2020 State Basketball Preview: Boys
Favorite: No. 1 Haysville Campus (22-0)
Contenders: No. 3 Blue Valley Northwest (20-2); No. 2 KC Harmon (20-2)
Top Players: Campus’ Shawn Warrior, Sterling and Steele Chapman, Thomas King and Keither Florence; KC Harmon’s Lonell Lane
Breakdown: The strong consensus is that Haysville Campus, which has enjoyed a dream season, and longtime power Blue Valley Northwest will meet in the championship game. Campus has successfully melded a host of transfers/new players with Warrior, King and Florence to play alongside the Chapman brothers. Campus, at state for the first time since 1996, have enjoyed one of Kansas’ biggest turnarounds the last few years. Campus faces Manhattan in the first round. Manhattan played Bishop Miege tough for three quarters at the Dodge City Tournament of Champion semifinals, and then Campus defeated Miege in overtime in the TOC title game. Lawrence and Lawrence Free State have both made at least four state trips in a row. Harmon’s Lane averages 16.9 points and 5.9 assists. Blue Valley Northwest, led by coach Ed Fritz, has not lost to an in-state team. BVNW’s seniors are Sam Stewart, Luke Blau, and Markell Hood. BVNW has won 19 in a row and has the last three state titles. The Colts’ depth, though, gives Campus a slight edge.
Favorite: No. 1 Andover (22-0)
Contenders: No. 2 Basehor-Linwood (20-2); No. 3 Hays High (16-6); No. 4 De Soto (16-6); No. 5 Kapaun (16-6)
Top Players: Andover Central’s Xavier Bell, Andover’s Jack Johnson, Hays High’s T.J. Nunnery
Breakdown: While 6A is pretty clear-cut with the favorites, 5A is more wide-open with Andover and Basehor-Linwood as the top teams. Upsets occurred in the West as undefeated Bishop Carroll lost to Andover Central, and fourth-seeded Great Bend fell at home to rival Hays. Both BC and GB had beaten the respective teams this season. Andover, like Campus, is enjoying a dream winter. Andover was 11-10 in each of the last two years. The Trojans have an historically great offensive efficiency and average 68 points per game. Junior Jack Johnson is at 19 points, and five rebounds. Senior Harper Jonas delivers 15.3 points and 6.6 rebounds, and junior Isaiah Maikori is at 11.7 points. Andover averages just 10.5 turnovers a game and has a 1.49/1 assist to turnover rate. Basehor-Linwood is the only team to beat defending 4A champion K.C. Piper. Andover Central has Xavier Bell, who scored 32 in the win against Carroll. He has signed with Division I Drexel. AC is the defending state champion. Bell is at 24.4 points and 7.3 rebounds, while senior Jerome Washington delivers 12.5 points and 6.4 rebounds. Hays High has enjoyed a seven-win improvement with new coach Alex Hutchins, who formerly led the HHS girls. Hays High’s top-five scorers are all non-seniors. The Indians average 3.5 blocks per game, including two a contest by 6-foot-10 senior Dylan Ruder. Hays High has won seven in a row. Andover has never made a state final, and Hays’ only state final came in 1944. B-L has four finals, all since ’09.
Favorite: No. 2 K.C. Piper (21-1)
Contenders: No. 1 Parsons (21-1); No. 3 Bishop Miege (18-4)
Top Players: Parsons’ Dariq Williams, Zeke Lyons, Daquan Johnson; Bishop Miege’s Mark Mitchell; Buhler’s Max Alexander; Piper’s Tamar Bates.
Breakdown: While Augusta (18-4) and Andale (16-6) are both in the field, it’s likely the championship revolves around the top-three teams in the rankings all season with Piper, Parsons and Miege. Last year, Piper defeated Parsons, 55-52, in the first round, and defeated Augusta, 86-53, in the state finals. Mark Mitchell, Tamar Bates and Wichita Collegiate’s Gradey Dick are arguably the three top recruits in Kansas. Parsons has dealt with some recent injuries. No. 7 Buhler (15-7) has enjoyed a big turnaround after Alexander and Myles Thompson transferred. Piper has averaged 73 points a game, and Parsons is at 67 a contest.
