5 Things to watch for in High School Hoops: Week 6

Trego County defeated Oakley 32-24 to win the Purple and Gold Basketball Tournament in WaKeeney on Saturday, December 8, 2018. (Photo: Everett Royer, www.ksportsimages.com)
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1.Wichita Heights headlines key City League contests – Wichita Heights boys remained No. 1 in Class 5A after a banner week with wins against ranked 6A City League rivals Wichita East and Wichita Southeast.

On Tuesday, Heights (7-0) plays host to Bishop Carroll, the defending 5A state titlist. Carroll (5-2) is coming off a buzzer-beating win versus rival Kapaun. Carroll sophomores Alex Littlejohn and Enrique Lankford pace four players in double figures with 12.1 and 11.3 points per contest, respectively.

Heights also has players in double figures, paced 13.9 points a contest from junior Jaxon Pillich. The Falcons used its superior edge inside, especially rebounding, to capture last week’s games.

Carroll plays at a faster tempo with 59.3 possessions per contest, while Heights is at 55.9 possessions a game. Carroll has benefited from a great turnover rate and averages 1.03 points per possession and allows .80 points per possession.

Heights is at 1.18 points per possession – an incredibly high rate – and allows .73 points per possession. Heights has collected 45.2 percent of available offensive rebounds, while Carroll is at 31.7. Both teams are under 30 percent from 3. Carroll likely needs to take advantage of its turnover rate.

The Golden Eagles turn the ball over just 16.1 percent of possessions, while Heights is at 21.4 percent. By comparison, Wichita East is at a 20.5 percent turnover rate. Carroll won 59-53 against Heights in the last matchup and ended a six-game Falcon winning streak in the series. On the girls’ side, Heights is eighth in 5A and remains undefeated.

2. Campus boys look to end another losing streak; headlines AVCTL Division I play – One of the state’s biggest upsets occurred last Friday when Campus boys defeated Salina Central boys, undefeated and ranked second in 5A.

Since 2007, Campus had lost 20 straight to Salina Central. The Colts had a longer losing streak against one other team – Derby. One-loss Campus has dropped 26 in a row to Derby.

On Tuesday, Campus travels to Derby in another AVCTL Division I contest. The Panthers have struggled to a 1-5 record but receives 14 points a game from senior Clayton Hood.

Derby lost 71-37 to Salina Central on Dec. 18, but own a victory against McPherson and losses by nine, one, three and one to Arkansas City, Maize, Newton and Andover. AC and Maize are both state-ranked, while Newton features guard Ty Berry, a high-level Division I talent.

As well, Salina Central looks to bounce back with a high-profile home game versus state-ranked Maize (7-0). The Eagles have been a hyper efficient offensive team with 67.7 points per contest on 55 percent shooting and just 12.4 turnovers a contest.

The top-five scorers are all seniors, led by Caleb Grill (22 ppg), Brandle Easter (16 ppg) and Devon Koehn (11.9 ppg).

Senior Chase Schreiner has averaged 4.8 assists a contest but has not played since Dec. 11 against Derby. SC is 5-1 this season. SC, helped by an 18-0 run, won 40-30 last year in the sub-state final after Maize earned 52-29 and 49-42 wins in the regular season.

In Monday’s rankings, Maize is third in 5A, while Salina Central dropped to seventh.

Maize averages 1.13 points per possession and permits .77. The Eagles collect 31.4 percent of available offensive rebounds and have turnovers on 20.7 percent of possessions. Maize, like Heights, is not a great 3-point shooting team (31 percent) but excellent inside the arc (63 percent).

3. Undefeated Trego girls head to TMP – TMP girls have dominated the Mid-Continent League, but WaKeeney-Trego was expected to challenge the Monarchs for the league crown this year. As well, Norton and Smith Center were expected to provide resistance. Tuesday is the first TMP matchup against the top league schools.

TMP, after a 0-2 start against Class 6A Manhattan and Millwood, Okla., is 5-1 since and 3-0 in Mid-Continent League play. Tuesday marks the Monarchs’ third game in five days after a rare Saturday contest.

The Monarchs have plenty of balance, including shooting guard Adell Riedel, who transferred from WaKeeney-Trego earlier in her career. TMP has captured 38 conference games in the regular season/midseason league tournament. The Monarchs are 4-0 against WaKeeney, including a 59-32 win last season.

Trego, now up to No. 4 in 2A in Monday’s new rankings, has more returning experience with sophomore Lili Shubert, the team’s leading scorer as a freshman, along with junior Libby Frost and seniors Adrianne Carr and Paige Post.

Trego captured the Purple and Gold title in WaKeeney in January. Trego and TMP have both played Oakley – Trego twice – and the teams have similar margin of victories.

4. Kinsley girls travel to unbeaten Otis-Bison – Class 1A girls is so deep that Kinsley is 6-1 and Otis-Bison stands at 8-0, but neither team was ranked until this week when the Cougars came in at No. 9. O-B has delivered one of the top statistical scoring defenses in 1A, on pace with multiple state ranked teams.

The Cougars rolled over rival Victoria on the road last Friday and have given opponents problems with its inside height from juniors Cora Anderson and Maddie Wiltse.

O-B has permitted just 26.4 points per contest. Kinsley has enjoyed excellent production from juniors Josena Frame and seniors Rylee Gleason and Madison McElwain. In the season’s first five contests, Frame averaged 15.6 points per game and Gleason at 15.

McElwain was at 9.6 points and eight rebounds. Since 2007, Kinsley won 9 of 11 in the series but the Cougars have captured the last two by double digits.

5. South Gray boys headline key other games in SPIAA – SG, ranked No. 2 in Class 1A, is 8-0 and carries a 34-winning streak. The Rebels are at Satanta on Tuesday and then travels to Ashland on Friday in a key Southern Plains Iroquois contest. … On Friday, South Central girls took its first loss to a Kansas team since Dec. 13, 2016 when it fell 64-54 to South Barber. SC fell to No. 9 in 1A girls. On Tuesday, SC plays host to 8-1 Bucklin, unranked in 1A. Sophomore Catherine Bowman continues to have a big year for Bucklin with 15.1 points a contest. Bucklin (5-0), South Central (5-0) and Spearville (4-0) are all undefeated in league play. On Friday, Spearville, ranked third in 1A, plays host to Bucklin.