Basketball in Kansas: Looking at undefeated teams, milestones, key results on the girls’ side – plus the remarkable start for Wilson girls

Mission Valley girls are off to an undefeated start (Photo submitted)


Sports In Kansas looks at a variety of key results, storylines, milestones, conference standings and top matchups for this week on the girls’ side. Bethany Bowman also has online girls and boys interviews from Circle/McPherson on Friday. Dominance continues for the top-three ranked 3A girls’ teams: Goodland, Silver Lake and Phillipsburg. We start, though, with an undefeated team in its last year of existence: Wilson girls.

1.Wilson girls 45, Southern Cloud 15 – Wilson is the state’s most unlikely and remarkable remaining undefeated team. Rod Seehafer coached the Dragons for 40-plus years and consistently had great success at one of Kansas’ smallest schools before retirement. Until 2018-19, Seehafer had never had a season with fewer than nine victories. He went to state seven times, including four from 2010-18 and had a state runner-up.

After a 15-6 mark in 2017-18, Wilson posted seven, six, four and six wins the last four winters. Wilson High School will close after this school year. In its last season of existence, Wilson girls’ basketball is off to a 7-0 start with coach Ted Long. Wilson has victories against Otis-Bison (53-38), Smoky Valley Home Educators (43-39), twice against Southern Cloud, Tescott, Lincoln and Natoma.

Last year, Wilson opened 2-5 with losses against Otis-Bison, Sylvan-Lucas, Tescott, Natoma and Rock Hills.

Wilson lists just eight players on the roster: juniors Anna Thielen and Skylar Cullens, sophomores Abby Diabal, Tyra Meyer, Hallie Thielen, Alivia Koch and Serenity Steinike, and lone senior Cara Criswell.

Anna Thielen has delivered 15 points, five rebounds, 2.6 steals and two assists a contest. Steinike has posted a strong year with 10 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.9 steals a contest. Criswell has delivered 9.3 points and 6.4 rebounds. Meyer has 7.7 points and 5.9 rebounds a game. Wilson has collectively posted 82 assists against 88 turnovers.

Last year’s team had no seniors or juniors as Criswell was not on the roster. Thielen posted 13.2 points and 6.4 rebounds last year. Steinike was at 7.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists a game. Wilson had 162 assists against 356 turnovers. The Dragons will be significantly favored against one-win Chase on Tuesday and should compete for a top-four showing in the Northern Plains League tournament. The NPL features Osborne, Thunder Ridge and Beloit St. John’s/Tipton.

2. Mission Valley girls 53, West Franklin 23 – Mission Valley improved to 7-0 and sets up a big contest this Friday against undefeated Chase County that will likely decide the Flint Hills League title. Coach Ben Packard, who enjoyed success as the Plainville volleyball coach earlier in this career, led MV girls’ basketball to the first state berth since 1981 last year. Mission Valley, led by 2-1A player of the year Morgan Tomlinson, won state softball in the spring.

Mission Valley owns wins by nine, 36-35 against St. Marys and 31-29 versus Osage City. Friday tied a season high for points. Mission Valley was 0-16 against St. Marys dating back to 2006, including a 55-52 loss last season. MV has two straight wins against OC by a combined three points.

MV’s top-five players average between 11.9 and 5.6 points per game: senior Paige Martin, sophomores Adaline Bloomfield and Kyplee Jacobson, freshman Lillie Foster and Tomlinson. Jacobson delivers 10.3 rebounds a game. Tomlinson has 2.4 blocks a contest, Martin with two a game. MV has improved its win total in each of the last four years.

3.Liberal girls 59, Hays High 50/Garden City girls 54, Great Bend 47

The Western Athletic Conference girls’ side is expected to be one of Kansas’ most intriguing. Liberal and Hays High are currently ranked at fourth in 6A and eighth in 5A, respectively. Liberal is the lone undefeated 6A West team. Hays High owns a win against Washburn Rural. All five teams could finish with winning records.

