The Great Bend Panthers Wyatt Weber (32-3) and Bre Ridgeway (36-0) captured state wrestling championships last year. Other state qualifiers returning are state runner- up Kaden Spragis (37-4); fourth-place Avery Wolf (38-8); Daizy Gomez (22- 13) and Sierra Ferguson (22- 16).
No. 1 state-ranked Weber captured the 138-pound state championship with a shocking pin (1:20) over No. 1 ranked Bonner Springs wrestler Cruz Lara (28-1). Weber was the 14th boys state wrestling champion in school history.
“I remember going to kids club practice when I was 5 years old,” Weber said. “The only thing I wanted was to get my picture on the wall.”
Great Bend coach Nathan Broeckelman won two state titles for Norton. He coached at Manhattan when the Indians won 6A titles in 2011 and 2012.
“Winning two state titles brings more kids who want to be a part of our program,” Broeckelman said. “The returning state qualifiers will bring leadership and expectations. They bring others up to speed and hopefully push others in the room so that they can also come along side and compete for state medals by the end of the year.”
State runner-up No. 3 state-ranked Spragis (37-4) lost for third time to Newton’s No. 1 ranked Nick Treaster 7-3. No. 3 state- ranked Wolf lost to Maize’s state champion Nakaylen Shabazz and placed fourth with a 2-0 loss to Goddard’s Jaylen Miller.
“We return 12 of 14 varsity weights which makes it difficult to crack in the lineup,” he said. “Our sophomores who wrestled varsity will look to be better than last year. We’ll welcome a few freshmen into the lineup. Some will be looking to try and gain experience and get to state to hopefully compete for a medal.”
Two years ago, Weber placed fifth with a 6-0 victory over Aquinas’ Jordan Habben. Spragis placed fifth with a 11-2 win over Salina Central’s Isaac Phimvongsa.
No. 1 ranked Bre Ridgeway (36-0) cruised past Garden City’s Belle
Hernandez 6-0 to capture the school’s first sanctioned KSHSAA state wrestling championship. Ridgeway captured an inaugural 132- pound girls state wrestling championship in 2019 with four pins at McPherson. Two years ago, Great Bend scored 80 points to finish runner-up to Washburn Rural. Ridgeway placed third.
“We are bringing in 12 freshmen girls who won a middle school WAC championship,” he said. “We are looking forward to Analiz Rivas who joins us as a junior to make some noise on the girls side. Her older brother was a two-time state placer for the Panthers in 2015 and 2016.”
Broeckelman has high hopes for both teams.
“Our goal for boys and girls are to be Western Athletic Conference champions and earn a state trophy,” he said.
Brockelman said many of the wrestlers gained off- season experience with trips to Labette County and Pueblo, Colo. Both teams competed in the Great Bend Grapple on the Gridiron. The girls finished undefeated and the boys (11-1) lost to Lawrence Free State.
Broeckelman said wrestling is a team effort and he appreciates support from his assistant coaches Mike Schridde, Brian Schridde, Jeremy Foster and Kristy Creamer.
“Hands down, we have the best assistant coaching staff in the state,” he said. “Our assistants are very valuable to our program. They do a lot behind the scenes and usually don’t get as much credit as they
The boys lineup started
with 106—Ambrose Kramer, 9; 113—Emanuel Prieto, 11; 132—Cooper Liles, 10; 138—Skyler McMullen, 11/John Szot, 12; 152—Jace Schartz, 9; 160—Aidan Davidson, 9; 182— Matthew Johnson, 10; 195 Brody Schnoebelen, 9; 220— Keyven Schroeder, 10; 285—Maddix Pakorski, 11
The girls lineup started with 101 Jenna Higgins, 9/ Karley Stukey, 11; 115 Reagan Ketch, 9; 120—Rosa Campos, 12/Jaydon Davis, 11; 126—Daizy Gomez, 10; 132—Daizy Gomez 10; 138—Katie Kuhlman 11; 143—Sierra Ferguson, 10; 155—Danica Cline, 9; 170—Kinslee White, 11; 191—Haylee Holinde, 9; 235—Analiz Rivas, 11
GREAT BEND BOYS
SENIORS—113—Emanuel Prieto; 138—Skyler McMullen; 170—Kevin Gonzalez; 182—Jose Garcia; 220—Maddix Pakorski
JUNIORS—120—Jonathan Lira; 132—Cooper Liles; 138—Cadin Spore; 138—Ramiro Rocha; 138—Xavier Ehster; 152— Jorge Aguilara; 160—Mario Enriquez; 182—Matthew Johnson; 220—Keyven Schroeder
SOPHOMORES—106— Ambrose Kramer; 113—Ernan Rodriguez; 120—Maddex Harmen; 126—Zach Davis; 145—Michael Montoya; 152—Jace Schartz; 160—Aidan Davidson; 170— Nathan Campbell; 195—Brody Schnoebelen; 195—Owen Kaiser
GREAT BEND GIRLS
SENIORS—101—Karley Stukey; 120—Jaydon Davis; 120—Dennise Chavez; 138—Katie Kuhlman; 170—Kynslee White
JUNIORS—126—Daizy Gomez (SQ—22-13); 143—Sierra Ferguson, (SQ—22-16); 143— Taylour Yoder
SOPHOMORES—101—Jenna Higgins; 109—McKayla Smith; 109—Mayra Gonzalez; 109— Hannah Crathorne; 115—Raegan Ketch; 126—Jade Audus; 138— Paige Sanders; 155—Danica Cline; 155—Kirra Stevens; 155— Lea Nokes; 191—Haylee Holinde; 235—Abigail Melson
First-year basketball coach Kyle Kriegh from Kingman will lead Great Bend, a team with intriguing potential with two returning starters, two high-impact transfers and five other letter win- ners.
The Panthers (4-15, 1-7 WAC) finished the season with a 58-38 substate loss to Hays with five players sidelined with injuries.
“Our four returning seniors want to be com- petitive,” he said. “Our team goal is to be com- petitive every time we take the court and give ourselves a chance to win. Our keys are playing together on offense and defense with relentless effort. We’ll play with energy and attack with relentless effort. Every player has an important role.”
Chanute transfer Carter Coombs (12.6 ppg, 2 assists) and Ellinwood junior transfer 6-3 Tyler Stuhlsatz (13 ppg, 2 assists, 2 steals) shot 41% on 3-pointers.
“Carter Coombs’ confi- dence is contagious. He’s a warrior on the court,” Kriegh said. “Carter will not back down from any challenge. Tyler Stuhlsatz is a smooth lefty who can score from everywhere on the court.”
Other veterans are seniors Braylon Council and Mathew Moeder.
Kriegh commented on each returning player.
“Braylon has athleti- cism and desire to be competitive. He’ll push the ball in transition. It’ll be fun to see how many deflections and steals he can stack up.
“Mathew Moeder works for everything and never takes a play off. He will give us some more strength and size on the inside and the sky’s the limit for Maddox.
“Parker Dicks can shoot the ball extremely well, thanks to hours in the gym.
Kriegh wants to play a fast pace.
“We’ll take opportuni- ties to run in transition so we can pressure the other team’s defense,” he said. “We will set screens on the ball, and work on how to set and use screens away from the ball. We’ll constantly move and attack what the defense is giving us. We want high percentage shots by getting everyone involved.”
Kriegh will exploit mul- tiple defenses.
“We’ll focus on our man-to-man fundamen- tals and approach, but we’ll mix in a variety of defenses to keep our opponents off balance.”
Other contributors will be Maddox Spray, Parker Dicks.
“Maddox Spray is the type of player you know is putting in the extra time. The Sprays are all competitive and have a desire to do great things.
3—Tyler Stuhlsatz, 6-1, 12
10—Maddox Spray, 6-1, 11
11—Braylon Council, 5-11, 12
13—Mathew Moeder, 6-2, 12
15—Parker Dicks, 6-0, 11
20—Colton Brack, 6-1, 11
24—Carter Coombs, 5-11, 11
1—Carson Poe, 5-10
3—Hunter Herrman, 5-9
4—Dominick Price, 5-8
5—Ben Nicholson, 6-1
11—Thomas Armatys, 5-8
12—Blake Streck, 5-10
15—Izaeh Reed, 6-0
21—Carson Umphres, 6-1
GREAT BEND SCHEDULE
12-2—at Junction City; 12-8—at Kingman (Sterling); 12-9—at Kingman (Conway Springs); 12-10—at Kingman; 12-13—Larned; 12-16—Emporia; 1-6—*Garden City; 1-10—*Hays High; 1-13—at Hutchinson; 1-17—*at Dodge City (girls); 1-19/21—at El Dorado Tourney (boys); 1-26/28—at Emporia Tourney (girls); 1-27*—at Dodge City (boys); 2-3—*Liberal; 2-7—at Buhler; 2-10—*at Garden City; 2-14—Hays-TMP; 2-17—*Dodge City; 2-18—*at Liberal; 2-23—*at Hays High
The grand plan for Great Bend girls basket- ball coach Cindy (Keeley) Beck is working. After a 6-49 record over 55 games, the Panthers (7-12, 1-7) improved two wins and showed the fight and tenacity that Beck wanted to see.
Salina South beat the Panthers 51-35 in post- season play. But at least the Panthers spoiled Hays High’s Senior Night 46-40 in their final regular-sea- son game.
It’s still a work in prog- ress, but progress is the key word after ending two prior seasons with 13- and 18-game losing streaks. Beck is assisted by Bill Maddy, Jessica Geist and Brooklyn Burkhart.
Minimizing turnovers and working for high- quality shots will be primary factors for the Panthers to stay competi- tive.
Athletic sensation Mersa- die Spray (7 ppg, 4 rpg, 2 steals) will anchor the Panthers’ lineup.
Others returning with varsity experience are Allyson Kaiser, Emilee Hall, and Makenzie Premer. Beck plans to play multiple players and give players a chance to shine on the court.
“Our expectations will continue to grow as we progress through the season,” Beck said. “We lost a lot of experience to graduation. That should lead to some very com- petitive practices to see who will step up and fill some key positions.”
Beck likes to play multiple defenses and
the Panthers’ full-court pressure created problems for teams last season. The Panthers are typically undersized and will face
a challenge on the boards all season.
“Defense is going to have to be a big focus for us this year and some- thing we need to improve on,” she said. “We will have to learn to battle in- side when we are outsized by opponents.”
Beck expects reigning Western Athletic cham- pion Dodge City will face a possible challenge from Liberal and Garden City.
“In league play, it will be a battle for the top spot between Dodge City, Lib- eral and Garden City. All those teams return mul- tiple athletic key players. We will have to learn to slow good scorers down to be able to compete. Hays was young last year, but returns experience and solid players.”
Beck likes the attitude and work ethic she sees. She’s not worried about
the heart and tenacity to compete.
“We’ve got good, coach- able players coming up,” Beck said. “I enjoy the teaching part of the game and the positive impact you have with your play- ers. Seeing players im- prove in practice is when it’s fun.”
