Not one of the Class 1A- Division II state basketball tournament teams in this year’s field qualified for the state tourney last season.
That partially is a result of the Kansas State High School Activities Association’s decision to separate Class 1A into two divisions.
Last year, every 1A team had to win its regional and its sub-state tournament to advance to the state tournament.
And, a year ago, in head coach Alan Clark’s first year with the Otis-Bison High School boys basketball team, the Cougars made it through their regional to sub-state.
Unfortunately for Otis-Bison, it lost to Palco in sub-state.
“The kids beat Palco in football last year,” Clark said of the Cougars’ 50-0 win during the 2009-10 season. “I think we overlooked them because the kids beat them in football. Basketball is completely different.”
With the unranked Cougars’ first-round game against Fowler on Thursday afternoon at 4:45 at Gross Memorial Auditorium in Hays, Otis-Bison is heading into a similar situation.
The Cougars blasted Fowler from the Eight-Man Division-II state football bracket in the first round.
“The football team beat Fowler 46-0,” Clark said. “We are not going to have another Palco. We’ve talked about it in practice this week.”
Fowler, 18-4 overall, is the No. 3 seed in the tournament.
Clark said that Fowler’s offense hinges on its speed.
“They are very good,” Clark said. “They are quick and aggressive. They have a good coach (Scott Brown). They have some good shooters, too.
“I’m not going to say they have better shooters than we do, but they take more 3-point shots than we do. So obviously, they make more than we do.”
Clark said his team is not concerned about the Goldbugs’ speed because of the speed Otis-Bison has seen in the regular season.
“I think it should help,” Clark said of the Cougars’ experience guarding against speed. “No, I can’t imagine that they are quicker than Marcus Moeder (of La Crosse). We have some size over them in our guards, but they are quick.”
Fowler is ranked No. 7 in the final Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll.