Three CPL basketball teams are headed to state. The St. John squads are set for battle at Emporia while the Ness City boys are Manhattan-bound.
The Tiger basketball teams would have been favored to advance to state in most gyms. As hosts of a Div. I sub-state, the teams were able to ride home court advantage to Emporia. The top-ranked boys cruised to three more wins, including a 51-35 win against Macksville in the finals on Saturday. St. John had to down another CPL team to reach the finals, beating LaCrosse 72-37 on Friday. The Tigers outscored the Leopards 53-25 in the middle quarters. Zuriel Reyes paced the team with 22 points, and Dean Wade added a 16 point, 10 rebound night. St. John (22-1) is the No. 1 seed at Emporia. They open state on Thursday against No. 8 Burrton (10-13).
The Lady Tigers also went unchallenged through sub-state, downing Victoria 58-24 in Saturday’s championship game. St. John dominated both ends of the floor to lead 54-22 after three quarters of play. Jamie Waters finished with 18 points and eight rebounds. Alexis Witt and Morgan Osborne each added eight points. The Lady Tigers (21-2) will have a tougher road to a title with Olpe and Hoxie, both undefeated, occupying the top two spots in Emporia. St. John faces off against Centre (17-6) on Wednesday.
The Eagle boys are headed to state. As the No. 5 seed, Ness City may have been unlikely to emerge out of the Plainville sub-state that featured Rock Hills, Oakley, and Plainville. The Eagles needed overtime to down Hill City 60-57 on Monday. Thursday, the squad handled top-seed Rock Hills 50-35. Saturday, Ness completed the run with a 62-47 win against No. 2 seed Oakley. The Eagles outscored Rock Hills 31-14 in the middle quarters of Thursday’s win. Colin Foos led the team with 21 points in that win an Dalton Gantz added nine points. The Eagles (16-7) will again be an underdog in Manhattan as the No. 7 seed. They open state against No. 2 Lyndon (22-1) on Wednesday.
The Lady Eagles would have had to navigate one of the toughest sub-states in the state to advance. After pulling of a minor upset to down Plainville 65-56 in round one, the girls fell to top-seed Ellis 70-41 in Friday’s semifinal. The girls finish the year at 10-12.
The Lady Oilers played in one of the premiere Class 2A sub-state finals on Saturday in Sterling. After leading for much of the game, a late turnover proved to be too much as the Oilers fell to the host Black Bears 58-54. Central Plains led 46-40 early in the fourth quarter, and still held onto a 54-53 lead when a mistake led to a Sterling basket with 1:08 to play. The Lady Oilers never recovered, ending their season at 20-2. Senior Jennifer Hitschmann ended her career on a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Katie Hipp did the same with 11 points and 14 boards. Senior Janae Hekele scored 11 points.
The Oiler boys cruised to a 45-26 win in the sub-state opener against Medicine Lodge, but dropped a 33-23 semifinal game to the eventual sub-state champs from Inman. Friday’s semifinal featured two teams on a hot streak. The Oilers struggled to score with only four players getting in the book. Michael Lamatsch led the way with eight points and Layne Bieberle scored seven points. Central Plains closes out the year at 13-9.
The Lady Knights needed just win to advance to the sub-state finals in St. John on Saturday. They barely got by that round with a 52-49 win against Kinsley. Saturday, the girls fell to third-ranked St. John 58-24 to end the season at 11-11. Victoria struggled to score against the notorious Lady Tiger defense on Saturday, managing just four points in the first quarter and two points in the final frame. Kristin Huser and Audra Nowak each scored nine points in the loss.
The Victoria boys also reached the semifinals with a first-round bye. There, they fell to Macksville 76-55. The Knights end the year at 12-9.
Both Leopard basketball teams went down with a fight at the St. John sub-state. As No. 5 seeds, both teams pulled off minor upsets to advance to the semis. The boys pounded Kinsley 59-27, then fell to top-ranked St. John 72-37 to end the year at 8-14. In the Kinsley win, LaCrosse already led 33-16 at the half before outscoring the Coyotes 20-4 in third quarter to open a 53-20 gap. Kip Keeley scored 16 points in the win, followed by 11 points from Clayton Basgall and 10 points from Marshall Jay.
The Lady Leopards downed Macksville 47-45 on Wednesday, then fell to third-ranked St. John 57-28 in Thursday’s semifinal. Wednesday, the girls outscored Macksville 26-17 in the middle quarters, then weathered a late Mustang comeback to hold on for the win. Rachel Weigel paced the team with 15 points and Alyssa Oborny added eight points. LaCrosse finishes the year at 5-17.
The Lady Coyotes opened the St. John sub-state with a bye. In their first contested match, the girls fell to Victoria 52-49 in Thursday’s semifinal. Kinsley hung around 32-29 at the half, and was still in the game at 45-40 with a quarter to play. Brittany Gleason finished the season strong with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Shaylee Meyers hit double-figures with 12 points and eight rebounds. The Lady Coyotes end the season at 8-13.
The Coyote boys fell victim to a resurgent LaCrosse team, the No. 5 seed, in a 59-27 contest on Wednesday in St. John. Kinsley fell behind 33-16 by halftime and 53-20 after a bad third quarter. Nathan Frame was the lone Coyote to reach double-figures with 13 points. Kinsley closes the books on a 9-12 year.
The Mustangs were yet another CPL team packed into the St. John sub-state. As the No. 2 seed, the boys had some success. After a first-round bye, the defeated Victoria 76-55 to reach the finals where they fell to top-ranked St. John 51-35. The Mustangs finish the year at 14-8.
The Lady Mustangs went out early. As the No. 4 seed, they were upset by No. 5 LaCrosse in thee first-round. The game went as No. 4 vs. No. 5 games are supposed to go with LaCrosse just edging out the Stangs 47-45. Macksville tried hard late, outscoring the Leopards 20-15 in the final quarter. Mindy Wood led all scorers with 17 points and Selena Galan added 14 points.
The Cougar basketball teams were the only CPL squads at the Sylvan Grove sub-state last week. Both teams posted first-round wins against Chase before bowing out in the second round. The No. 4 seed boys pounded the Kats 57-25 only to meet second-ranked Central Christian in Friday’s semifinal. The Cougars lost 72-44 to end the year at 7-15. Tyler Maier poured in 24 points in Thursday’s win. Dylan Wissman added 12 points.
The Lady Cougars outscored Chase 29-5 in the middle quarters of a 47-23 win on Thursday. Friday, the girls fell to sub-state champion Wilson 69-46 to finish the year at 5-17. Kim Pechanec scored 14 points in Thursday’s win, followed by 10 points from Annie Kraisinger.