Beck is a 2003 Great Bend graduate who earned all-state 5A honors after averaging 21.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game. Beck played on the 2005 NAIA Division 2 national champion at Washburn University. Washburn de- feated Seattle Pacific 70- 53 for the NAIA national championship at Hot Springs, Ark. Beck ranked first for 3-point percent- age at Washburn during the 2006-2007 season and ranks in the top 10 for career 3-pointers.
GREAT BEND PANTHERS
3—Paige Thexton, 5-7, 11
10—Mersadie Spray, 5-8, 11
11—Addy Nicholson, 5-6, 11
12—Samantha Mayers, 5-10, 11
15—Ava Gregg, 5-5, 11
23—Aniya Jones, 5-11, 11
32—Emilee Hall, 5-9, 11
33—McKenzie Premer, 5-8, 11
1—Cassie Ellegood, 5-10 3—Josephine Mazouch, 5-3 11—Kylie McCormick, 5-8 12—Clarice Snapp, 5-4 14—Jillian Reimer, 5-7 23—Jordyn Harbaugh, 5-5
Great Bend coach Kari Carper was selected as Coach of the Year when the Panthers finished runner- up at the Western Athletic Conference swimming championship last year. Garden City broke five meet records to score 430 points. Great Bend scored 341 points at the Barton Community College pool.
Tyler Stein placed 14th (59.57) in the 100 backstroke at the 5-1A state swimming meet. The Panthers placed 12th in
the medley relay with a season-best time (1:45.39) with Stein, Ellis Long and Brody Feist returning. The 400 freestyle relay placed 22nd at state (3:49.24) with Stein, Long, Feist and Kasey Kennedy returning.
Stein, Long and Feist return from the state 200 freestyle relay. Long placed 18th in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.81).
Brody Feist won the WAC 200 IM (2:23.48). Feist, Ellis Long and Stein return from a runner-up WAC 400 freestyle relay (3:38.41).
Other runner-up finishes were posted by Stein, 100 backstroke (1:01.26); Long, 100 breaststroke (1:10.34); Kasey Kennedy, 200 IM (2:26.54) and Feist, 500 freestyle (5:55.2).
“Our team goals and are to win the Western Athletic and qualify at least two relays for the state meet,” Carper said.
Carper commented on her top swimmers.
“Brody Feist’s best events are the 50 and 100 free. He’ll swim the 200 free and 500 free several times. Brody’s goal is to
wn two of the freestyle events at WAC. He wants to qualify for state in at least one event.
“Tyler Stein’s best event is the 100 backstroke. He’ll swim the 50/100/200 free, in addition to the backstroke. Tyler’s goal is to win the 100 backstroke at WAC and break the school record
“Ellis Long’s best event is the 100 breaststroke. Ellis is a great all-around swimmer, as he will swim all events for us. His goal is to win the 100 breaststroke at WAC and place in the top 16 at state.
best event is the 100 butterfly. He’ll be our butterfly specialist along with trying new events. His goal is to break the 1-minute mark in the 100 butterfly.
“Beau Burkhart is our all-around swimmer who is ready to step in and fill spots on the A relays. His goal is to compete at state on one of the relays.”
Two years ago, Stein returns from the 15th-place 400 relay (3:41.71). Stein and Long placed 14th in the medley relay (1:48.99). Stein placed eighth in the
100 backstroke (59.01). Carper’s assistant coach
is Ramon “Klara” Gilbert.
GREAT BEND ROSTER
SENIORS—Ty Boone, Beau Burkhart, Colton Cross, Ellis Long, Cole Sanders
JUNIORS—Dustyn Epp, Kasey Kennndy, Andrew McQuade, Trinten Medlock, Josh Sharpe, Kaid Wagner
SOPHOMORES—Mohamed Elzaki, A.J. Thurman (Hoisington)
12-1—at Salina South; 12-6—Great Bend Invitational, 4; 12-13—at Hutchinson; 12-15—at Garden City; 1-7—at Shawnee; 1-17—at Campus; 1-21—at Wichita Heights; 1-23—Great Bend, 4; 2-1—at Salina South; 2-10—Western Athletic at Garden City; 2-17/18—5A state at Topeka
Returning 5A state bowling runner-up Paige Wagner should be primed for a super senior cam- paign as a past Western Athletic Bowler of the Year and eighth and 15th- place medalist honors.
Wagner broke school records at the 5A state meet with high game (289) and high series (725) and earned high average (209). She missed a 300 game at state when she left a 10-pin in the 11th frame.
‘‘She’s bowled at a high level in league, regionals and state competition,” said Great Bend coach David Feldbauer. “Paige practices a lot. Her spare shooting has gotten a lot better.”
Wagner is expected to join her Panther team- mates after the January season starts because she will compete in sev- eral off-season tourna- ments.
championships with a winning score of 642 last year.
Great Bend’s girls have placed second (3,188), sixth (2,880) and seventh (2,521) at 5A state the past three years. The Panthers won the 5A regional last year.
Three-time state quali- fier Kristi Wittig (458, 36th) rejoins past state qualifiers Sahara Rhiza (548, 17th); Kaylin Wahlmeier (31st); Aliyah Fryberger (489, 48th).
“We have a strong girls team again and will do well this year,” Feldbauer said. “We’ve got a few girls coming up. WAC and regionals will be a fight this year. Some of the boys and girls have experience at regional and state which will helps with the nerves. They will calm down and bowl bet- ter.”
Caleb Murphy placed 67th (507) and Dylan Ferguson finished 86th (430) at 5A state last year. Past WAC Player of the
Year Bryce Moore placed third at 5A state (698) after winning the 5A regional (751).
“We’re building the boys side back up this year,” Feldbauer said. “We have some veterans bowl- ers who will step up their games to help the boy side improve.”
Panther bowlers earn qualifying spots in nine games played Dec. 8-10. Fulltime practice starts Jan 1, 2022.
Feldbauer is assisted by Allison Meitner, a former Great Bend Panther bowler.
GREAT BEND BOYS
SENIORS—Jalen Daniels, Dylan Ferguson (86th—430), Jordan Manning, Caleb McNett
SOPHOMORES—Quinten Miller, Jordan Sander, Darian Sherwood, Keaton Wahlmeier
GREAT BEND GIRLS
SENIORS—Aliyah Fryberger (48th—489; REG 528); Sahara Rziha (17th—548; REG 492)
JUNIORS—Izzabo Cox, Paige Heine, Emilee Nelson, Rionna Rodriguez, Kaylin Wahlmeier (31st— 496; REG 480)
SOPHOMORES—Kyra Calvert, Kacie Schroeder
1-7—at Wichita Carroll; 1-10—at Liberal; 1-12—Dodge City/Holcomb; 1-16—at Garden City; 1-24—at Hays; 1-27/28—at Great Plains, Wichita; 2-2—at Dodge City; 2-7—at Garden City; 2-9—Liberal/Holcomb; 2-16—Hays; 2-20—at 5-1A regional
LARNED — The Larned girls have record- ed 1-20 and 2-19 basket- ball records the past two seasons.
Former Larned boys basketball coach Jerrod Smith has accepted the challenge of helping the Indians make steady progress.
Smith said his pri- mary goal is to heighten expectations. His wife Hannah played for a state basketball cham- pion at St. John that was coached by Dean Rausch.
“Dean told me to coach the girls like bas- ketball players, and that’s what we’re doing,” Smith said. “I’ve teaching the girls how to play and compete. The girls are working really hard and I’m pleased with their ef- fort. In some cases, we’re asking them to accom- plish things they haven’t done. We’re changing that and already getting better.”
When Smith watched film from last year, he saw a team that was locked in place too much.
“They were an aw- fully young team that turned the basketball over too much,” he said. “We run passing drills. Some of that is correct- able, making crisp passes
and catching with two hands. When they stayed in place too much, they invited the defense to pressure them.”
Smith said the girls
are working on funda- mentals under control. They’ve got to handle the basketball better.
“We’re being patient and this group will get better,” he said. “We
want to see the floor offensively, catch the basketball, square up and see the court. When you make a decision, they’ll go full speed and play faster.”
The Indians feature plenty of experience
in Reagan Krehbiel, Kathryn Holt, Elizabeth Herrera, Kiana Meyer, Jaidyn Pinkston, Akielah Collins, Abby Holt and Arianna Hemken.
Newcomers feature track state cham-
pion Jayme Hagerman, Quinter transfers Mad- die Reinert and Macken- zie Reinert and freshmen Karley Lemuz.
Smith projects his starting lineup will be Jaidyn Pinkston, Jayme Hagerman, Elizabeth Herrera, Akielah Collins and Karley Lemuz. The Indians plan to incorpo- rate pressure schemes to take advantage of their ability.
“Jayme Hagerman is a track state champion who’s very athletic,” Smith said. “The Rein-
ert sisters have shown they’ll compete on the court. Defensively, we’ll play man-to-man. But we’re athletic and quick enough to press people. We’re not ready yet. As we progress, well pres- sure some.”
Smith said he’s con- fident the girls will quickly show improve- ment.
“Right now, it feels like we’re running uphill, but they need some success and win some games, so it’s becomes important
to them. We’re not there yet. But our long-range goal is to be competitive, and compete to win the Keady Tourney and the Central Kansas League.”
2—Maddie Reinert, 5-8, 11
3—Abby Holt, 5-2, 11
4—Nydia Martinez, 5-8, 11
5—Kaylee Hagerman, 5-6, 10
10—Teagan Walker, 4-11, 10
11—Jaidyn Pinkston, 5-5, 11
12—Elizabeth Herrera, 5-7, 12
13—Kiana Meyer, 5-6, 12
20—Jayme Hagerman, 5-5, 12
22—Mackenzie Reinert, 5-3 11
24—Akielah Collins, 5-8, 11
32—Arianna Hemken, 5-7, 11
35—Karley Lemuz, 5-10, 10
12-2—Pratt; 12-6—Gene Keady Classic (Ellis); 12-8/10—Gene Keady Classic; 12-13—at Great Bend; 12-16—at Haven; 1-3—Ellsworth; 1-6—at Skyline; 1-10—*Lyons; 1-13—*at Smoky Valley; 1-16-21—at St. John Tournament; 1-31—*Nickerson; 2-3—*Halstead; 2-7—*at Hillsboro; 2-10—*at Hesston; 2-14—*Hoisington; 2-17—*Haven; 2-21—*at Pratt
LARNED — Larned boys basketball coach Luke Steinlage knows all about quality high school basketball. Steinlage’s Centralia High School
is a perennial basketball powerhouse in northeast Kansas.
Steinlage has coached yotu basketball since he moved to Larned in 2007. He served as a high school assistant for five years before accepting the head coaching position.
The Indians (7-14, 1-8 CKL) graduated seven seniors from last year’s basketball team. Hugoton downed the Indians 77-48 in 3A postseason play. Brady Hope would’ve been the Indians’ leading returning scorer, but he’ll likely miss the season with a injury from the football season.
“With graduating seven seniors and returning very little varsity experience,
I expect we’ll be a team that grows a lot through the basketball season,” Steinlage said. “The players are working hard every day to put themselves
into a position to be able to compete. The team we put on the floor at the beginning of the year probably won’t look like the same team at the end of the season.”
