State basketball has finally come. This is the reward of grinding through the long summer and fall workouts and even through the dog days of the winter season. It is a long road to get here, but once a team does finally make it to the dance, it doesn’t want to blow it. Every team shows up hungry wanting a win. Everybody wants to hoist the state championship trophy over their heads and say they are the best.
However, the vast majority will not be able to do that. State championships come from a culmination of hard work, talent and sometimes, luck. There are so many times teams try to pick the year, but sometimes the year picks them. What will the road look like for teams in state tournaments? Find out below.
Click here for complete brackets for each class.
Class 6A Boys
In 13 years, the 6A state champion has come from northeast Kansas just three times. First was 2000 when the future NBA World Champion Wayne Simien led the way for Leavenworth, then Olathe South won in 2004 and Blue Valley West won in 2007. All other titles were won by either a Wichita school or Hutchinson in 2001.
Iowa State-commit Clay Custer and the Blue Valley Northwest Huskies have reached the state championship game in each of the past three seasons, where they met Wichita Heights. The Falcons never steamrolled Northwest, but they always came out on top. Now that Heights missed the state tournament, the undefeated Huskies look to walk through the tournament.
Although Northwest currently sits at 22-0, Shawnee Mission East is the No. 3 seed and will face the 15-7 Wichita East. SM East has been ranked in the top three of the state all season long. It lost the McPherson championship game to the host earlier this season.
The Wichita North Redskins are seeded at No. 2 with a 20-2 record. North will meet the 13-9 Blue Valley West Jaguars in the first round. West is always a tough opponent, so North will have its hands full. And any team that can’t shut down Frankamp is in trouble.
Derby is a team that can score and run the floor with ease. At 18-3 in a solid AVCTL Div. I, Derby could prove to be dangerous in this tournament. However, the Panthers got a bit of a tough draw with Garden City in the first round. Many might write off Garden City because the Buffaloes come from out west, but this team has faced its share of Wichita City League, Centennial League and out-of-state opponents. Also, the Western Athletic Conference was a tough league this season.
Class 6A Girls
The Wichita South Lady Titans have lost just one game this season and it was to the defending 5A state champion Kapaun. It took much convincing for South to reach the top of the rankings; at one point it was No. 9 in the state. But now it holds the top seed in the 6A tournament and will face Blue Valley Stillwell in the first round, a team that has not only been in the tournament, but done well the past two seasons. The last time South won a state championship was in 1978.
The Lady Tigers have finished second in the state the past two seasons, so these are seasoned girls, regardless of their No. 8-seeded, 17-5 record. At No. 2 is Olathe South, a team that sits at 20-1, just like Wichita South. The Lady Falcons will meet Wichita Heights in the first round, another team that has been there, done that. This game is a rematch of the 2010 championship game that South won, for what it’s worth. Heights has won the last two 6A championships and six of them since 2002, so this is a team that will not be an easy out.
The Maize Ladies hold the No. 3 seed and currently sit at 20-2. The Lady Eagles will meet Topeka Washburn Rural in the first round, a team that sits at 16-5. Maize has consistently held a No. 5 or above ranking in 6A this season.
Class 5A Boys
Last year, after Kapaun Mt. Carmel won the state championship, head coach John Cherne III said the Wichita City League is what helped the Crusaders run the gamut it faced in the state tournament. That was also when the City League was arguably the best league in the state of Kansas. Kapaun was actually a No. 4 seed at 13-9 in 2012 and went on to win the title. The defending champions are No. 6 this season and will face a tough 19-2 Emporia squad in the first round.
Shawnee Mission South is 22-0 and has sat atop 5A the entire season. The Raiders get Salina South, the surprise team in the tournament. The Cougars beat rival Salina Central on a buzzer beater in the sub-state championship and currently hold a record of 9-12.
No. 7-seed Hays will have a tough road as it will face a 20-1 Lansing team that took fourth in last season’s state tournament but entered as the top team, so the Lions are hungry. Andover holds the No. 5 seed and at 17-5 will meet an 18-3 Mill Valley team. Andover also beat rival Andover Central in the sub-state final. It was the first time since 2008 the Trojans took down the Jaguars.
Class 5A Girls
It is the 19th-straight time the St. Thomas Aquinas girls have made the state tournament, but has won the title just three different times. This year the Lady Saints hold the top seed with a 21-1 record and will meet Leavenworth in the first round. The Lady Pioneers hold a 14-8 record.
Defending state champion Kapaun Mt. Carmel will meet Bishop Miege, a team that is also no stranger to the state tournament. Kapaun has played an exceptionally tough schedule and can be argued that it’s better than its 19-3 record indicate. However, the only thing that matters is how the Lady Crusaders perform in the dance.
Newton is the No. 4 seed and Andover is the No. 5 seed. Even though both are in the AVCTL, these two did not meet this season. Two of Newton’s losses came to 6A No. 3 Maize. Those two games were decided by a total of six points. Andover went on a two-game losing streak midway through the season when it lost to Salina Central and rival Andover Central. The Trojans exacted revenge when it beat the Lady Jaguars 60-38 in the sub-state final.
