Boys State Basketball Preview

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State basketball is set to begin Wednesday and Thursday across all six classes in Kansas before Champions are crowned Saturday. Today we preview what's to come in the boys state tournament.

Class 6A – Wichita Southeast (19-3) is the No. 5 seed and has its combination of sophomore Jackie Johnson (25.1 points per game) and Micah Jacques, a first team all-City League player. SE draws 19-3 Lawrence in the first round. The class has several of the state’s top scorers. Defending champion and favorite Blue Valley Northwest has Christian Braun, a KU commit, who averages 30 points and 11 rebounds a game. Olathe North (18-4) has 26 points a contest from Tymer Jackson, and KC Harmon gets 22 points a game from Lonell Lane.

Class 5A – Expect high-scoring games with multiple elite offenses. Maize (22-0), Andover Central (19-3), Bishop Carroll (17-5) and Bonner Springs (20-2) all average at least 70 points a game and/or more than one point per possession, a high-level mark. Maize has pulled out multiple close games this year with its senior-laden group of Caleb Grill, Brandle Easter and Devon Koehn. Bonner, with Emporia State signee Keyon Thomas, gets Carroll, the defending 5A champion, in the first round. Carroll has three players in double figures, paced by Carson Pracht. AC has its high-octane trio of Xavier Bell, Easton Leedom and Braden Belt. All three deliver at least 16 points a contest. Doug Finch, the coach for No. 6 seed Salina Central (17-5), has announced his retirement.

Class 4A – Chanute’s shocking upset of Bishop Miege in the sub-state title game opened up the bracket with Wichita Trinity (20-1) and Andale (19-2) the top two teams. Andale is at state for the sixth time in eight years. Augusta (16-6) pulled an upset against Abilene in the sub-state game. Augusta coach Jake Sims is coaching at his alma mater. Current Abilene coach Terry Taylor coached Sims and Augusta to a state title in Sims’ high school career. Augusta is at state for the first time since ’03.

Class 3A – Like 4A, 3A is also open against Smoky Valley upset Phillipsburg in the semifinals of the Hoisington sub-state. SV then lost to TMP, which is the No. 8 seed. Larned (17-6) has a penchant for winning last-second games and beat Hugoton, 69-67, with a shot at the end to reach state for the first time since 1994. Mason Perez has been one of the Indians’ top players. Larned gets No. 3 Perry-Lecompton (20-2), which had a big comeback and last-second shot to beat Silver Lake in the sub-state title. Beloit (22-1) is the No. 2 seed and looks for its first state title with an efficient offense that received 14.5 points a game from Vincent Palen. Maur Hill (22-0) and Girard (19-3) also headline an open field. Santa Fe Trail, which was ranked No. 1 some of the year, also lost in sub-state.

Class 2A – This class is headlined by the star players. No. 1 Inman (20-2) has Payton Froese, who has cleared 1,000 points, and post Mason Thiessen, who has signed with Emporia State. The Teutons get No. 8 Plainville (17-6) in a rare high-profile 1/8 matchup. Plainville junior Jared Casey has also cleared 1,000 career points and averages 21 points a contest. The Cardinals make 7.6 treys a game and attempt 16.1 free throws a contest, both excellent marks. Ness City (19-4) is the No. 4 seed, and gets Bishop Seabury (16-4), which scored 95 in its sub-state title. NC has John Pfannenstiel, who averages 22 points a contest. Trinity Catholic (20-3) owns a win against Inman and Kaleb Hammeke has signed with Fort Hays. Colgan (19-3) is the defending runner-up and has standout Matthew Lomshek.

Class 1A – Central Plains has won 50 straight contests and is the favorite behind its four talented seniors: Brett Liebl, Devin Ryan, Alex Hickel and Myles Menges. The 3/6 matchup of Hanover (24-1) and St. John (21-4) matches two of the state’s all-time best coaches in Hanover’s Kim Lohse and SJ’s Clint Kinnamon. The winner is favored to meet CP in the final. SJ has lost to CP three times this season. St. John features point guard Mason Osborne and post Tanner Halling, who combine for 31 points a game. Halling is one of the state’s best shot blockers at 3.6 a contest.