Seniors Ian Orth and versatile 6-2 standout Carlos Ibarra gained varsity experience last year and athletic Luke Wilson contributed two years ago.
“I’m excited to get the season to get going. I look for Carlos and Ian to have big senior seasons,” Steinleage said. “They
are our two other players who played varsity games last year. Ian will be our primary ballhandler. Carlos may be asked to play all five spots at times.” Steinlage said the
Indians will have to compete at a high level to compete. The rugged Central Kansas League features 3A state champion Hesston, 2A state champion and 3A substate finalist Haven.
“Offensively for us to be successful, we’ll need to be patient and run our offense efficiently,” he said. “We have to be selective with our fast breaks. On the defensive side, we want to switch defenses often to keep our opponent on their toes.”
1–Talon Reynolds, 5-6, 11
3—Deacon Martin, 5-7, 10
4—Carson Shaver, 5-9, 10
5—Easton Fitzpatrick, 6-2, 12
10—Cade Colglazier, 6-3, 11
12—Ethan Lemuz, 5-11, 12
14—Ceaton Haney, 5-8, 11
15—Jayden Smith, 5-9, 12
20—Brady Hope, 5-9, 11
21—Corbyn Nance, 5-4, 10
23—Ty Smith, 5-11, 11
24—Zane Burger, 5-9, 10
25—DeMario Smith, 5-7, 12
34—Eian Sanders, 5-10, 12
40—Camden Bird, 5-8, 10
52—Carter Crosby, 5-11, 10
LARNED — The Larned Indians have reserved a spot in Class 3-1A wrestling after bat- tling a challenge in 4A wrestling last year. Past state champion Samajay Alboyd (37-7) graduated after he lost in the 4A state championship match to Buhler’s Sam Elliott (42-0).
Larned’s Dillen Hook (31-3, 113) placed third at state in 2020. Hook defeated Smith Center’s Bentley Montgomery 5-1 for third. Fellow senior Gatlin Hoch (132) is a two-time state qualifier.
“Dillen Hook and Gatlin Hoch should be looking to cap off their careers with more than 100 wins and some state hardware,” said Larned coach Matt Sleder. “They are our senior leaders that help our team.”
Past state qualifier
Carter Atteberry (28-10) is ready to go.
“Carter Atteberry is a state medalist contender for sure,” Sleder said.
Senior Jarett Seeman and sophomore Luke Fischer (152) will con- tribute to our team as leaders.
“We moved way down the line this year,’ Sleder said. “I foresee us being 3-2-1A. I expect big things. We have a good core of upperclassmen and five freshmen who are picking it up in the room and will see varsity time. Our team is a great fit for 3-2-1A. That’s where we saw success and hope to continue that this year.”
Sleder said the Indians are working to get better every day and meet the challenges ahead.
“Our kids know how to wrestle and we always are in the best condition,” he said. “We stick to the basics, but we have added
extra lifting, stamina, and circuit training into this season.”
Reese Watkins (10-23) and Liliana McKenna are Larned’s girl wrestlers. Past state champion and state runner-up Ava Mull transferred to Pratt High School.
LARNED BOYS—106—Jai-Sean George, 10; 120—Jameson Smith (4-12), 11; 145—Jacob Colglazier, (9-21), 12; 152—Luke Fischer, 11; 160— Kaden Herrman, 10; 170—Landon Haney, 10; 182—Angel Bowersox, 10; 220—Carter Atteberry, (SQ-28-10; 19-15) 12
LARNED GIRLS—101—Lilianna Mckenna, 10; 126—Reese Watkins, (10-23) 11
12-3—at WaKeeney; at Hays JV; 12-9/10—at Great Bend girls; 12-16—at Hoisington; 1-5—Larned meet; 1-7—at Norton; 1-12—at Hoisington; 1-14—at Hays JV; 1-17—at Nickerson girls, JV; 1-20/21—at Hays; 1-27—at Garden Plain; 1-28—at Larned girls, JV boys; 2-3/4—at Circle; at Phillipsburg JV; 2-9—at Central Kansas League, Halstead; 2-10-11—at 3A girls regional; 2-17/18—at 3A boys regional; 2-22-23—at 3A girls state; 2-24-25—at 3A boys state
CLAFLIN — The folks in Claflin call it “Oiler Magic.”
Central Plains girls basketball coach Pat Stiles (223-7) has created a juggernaut that has captured seven consecutive state championships.
“Our success will depend on maintaining the awesome culture the girls have created by playing hard, playing for each other, making the extra pass and sharing the basketball. We call it the ‘Oiler Way.’ ”
The Oilers were tested during last year’s 22-3 championship season, which saw their 138- game winning streak end against 3A Phillipsburg (49-44). They also lost to 2A state champion Sterling (59-46) and 3A Hesston (42-36).
The Oilers rallied with five consecutive postseason wins, including a 39-35 championship victory over Cunningham. The Oilers have swept nine consecutive Central Prairie League titles.
“The streak put a lot of pressure on last year’s team,” Stiles said. “You can learn so much from a loss. We concentrated on things we could control. We played and practiced extremely hard and got better each day. We rallied together and played really well down the stretch. We went on quite a run beating Elyria, St. Paul, Golden Plains and Cunningham.”
Stiles said his primary message is “next game,” mentality.
“I always tell them that it doesn’t matter what we’ve done in the past, They don’t have to defend anything,” he said. “We concentrate on being the best team that this team can be. Our goal is to each day concentrate and work on the little things we can control — play hard, box out, jump to the ball on defense and communicate. If we take care each day and get better, tomorrow will take care of itself.”
The Oilers are reloaded for an encore performance behind 1A all-stater Brynna Hammeke (20 ppg, 5 rpg,
OILERS BY THE NUMBERS *state record
*138—most consecutive wins (2015-2020)
*54—most consecutive postseason wins (2014- 2021)
*26-2—best state tournament, 93%
*25—most consecutive state wins (2014-2021) *7—most consecutive state titles (2013-2021) *6—most undefeated seasons (2014-2020) *5—most consecutive undefeated seasons (2016-
*276—fewest fouls (2019-2020)
*75.4—Free throw % (264-350, 2016-2017) *74,6—Field goal % game (44-59 vs. Ness City) *21.2—Scoring defense (2019-2020) *58.7—Season FG percentage (2019-2020) *57.1 ppg—Average margin of victory (2019-20)
*14-14—Emily Ryan, best FT % (2017) *73.8—Emily Ryan, career FG % (973-1,317,
*79.6—Emily Ryan, season FG % (232-290, 2020) *90.5—Emily Ryan, career FT % (408-451, 2016-
*599—Emily Ryan, career steals (2016-2020)
GIRLS ALL-TIME WINNING STREAKS
218—Baskin, La.—1947-1953 154—Monetta, SC—1933-1940 138—Central Plains Oilers—2015-2020
PAT STILES’ RECORD
24-1—1A state champion
22-3—1A state champion, 20-21
25-0—1A Final Four, 19-20
27-0—1A state champion, 18-19
26-0—2A state champion, 17-18
26-0—2A state champion, 16-17
26-0—2A state champion, 15-16
25-1—2A state champion, 14-15
26-0—2A state champion, 13-14
20-3—2A substate runner-up, 12-13
where we want to be playing our best basketball.”
The Oilers own 18 Kansas high school state records, including 54 consecutive postseason wins and a 26-2 state tournament record, a 93% winning percentage. Iowa State standout Emily Ryan owns state records for career steals, season FT% and FG%, career FG% and single- game FT% (14-14).
3 assists, 4 steals) and All-CPL Kassidy Nixon (10 ppg, 8 rpg, 4 assists, 5 steals). Hammeke averaged 22 ppg in postseason and shot 35% (3-pointers), 72% (FG) and 77% (FT).
Nixon is the Oilers’ defensive stopper who averaged 12 ppg in postseason and shot 62% (FG).
“We’re very fortunate to have Kassidy and Brynna back for another season,” Stiles said. “They play off each other so well, both defensively and offensively. They are good teammates. They’re being more vocal and are taking on leadership
roles for the team.”
The Oilers were short
on height last year and Jennah Jeffrey filled the void.
The 5-10 Madie McGuire, a Cunningham transfer, provides immediate help in the paint.
“Madie McGuire will give us a strong presence and big impact in the post,” Stiles said. “Madie has been well coached and has a really good work ethic. She’s a tenacious rebounder and plays so selfless.”
Others who played varsity minutes are junior Kyla Metro and sophomores Mollie
Steiner, 5-9 Melissa Donecker and 5-9 Addyson Ogle.
“Six players with varsity experience should give us more depth. Madie McGuire’s sister Reese gives us added depth at guard,” Stiles said. “She’s a very good outside threat.”
The Oilers will focus ononedayatatime.A showdown with Sterling Jan. 11, 2022 tops the schedule.
“We’ll have a Win the Day attitude,” Stiles said. “We’ll take one practice, one game at a time and work to get better. Our tough schedule will prepare for postseason,
CENTRAL PLAINS OILERS
2—Mollie Steiner, 5-5 11, G
3—Brynna Hammeke, 5-8, 12, G
4—Libby Warta, 5-6, 10
10—Addyson Ogle, 5-9, 11, G
12—Ryann Metro, 5-3, 10
14—Kylie Kempke, 5-4, 10
15—Kyla Metro, 5-3, 12, G
21—Reese McGuire, 5-4, 12, G
23—Grace Lamatsch, 5-4, 10
24—Melissa Donecker, 5-9, 11, F
25—Karma Sieliet, 5-5, 10
33—Marilyn Soeken, 5-7, 10
40—Taylor Sheehy, 5-7, 11OILER SCHEDULE
12-2—at Berean Academy; 12-6/9/10—at Russell Tourney; 12-13—St. John; 1-3—at Ellinwood; 1-6—*Macksville; 1-10—at Sterling; 1-13—*at Victoria; 1-17/21—at St. John Tourney; 1-31—*Otis-Bison; 2-3—*at St. John; 2-7—*Ellinwood; 2-10—*La Crosse; 2-14—*at Ness City; 2-16—at Canton-Galva; 2-17—*Kinsley; 2-21—Little River
CLAFLIN — The Central Plains boys hit their stride in 1A postseason with victories over Centre 72-48 and Peabody 51-47 before losing to eventual Division. 2 state runner- up McPherson Elyria 41-33.
The future appeared bright after a 6-16 season with All-Central Prairie League Peyton Ryan (12 ppg, 2 assists, 2 steals) headlining six other returning players.
But sparkplug Michael Laymon (10 ppg) moved out-of-state and Cole Lamatsch and Dawson McNeal, who improved last summer, are unable to participate.
“It’s different than what was expected. Trust me, I was excited with what we had back and how we played at the end of the season,” said Central Plains coach Bryce Steiner. “All three would’ve been key guys.”
The good news is third- team All-CPL Ryan provides a steady ballhandler with improving shooting ability.
“As a freshmen, Peyton was our game manager,” Steiner said. “Things tended to run smoother with Ryan in the game. He’s watched great basketball in his life and it
shows. His knowledge is something you can’t teach.”
Hunter Klima (3 ppg) delivered quality minutes before a season-ending injury.
