They are coming out of the final turn in high school and college basketball. The stretch run is on for Sub-State and NCAA seedings. With Kansas losing at West Virginia, there might be a race once again in the Big 12 though one has to like the Jayhawks’ chances.
One of the most interesting Sub-State tournaments is in 4A 2. Larned will be hosting a four-team tournament in which the winner goes on to the state tournament in both boys and girls action. The boys side of that tournament is loaded. A very solid Pratt team, currently in second place in the Central Kansas League, will probably be relegated to the fourth seed. Their two losses to Larned have been costly. The top seed will go to Holcomb who went into Tuesday’s action at 17-0. They are ranked number one in 4A 2.
That leaves Larned and Hugoton battling for position as a two or three seed. Hugoton, the 5th-ranked team in 4A 2 has a 12-5 record, the same as Larned, as they entered Tuesday action. Actually, those two teams will probably meet in the first round because the 2nd and 3rd seeds will square off against each other so it won’t matter which team gets the 2nd seed.
That’s four pretty good basketball teams that will be battling for a state berth and one or two deserving teams are going to stay home. That’s how district play works.
The Pratt girls will nab the 2nd seed as Hugoton will be 1st with their 14-2 record. Holcomb will be 3rd and Larned the 4th seed.
Whether or not any college team can beat Kentucky has been the matter of speculation in college basketball. Locally the question is; “Can anyone in 2A beat St. John?” So far, only Central Plains has even come close. Fortunately those two teams will not be in the same Sub-State tournament so the next time they meet could well be in the state tournament. Central Plains will host their own Sub-State and St. John will play in the Inman tournament.
Currently the odds seem to be against any teams from Great Bend and Hoisington making it to the State Finals but the Ellinwood girls are in the midst of a great season and many feel they could have been dialing a state tournament trip if they hadn’t been assigned to the Central Plains Sub-State. Playing the Lady Oilers on their home court could prove to be a monumental task. Both Central Plains and Ellinwood girls are state tournament- caliber teams and someone is going to have to stay home.
Sub-State assignments are critical and every year there are some that are loaded with good teams while other tournaments are lacking of quality teams. It is the system we play under, though it could stand some revising. The KSHSAA could seed teams and place teams in different Sub-States based somewhat on record and not just geography. It would assure more top-notch teams in the state tournament. Like all bureaucratic organizations, the KSHSAA is slow to change.
The first Association state tournament was held in Emporia in 1912. Reno County High of Nickerson won the first championship. In 1925, the state tournament was divided into two classes and, of course, in 2011 a seventh class was added by dividing 1A into two divisions and two years later 4A was split, creating 8 classes.
There are those-including yours truly-that think we have too many classes, that it diminishes the accomplishment of a state title. All of these things are problems that the KSHSAA wrestles with every year. The General Electric Company used to have an advertising slogan that stated, “Progress is our most important product.” I’m not sure you can say the same about the KSHSAA.
At least we’re not still using peach baskets for our basketball tournaments.