Favorite: No. 2 Wichita Collegiate (20-3)
Contenders: No. 1 Haven (21-2), No. 8 St. Marys (13-10), No. 4 Galena (18-5), No. 3 Beloit (20-3), No. 6 Nemaha Central (17-6)
Top Players: Wichita Collegiate’s Gradey Dick, Beloit’s Vincent Palen, Bryce Mason, Carson Cox and Hudson Gray, Colby’s Ryan Myers, Haven’s Wyatt Carmichael and Darby Roper
Breakdown: Similar to the girls, 3A is definitely the deepest class. No. 8 seed St. Marys defeated three ranked teams in sub-state, including second-ranked Rock Creek. Haven bested No. 1-ranked Hesston in sub-state, a Central Kansas League rival. Hesston had beaten Haven in the regular season. Beloit is a senior-laden team, led by Vincent Palen, and finished as state runner-up last year. Colby (16-7) and Galena are relatively surprise entrants into state. Galena was picked to finish near the bottom of the CNC league, and won the conference outright. Colby defeated Lakin on a buzzer-beater trey by Myers. Palen is at 16 points and 2.6 assists a contest for a team that has its top-four scorers as seniors. Beloit is a solid shooting team at 45 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point range, including 5 of 9 on 3s in the sub-state title versus TMP.
Haven’s 1-3-1 defense with coach Lonnie Paramore and Carmichael on the inside gives teams problems. While Collegiate has two big losses to 4A Parsons and 5A Great Bend, the Spartans have won 12 in a row. Collegiate has the championship pedigree with coach Mitch Fiegel, who has won six state titles. Sophomore Gradey Dick is a four-star recruit with offers from Kansas and Baylor, among others. Collegiate has plenty of depth in its high-tempo system. In an interesting quirk, Collegiate faces Colby, which beat Lakin. Lakin coach Nate Schmitt patterns his entire system off Collegiate and talks with Fiegel often.
Favorite: No. 2 Bishop Seabury Academy (21-2)
Contenders: No. 1 Pratt Skyline (21-1), No. 5 Sterling (19-4), No. 3 Hoxie (21-2), No. 6 Garden Plain (18-5)
Top Players: Seabury’s Zach Bloch, Stavian Jones, Cobe Green, Luke Hornberger and Joao Carlos Ramirez, Sterling’s Tyus Wilson, Hoxie’s Harlan Obioha, Skyline’s Cade Swonger, Steve and Sam Fisher, Mark Schmidt
Breakdown: Seabury, out of Lawrence, is the only team back from the 2A state tournament in 2019. The Seahawks lost in the first round to Ness City on a pair of buzzer-beaters, the first to send the game to overtime and the second in overtime. Coach Jonathan Raney, like Augusta coach Jake Sims, is a former Fort Hays player. Raney has also served on the FHSU staff, as the Labette County Community College head men’s coach and previously an assistant at Barstow (Mo.) under former KU standout Billy Thomas. Seabury has never made a final in school history.
Bloch is one of the best players in all classes. Green missed nearly all of last winter with a health issue, and Ramirez, a 6-6 sophomore, has received significant high-level Division I interest. Seabury has won 14 in a row and has been No. 1 in the coaches’ poll all season. However, Hoxie features 6-foot-11, 300-pound Harlan Obioha who averages 21 points and 13 rebounds a game, according to his NCSA Recruiting profile. Sterling has Tyus Wilson, a 7-foot high jumper, and has one state crown, in 2012. Hoxie has never made a state final. GP has won four state titles.
Favorite: No. 3 St. John-Hudson (20-3)
Contenders: No. 1 Elbing-Berean Academy (25-0), No. 5 Coldwater-South Central (20-5)
Top Players: St. John’s Tanner Halling, St. Francis’ Brady Dinkel, South Central’s Owen Alexander and Xavier Frazier, Lebo’s Devan McEwen
Breakdown: St. John has won six state titles, including ’07-13-14-15 under coach Clint Kinnamon. SJ was second in 1A to Central Plains last winter. SJ’s top-three scorers are all seniors, including Tanner Halling with 17.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.8 blocks per contest. Halling is arguably the state’s best defensive player. SJ permits just 37.6 points per game. St. John defeated South Central, 48-43, on Feb. 18. SJ defeated 3A Hoisington twice, and in sub-state, earned a 40-34 win against Kiowa County and a 55-52 victory versus South Gray. South Central took two losses in the league tournament when Alexander and Frazier were out with health/injury. Berean Academy permits just 33.3 points a contest. BA earns quality wins at Sterling (54-32) in the season opener, versus Cheney (67-61 in double overtime), a 63-46 win versus Sterling on Jan. 17. Berean has not allowed more than 43 points in a contest in 2020. SF has overcome significant illness this year.