“We noticed his absence down the stretch,” Steiner said. “He’s a big ‘hustle guy’ for us. He ran the floor well and played every position. He and Ryan were big freshmen pieces.”
Evan Stratmann is another returnee.
“Evan played more minutes as the season went on. He’s developed into a big vocal leader. He
isn’t the biggest or quickest, but he’s strong and works his tail off. Overall, there will be lots of new names on our roster due to graduation and losing returners. These guys are working super hard and want to get better to compete. It’s hard to be upset with that.”
Steiner would like to push a faster pace with Ryan, but the experience and lack of height narrows his options. A 10-player roster features five freshmen.
“I’d like to play fast and get up-and-down,” he
said. “With a lot of underclassmen and not much height, we may have to develop into something that fits us better. Offensively, we’ll have to see what works for us.”
Steiner anticipated a deeper and athletic team capable of applying pressure defense.
“I expected an experienced and extremely athletic team, but it depends on how fast
this young group learns and develops,” he said. “We’ll be young with freshmen playing big minutes.”
The Oilers start with Hoisington and journey to Russell to compete against 2A and 3A teams.
“Just learning and getting better every day has to be our biggest goal,” Steiner said. “We face a schedule loaded with 3A powers Hesston, Haven
and Hoisington. We may take some lumps, but we need to find things to get better during those times. We want to put ourselves in a position to win some games at the end.”
CENTRAL PLAINS OILERS
3—Izaiah Ramirez, 5-7, G, 10
5—Hunter Klima, 5-11, F, 11
11—Peyton Ryan, 5-9, PG, 11
15—Connor Fries, 5-10, 11
21—Joseph Bunch, 5-8, G, 12
22—Joel Schreiber, 6-0, 10
23—Evan Stratmann, 5-7, G, 12
32—Aiden Hekele, 5-10, 10
34—Kristopher Frost, 6-1, F, 10
ST. JOHN — The St. John girls are ranked third in 1A Division 1 keyed by five returning starters from a 12-10 ballclub.
The Tigers pushed state runner-up Norwich in a 40-36 1A substate championship loss that saw Heidi Fisher score 14 points. The Tigers (12-10, 5-3 CPL) downed Macksville 44-26 and gave 2A state champion Sterling a challenge in a 46-41 loss.
Two years ago, lost 42-39 to state qualifier Ingalls 42-39.
Danny Smith (218-93
at St. John) last qualified for the state tournament in 2018. St. John has qualified for 11 state tournament trips and the Tigers captured a 2009 state championship.
Standout 5-10 Darby Smith, a four-year starter, earned KBCA all-state and first-team All-Central Prairie League honors and led the Tigers in scoring (13 ppg) and rebounding. Smith, a versatile ballhandler who excels inside and outside, performs like the coach’s daughter.
The Tigers return starters Payton Meyer, second-team All-CPL Kaylynn Claussen (9.5 ppg), Bailee Hudson and assist leader Heidi Fisher (8 ppg), who enjoyed a strong freshman season. “I’m expecting big seasons from Darby and Heidi Fisher because they improved so much this summer,” said coach Smith. “We’re excited for the upcoming season because we have a pretty good basketball team with experience. Our seniors and junior girls have started or played varsity basketball since freshman year. That experience will show this season.”
Jade Portillo returns from a season-ending injury last year. Mackenzie Hacker has varsity experience. Freshman 6-1 Lydia Reed will help inside.
“Jade is a good basketball player and it’ll be nice to have her return,” Smith said.
The Tigers struggled to play a fast pace with so few healthy players last year.
“Last season was a struggle to stay healthy,” he said. “Practices were challenging, not to mention games. We’re already in better shape, having everyone healthy heading into the season. The girls put in a good summer of work. I feel good about where we are starting.”
A rugged schedule prepares the Tigers for postseason play, but will hurt them record-wise.
“Our schedule is tough because we don’t play a typical 1A schedule,” Smith said. “Our schedule features seven-time state champion Central Plains
three times, 2A state champion Sterling, 3A Cimarron, 3A Hesston and 3A Russell. Our concern is depth, with nine girls on the roster.”
ST. JOHN TIGERS
3—Erynn Cantrell, 5-6, 10
5—Heidi Fisher, 5-6, 11
21—Mackenzie Hacker, 5-8, 12
24—Jade Portillo, 5-6, 12
23—Lydia Reed, 6-1, 10
ST. JOHN SCHEDULE
12-2—at Stafford; 12-5—Gene Keady Classic (Spearville); 12-8/10—Gene Keady Classic; 12-13—at Central Plains; 12-16—Hesston; 1-3—*Kinsley; 1-6—*Ness City; 1-10—*at Ellinwood; 1-13—Cimarron; 1-17/21—at St. John Tourney; 1-27—Russell; 2-3—*Central Plains; 2-7—*at La Crosse; 2-10—*at Victoria; 2-13—*at Otis-Bison; 2-14—at Sterling; 2-17—*Macksville
ST. JOHN – With 6-foot-7 Elijah Delp leading the way, the St. John Tigers feature the dominant big man in the Central Prairie League.
Delp sparked the Tigers (9-14, 2-6 CPL) to a late-season rally that surprised No. 2 seed Macksville 42-32 with
a 20-0 scoring run and No. 3 Pretty Prairie 61- 58 in 1A regional play. Pratt Skyline held off
the Tigers 41-38 in the regional championship.
“We understood that we needed to guard and value the basketball
for 32 minutes to be successful,” said St. John coach Danton Hilton. “Our three seniors do
a good job bringing energy during defensive practice. That effort and enthusiasm is infectious with our young guys.”
Delp posted several double/doubles in scoring and rebounding last year. Every team collapses its defense on Delp, a superb passer.
“Elijah is one of the best bigs in our league and area,” Hilton said. “Elijah shares the ball and if the offense flows through him, it helps our guards get good shots. He’s worked to improve his explosiveness and athleticism. He’s ready
to take on a scoring role while anchoring our defense.”
Point guard Hunter Smith scored a career high 23 points against Pretty Prairie.
“Hunter Smith is a solid point guard who shoots it very well,” Hilton said. “Hunter has worked against good point guards in practice (Joel Ortiz, Mason Osborne) and it’s his turn to lead us his senior year.”
Supersub Preston Dunn will inherit a starting spot.
“Preston Dunn is one of our best defenders and our energy guy,” Hilton said. “He is “sneaky” athletic and we expect
him to take a step forward scoring.”
“Our pace of play isn’t important. We’ve really emphasized being efficient offensively. We can play fast or slow, but care more about getting great shots instead of the first shot available. Other than that, playing through the post area will be important for us to be successful.
Of course, the 6-7 Delp will anchor the Tigers’ zone schemes.
“We need to play great defense without fouling. We’ll mix in a variety of man-to-man and zone defenses depending
on the teams,” he said. “Our biggest keys will be staying out of foul trouble, rebounding and valuing the basketball. We need young guys to “grow up” to help with our depth issue.”
St. John’s boys have captured six state basketball titles and has qualified for state basketball 13 times.
Hilton favors Ellinwood is the CPL favorite after sweeping to an 8-0 record last season. “The CPL may be the toughest top-to- bottom in recent years,” he said. “We have a great league with a lot of good coaches and awesome players. Coach Derek Joiner, Britton Dutton
and the Eagles capable of repeating as league champions.”
ST. JOHN TIGERS
0—Brody Vieux, 6-0, G/F, 10
2—Quade Smith, 5-10, G, 10
5—Ethan Son, 5-11. PG, 12
11—Marco Ibarra, 5-9, PG, 12
12—Josh Chapman, 5-8,F, 10
13—Ian Dunn, 6-1, G/F, 11
14—Alan Valenzuela, 6-0, F, 11
15—Christopher Fernandez, 5-9, G, 10
20—Adrian Adame, 6-0, G, 11
23—Angel Ibarra, 5-10, G/F, 12
30—Aden Adame, 5-8, F, 10
33—Conner Gillespie, 5-8, G, 12
34—Brandon Henkle, 5-7, F, 10
35—Randy Calvillo, F, 5-8, 11
ELLINWOOD — The past three years, the Ellinwood Eagles have accomplished everything but a 2A state tournament appearance.
Postseason nemesis Sterling eliminated the Eagles 48-42, 49-30 and 43-37 the past three years, twice in the substate championship. The Eagles last qualified for the state tournament in 1984 and finished as state runner-up in 1957 and 1976.
Three-time All-Central Prairie League Britton Dutton (24 ppg, 5 rpg, 4 assists, 2 steals) led the Eagles (20-3, 8-0) to back-to-back Central Prairie League titles. Britton plays an all- around game and shot 40% on 3-pointers and 80% on free throws.
Parker Scheck (12 ppg, 4 rpg)
Koy Behnke (9 ppg)
Drew Heinz (6 ppg)
Alek Brack (3 ppg)
“He can really play. Britton is obviously the focal point and he continues to improve,” said Ellinwood coach Derek Joiner. “He plays a lot of basketball in the offseason and spends a lot of time with individual development. He’s growing as a player who can help others around him. He’s getting others to join him in disrupt teams defensively. He manufactures ways to score at the 2A level.
“Drew Heinz can make the open 3. His football experience has given him more confidence.”
Dutton, Scheck and Behnke will start with Zink, Drew Heinz or Brack filling in the lineup. Other reserves will be Trey Schofield, Darian Haynes (eligible after Christmas), Cooper Hosman, Morgan Hoeffner and Landon Simpson.
Joiner will stress a fast pace that takes advantage of Dutton’s skill in the open court.
“We’ll emphasize cutting without the ball when the defense loads up on Brit,” Joiner said. “We’ve got to attack closeouts when they load the gaps on Brit as well.”
the gym. The team’s success is growing in importance to him as he becomes an upperclassmen.”
The Eagles’ other standout is 6-4 athletic Parker Scheck (10 ppg, 6 rpg, 1.5 steals). His only issue is staying on the court out of foul trouble.
“I’m expecting a breakout year from Parker, who has become a better athlete,” Joiner said. “This
summer, he was really good from 15-feet and in. Travel basketball this fall has boosted his confidence. When he’s on the floor, he make things happen with his energy and athletic ability. He has to stay disciplined on defense with his hands and feet.”
Other returnees are Koy Behnke (4 ppg, 4 assists), Cody Zink (3 ppg) and Alek
Brack (2 ppg). Drew Heinz will also contribute.
“Koy always is a player who fills the boxscore. He’s made big strides. He’s gotten stronger physically. He should score more.
“Alek’s biggest strength is he plays with confidence. He gives us a ballhandler. He’s a strong on ball defender.
“Cody is long and athletic. When he’s out playing with aggressiveness, he can
Joiner believes in multiple defensive looks that starts with man-to-man principles.
“Man will almost always be our staple, but we’ve found success in 3/4 defense back to some zone defense against different opponents,” he said. “We will play multiple styles of defense.”
The Eagles expect to challenge for the CPL title, but will seek to be a postseason factor. Joiner believes Ness City and Macksville will challenge for the CPL title with St. John and La Crosse fielding strong teams.
