The outcome of the first round of the Tournament of Champions is usually pretty easy to predict. Most of the seedings played out according to expectations Thursday but a 3A Scott City Beaver squad opened a few eyes as they defeated the 6A Derby Panthers. The Raiders, Redskins, Demons and Beavers live to fight another day as they survived the first round and head to the TOC semi-finals.
Wichita North vs. Buhler
The Wichita North Redskins came to the Tournament of Champions to prove they have more weapons than Jayhawk recruit Conner Frankamp. In their opening game against Buhler they didn’t help their case. The game got out of hand quickly and Wichita North gallivanted its way to the win 67-32.
Although Buhler freshman post Jace Williams pounded in two points to create the first strike, Frankamp came back with finesse on the perimeter. He opened the second quarter with a three-bomb faking out the defender with his quick feet and creating separation. At halftime Wichita North had the lead 37-18. Frankamp led the way with 23 points.
Defense has been a focal point for the Redskins and their debut in Dodge City revealed their practice had paid off. Turnovers killed the Crusaders. The Redskins took 21 compared to Buhler’s seven. Frankamp put up 38 points total in their 67-32 win. Head Coach Gary Squires said although the score didn’t show it they have a few things they still need to work on.
“We ran our sets really well, we got caught Conner off to a good start and he got hot early,” Squires said. “We had other guys contribute too. We have to get to the basket more. Conner didn’t even go to the free throw line. We had two free throws the whole game. Sean Bernard made those two but we have to get to the basket more… I think our defensive rebounding we need to do a much better job on that and I thought during the second half our intensity level wasn’t where it was in the first half. On ball defense we also need to do a better job on that.”
The Redskins advance to the semi-finals of the TOC to face the Scott City Beavers.
Shawnee Mission South vs. Wichita South
The Shawnee Mission South Raiders put a severe beat down on Wichita South in the second game of the day 68-30.
The Raiders were a force on offense with sophomore DeAngleo Bruster leading the way earning 16 points on offense. Raiders sophomore Dainan Swoope sank two of his four the three-pointers to give Shawnee Mission South the lead at halftime 28-11.
Turnovers were also an issue for the Titans. They gave up 27 turnovers compared to Shawnee Mission’s 11. The perfect balance of three-point shooting guards and post Josh Pederson’s domination in the paint with eight points allowed the Raiders to advance 68-30. They take on Dodge City in the semi-finals at 8:30 p.m. on Friday.
Derby vs. Scott City
The Scott City and Derby match up was back and forth until late in the second quarter. The Beavers flipped a switch and the 3A No. 1-ranked team was back in business. They took Derby by surprise defeating the Panthers 58-45.
“I think the main thing was that we came out flat,” said Scott City head coach Glenn O’Neil. “I don’t know if we came out with big eyes, or flat, or kind of intimidated a little bit playing that good 6A school. I had to yell at somebody in the huddle to get everyone kind of fired up. Even if the kid didn’t deserve it, he got yelled at to get us going a little bit. That tactic gave us a little momentum and motivation and we definitely played harder.”
He was right. His motivation tactic worked. Derby had a four point lead with six minutes left in the second quarter but that’s when the Beavers found their rhythm. Senior guard Brett O’Neil sank a three-bomb to spark the run and senior post Drew Kite followed with a powerful drive to the basket for two. The Beavers overcame nine lead changes to take the lead going into halftime 31-21.
O’Neil and Kite were the two leading scorers with 19 and 17 points. They are just a small reflection of the balance of the Beavers offense. Senior Tyler Hess was another guard in double digits with 13 points. Coach O’Neil said Brett and Drew find ways to make the big plays happen.
“Well Drew is so strong,” Glenn O’Neil said. “I mean we want to get him inside and he pivots a lot. He got called for a few travels tonight but you know he’s real hard to cover just because of his actions on the inside. Brett’s been playing a long time and he played pretty well but he had some trouble at the free throw line in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter he came back and knocked in a couple to finish up good for us.”
The Beavers blazed out of the locker room with seven unanswered points. Scott City’s team chemistry allowed them to keep the lead throughout the second half. The Beavers won 58-45, but they lost a crucial player, Trey O’Neil, late in the second half. After clutching his knee and writhing in pain on the floor, Trey hopped off the court. He came back to the bench with crutches and an ice pack on his knee. Glenn O’Neil said they won’t know what the injury is for sure until Friday afternoon but if they lose him, it will significantly impact the team.
“Well the big thing is he is probably our second best ball handler and he’s been our leading three-point shooter on the year,” O’Neil said. “He is second on our team in scoring and he’s probably one of our better defenders because he is so smart on the floor. This would be big because it really jumps into our depth on the bench.”
The Beavers will advance to take on the Wichita North Redskins at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Dodge City vs. Newton
The Railers came into Dodge City with high hopes of ending their two game losing streak. The Dodge City Red Demons needed a confidence boost after dropping out of the state’s top ten. The Demons came prepared. Newton did not. The Demons started off with a nine point lead and did not look back as they earned their first round win 44-33.
“Well we got off to a really good start,” said Demon head coach Dennis Hamilton. “I give our kids a lot of credit. We were active both on the defensive end and offensively I thought we did a great job moving the basketball, wanting to attack inside, got the ball in got it out, and knocked down a couple threes. I thought we shot the ball very well from the arc. We hit five out of ten so that’s a positive. We struggled from the free throw line and normally we shoot it better. If we hit more of those free throws we might have put this game away a little earlier.”
Dodge City had two players in double digits. Senior Shaphan Gross sank 11 points and junior post Jace Larson knocked in another 11 to lead the way for the Red Demons. Four different players hit three-pointers for Dodge City and at halftime the score was 21-11 in favor of Dodge.
The Railers outscored the Demons 12-8 in the fourth quarter but it would not be enough as the Demons advance 44-33. They will take on the precision and size of the Shawnee Mission South Raiders. Hamilton says it will be a tough match up that will require everything the Demons have including perfection of their domineering defense.
“I know they are very talented and they can hit you in a variety of ways,” Hamilton said. “They have good speed out front with their guards’ quickness. Good size on the inside with a 6’8” kid. We’re going to have to play a really good game. We really are to be in that thing late and to have an opportunity. We will hopefully do some things that will disrupt their flow and help us control the tempo and keep the score down.”