Three undefeated teams came into the Tournament of Champions in Dodge City but only one left. The No. 1 5A Shawnee Mission South Raiders came out on top of the Wichita North Redskins in the TOC championship 52-32 as the lone remaining undefeated team.
The Raiders beat all of their opponents throughout the tournament by 20 points or more. North’s head coach Gary Squires said Shawnee Mission South is set above the rest for a couple reasons.
“They do a great job of getting out and ball pressure, putting pressure in the passing lanes,” he said. “They force you outside of your comfort zone. I thought they did a great job of that and they also shot the ball really well. You know we held their leading scorer to only four points and I was really proud of that.”
The Redskins were without senior leading scorer Conner Frankamp due to a head injury he received while playing against Scott City in the semi-finals. His offensive prowess could have been helpful. The Redskins were defensively dominant throughout the first half keeping the Raiders within eight points at halftime but their offense betrayed them.
“Defensively we wanted to keep that team to 40 or 45 points and although we didn’t reach that we were close,” Squires said. “I think our overall team defense was pretty good we just could not score. We struggled and then we turned the ball over too many times. We had 11 turnovers in the first half and that’s not like us. Shawnee Mission South did a good job of spreading their defense and made us try to throw over the top. That’s what resulted in us turning the ball over. On the positive side it is a learning experience for us and these young guys and we’ll be back. I’m really proud of them getting into the finals and we will keep it going though.”
The final blow came in the fourth quarter when the Raiders outscored the Redskins 23-13.
“Then we also had some guys step in tonight that have not played a whole lot of minutes and they did a good job,” Squires said. “I say I’m upset but, shoot; we are still 10-1. We got to keep it going.”
Shawnee Mission South finished the 52-32 victory earning first in the Tournament of Champions and remains undefeated. The Redskins took second but now the focus is on regionals and state. A concern for a lot of Wichita North fans is the status of Frankamp.
“Right now it looks like he won’t play when we come back home on Tuesday,” Squires said. “We play West at West and he won’t be playing that game. From there it is just a day to day situation.”
Third Place: Scott City vs. Dodge City
Two ranked western Kansas teams battled for third place in the Tournament of Champions. No. 1 in 3A the Scott City Beavers fell to Wichita North in a tight battle in the semi-finals while No. 6 in 6A Dodge City lost heavy-handedly to Shawnee Mission South. The Beavers took an 11 point lead at the end of the first quarter and never let go of their lead defeating the Demons 60-51.
The Beavers had their best night of free throw shooting making 17 of their 22. They also had their best night in regards to taking care of the ball with only 11 turnovers.
“That’s one thing that we talked about this morning…taking care of the ball,” said Scott City head coach Glenn O’Neil. “You know when we get about 80 possessions per game and we had 20 turnovers each in the first two games, 25 percent of the time we are not getting shots. Whether it’s a blocking foul or an illegal turnover we weren’t getting that done in the first two games and our efficiency level is not very good if we can’t get them.”
Scott City’s bigs were a key force slicing through a Demon defense that is known for being impenetrable. Senior post Drew Kite led the way with 21 points and the Beavers other starting post Joey Meyer had eight. Kite said he attributes the posts success to the movement of the guards.
“You know it’s really Brett just driving and looking and catching me down low,” Kite said. “I didn’t really have to do anything. I made a couple of post moves I guess but me just working and getting offensive boards, plus Joey had a couple tips to me so it was just a whole team effort.”
Scott City came to prove they could hang with the big dogs and they certainly did that. The Beavers took down two ranked 6A teams in Derby and Dodge City as well as taking the No. 3 ranked 6A team into overtime.
“We’re not as big as them,” Kite said when comparing the Beavers to the 6A teams. “We’re 6’4 inside which isn’t bad, it’s big for 3A, but whenever we are playing 6A schools like last night they’re 6’7” and 6’8” and it’s kind of tough. We almost had them last night and I mean the kid I was guarding was about 6’8” and 280 lbs. so it is kind of tough to contain him inside but I thought we did pretty well this weekend with what we were up against.”
Despite leading the No. 6 Dodge City Red Demons by ten points throughout most of the game, Kite also said he didn’t feel like they played to their potential at the Tournament of Champions.
“We didn’t feel like we were in our rhythm but it could be because we haven’t played anybody of this caliber yet,” he said. “So from this we learn we have some things to work on to get to that point and every day we work to get better.”
Consolation Championship: Newton vs. Derby
The Derby Panthers were determined not to lose again. They lost to Scott City in a rough start on day one of the Tournament of Champions but took home the Consolation Championship against the Newton Railers 64-42.
“We played a great Scott City team and they kicked our tails,” Derby head coach Brett Flory said. “They are just really good. We said whether win, lose, or anything in this tournament we want to get a little better every day and I thought the second day was better and the third day was pretty darn good. The guys definitely bought into that I think and we managed to stay together through some adversity and got better.”
They kept the Railers scoreless in the first and third quarters of the consolation championship. Newton did not score until there were seven minutes remaining in the first half.
“You are always working on things and Newton played our tails off at their place not too long ago so we know they are no joke,” Flory said. “There’s never going to be a moment that we relax against a team like that and a league opponent like that.”
The TOC might have been a wake up call for the Panthers but with a tournament as jam-packed with talent as this Flory said there are a lot of positive things a coach can take away while focusing on March.
“We have a quick turnaround and we play on Tuesday again,” he said. “Then we have a little break where hopefully we can take advantage of that and get healthy and heal the little bumps and bruises that we have. The goal is to have a great February and get ready for hopefully a good run in March.”
Wichita South also defeated Buhler 55-49 to seal up the seventh and eighth places in the tournament.