“The league is always good. If you win the CPL, you’ve got an opportunity to reach your other goals,” he said. “We want to breakthrough and win that substate championship and give ourselves a chance to win the whole thing. I would like to have that opportunity to face anyone in 2A.
0—Brit Dutton, 6-1, PG, 12
3—Drew Heinz, 5-10, SG, 11
4—Chase Gibson, 5-10, G, 11
5—Alek Brack, 5-8, G, 11
10—Cooper Hosman, 6-0, F, 11
11—Tavian McAffery, 5-9, G, 10
12—Landon Simpson, 5-6, G, 10
20—Asher Miller, 5-11, F, 12
21—Parker Scheck, 6-4, F, 12
22—Mason Moore, 6-1, G/F, 11
23—Darian Haynes, 6-1, F, 12
24—Koy Behnke, 6-3, G/F, 12
30—Braden Lewis, 5-10, F, 10
31—Bryce Steffan, 6-0, F, 10
44—Campbell Coleman, 6-1, F, 10
NINTH-GRADERS—Austin Brack, 5-8; Drake Hosman, 5-9; Tristan Keith, 6-0; Isaiah Steele, 5-9; Emil Boe6-2; Dawson Sutherland, 6-0; A.J. Bowyer, 5-6; Cameron Rapp, 5-7; Ty Hammeke, 6-0; Layton Wirtz, 5-11
12-2—*La Crosse; 12-6-9—at Fairfield Tourney; 12-13—at Ell-Saline; 12-16— Ellis; 1-3—Central Plains; 1-10—*St. John; 1-13—*at Macksville; 1-17/22—at Hoisington Winter Jam; 1-24—at Minneapolis; 1-27—at Lyons; 1-31—*Victoria; 2-7—*at Central Plains; 2-10—*Kinsley; 2-13—at SE Saline; 2-17—*at Otis-Bison; 2-21—*Ness City
ELLINWOOD – Keyed by a trio of returning starters, Ellinwood first- year basketball coach Andrew Gower believes the Eagles will be a factor in the Central Prairie League. Elllinwood (12-10, 6-2 CPL) beat Stanton County 58-37 and lost 75-56 to Elkhart in the 2A basketball substate.
The Eagle girls qualified for state basketball in 2006.
Gower has coached at Jefferson West, Royal Valley and Mission Valley.
“Our goal is to be competitive each night,” Gower said. “We’ll be a hard match-up. If we compete, take care of the ball, and make things difficult defensively, it’ll be a great challenge. I’m looking forward to what this team can do.”
Central Prairie All- League Brittany Simpson (23 ppg, 4 rpg, 3 assists, 4 steals) exhibits all-around offensive ability.
“Brittany Simpson will improve on her stellar year,” he said. “She’ll be challenged as our go-to scorer and leader of our team. Brittany has tremendous skill and has a natural scoring ability.”
Bella Baker (8 ppg, 4 rpg, 4 assist, 3 steals) is expected to be a double-digit scorer. Gower expects her to be a top defensive stopper.
Kennedy Behnke 5 ppg; Jayden Keith 2 ppg
“Bella Baker is a tough player with a competitive spirit,” he said. “She’s extremely athletic and has incredible energy on the floor. She shows ability to get to the basket and will be hard to guard on the perimeter. She’ll be a key defensive player on the perimeter.”
“We’ll read and react, space the floor and dribble penetration for looks at the rim and open 3s. We’ve been working on shot selection. We want to increase our shooting percentage from the outside. Well mix 3s, rim attacks, and free throws.” Gower prefers a man-to-man defensive game. “We’ve worked hard on
fundamentals and skills to play this style,” he said. “It’s a team defensive concept with ball pressure and help-the-helper concepts to put pressure on the offense. We’ll use length and athleticism in our man defense. We’ll back up man defense with a 3-2 zone.”
2—Heidi Bauer, 5-5, 10
3—Jaelyn Bauer, 5-5, 10
4—Kennedy Behnke, 5-10, 10
10—Makayah Trejo, 5-1, 10
12—Morgan Shinliver, 5-4, 11
13—Hannah Winget, 5-6, 11
14—Brittany Simpson, 5-8, 12
15—Grace Sturtz, 5-6, 10
21—Talen Barry, 5-5, 10
22—Nevaeh Bowman, 5-4, 10
23—Bella Baker, 5-5, 12
33—Emma Schmidt, 5-9, 12
35—Jayden Keith, 5-6, 12
30—Allison Ricker, 5-8, 11
ELLINWOOD — Great Bend graduate Kyle Roberts has ignited school spirit with the first-ever wrestling program at Ellinwood High School.
“There is an excitement and a buzz around the 20 youngsters representing Ellinwood High School,” Roberts said. “They are the
first in the history of their school to step on the wrestling mat. It takes courage to start something new. These Eagles have courage.”
The 1995 Great
Bend Panther graduate captured the 1993 state championship (103), placed as state runner-up and is a three-time state place-winner.
He’s served as president of the Great Bend Kids Wrestling Club, Topeka Tornado Wrestling Club and the Believers Wrestling Club.
He’s coached wrestling at Hoisington High School and Hoisington Middle School. He’s been awarded state honors
for USAWKS District Person, State Person, District Official and State Official of the Year.
Roberts will be assisted by Katty Borror.
“There is little to no wrestling experience. Two of the junior boys wrestled a year in
grade school. We lack experience in Ellinwood, but there is no shortage of heart.,” he said. “The students who have come out for the inaugural season of wrestling are dedicated and willing to learn.”
Roberts said it’s a perfect situation for every wrestler to show improvement.
“Fundamentals are the cornerstone to any successful program,” he said. “Sportsmanship and discipline are also characteristics that will be key in the students’
development.” Ellinwood athletic
director/football coach Alex Nuss reached out to Roberts in 2021 about helping with a proposal to add girls and boys wrestling as middle school and high school sports.
“Alex in the process of trying to build a football program and increase athletic participation in winter sports,” Roberts
said. “Alex had done his homework and received input about the benefits of adding wrestling
as a scholastic sport. With Great Bend coach Nathan Brockelman
and my input, Alex
Nuss presented the USD 355 school board with his plan to implement wrestling. The Ellinwood school board voted unanimously to approve wrestling in May.”
JUNIOR—Emma Nienke, 132
SOPHOMORES—Keighyn Dombroski, 109; Neesa Komarek, 138; Gracyn Dombroski, 143
SENIORS—Peter Vandermeer, 113; Cale Batchman, 138; Matthew Cook, 152
JUNIORS—Taylor Poteet, 120; Brayden Williams, 132; Rylan Wirtz, 145; Nathan Hammeke, 170; Dustin Omstead, 220; Jonathon Mason, 285—Cason Merritt, 145; Cooper Gunn, 160.
12-3—at WaKeeney; 12-9/10—at Great Bend girls/ JV; 12-13—Cheney, Haven; 12-16—at Hoisington; 1-7—at Herington; 1-12—at Haven/Stafford/Russell; 1-14—at Wichita West girls; 1-20—at Nickerson; 1-23—Great Bend, Pratt; 1-26—at SE Saline; 1-28—at Larned girls; 2-2—at Lyons; 2-4—Salina South/Salina Central/McPherson; 2-10/11—at 3-1A girls regional; 2-17/18—at 3-1A boys regional; 2-22/23—at 3-1A girls state; 2-24/25—at 3-1A boys state
OTIS – Otis-Bison girls basketball coach Jade Winter has been raised in a basketball environment.
The Derby High School and Fort Scott Community College graduate played college basketball at Park University, Mo. Her father Sean Winter coaches basketball at Hutchinson Middle School. She’s coached Kansas Dream Teams and has worked with high school and summer coaches Jamie Patrick, Lyric Martin and Marion Heim.
A trio of Otis-Bison junior standouts – Johanna Baalmann (9 ppg, 4 rpg, 2 steals, 2 assists); 5-10 Macie Wiltse (4 ppg, 4 rpg,
2 assists) and Hailee Morrison (8 ppg, 5 rpg, 1 assist. 2 steals) – headline the Cougars. The Cougars (8-10, 3-4) lost to
Wallace County 54-40 in postseason play.
Johannah Baalmann will play a big role at the wing for the nine-player Cougars.
“Her shot has improved and she’s gained experience playing at a
faster pace while playing competitive summer basketball,” Winter said. “Johannah will push the ball in transition. Her capability to release the ball fast on her shot will allow us to be successful.”
Halee Morrison will be move from her post role into a wing.
“Her shot has developed on the perimeter and will be
a nice addition to our outside game,” she said. “She’s able to handle the ball and will be a threat attacking the glass.”
Macie Wiltse will share time at a wing and inside
the lane due to her height. “Macie’s length allows
her to get outside shots over defenders,” Winter said. “Her wingspan
will help defensively as she gets deflections and blocks. Macie will play a big role rebounding and maintaining the speed of play that we wish to play.”
Freshman Zoey Schwindt (5-9) is a bright newcomer.
“Zoey Schwindt has developed as a post player,” Winter said. “She’s becoming more aggressive underneath the basket. She will help us rebound while
also helping create opportunities to score.”
Winter wants to push a fast pace, but balance that by attacking the basket.
“Our expected offensive style of play will be push in transition to create opportunities to score,” Winter said. “We want to attacking the glass to get to the free-throw line.”
Winter wants the Cougars to be active defensively.
“We want to get in the passing lanes. We have a lot of girls will long arms and multiple deflections will speed up offenses for them to make mistakes.”
5—Destiny Mitchell, 5-5, 10
12—Zoey Schwindt, 5-9, 10
13—Johanna Baalmann, 5-8, G, 12
14—Macie Wiltse, 5-10, G/F 12
15—Hailee Morrison, 5-8, G/F 12
23—Destiny Doyle, 5-5, 12
24—Abigail Rodriguez, 5-6, 11
32—Lela Kenyon, 5-6, 11
42—Marissa Reever, 5-8, 11
12-2—at Wilson; 12-6/10—at Kiowa County Tourney; 12-16—La Crosse; 1-3—at Stafford; 1-6—*at Victoria; 1-10—*Kinsley; 1-13—*at La Crosse; 1-16/21—at Hoisington Winter Jam; 1-24—Dighton; 1-27—at Sylvan-Lucas; 1-31—*atCentral Plains; 2-3—Ashland; 2-10—*Ness City; 2-13—*St. John; 2-14—*at Macksville; 2-17—*Ellinwood
OTIS – Otis-Bison coach Curtis Little features standout starter Dalton Regan (10 ppg, 4 rpg, 2 assists, 1 steal). The Cougars (3-16, 0-7 CPL) struggled with offensive production.
“We’ll be more competitive this
season,” Little said.
“The leadership and experience of our seniors will help get us through tough stretches.”
Regan scored 18 points in a 62-53 season-
ending 1A regional loss to Ransom-Western Plains.
“Dalton Regan will
be one of our leaders,” Little said. “He’s greatly improved his 3-point shooting and he has ability to make plays for others with his passing.”
Point guard Peytan Butler (4 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2 assists, 1.5 steal) anchors the offensive pace. Butler returns after missing most of last season with a broken ankle.
