By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Macksville Mustangs earn third state basketball title


DODGE CITY – Macksville’s Lance Lickiss leaped like Superman, clear over a table 18 seconds into the 1A Division 1 state basketball championship. Lickiss bumped 10-year-old Harper Nicholl, and gently helped pick her up after chasing a loose basketball.

The message was sent—Macksville’s Mustangs were determined to bring home the school’s third state basketball championship.

“It’s here we go again because I did that in the La Crosse game,” Lickiss said. “I had barbecue sauce all over me.”

The Mustangs survived a pesky Wichita Classical team 73-62 in Saturday’s 1A Division 1 state basketball championship. As usual, the perfectly balanced Mustangs featured four players in double figures – Lance Lickiss (20), Ryan Kuckelman (13), Rogelio Ibarra (12) and Alexis Barron (11).

Lickiss put together back-to-back spectacular games with hard work inside with 12 rebounds and five assists.

“Everybody on the team all worked together to get the job done,” Lickiss said. “They are my brothers out there. I move around until I’m open and take advantage. Our guards really get after it defensively. We’re very thankful for them.”

Ryan Kuckelman wasn’t surprised by Lickiss’ heroics.

“That’s the type of hustle play Lance tries to make,” Kuckelman said. “Lance does all the junk work. He’s one of our hardest workers.”   

Kuckelman’a crisp passing ignited the offense

“My guys make it easy because they get open,” he said. “I’m see the double teams and know I can pass the ball to our shooters.”

Coach Jeff Kuckelman’s third state basketball championship at Macksville was special, coaching his son Ryan a day after his birthday.

“There’s no better way to end it,” coach Kuckelman said. “I’m getting sentimental in my old age. Back in the day, I’m not sure anything would bring a tear to my eyes. It’s a culmination a lot of hours in the gym.”

Ryan Kuckelman said, “It means everything to win a state championship with my dad.”

The Mustangs converted 15 turnovers into 16 points and held the Saints to 28% shooting (7 of 25) after a 52% first half. The defense adjusted on Brett Buckingham, who scored 13 first-half points.

“They shot the ball well,” Kuckelman said. “We made sure we didn’t leave Buckingham. We talked about rotating to Buckingham and it worked really well.”

The Mustangs' foursome of Hector Gomez, Rogelio Ibarra, Alexis Barron and Diego Esparza combined for six steals and six assists to give the Saints’ ballhandlers trouble. Rogelio Ibarra started the game with a steal.

The Mustangs (23-2) ended the game with a steal.

“Ending with a steal is pretty fitting,” Kuckelman said. “Our guards are active defensively and set the tone. We’re fortunate to have guards who defend the basketball. And Ryan (Kuckelman) and Lance (Lickiss) do a great job deflecting balls and shots inside. It’s our most balanced offensive team we’ve ever had. We’re hard to stop because everyone can score. They make the extra pass.”

Macksville played a solid defensive third quarter to lead 57-49. The Saints were down 61-49 when Lickiss converted a steal with 5:50 left.

The Mustangs committed four consecutive turnovers to lose momentum. As you would expect, the Saints scored seven consecutive points with Buckingham hitting a 3-pointer for a 61-56 score.

Luckily, the Mustangs responded with two perfect assists – from Barron to Kuckelman and Kuckelman to Rogelio Ibarra for a 65-56 lead. The Saints missed a 3-pointer and Carter Sinclair missed three free throws. The Mustangs converted 19 of 25 free throws.

Classical (22-3) was paced by Buckingham (15), Daniel Young (13) and Jordy Dolloff (12).

Wichita Classical threw everything they had for 16 minutes in a 40-40 tie.The Mustangs converted 15 of 28 field goals for 54%. The Saints made 14 of 27 field goals for 52%. The Saints knocked down 5-of-10 3-pointers to outscore the Mustangs 15-3 from long range.

Macksville opened leads of six (25-19) and five (17-12), but the talented Saints responded both times with Buckingham 3-pointers. The Saints outscored the Mustangs 10-2 for a brief 29-27 lead.

Lickiss scored 14 inside points and Kuckelman added nine points as the Mustangs worked the ball effectively inside. Macksville made 1 of 5 on 3-pointers. Lickiss made  a free throw for a 40-40 tie.

Classical 19 21 9 13 – 62

Macksville 20 20 17 16 – 73

CLASSICAL (22-3)—Buckingham 6-15 0-0 15, Carter Sinclair 4-7 0-3 9, Logan 0-2 2-2 2, Tait Sinclair 2-8 0-1 4, Wilkey 3-3 1-3 7, Young 4-7 2-2 13, Jordy Dolloff 2-10 7-8 12, Totals 21-52 12-19 62

MACKSVILLE (23-2)—Lickiss 8-9 4-7 20, Gomez 3-6 2-3 9, Rogelio Ibarra 4-10 4-4 12, Esparza 4-6 0-0 8, Barron 3-8 4-4 11, Kuckelman 4-6 5-7 13, Totals 26-45 19-25 73

3-pointers—C 8-22 (Buckingham 3-10, Young 3-6, J. Dolloff 1-3, C. Sinclair 1-1, Logan 0-1, T Sinclair 0-1); M 2-8 (Gomez 1-3, R. Ibarra 0-2, Barron 1-3). Rebounds—C 26 (Young 7), M 31 (Lickiss 12). Assists—C 12 (J. Dolloff 9), M 14 (Lickiss 5). Steals—C 8 (J. Dolloff 3), M 9 (R. Ibarra 3)