The Central Prairie League has proven its strength after sending four of its nine high school boys basketball teams to a state tournament.
Macksville headlines a group of high schools that includes Ness City, which exited the Class 2A state bracket in the first round, Otis-Bison, which won the third-place game in the Class 1A-Division II tournament and Victoria, which led the Class 1A-Division I state tournament’s third-place game against Montezuma-South Gray for most of the 32 minutes, but lost after the Rebels pulled ahead late in the game.
Macksville won the Class 1A-Division I state tournament, beating South Haven 59-56 in the final minute of regulation.
“Obviously, it creates great competition,” Macksville head coach Jeff Kuckelman said. “That kind of competition prepares us for the postseason. Playing good teams makes you better.”
So it comes to no surprise that the first unanimous selection on the All-CPL boys team is Kyle Bunker, who went 13-for-15 from the field on his way to a game-high 33 points and 14 rebounds.
“It has been a huge year for Bunker,” Kuckelman said. “It’s been a outstanding career. He was a two-year starter. It’s ironic that he played off the bench his sophomore year.
“Even as the sixth man, he led the team in scoring and rebounds. (The league’s) coaches are all happy to see him graduate.”
Joining Bunker as unanimous selections are Gunner Phelan of Quivira Heights and John Clarke of Ness City.
Rounding out the five players on the first team is Marcus Moeder of La Crosse and Michael Hlavaty of Otis-Bison. Hlavaty scored 19 in the Cougars’ third-place win at the Class 1A-Division I state tournament.
Macksville, which went 9-0 in the CPL to lead the league for the fourth straight year, had four players make the all-league list.
Adam Oak, who sealed the deal in the Class 1A-Division I state championship game with a steal with six seconds remaining, made the second team. Derek Bevan also made the second team.
Seth Filbert was selected to the honorable mention group.
“It is very special for the guys that they were selected,” Kuckelman said. “I think it shows how diverse we are. We have a number of different players that did different things for us.
“It’s not all about scoring. We’d obviously like to have all of them on there, but to have four, it’s nice.”
Otis-Bison’s Dylan Wissman made the third-team list and Trevor Keller was on the honorable mention roster.
Quivira Heights placed two players on all-league teams, the second being Taylor Siemsen, who made the second team.
Claflin saw Benn Kirmer make third-team All-CPL.
Girls All-CPL teams
The girls’ basketball All-Central Prairie League team has two unanimous selections in St. John’s Teresa Wade and Quivira Heights’ Kinsey Phelan.
Both the Lady Tigers and the Lady Thunderbirds were one win away from being in a state tournament. Claflin, which had the most selections for an all-league team with five, also made it to their sub-state tournament championship in Burrton, losing to Little River, 38-33.
St. John, which hosted a Class 1A-Division I sub-state tournament, lost in the championship game to Coldwater-South Central, 38-35.
The Lady Tigers had three selections. Along with Wade, Morgan Osborne and Jamie Waters were selected to the second team.
Quivira Heights traveled to Hays for the Class1A-Division II sub-state tournament and lost in the championship game to Wilson.
Miranda Burton joins Phelan as the only other Quivira Heights player on an all-league team, making honorable mention.
Courtney Liebl made the first team for Claflin. Morgan Hekele made the second team, Ashlee Maier made the third team and Sydney Rugan and Natalie Hoffman each made the honorable mention group.
Otis-Bison placed two players on the all-league list. Janel Tammen and Hannah Bannister both made the third team.
Macksville also had two players make the All-CPL teams. Jena Clowers made second-team All-CPL, and Megan Wood made the third team.
Central Prairie League
*Kyle Bunker Macksville
*Gunner Phelan Quivira Heights
*John Clarke Ness City
Marcus Moeder La Crosse
Michael Hlavaty Otis-Bison
Adam Oak Macksville
Zach Minnis St. John
Kameron Dinkel Victoria
Derek Bevan Macksville
Taylor Siemsen Quivira Heights
Josh Naber Kinsley
Drew Clarke Ness City
Benn Kirmer Claflin
Dylan Wissman Otis-Bison
Kip Keeley La Crosse
Tayler Stull La Crosse
Ernesto Flores Ness City
Trevor Keller Otis-Bison
Seth Filbert Macksville
Colin Schmidtberger Victoria
*Teresa Wade St. John
*Kinsey Phelan Quivira Heights
Courtney Liebl Claflin
Lacey Reifschneider La Crosse
Brittany Gleason Kinsley
Morgan Hekele Claflin
Jena Clowers Macksville
Morgan Osborne St. John
Kristin Huser Victoria
Jamie Waters St. John
Adrian McCarroll La Crosse
Ashlee Maier Claflin
Janel Tammen Otis-Bison
Megan Wood Macksville
Hannah Bannister Otis-Bison
Alisen Habiger Kinsley
Kenzie Stoecklein Ness City
Audra Nowak Victoria
Sydney Rugan Claflin
Miranda Burton Quivira Heights
Natalie Hoffman Claflin
* denotes unanimous selection