1. Wichita area: Heights/East in City League; Goddard rivalry resumes
In a rare Wednesday game, Wichita Heights boys, 5-0, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, travel to Wichita East, ranked eighth in Class 6A at 4-1, in a key City League contest. Heights has won the last two but East took the previous three.
East averages 61.1 points per contest with junior Amos Alford Jr. at 12.2 points. Five players average at least nine points a contest. Heights has four players between 9.8 and 12.4 points a contest, led by junior Jaxon Pillich.
The teams have drastically different strengths. East shoots 44 percent on 3-pointers and averages 65.4 possessions per contest. The Blue Aces score .939 points per possession and allow .814 points per possession.
Heights shoots just 24 percent on treys but 61 percent on 2-point shots. The Falcons average 53.2 possessions a game, but average 1.19 points per possession, mainly because of incredible offensive rebounding. Heights collects 45 percent of available offensive rebounds, while East is at 30 percent. The Falcons have permitted .64 points a possession.
On Friday, Goddard travels to rival Goddard-Einsenhower. Goddard girls have opened 5-0 and risen from eighth in the preseason Class 5A poll to third. Three players average double figures for a team that went 11-10 last winter but returned all five starters.
Junior Kade Hackerott leads with 18.4 points and 8.8 rebounds. Sophomore Brooke Sullivan has 13.4 points and 3.2 steals, and senior Torri Vang delivers 10.6 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Goddard girls have defeated Eisenhower nine straight times. Eisenhower girls are 2-3 this winter. Goddard boys are 0-5, while Eisenhower is 2-3. However, Eisenhower junior Jordan Vincent, like Hackerott, is one of the state’s top scorers with 23.4 points, 5.8 assists and 5.6 rebounds a contest.
2. Phillipsburg at Plainville highlights Mid-Continent League slate Friday – Both Phillipsburg and Plainville have plenty of elite talent, notably with Phillipsburg’s Trey and Ty Sides, along with Plainville’s Aubree Dewey and Jared Casey. On Dec. 6, the Panther girls scored a minor upset with a 42-41 last-second win versus Plainville in the Amos Morris tournament in Russell.
Dewey exceeded 1,000 career points in December and helped the 5-2 Cardinals to key wins just before the break against Victoria and Thunder Ridge, ranked No. 10 in 1A.
On the boys’ side, Phillipsburg stands tenth in 3A at 4-2 with losses against Central Plains and Beloit, both undefeated. Trey Sides also went over 1,000 career points and averages 14.3 points, six rebounds, 3.7 assists and 3.5 steals a contest.
Phillipsburg has won four straight and five of six in the series. Plainville (5-2) has received 21.9 points and 9.1 rebounds from Casey and 17.1 points and 2.6 rebounds from senior Tanner Copeland.
Phillipsburg and Plainville are virtually identical in tempo-free statistics. Phillipsburg averages 61 possessions a game with .869 points per possession and .803 points allowed per possession.
Plainville delivers 62 possessions a contest with .932 points per possession and .854 points allowed per possession. Both teams are strong from the foul line as well, with Phillipsburg at 79 percent and Plainville at 74 percent – up from 63 percent last season. Phillipsburg leads Kansas in free throw percentage, and Plainville is fifth, according to MaxPreps statewide lists.
The one difference comes in turnover rate. Phillipsburg turns the ball over on 23.8 percent of possessions, Plainville just 18.6.
3. Ness City vs. St. John in key Central Prairie League boys’ game Friday – St. John (6-2) is ranked fifth in Class 1A, and Ness City (7-0) is third in Class 2A.
John Pfannenstiel leads Ness City with 23 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.9 steals a contest. St. John counters with its great point guard, Mason Osborne, and excellent inside play paced by Tanner Halling.
Osborne delivers 15 points per contest and Halling 21 a game.
However, NC has strong inside presence with seniors Landon Reinhardt (13.6 ppg, eight rpg) and Andres Rios (9 points, 10.1 rpg).
St. John has lost only to Class 3A Hesston and rival Central Plains, ranked No. 1 in 1A. Ness City owns a victory against Almena-Northern Valley, ranked ninth in 1A. The teams have split the last two meetings, though St. John had won five straight before then.
4. Another big matchup for Rural Vista girls with first home contest – RV is 6-0 and ranked eighth in Class 1A. The Heat are 3-0 on the road and 3-0 in tournament games. On Friday, Rural Vista gets to play at home for the first time this winter against Goessel in a key Wheat State League contest.
The Heat are 1-5 all-time against Goessel and has not defeated the Bluebirds in league play. RV has plenty of experience with all five starters back, led by senior Lauren Campuzano with 17 points and eight rebounds a game.
The Heat has permitted just 31 points a contest. Goessel (3-3) has won two straight and permitted just 39 total points in the victories. Senior Stephany Meyer has been a breakout player and averaged 16 points and 8.4 rebounds in the first five contests. She was at 3.3 points a contest last year.
5. Undefeated teams under the radar, Ashland/Pawnee Heights highlight – Several squads have perfect records, though have either not entered the rankings or reside at the bottom of the top 10.
Pawnee Heights boys (7-0) were 11-9 last year, though returned a bevy of starting experience. On Friday, the Tigers face Ashland (5-2) at home in a key Southern Plains Iroquois contest. The Tigers have lost eight straight to the perennial power Bluejays.
PH, paced by six seniors including captain Kade Scott, has won two overtime games, including 76-69 against Fowler in the season opener, and 53-50 versus Minneola on Dec. 14.
Ashland has senior Cole Lohrding at 16.1 points and 5.1 assists, and senior Konnor Maule with 13.1 points and 10.1 points. Junior Greysen Gardiner has averaged eight points and seven rebounds, though has played in just four contests, and has not played since a 64-29 victory versus Fowler on Dec. 7. Ashland also has an overtime win, 60-50, versus Ingalls on Dec. 6.
In Class 2A, Skyline boys are 7-0 and ranked tenth the last two polls. The T-Birds own quality wins against Kiowa County (64-54 on Nov. 30), Medicine Lodge (59-57 on Dec. 4) and at Lyons (55-50 on Dec. 18). Skyline faces Argonia at home on Friday. Skyline went 17-5 last year.
In 1A girls, Hutchinson Central Christian and Otis-Bison are both 7-0 in a deep classification. Each squad is unranked. CC has no seniors and has 10.3 points and 7.3 rebounds from junior Josie Ibarra. The Cougars have three straight winning seasons but have not won more than 14 games in any of those years. CC gets winless Elyria Christian in the first game after holiday break. O-B is at rival Victoria (3-3) in a key Central Prairie League game.