The conference had two key results Friday. Liberal won 59-50 in a home game at the Big House against Hays High. Garden City pulled a slight road upset with a 54-47 win against Great Bend. Liberal is known for its offensive efficiency and shooting, especially with junior Hailey Contreras, junior Keyona Hall and senior Rylie Hallman.

Liberal trailed by six at halftime and eight in the third quarter, per HHS broadcaster Dustin Armbruster. Contreras finished with 26 points, including 13 in the third quarter. Liberal also has a quality win against Hugoton.

Liberal has won 10 in a row against Hays High and 14 of the last 15. Hays High has not won in Liberal since 2013.

Garden City has already bettered its win total from a 3-18 mark, including four straight losses to end the season. GC has six seniors, including Aileen Becerril, Amaya Gallegos and 5-foot-10 power forward Makenzie Lucas. Plus, freshman post Kierrah Pinchon has significantly made a quick impact. After the season’s first three games, Lucas had 14.3 points and 10 rebounds a game. Pinchon delivered 12 points and 6.3 rebounds. Gallegos delivered 11.3 points, 3.3 assists and three rebounds a contest.

This sets up two huge games Tuesday. Liberal (6-0, 1-0) is at Garden City (4-4, 1-0). Hays High is at Great Bend. The winner of Liberal and Garden City will be alone in first place in the Western Athletic Conference. The loser of Hays High and Great Bend will have a significant hole to come back and win the conference title.

4. Quinter girls 58, Dighton 31 – On Friday, Quinter, a SIK Potential Breakout Team selection in December, improved to 7-0. Matt Havlas picked up his 100th win as Quinter’s head coach. Havlas and veteran assistant Scott Crist (a former QHS point guard) have completely turned around the Bulldogs. Quinter had a winless season in ’13-14, the year before Havlas took over. He led the team to a state berth in ’16-17 and a Class 1A, Division II state championship the following winter. Havlas was the SIK 1A-II Coach of the Year that season, the first Quinter girls’ basketball state title. Two winters ago, Quinter was 17-6 before the Bulldogs slipped to 8-13 last winter after a litany of injuries.

This year, Quinter has dominated with every win by at least 25 points, except for a 53-49 victory in the Castle Rock Classic championship game Dec. 10. Against Dighton, Quinter led 19-7 after the first quarter and 36-19 at halftime. Senior Anna Briggs, among the state’s top blockers, delivered 17 points, seven rebounds and five blocks. Sophomore Bryn Gillespie delivered 14 points, five rebounds and three steals. Junior Kelsey Selensky finished with six rebounds and four steals, and junior Kennedy Werth delivered five assists. Senior Cashlyn Kvasnicka had 11 on 5 of 9 shooting. Last year, Quinter defeated Dighton, 61-56, in overtime. Quinter is a legitimate state contender. Quinter remains unranked.

5. South Gray girls 67, Stanton County 42 – Both of these teams were SIK Potential Breakout Teams in December. South Gray improved to 6-1, while Stanton County is 6-2. South Gray has delivered a highly explosive offense with limited scoring help from seniors.

SC has nearly matched last year’s win total from a 7-14 season. South Gray has delivered 59.6 points a contest. Last season, the Rebels finished 12-10 and scored 50.4 points a game. Junior Vi Helm has delivered a huge season with 21.2 points and 5.7 rebounds.

The top-five scorers are all non-seniors. Sophomore Reegan Meairs delivered 7.7 points, while junior Jacelyn Huelskamp has seven points and 5.5 rebounds a game. Sophomore Kylie Stapleton has 6.5 points and 6.7 rebounds a contest. Sophomore Allie Reed has five points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.2 steals per game. The only two seniors who see time at Halli Meairs and Alleris Granados. South Gray is currently unranked.