“Peytan returned, but could never fully move from his injury,”
Little said. “He’s playing great basketball. He’s
an excellent 3-point shooter and rebounder. Christian Roth is a senior who has started games for us over the last few seasons. C.R. is a plus defender and a great offensive rebounder.”
Other key players will be sophomore Eston Juno. Freshman point guard Jake Hoopingarner and freshman Logan Maier.
Little commented about each player.
“Eston Juno is an excellent defender who
is really smooth in the post area.
“Jake Hoopingarner has a good feel for sharing the ball and he knocks down 3-pointers
“Logan Maier is a 6-foot-2 post with a good feel around the rim. He and Jake will play a lot of varsity minutes for us.”
Little has developed an offensive game plan.
“We’ll be spread pick- and-roll with post ups off our actions,” Little said. “On defense we’ll play mostly man-to- man with a mix of zone
defense. We plan to use more full-court pressure this season.”
1—Jake Hoopingarner, PG, 10
3—Riley Polly, G, 11
5—Ian Hasselhorst, F, 10
11—Eston Juno, 6-1, 11
13—Lander Blackburn, G, 10
15—Hayden Morrison, 5-10, G, 11
32—Logan Maier, 6-2, C, 10
STAFFORD — Stafford boys basketball coach Cole Smith was Stanton County’s leading scorer and played junior college basketball at Colby Community College when Colby enjoyed their first winning record in 10 years.
Smith has turned full circle from playing for the (Stanton County) Trojans and now coaching the (Stafford) Trojans. The Rule 10 coach Smith has coached since 2017 and works in local law enforcement.
“I’m grateful for having the administrators and people around me, that allow me to do what I love,” Smith said.
Stafford (5-15) started
0-10 last year, but finished 5-5 with two of the losses within three points. Stafford defeated Cunningham 56-45 and lost 54-38 to Attica in 1A postseason play.
“We were young last year, which led to a difficult season,” Smith said. “We are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were last year. We have a great opportunity to have a successful year.”
First-team all-league Dakota Rodriguez (11
ppg, 7 rpg, 4 steals) earned honorable mention honors.
“Dakota has untapped potential,” Smith said. “He can dominate a game in more ways than scoring.”
The 6-foot-5 Josh Hildebrand (8 ppg, 6 rpg, 3.5 blocks) earned honorable mention all-
“Josh is our workhorse,”
Smith said. “He may not score a ton, but he demands a lot of attention.”
Smith commented on his other top projected players.
Ashton Harter (6 ppg, 4 rpg) is “Mr. Consistent.” Guard Colson Minks,
“can really shoot it. He’s at his best when he drives the basketball downhill.”
Tai Hildebrand is a “senior leader, one of our best defenders and shooters.”
Shawn Sheets is a “senior leader who is excelling in his new role.”
Starters are projected
to be Rodriguez, Josh Hildebrand and Harter/ Shawn Sheets; Minks/
Tai Hildebrand and Jimi Oleson/Angel Dominguez.
Oleson missed playing time last year after competing in Eudora and Lawrence who Smith describes as a smart and skilled player.
Brody Kerschenske (6-4) should deliver valuable varsity minutes.
Smith said Bryant Burns is a newcomer who has a knack of getting defensive deflections.
Smith said his primary focus is to work the basketball inside, then out.
“We’ll stress paint touches and playing inside out,” he said. “Stafford shot 17% from three last year,
so we must be aggressive and get the ball in the paint and make our reads off that. Defensively, we stress staying solid and not giving up anything easy. Our No. 1
goal last year was we forced teams into tough 2s and won the rebound battle.”
The Trojans’ lone state basketball appearance occurred in 1947 when they lost 43-38 to eventual Class A state runner-up Beloit.
0—Colson Minks, 5-8, 12 (6 ppg)
2—Joseph Valadez, 5-6, 10
2—Dylan Gantz, 6-0, 12 (6 ppg)
4—Cody Knoche, 5-11, 10
5—Jimi Oleson, 5-11, 11
10—Zachary Sedore, 5-7, 10
11—Trevor Kirkpatrick, 5-11, 10
11—Shane Sheets, 5-3, 11
13—Dakota Rodriguez, 6-0, 12 (10 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 assists, 2 steals)
14—Mason Julian, 5-8, 12
15—Brody Kerschenske, 6-3, 11
21—Brock Downing, 5-11, 10
21—Dominic Rios, 5-5, 11
23—Josh Hildebrand, 6-5, 12 (7 ppg)
55—Ashton Harter, 6-0, 12 (5 ppg)
12-2—at St. John
12-5—at Fairfield Tourney
12-8/9—at Fairfield Tourney
12-19—at Pretty Prairie
1-16/21—at Pratt 54 Boys Classic
1-23/28—at Fairfield Girls Tourney
STAFFORD — Stafford Trojan girls basketball coach Courtney Deyoe features a wide-ranging background. Deyoe high school basketball and
officiated basketball games from third grade through middle school. She served as Stafford’s eighth-grade girls basketball assistant coach. Deyoe played on the Marine Corps women’s basketball team in 2018.
Deyoe is the JAGK career
specialist at Stafford. She teaches life skills, skills for college and the workforce and guides students into college and beyond. She is assisted by Derek Deyoe.
Taylor Denio (4 ppg), Alexia Morgan (2 ppg), Trista Shelton (1 ppg, 3
rpg) are returning starters. Denio will play point guard, Shelton will play inside
at the post. Morgan will compete at shooting guard and forward.
“Our goals are simple – play with passion, discipline and instinct,” Deyoe said.
Hutchinson Central Christian defeated the Trojans 46-26 in postseason play. The Trojans (4-16) defeated Chase 57-28, Hartford 36-28, South Barber 56-40 and Burrton 47-40 last year keyed by all- league Emily Green.
1—Taryn Reed, G, 10
3—Taylor Denio, 5-4, PG, 11 (4 ppg)
2—Maria Abad Cebrian, G/F, 12
5—Trista Shelton, 5-6, C, 11 (1 ppg) G, 11
12—Idali Loya-Gonzalez, G, 10
25—Erika Green, G, 12
STAFFORD – Stafford Trojan wrestler Tarrant Young (22-6, 132) placed fifth at 3-1A state last year.
Young pinned Erie’s Quinten Heady (1:45) for fifth place. Young beat Silver Lake’s fourth-place finisher Justin Rakestraw 6-4 and lost to Hoxie’s state champion Drew Bell (0:39) and Hill City’s Aidan Hockman (3:32).
Young is ranked fifth in the preseason Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association 132-pound rankings.
“Tarrant is a high energy, leave it on- the-mat wrestler,” said Stafford coach Jimmy Brozek. “He’s got a strong work ethic and flies around the mat – qualities that make him tough. Tarrant needs to be more patient at times and not get in a hurry.”
St. John’s Caden McCandless (182) will compete with Stafford’s team.
“Caden is an experienced wrestler who made it to regionals,” Brozek said. “He’ll be a contender for a state run.”
St. John’s Diana Ibarra (120) and Morgan
Gunter (143) will compete with Stafford’s team during the regular season. Stafford’s Katelyn McCloskey (155),
Ibarra and Gunter have postseason potential.
“All three girls will be competitive. Katelyn and Morgan
will improve quite a bit from last year,” Brozek said. “Freshman Diana Ibarra had a strong eighth-grade year. She was unbeaten in her last three tournaments. Half our wrestlers
will be contenders for postseason.”
152—Abe Llanas, 11 (St. John); 195—Alexis Garcia, 11; 182—Caden McCandless, 12 (St. John, 16-18); 285—Axel Ortiz, 11
120—Diana Ibarra, 10 (St. John); 143—Morgan Gunter, 11 (St. John); 155—Katelyn McCloskey, 11 (10-4)
12-10—at GBHS girls; at Hesston boys
1-14—at Scott City
HOISINGTON – A senior-laden class helped Hoisington’s girls (8-13, 4-5 CKL) improve by two wins. Holcomb edged the Cardinals 37-32 in 3A substate play.
The Cardinal basketball team will by keyed by sec- ond-team All-Central Kan- sas League Macy Hanzlick (10.5 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 assists), their lone returning starter. Hanzlick earned honorable mention all-state honors from Sports in Kansas and the Wichita Eagle.
Hoisington coach Mandy Mason (183-195) starts her 19th season. The Cardinal girls have never qualified for the state bas- ketball tournament.
“We’re excited about a new season,” she said. “The girls have been motivated and have invested time
to improve their indi- vidual skills. Our goal is
to improve every day as individuals and as a team. We’ll need to show up ready to play every night to compete.”
Hanzlick is a rare com- modity – a ballhandling guard who measures 5-foot-10.
“Macy is long, athletic, and plays fast. We’ll rely heavily on Macy’s consistent play,” Mason said. “She likes to push the tempo and sees the floor really well. She creates plays for her teammates with her passes. Her strength is penetrating gaps and get- ting to the glass. She has the ability to score from the outside as well. Macy Hanzlick and Livvy Brewer will lead our young group.”
Honorable mention All-CKL Addyson Mason (6 ppg, 1 assist) and senior Livvy Brewer (2 ppg, 3 rpg) return with varsity ex- perience. Mason, a 3-point shooter, plans to broaden her offensive game by driv- ing the ball to the basket.
“Addy Mason, our second-leading scorer, scored the majority of
her points from outside,” coach Mason said. “Her strength is to spot up for open shots. We need her to be more aggressive off the dribble. Livvy Brewer gives us strong play inside with her rebounding ability
and toughness. Addy and Livvy lead our team with toughness and a willing- ness to compete.”
Key newcomers feature 5-10 Kylee Hahn, 5-10 Mallory Mooney and Jordyn Boxberger, who ex- celled at the junior varsity last year.
“We’re excited about our sophomore group – Kylee Hahn, Jordyn Boxberger and Mallory Mooney,” Mason said. “They were successful last year. Hahn and Mooney can play both inside-and-out. Boxberger will be an offensive weapon from the guard position. We’re looking forward to watching our young girls play major varsity min- utes.”
Mason prefers a quick pace, which will be dictat- ed by quality ballhandling. Turnovers created issues for last year’s team.
“With our athleticism and quickness, we’d like to push the ball in transition and play faster,” she said. “We want to take advan- tage scoring in transition. At times, we struggle running a half-court of- fense. We need to value the basketball against pressure defense. Defensively, our athleticism and quickness will put pressure on our opponents.
Other newcomers ex- pected to contribute will be Rayna Bray, Kendall Ma- son and Paige Lamatsch.
Although the Cardinals
feature decent height, the Cardinals will stress an aggressive style to com- pete on the boards against talented and well-coached Central Kansas League teams.
“We’ll have a disad- vantage most games with our overall size,” she said. “We’ll have to play physical to keep opponents off the offensive boards.”
An opening challenge against seven-time state champion Central Plains will be followed by the Gene Keady Classic.
“Our schedule is very tough,” she said. “We start with Central Plains and the Gene Keady Tournament is a huge test. The CKL is
a very tough league with talented players. Nicker- son will be really good as they bring back talented players.”