The No. 2, 20-1 Mill Valley will meet Salina South in the first round. The Lady Cougars are 16-5 on the season and defeated Great Bend in the sub-state final.
Class 4A Boys
Duke-commit Semi Ojeleye and the Ottawa Cyclones are undefeated this season, but hold the No. 2 seed behind the also-undefeated No. 1 Topeka Highland Park. Those two teams have been the top two teams all season long. Ottawa will meet 17-6 Anderson County in the opening round and will likely roll into the second round.
Winfield took down Wichita Collegiate 40-38 in the sub-state final and hold the No. 8 seed in the tournament at 14-8. The Vikings will meet Highland Park in the first round, so it’s a tough draw for Winfield. No. 4 Abilene enters the tournament at 19-4 and hot. This team trounced Hesston in the sub-state final and took down previous No. 3-ranked McPherson in its sub-state tournament. The Cowboys will face Independence in the first round. The Bulldogs are 18-5 on the year.
At one point, Andale was the hottest team in the state. It lost its first game of the season to Winfield, then rattled off 12 straight wins before losing to McPherson, then won another eight straight including three in its sub-state tournament. The Indians are the No. 3 seed with a 20-2 record. They will meet KC Piper in the opening round. The Pirates sit at 17-5.
Class 4A Girls
Wamego enters the 4A tournament as the No. 1 seed at 22-1. This team was good last year, but missed the state tournament. However, that was last year. The Lady Red Raiders have played a salty schedule and have had their share of challenges on the floor this season. They will face No. 8 Pratt, a team that sits at 14-9 and took third in its own tournament. The Lady Greenbacks have played a schedule that includes ranked teams almost every week.
The McPherson girls hold a 19-3 record and the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The Lady Bullpups are always in the conversation for a state championship and this year is no different. The defending champions have a 15-7 Labette County in the first round. McPherson has played a tough schedule and has run through it like a McPherson team is expected to run through it. Its only losses came to Blue Springs (Mo.), 6A No. 2 Olathe South and a strong Salina Central team that just missed the 5A tournament.
Clearwater and Fort Scott will face off in the first round. Clearwater, the No. 5 seed is 16-6 on the season and come into the tournament winning nine of its last 10 games. Its lone loss in that stretch came to Andale, a team that has been ranked for most of the season and came six points shy of the tournament.
Class 3A Boys
It was said earlier in the season that if you’re not Scott City, you’re not winning in 3A. Well the Beavers will have its hands full as Beloit, as the four seed, and Silver Lake, as the five seed, both have two losses on the season. Humboldt is at the top with a 23-0 record and Scott City is No. 2 with 22-1. Nemaha Valley is No. 3 at 22-1 as well.
The Beavers only loss came to a mostly Conner Frankamp-less Wichita North in the Dodge City tournament of champions 67-62. North is the 6A No. 2 seed. The Beavers then beat Dodge City for third place in the tournament. They will meet Pittsburg-Colgan (17-5) in the opening round.
Undefeated Humboldt drew Salina Sacred Heart (15-8) for its first game of the tournament. If Humboldt wins that game, the Cubs will find either Beloit or Silver Lake waiting for them in the second round. Whoever wins the 3A tournament will be beaten, bruised and battered at the end of it.
Don’t count out Wichita Independent, though. The Panthers sit at 19-5, but have the ability to put up some major points. This is a team that likes to run up and down fast, so we will see if the one-loss Nemeaha Valley came put the brakes on.
Class 3A Girls
Much like the boys’ side, the 3A girls’ tournament will be a tough road for whoever comes out on top. The top four teams hold a combined record of 86-4. The four seed is Hillsboro at 21-2. Any other year, that would likely wrap up the top seed.
But this isn’t any other year. Burlington is 23-0 at the top, Garden Plain is No. 2 at 22-1 and Caney Valley is No. 3 at 20-1. The Lady Owls of Garden Plain will meet the 17-5 Riley County in the first round. Garden Plain is dangerous because it can grind out a win or put up 70 points and blow an opponent out of the water. It is very versatile.
Hillsboro at No. 4 is the same way. It can outscore an opponent 64-13 (like it did to Marion in the opening round of sub-state) or win 51-50 (like it did against Wamego in the Hillsboro tournament championship.) The Lady Trojans will find Holcomb at 19-4 in the first round.
Class 2A Boys
The Meade boys have lost just one game the last two seasons. The lone game? It was to Sterling in last year’s state championship. The Buffaloes were 23-0 heading into last year’s state tournament and they are 23-0 heading into this year’s tournament.
In the first round Meade will face a 14-9 Oswego. If it were to win that game, the Buffaloes would find either Inman (No. 4 seed) or Moundridge (No. 5 seed) in the second round. Both the Teutons and Wildcats are 18-5. Meade no longer needs to worry about Sterling, as the Blackbears finished 9-12 and lost to Little River in its sub-state semifinal game. There is no possibility of a rematch from last year’s state tournament for the Buffaloes.