6. WaKeeney-Trego girls 60, Hill City 23 – WaKeeney-Trego picked up the 500th win in program history with a home win Friday. Coach Shelby Crawford has the Golden Eagles at 5-2 heading into a key game Tuesday against Phillipsburg (8-0). Trego sophomore point guard Reece Smith delivered 30 points. Smith, known for her speed and quickness, has helped Trego play a higher tempo this year. Smith’s father is Matt Smith, a longtime football coach at Coldwater-South Central and Atwood-Rawlins County. Matt took a Trego administrative position this year. Phillipsburg is currently third in 3A.

7. Inman girls 52, Burrton 22 – Freshman Suttyn Harris continues to put up huge numbers for the Teuton girls. The 5-foot-11 first team all-state volleyball player delivered 25 points, six steals, five rebounds and four assists in the win. Maci Neufeld had seven points and four rebounds. Freshman Kenna Woods delivered six points, two steals, two assists and two blocks. Kambrey Woods and Morgan Froese finished with six points and six rebounds. Earlier this season, Harris has 21 points, 11 rebounds, five steals, four assists and three blocks against Moundridge. She had 27 points and 11 rebounds versus Hillsboro, and 23 points, 10 rebounds and five steals against Kingman. Harris delivered 31 points and 10 rebounds versus two-time defending 2A state champion Sterling in early January. Inman is 4-4.

8. Hanover girls 50, Frankfort 31 – In a massive Twin Valley League matchup of undefeated teams, Hanover easily defeated Frankfort. Hanover is the defending Class 1A, Division II runner-up and ranked first in Division II, while Frankfort is ranked eighth in 1A, Division I. Hanover is 7-0 and has won every game by at least 19 points, and Frankfort is 7-1.

9. Olathe West girls 65, Olathe North 42 – Olathe West delivered a key early season win against ON, the defending Sunflower League champions. Sunflower Smack reported updated league standings as of Jan. 8. Shawnee Mission South is 5-0, 3-0. Lawrence stands at 5-1, 3-0. Olathe Northwest, Olathe West, Gardner-Edgerton, Olathe North and Olathe South are all 2-1. Overall, Northwest stands at 5-2, West and Gardner at 4-2, and North at 4-3.

10. Goodland girls 51, Cimarron 29 – Goodland girls delivered another highly impressive win Friday – and set up two big games this week. Cimarron features McKayla Miller, a Creighton commit. Goodland has won 20 straight. Cimarron, ranked No. 10 in 3A, moved to 5-2. Talexa Weeter has signed to play at Fort Hays basketball. Senior Lindsey Cure committed to Regis (Colo.) volleyball in the last couple of days. The defending 3A champion Cowgirls will face rival Colby on Tuesday and Hugoton on Friday. Both games are at home. Goodland lost to Hugoton in the regular season, and then beat Hugoton in the 3A state title game. Pretty Prairie (8-0) and Goodland have the longest current winning streaks in Kansas girls’ basketball. PP has won 22 straight. Goodland is ranked first in 3A, Pretty Prairie is third in 1A-I.

11. Silver Lake girls defeat back-to-back previously undefeated teams – On January 3, Silver Lake defeated rival Rossville, 63-50. On Friday, SL beat Rock Creek, 59-30. SL is 6-0, Rossville 6-1 and Rock Creek 6-1. SL was 24-2 and took third in 3A. The Eagles returned many key players: junior McKinely Kruger, junior Kaibryn Kruger, senior Maria Farmer, senior Taylor Ross, and junior MaKenzie McDaniel (Abilene Christian offer). Rossville is ranked ninth in 3A.

12.Bishop Miege girls 62, St. James 60 – Miege, the defending 4A state champions, narrowly defeated St. James in a battle of Eastern Kansas League ranked teams. Miege is ranked first in 4A, and SJA sixth in 5A. First-year coach Kevin Mulvany has led Miege to a 5-1 start and no losses against Kansas teams. Miege is 16-0 against SJA since 2014, and this is the first single figure contest.

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