Going into the Class 1A-Division I state basketball tournament at Emporia, the Macksville High School boys’ basketball team is 22-1 and the No. 2 seed.
The only team seeded higher is Hanover, also 22-1 and the defending Class 1A state champion.
Hanover is currently ranked No. 1 in the latest Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll. The Wildcats only loss came on Jan. 14 against 2A Washington County. Hanover lost 61-48.
Compare that to the Mustangs’ one loss against 3A Hoisington, 58-47, on Dec. 10.
Of course, Hanover will have to wait. Macksville has to make it past Olpe on Thursday night at 6:30 at White Auditorium.
The Eagles have a post player that will tangle with Macksville’s 6-foot-5 scoring leader Kyle Bunker, who averages 19.6 points and 6-6 senior Derek Bevan, who averages 11 points and 7.7 rebounds.
“They’ve got a pretty big kid inside,” Macksville head coach Jeff Kuckelman said of Olpe’s Austin Bass. “He’s listed at 6-4, and he looks like a strong kid. He’s good on the boards for them and he is active on offense, too.”
Aside from the size inside, the Eagles have a pair of good shooters according to Kuckelman.
“Their point guard handles the ball well,” Kuckelman said. “He’s probably their best shooter, too. He hits a lot of 3s. They also have a kid on the wing. He’s got some long arms and he guards really well. He’s also got a pretty good baseline jumper.”
Aside from Hanover and Macksville, there are two other teams on the eight-team bracket with only one loss and another team with 21 wins.
That includes Montezuma-South Gray at 22-1, which is the team that knocked Macksville out of the state tournament last year.
“I think they’ve really got two returning starters this year,” Kuckelman said. “I think that what has really helped them this year is that they had some kids move in. There is a kid from Dodge (City) and a kid from Cimarron that play some time for them. It has really helped their depth, giving them a strong nucleus.”
The Rebels are ranked No. 2 and are the No. 3 seed in the tournament this season.
With a win against Olpe on Thursday at White Auditorium in Emporia, the Mustangs could have a rematch in the second round on Friday night at 8:15 depending on the outcome of South Gray-Lebo game.
Pretty Prairie and South Haven, the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, play each other in the first round. Pretty Prairie, 21-1 overall, is ranked No. 4 and South Haven, 21-2 overall, is ranked No. 8.