Lyndon sits at No. 2 at 22-1 and will face Ness City (16-7) in the first round. Republic County (20-3) will meet Jefferson County North (17-6) in the opening round.
Class 2A Girls
Jefferson County North is one of four schools in 2A to send both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams to the state tournament. However, none of those team hold the same seed. The Lady Chargers of Jefferson County North hold the top seed with a 21-2 record and will face Meade (14-8) in the first round of play. The Lady Chargers are the defending state champions, so they know what it takes to win this one.
The Moundridge Lady Wildcats are the No. 4 team in the tournament and after a two-game losing streak that put the team at 1-2, they rattled off eight straight wins. Buhler then defeated Moundridge by one point 49-48. From then on, Moundridge has won 11 in a row entering the tournament. This team is on fire and that could be huge for the state tournament. Moundridge faces No. 5 Northern Heights (19-3) in the opening round.
Smith Center is the No. 2 seed with a 21-2 record. The Lady Red started the season on a 10-game win streak. But, as the old adage goes, it’s not how you start, but how you finish. Well, Smith Center has won 11 of its last 12 games including five in a row so this team is coming in hot.
Republic County took third place in last season’s state tournament and currently hold the No. 6 seed at 18-5. The Lady Buffaloes will meet No. 3 Sterling in the first round. Sterling is currently No. 3 and is on a six-game win streak heading into the tournament. Both of these teams were consistently ranked throughout the course of the season.
Class 1A Div. 1 Boys
Just three teams return to the 2013 state tournament from the 2012 tournament. No. 3 Hoxie (20-3), No. 5 Centralia (18-5) and No. 8 Burrton (10-13) are the three to do so.
Ashland, the defending state champion, missed the tournament this season so this class will see a new champion. At No. 1, St. John-Hudson has nearly run the table so far with a 22-1 record. The Tigers will meet the 10-13 Burrton Chargers in the first round. If St. John-Hudson wins its first-round game, it will find either 18-4 Olpe (No. 4) or 18-5 Centralia (No. 5) waiting in the second round. The Tigers missed the tournament last season.
South Haven, the No. 2 seed missed the tournament last season, too. But, it carries a 21-2 record into the state tournament where it will meet Minneola in the opening round. Minneola also missed the tournament last season. Hoxie, at 20-3 will meet No. 6 Stockton in the first round.
Class 1A Div. 1 Girls
The girls’ side of this class also has just three teams returning to the 2013 state tournament from 2012. No. 2 Hoxie (23-0), No. 3 St. John-Hudson (21-2) and No. 6 Centre (17-6) are the three returners. All three are on the bottom half of the bracket.
Olpe and Hoxie hold an identical 23-0 record, but the Lady Eagles of Olpe are the top seed and will meet Hanover in the first round. The Lady Wildcats are 14-7 on the year. Thunder Ridge or Bucklin will meet the winner of that game.
Thunder Ridge is 18-4 on the year and sit at No. 4 in the bracket. Bucklin is No. 5 with a 17-5 record.
Hoxie has run the table so far this season and will put it on the line against South Haven in the first round. South Haven is 16-7 on the season and enters the tournament as the No. 7 seed.
St. John-Hudson has lost just two games all year. The first was to 6A No. 1 Wichita South and the other was to Central Plains by a single point. It also beat Maize South. This will be a good, tough tournament.
Class 1A Div. 2 Boys
Top-seeded Fowler has run through every team it has played this season. The most points it gave up was 57 to Ingalls and the Goldbugs still won by 11. This team has consistently put 65, 70 or even 75 points on the scoreboard. Fowler will meet 15-8 Cunningham in the first round. If it wins that game, the Goldbugs will meet either No. 4 Wallace County (18-5) or No. 5 Colony-Crest (17-5) in the next round. Fowler took third in last season’s tournament, so it is hungry for a title.
No. 2 Hutchinson Central Christian just kept on winning this season and take a 19-3 record into the state tournament where it will meet No. 7 Axtell (16-6) in the opening round.
Frankfort, the former state champion, is defending no more as it lost in sub-state.
Class 1A Div. 2 Girls
The top four seeds in this tournament are a combined 105-8. Ingalls, however, is at the top with a 23-0 record and will meet a relatively struggling Southern Coffey County in the first round. The Lady Titans are 10-12 on the year.
If the Lady Bulldogs win their opening round game, it will meet either 20-2 Wilson (No. 4) or 20-3 Baileyville B&B (No. 5). It will not be an easy road for Ingalls, a team that finished third in last year’s tournament.
No. 2 Norwich sits at 22-1 on the season and will face 16-7 Dighton . Norwich’s only loss came to 1A Div. 1 top seed St. John-Hudson. No. 3 Golden Plains will square off against 17-6 Hope in the first round.