0—Alana Smith, 5-5, G, 11
1—Addy Mason, 5-6, G, 12
2—Ellie Crawford, 5-9, 10
3—Jordyn Boxberger, 5-7, G, 11
4—Kendall Mason, 5-1, G, 11
5—Lexus Petersilie, 5-9, F, 11
10—Gabby Reif, 5-9, 10
11—Reese Merlau, 5-5, 10
13—Mea Sneath, 5-6, 10
14—Kynlie Crowdis, 5-6, G, 12
15—Rayna Bray, 5-10, C, 12
20—Mallory Mooney, 5-10, G, 11
21—Paige Lamatsch, 5-7, F, 11
24—Kylee Hahn, 5-10, F, 11
30—Lauren Higgins, 5-10, C, 11
31—Alexiah Neal, 5-7, 10
33—Deisha Cox, 5-5, 10
52—Hailey Petersilie, 5-9, F, 11
HOISINGTON — Describe Hoisington wrestling coach Daniel Schmidt and the word “legendary” comes to mind. Schmidt enters his 26th year at Hoisington. The Cardinals have swept 69 consecutive dual matches, which haven’t been contested the past few years.
“The past decade has been special. We’ve brought home nine top 10 state finishes and four 3-1A state runner-up trophies,” Schmidt said. “Brandon Ball, Jonathan Ball, Joshua Ball earned KWCA 3-1A Wrestlers of the Year honors. Christopher Ball and Wyatt Pedigo were three- time state champions. Multiple wrestlers were state placers.”
Cardinal Joshua Ball (37-0, 182) captured
last year’s 3-1A state championship. Multiple state qualifiers Cole Steinert and Quentin Boxberger also graduated.
— Key returnees are fifth-place state finisher Josiah Ball (27-6), past state qualifiers Eastin Redetzke (22-15) and Cole Gilliland (27-10) and varsity veterans Evan Foltz (25-10), Deryk Yott (21-11), Ian Smith (18- 15) and Logan Philbern (23-10).
“We’ve got very solid wrestlers that give the team a great nucleus of talent,” Schmidt said. “The team returns varsity starters from the past
in Xavier Redetzke and Noah Deines who were letter winners and posted big wins last season. The team will add talent from
the incoming freshman class who will be able to contribute. Look
for the Cardinals to be competitive by the time the state tournament comes around.”
— Emily Lovett (22-11) and Sheena Gocela (19- 11) both placed fourth
at the 3-1A girls state tournament. Oakley’s Mikyah Cain edged Lovett 2-1 for third place. Burlington’s M.J. Huff pinned Gocela (3:26) for third place.
Two-time state qualifier Tally Wikum (27-4) and state qualifiers Kiana Grandclair (12-9) and Lyrica Orosco (11-11) each placed fifth in
4-1A. “These returning wrestlers give the Cards a solid foundation to head into the 2021-2022 season,” Schmidt said.
Wikum had been ranked No. 1 during the season and beat four of the six girls who placed at the state tournament last year. Wikum lost a pair of last-second decisions 2-1 to Circle’s Courtney Holt and 5-3 to Rawlins County’s Kaileigh Morrison to miss the state semifinals.
“But she lost heart- breaking matches at substate qualifying and did not advance to the “official” state tournament,” Schmidt said. “But qualified for the state tournament as a freshman.”
Grandclair is a two- year varsity letter-winner. Lyrica Orosco sustained an off-season injury and is questionable to return for 2021-2022.
Seven newcomers will bolster the lineup.
“The seven new girls show the talent to win right away at the varsity level,” Schmidt said. “Five members were solid wrestlers in the Hoisington Middle School program.
Transfer Daijah Jones returns to Hoisington after wrestling in Colorado last season.
“The sophomore was outstanding in the
middle school program for the Cards two seasons ago,” Schmidt said. “She enjoyed a good season in Colorado last year. The new faces should help to bolster chances for the girls program to make a run at a top ten finish at the state tournament.”CARDINAL ROSTER
SENIOR GIRLS—Kiana Grandclair, 120 (12-9, SQ—5th; 11-8); Tally Wikum, 138 (27-4, SQ—5th; 22-8, SQ)
SENIOR BOYS—Eastin Redetzke, 120 (22-15; 26-17, SQ—6th); Deryk Yott, 138 (21-11;
23-11); Tamari Howard, 220 (5-4); Logan Philbern, 220 (23-10); Elliott Copp, 285 (13-9); Noah Deines, 285 (11-11); Cole Gilliland, 285 (27-10, SQ)
JUNIOR GIRLS—Sheena Gocela, 101 (19-11, SQ—4th); Daijah Jones, 132; Lyrica Orosco, 155 (11-15, SQ—5th)
JUNIOR BOYS—Grant Doan, 126 (2-22); Josiah Ball, 126 (27-6, 5th); Xavier Redetzke, 132 (1-2); Richard Croslin, 138 (5-7); Michael Hipp, 138 (8-16); Alex Mater, 152; Ian Smith, 170 (18- 15); Caleb Birzer, 220 (4-22); Jacob Umphrey, 220 (5-12)
SOPHOMORE GIRLS—Taylor Redetzke, 101; Aubrey Brown, 109; Josie Doan, 109; Paige Schwartz, 115; Lillian Gradig, 115; Peyton Schneider, 143
SOPHOMORE BOYS—Nolan Jacobs, 106; Nathan Norvell, 113; Landon Beaver, 120; Preston Roat, 138; Teron Kraft, 145; Isaiah Meyers, 152; Kayden Kennon, 152; Tucker Loesch, 195; Braydon Stevenson, 195
HOISINGTON – The Hoisington Cardinal boys must reload after graduating 76 percent of their scoring from a 17-5 basketball team. One of the Cardinals’ finest graduating classes in school history departed after back-to-back 17-5 seasons.
The Cardinals lost to Hugoton 52-47 in a 3A substate semifinal. Two years ago, Hays- Thomas More Prep broke the Cardinals’ hearts 69-67 on a last-second 3-pointer. The Cardinals have qualified for the state basketball tournament six times, highlighted by the 1946 Class A state championship. The Cardinals lost 59-58
in their last 3A state appearance in 1999.
Bralen Thompson (6 ppg, 3 rpg, 1 assist, 1 steal) and Leyton Haxton (5 ppg) are the Cardinals’ top returnees.
“Due to our depth a year ago, we have several guys who have significant varsity experience in Bralen Thompson, Leyton Haxton and Noah Dolezal,” said Hoisington coach Kyle Haxton, 152-128 in 13 seasons. “Bralen and Leyton elevated their games when they played AAU basketball for WKE last summer. I expect a big season by Bralen Thompson. He started over 20 games for us as a sophomore.”
Other key contributors will be Dolezal, 6-5 Chase Maier and sophomore Tony Moore.
“Noah Dolezal will be a tough presence in the lane and will play a physical style,” Haxton said. “Chase Maier will give us some length at both ends. We’ll create some tough match-ups for opposing defenses. Chase played meaningful minutes a year ago. He’s expects to be much improved.”
Haxton said he expects the Cardinals to stay competitive keyed by a defensive-oriented style with 3-point shooting potential.
“I’m excited about this group. They’re talented,” he said. “This team will work relentlessly on the defensive end, and can really score. We have several good shooters with range – especially Bralen Thompson, Leyton Haxton, and Tony Moore. Those three are good at creating scoring opportunities for their teammates as well.”
Haxton said he’s looking forward to seeing how the chemistry with a new ballclub will develop.
“We’re ready to face the challenge,” Haxton said. “Our guys got better competing over the summer and did a lot of individual work. We’ll have a handful of
guys who played junior varsity who will step into new roles. Our guys need to step into bigger leadership roles.”
The Cardinals lost 45- 37 to 3A state champion Hesston and 60-51 to 2A state champion Hillsboro in the rugged Central
Kansas League. “In the CKL, we had the 2A and 3A
state champions a year ago. We’ll have to play with discipline and toughness,” Haxton said.
0—Randy Chambers, 5-10, SG, 11
2—Chase Steinert, 5-10, 12
3—Leyton Haxton, 6-1, SG, 12
4—Ethan Grubb, 5-9, SG, 10
5—M.J. Aylward, 5-9, SG, 12
10—Kamden Tarlton, 5-4, PG, 12
11—Jordan O’Neill, 5-10, SF, 11
12—Brady Reif, 5-10, 10
13—Braxton Linsner, 6-3, F, 12
14—Brier Thompson, 5-10, 10
15—Kyler Russell, 5-9, SG, 10
20—Jason Robinson, 5-10, PG, 10
21—Lane French, 5-6, SF, 10
22—Rhen Galla, 5-10, SG, 10
24—Tony Moore, 6-0, 11
25—Landon Woydziak, 6-1, 11
30—Daren Maddox, 5-8, 11
31—Taylor Kaiser, 5-8, SF, 10
32—Drake Brewer, 5-10, SG, 9
33—Eli Lewis, 5-9, 11
35—Will Hutchcraft, 5-11, 11
40—Exavier Chambers, 5-8, SF, 10
41—Ryan Owen, 5-8, 10
43—Cameron Dobyns, 5-8, SF, 10
44—Caiden Hoffman, 6-4, F, 11
45—Carlos Mota, 6-0, SF, 11
12-2—at Central Plains; 12-6—Gene Keady Classic (Kinsley); 12-8/10—Gene Keady Classic; 12-13—Hays High; 1-3—Smoky Valley; 1-6—at Beloit; 1-10—*Hillsboro; 1-13—*Nickerson; 1-16-21—Hoisington Winter Jam; 1-24—Phillipsburg; 1-31—*Haven; 2-3—*at Halstead; 2-7—*at Hesston; 2-10—*Pratt; 2-14—*at Smoky Valley; 2-17—*Lyons; 2-21—*at Larned
MACKSVILLE — All Central Prairie League Ryan Kuckelman headlines four returning starters and their top scorer for the Macksville Mustangs boys basketball team.
Macksville coach Jeff Kuckelman (334-123)
led the Mustangs to state basketball championships in 2006 and 2011 along with a runner-up finish in 2003. The Mustangs’ last appearance at state came in 2019 when they lost 55-30 to two-time state basketball champion Central Plains. Macksville has enjoyed 16 state tournament basketball
The 6-6 Kuckelman (12.7
ppg 10.1 rps, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks) joins 6-2 Alexis Barron (11 ppg, 5 rpg, 3.5 assists, 1 steal); Alvaro Ibarra (5 ppg, 1.5 assists, 1 steal) and Lance Lickiss (2.5 ppg, 3.3 rebs, 2.7 assists, 1 steal).
Supersub Rogelio Ibarra (15 ppg, 4 rpg, 2 assists,
2 steals) is the Mustangs’ sparkplug off the bench. Freshman point guard Hector Gomez, a bright newcomer, will round
out the starting lineup. Other contributors will
be Alex Mendez (5 ppg, 3 rpg), Jason Cleveland and freshman Diego Esparza.
The Mustangs (13-7,
5-2) lost 42-32 to Stafford County rival St. John in
a 1A regional opener. They downed Victoria, La Crosse and Kiowa County for their best quality wins.
the Mustangs will push a faster pace with five reliable juniors.
