior Ryle Riddlesperger has 13.1 points, 2.9 assists and 2.3 rebounds a game.
Herington girls received 24 points from Halle Rutschman and 20 by Tristyn Kremeier in Friday’s 59-25 win versus Centre. Herington has won five straight and is 10-4. Rutschman, who cleared 1,500 digs in volleyball, has delivered 15.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 steals this season. She has more than 600 career points and 400 career rebounds. Kremeier, on the school record list for 3s, has a team-best 7.2 rebounds a contest. She averages 12.9 points a game. Overall, she has made 32 of 107 treys for 30 percent.