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Central Plains girls chasing history and getting ready for February

at the mike

POSTED January 31, 2018 8:35 p.m.

There is something special going on at Central Plains High School. Coach Pat Stiles and his girls basketball team is on the doorstep of a milestone or two.
First is the pursuit of the most consecutive state titles. The Oilers have won the past four Class 2A state championships. That ties the state record held by eight teams. Wichita South (2013-16), Hoxie (2012-15), Moundridge (1996-99), Little River (1995-98), Bishop Miege (1989-92), and Spearville (1987-90) have done likewise.
Currently, Central Plains and Bishop Miege have a streak of four straight titles. Both are ranked No. 1. Miege in 4A and Central Plains in 2A. Central Plains hasn't lost since the last game of the regular season in 2015.
No one has won five straight. Moundridge made it to the title game in 2000, but lost to Osborne. Spearville appeared in six straight title games, losing in 85 and 86 before running off four straight.
As far as winning streaks go, Hoxie holds the state record at 107 in a row. Central Plains still has a ways to go for that mark. The Oilers winning streak is at 71. Second on the list is 91 by Little River – a nemesis of Coach Stiles and then Claflin High School during the Redskins title run of the 90’s.
If the Oilers are to reach either of those marks, it wouldn’t be until next season. But keep those numbers in mind.
Speaking of those 90’s Claflin Wildcat teams, I would like to wish the best to Jackie Stiles as she battles ocular melanoma. She will undergo surgery Friday in Carbondale, Ill. She has continued to coach as an assistant for her alma mater Missouri State leading up to the surgery.
If you would like to send her a card, it is encouraged to send them to Missouri State Women’s Basketball, 901 South National St. Springfield, Mo, 65897.
Good Luck, Jackie. No doubt if you take on this like you did athletics during your playing days, you will clearly be a winner. She is truly one of the icons in Kansas prep sports history.
Prep Thoughts
On the surface, it might seem like the Great Bend boys’ basketball team and Coach Tim Brooks is struggling this year. With a record of 1-11, they are, to an extent. But they seem ever on the cusp of putting things together.
Since tipping things off again in January, the Panthers are 1-7 with six of those losses in single digits. There is a 2-point loss to Trinity. A 3-point loss to Dodge City, a 5-point loss to Garden City and a 6-point loss to Hays.
The Panthers still have seven regular season games left to get over that hump and turn close losses into wins. Five of those games are WAC contests, starting Friday at Liberal. Don't count them out. After all, Great Bend has a history of late season runs. Just ask Hays High and Salina Central from the 1988 sub state. The 0-20 Panthers beat both and earned a trip to the state tournament that year. Those Panthers lost to McPherson and somebody named Steve Henson in the first round of 5A State.
Ironically, I was at the Salina Central Gym that first game. That was the first time I ever met this fella named Steve Webster. I was working at the Hays Daily and he was Voice of the Panthers. I thought he was grumpy. He thought I was arrogant. The next year he moved to Hays and we have been best friends ever since.
One more prep thought about former Great Bend Panther athlete Eric Vazquez. The now-freshman at St. Mary is fresh off a win in the 1000m during the Jayhawk Classic at KU this past weekend. Vazquez won the unseeded section of the event in a time of 2:32.84. That is just one second off the St. Mary school record. My prediction is he will get it. Big limb I'm climbing out on there.
Former Barton Athlete/Coach update
Don’t look now but the Pittsburg State and Fort Hays State women's basketball teams are on a roll. Fort Hays and former Barton coach Tony Hobson have won four straight. The Tigers are now 7-4 in the MIAA and 16-4 overall this season.
Former Barton coach Lane Lord has the Gorillas hot as well. Pitt State has won three straight and 7-of-8, including a road win over Central Oklahoma, a team the Gorillas are battling for second place in the standings. Pitt State is 9-3 in the MIAA and 16-5 overall. The Gorillas are one-half game up on Central Oklahoma, Nebraska Kearney and Emporia State for second place.
And Finally
January is in the books. It is always a busy month. It definitely needs all 31 days it has been given. Now comes February with only 28 days. It’s not a leap year, right? I’m pretty sure there are only 28 days this go around for February. I could be wrong, though.
While it is more compact, and, seemingly, less busy, there are some important things in February.
No doubt the most important thing to keep my wife and marriage happy is that Valentine’s Day thing. If you research the day, it has a very dark origin to it before evolving to the point where Shakespeare romanced it up a bit. Greeting cards were introduced in 1913 by Hallmark of Kansas City, and, as they say, the rest is history.
Just for reference, that Hallmark company was on the Missouri side of the state line. I've told you about Missouri people, right Rick Bealer? Rick is even a Missouri and Duke fan. And yet we still get along. Washington should take note of us.
Anyway, back to Valentine's Day. I'm pretty predictable. Flowers, chocolates and one of those Hallmark cards. Crystal gets a few more flowers and a bigger box of chocolates than my daughter. Maybe I will change things up this year. Probably not, but don't tell Crystal and Katelyn.
February is also the apex of the winter sports season. Post season is about to start or has started by the time February ends. That can be a busy and fun time.
Perhaps the most memorable sports moment in February occurred in 1980. It was Feb. 22. It was a Friday. I was in seventh grade. The US Hockey team pulled off the Miracle on Ice with a 4-3 win over the Soviet Union.
We get another Olympics this February. That's right. Starts up Feb. 9. If not for the whole South Korea, North Korea thing no one may have even heard about it.
There will never be another Miracle on Ice, though. That era has long since passed with pros playing.
What I do like to watch at the Olympics is curling. Luckily it takes place nearly every day for the fortnight. Mixed doubles first then the men's and women's tournaments the final 12 days. You might think I'm joking, but I'm not. For some reason I can't stop watching it. It is almost mesmerizing.
So there you have it. A preview of the month to come. Happy February everyone.

Mike Marzolf is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and his views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. He can be reached at


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