“We look to be improved with another year of starting experience for our juniors,” We’d like to push the ball up-and-down the floor. Our guards have good quickness as well as our bigs.”
Kuckelman said the Mustangs have potential to play superior defense. The Mustangs’ Kuckelman is an inside presence and the
guards have scoring ability. “We’re athletic enough that we have the capability
to guard well and pressure opponents,” he said. “We have players who can shoot well. We need to get better at creating open shots and getting to the rim.”
As usual, the Mustangs will play a challenging Central Prairie League schedule and two tournaments.
“Our league is challenging and we’ll face several good teams in tournaments and out-of- conference,” he said. “It
will be tough showing improvement. We hope our tough schedule prepares
us to make a run in the
postseason.” Kuckelman projects
defending CPL champion Ellinwood and Ness City are the league favorites. La Crosse has capable scorers and rebounders back. St. John’s Elijah Delp is the league’s best big man. Victoria is athletic and can defend and rebound. Kinsley will rely on a strong sophomore class. Central Plains guard Peyton Ryan is one of the league’s top sophomores. Otis Bison is a strong defensive team.
2—Rogelio Ibarra, 5-8, G, 12
3—Ivan Ramirez, 5-9, 10
4—Aiden Katz, 5-5, G, 11
5—Austin Neighbors, 5-2, G, 10
10—Lance Lickiss, 6-1, G, 12
12—Jason Cleveland, 6-0, G, 11
13—Orion Guevara, 5-7, 10
14—Hector Gomez, 5-8, 10
15—Alexis Barron, 6-2, F, 12
20—Ryan Kuckelman, 6-6, F, 12
22—Keven Holguin, 5-8, 10
23—Alvaro Ibarra, 5-9, G, 12
24—Diego Esparza, 5-8, 10
25—Ervey Triana, 5-8, G, 11
30—Parker Burr, 5-0, G, 10
32—James Granger, 6-4, F, 10
43—Gustavo Portillo, 6-1, F, 12
12-2—*Ness City; 12-6—at Larned Keady Classic (Bucklin); 12-8/10—at Keady Classic; 12-13—at Central Christian; 12-16—at Stafford; 1-3—Cunningham; 1-6—*at Central Plains; 1-10—La Crosse; 1-13—*Ellinwood; 1-17/21—at St. John Tourney; 1-31—*at La Crosse; 2-3—*Victoria; 2-7—*at Kinsley; 2-10—Bucklin; 2-14—*Otis-Bison; 2-17—*at St. John; 2-21—at Hodgeman County
MACKSVILLE — Sophomore sensation Mayce Russell headlines a young, but improving Macksville Mustang girls basketball team that fea- tures five returning start- ers. The Mustangs (5-15, 1-6 CPL) lost to St. John 44-26 in 1A regional play.
“We return our entire varsity squad from last season and gain a big freshman group,” ” said Macksville coach Megan Schroeder, an all-state
cross country runner at Macksville. “I expect two freshmen to make an immediate impact on var- sity.”
The 5-7 Russell (16 ppg, 5 rpg, 4.5 steals, 2 assists) is the Mustangs’ sparkplug.
“Mayce Russell led our team in scoring (15.8), steals (4.5), was second in rebounding and assists,” said Macksville coach Megan Schroeder. “She can shoot from anywhere, handle the ball, and attack the rim and score. Over the summer, she improved as a passer. I’m excited to
see how she continues to develop. Defensively, she is very sound. She anticipates passes and pressures ball handlers.”
Three-year starter Joselin Garcia (5 ppg, 5 rpg, 2 assists) is a defensive standout and Abi Ibarra (6 ppg, 4 rpg, 2 steals, 2 assists) led the Mustangs in 3-point percentage.
“Joselin Garcia is good at attacking the basket. She often has to defend the opposing team’s best play- er,” Schroeder said. “She brings leadership to this team. Abi Ibarra is a very
good shooter, defender, and has a high motor. She makes really good passes and sees the court really well. Abi brings experience and leadership. I expect this to be her best season.”
Other returnees are Amber Clawson, (3 ppg, 2 rpg), Kambry Adams, (3 ppg, 4 rpg, 1 steal) and Lupita Galan (4 ppg, 4 rpg).
Schroeder wants to play a faster pace and plans to mix defenses.
“We want to push the ball in transition and play at a quicker pace,” she said.
“We have some height. so hopefully we can use that to our advantage. Defensively, we will try to match up with most teams man-to-man and play zone on occasion. Last year, we struggled rebounding. This year we hope to see improvement.”
The Mustangs may be a year away from their best season, but Schroeder is confident they will show improvement.
“This team is young, but we are experienced,” she said. “That experience has helped build our confi-
dence. To compete in our league, we’re going to have to play with confidence, rebound better, limit turn- overs, and never give up.”
3—Alexa Lopez, 5-2, G, 10
5—Laney Butler, 5-6, G, 10
10—Madison Butler, 5-7, G, 12
12—Isabela Ortiz, 5-5, G, 10
13—Mayce Russell, 5-7, G, 11
14—Joselin Garcia, 5-7, G, 12
15—Aidaly Arreola, 5-4, G, 10
22—Roxanne Carrillo, 5-5, G, 11
23—Amber Clawson, 5-6, W, 12
24—Logan Sanders, 5-10, C, 11
25—Joana Ibarra, 5-6, G, 10
30—Morgan Sebes, 5-6, G, 10
33—Kambry Adams, 5-9, C, 11
35—Lupita Galan, 5-11, C, 12
40—Rylee Palser, 5-2, G, 10
44—Jalyn Bustamante, 5-10, C, 10
ROZEL — The good news is the Pawnee Heights girls return five players from a 10-10 bas- ketball team.
The bad news is the Tigers feature seven play- ers. The Tigers saved their basketball season in the final days before the 2020-2021 season started.
Keenan Rasmussen waved his magic wand to spark the Tigers to 10 wins last year. Pawnee Heights defeated Rolla 53-10 and lost 49-37 to Ashland in the regional championship. Two of the Tigers’ leading scor- ers Jaden Carlson (16 ppg) and Madison Polson (8 ppg) graduated.
Sophomore Olivia Hands (17 ppg) headlines the Tigers after averaging
double figures in scoring and rebounding last sea- son. The 6-foot-3 Hands is a dominant shot-block- er who anchors the Tiger’ backline zone defense.
Also returning are Yeimi Cordero (4 ppg), Nazareth Rios-Valles (2.5 ppg), Elizabeth Rasmussen (2 ppg) and Joselyn Cordero (2 ppg, 2 steals).
Hands will anchor the Tigers offensively and
defensively. Teams gener- ally double and tripled teamed Hands in the paint. The other players will mix drives to the basket and perimeter shots.
“Our plan is to use our height (Hands) and speed on offense with a lot of motion and quick shots,” said Rasmussen. “We want (Hands) to hit the boards and get as many second shots as possible.”
The Tigers will be forced to play zone defense to minimize pos- sessions and slow the game’s tempo.
“On defense, we are again going to use our height (Hands) and play a lot of zone,” he said. “We’ll have to mostly zone to keep the girls as fresh as possible.”
The Tigers earned Southern Plains Iroquois wins against Fowler,
Ingalls, Meade, Satanta and Rolla last year.
“The league as a whole lost a lot of talent, but it will still be tough as usual,” he said. “I look for us to be competitive.”
3—Joselyn Cordero, 5-4, G, 11
12—Elizabeth Rasmussen, 5-7, F, 12
15—Olivia Hands, 6-3, C, 11
ROZEL — The terrific trio of Alec Carlson, Adam Hands and Braden Colgla- zier sparked the Pawnee Heights Tigers to the 1A state basketball tournament for the first time since 1972. The Rozel district captured state basketball titles in 1954 (Burdett), 1959 (Rozel) and 1960 (Rozel).
The Tigers routed Ashland 70-40 and South Haven 48-43 to reach the Final Four before losing to 1A Division 2 state runner- up McPherson Elyria 55-42. Carlson, Hands and Colglazier all scored in double figures in the state semifinals.
“The positive momen- tum at the end of the season is a mental boost for our team,” said first- year Pawnee Heights coach Rick Carlson. “We need hard work and buy-in from every player every day and can’t rely on the success of last year. Each player needs to accept their role to have success. We have to show up every game ready to give 100%.”
The crafty all-state Carl- son (23 ppg, 8 rpg, 3 blocks
2 steals, 2 assists) is an accurate 3-pointer shooter with the ballhandling ability to attack the basket. Hands (12 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1 steal, 1 assist) and second- team all-SPIAA Colglazier (12 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2 steals) combine for a reliable triple threat.
“Alec, Braden and Adam will be our top players who will be the backbone of our team,” said coach Carlson. “How we play night-in
and night-out will be determined on how these players show up to play. The team feeds off their leadership and intensity so these three need to bring energy and their “A” game every night.”
The Tigers are ranked No. 4 in 1A Division 2. Da- kota Ryan (2 ppg, 1 assist, 1 steal), Russel Baier, Davin Hamby (4 ppg) and Leigh- ton Munk contributed on a nine-player roster last year.
“Dakota Ryan and Davin Hamby are projected key contributors,” Carlson
said. “The experience they gained last year will be in- valuable for the upcoming season. They have ma- tured mentally and grown physically and will be an extremely important part
of our team. Newcomers Elwin Fiso, Reed Stedje and returner Leighton Munk will provide needed sup- port.”
Carlson believes the Tigers have the capability to push a fast pace and create turnovers with pressure defense.
“We plan on having a team that puts defensive and offensive pressure on opposing teams to mentally and physically wear them down,” he said. “We can play fast and will have depth that allows us to substitute and keep fresh players in the game.”
Carlson’s goal is to de- velop a well-rounded team that can make an opponent pay if they double team the Tigers’ standouts.
“I expect this team to learn from the successes and failures and apply it to make us a complete basketball team,” he said. “We have
to be wise and learn what things we did to help us and what things we did to hurt us. We need to make adjust- ments and keep getting bet- ter as a basketball team.”
Perennial powerhouse South Gray (24-1) was 1A- Division 1 state runner-up and Meade (18-5), which
lost to South Gray in the substate finals, headline the Southern Plains Iroquois League.
“Our SPIAA League always has good basketball teams,” Carlson said. “Our league games will be dif- ficult. We need to show up ready to play every night. We can play with any team in the league if we put our mind to it.”
PAWNEE HEIGHTS TIGERS
1—Leighton Munk, 5-6, 11
4—Clayton Hammeke, 5-4, 10
10—Reed Stedje, 6-2, 11
11—Jimmy Gardner, 5-8, 10
12—Davin Hamby, 5-9, 11
14—Dalen Rasmussen, 5-8, 10
15—Alec Carlson, 6-2, 12
23—Brady Carlson, 5-11, 10
25—Kole Kennedy, 6-1, 10
30—Dakota Ryan, 6-1, 12
PAWNEE HEIGHTS SCHEDULE
12-5/10—at Quinter Tourney
12-13—at Western Plains
1-20-21—at Spearville, SPIAA Tourney
1-23-28—at Dodge City, SPIAA Tourney
2-21—*at Kiowa County
2-24-25—at 1A regional