1.Plenty of buzzer-beaters – Friday was marked by multiple buzzer beaters, including a 52-50 last-second win by the Carroll boys against rival Kapaun in the Holy War. Carroll was behind throughout the contest before Carroll’s Tanner Mans tied the game with 30 seconds left on a trey. Then, Kapaun knotted the score at 50 with 6.3 seconds remaining.
Then, Carroll (5-2) missed a 3 but Carsen Pracht grabbed the offensive rebound, and as he was falling down, attempted a shot. It went through for the game-winning basket. Carroll gets a big matchup against undefeated Heights next week.
Andover boys, who already own an overtime home win in the season opener against McPherson, delivered a 66-65 overtime victory against Derby on a pass from Jack Johnson to Harper Jonas. Maize South boys defeated Valley Center, 79-77, as Trey Reid sunk a jumper at the buzzer.
2. Kapaun girls earn win; lead Friday’s upsets - Kapaun girls ended a seven-game losing streak in the Holy War with a 33-31 win against Bishop Carroll, which was ranked second in Class 5A. Sophomore Ella Anciaux led with 25 points. It marked the first time Kapaun had beaten Carroll since a 59-48 victory on Jan. 31, 2015.
Additionally, Campus boys defeated Salina Central, 55-45. SC was ranked second in Class 5A and undefeated. Both squads are 5-1. Since Jan. 2007, the Colts had dropped 20 straight games to Salina Central. Campus has also lost 26 in a row to Derby and now faces the Panthers on the road Tuesday. SC gets state ranked Maize on Tuesday at home.
In the Mid-Continent League, Ellis boys (5-2) earned an upset 53-49 versus county rival Thomas More Prep-Marian. TMP had captured four straight and dropped to 4-3. Since the matchup resumed in 2015, Ellis had been 0-5 versus the Monarchs. TMP led by 12 after the first quarter and 15 in the second before the Railroader comeback. Zachary Eck paced Ellis with 26 points.
3. Heights boys complete big week – Wichita Heights, the No. 1 team in Class 5A, had two big contests with East on Wednesday and Southeast on Friday. East is ranked eighth in Class 6A. Heights defeated East, 66-58, on Wednesday and then held off previously undefeated Southeast, 78-56. On Wednesday, Heights held a plus-14 edge on the glass, including plus-8 on the offensive end.
Danair Dempsey led the Falcons with 19 points on Friday. Jackie Johnson paced SE with 22 points, but Heights’ length, depth and rebounding was again a big difference. Heights grabbed 17 offensive rebounds off just 28 missed shots, a remarkable 61 percent of available offensive rebounds. Heights improved to 7-0.
4. Strathman returns in key victory – Longtime McPherson coach Chris Strathman missed the first part of the season after he needed to recover from a cancerous tumor. Via Twitter on Dec. 31, Strathman announced he was not going to have to do any chemo or radiation treatments and was going to return to the sideline.
In AVCTL Division III play on Friday, McPherson earned a key 37-30 win against Circle, undefeated and ranked third in Class 4A. McPherson is ranked fifth in 5A. Senior Hannah Hageman paced McPherson with 12 points. McPherson moved to 6-1, 3-0 in league.
5. Liberal girls earn key WAC win – Friday marked nearly one year to the day that Liberal had lost a regular season and Western Athletic Conference game. On Jan. 5, 2018, Liberal fell at Hays High, the school’s only defeat until the Class 5A semifinals.
On Friday, Liberal, ranked No. 5 in Class 6A, steadily pulled away from an experienced Hays High squad and earned a 61-42 victory. Hays High led 4-0 midway through the first quarter before Liberal had a 9-0 run and eventually led 24-13 at halftime.
Liberal went 9-0 at home last year, is 4-0 at home this winter and 7-0 overall, 1-0 in WAC play. Friday also marked the Redskins’ first contest since Dec. 14, one of the longest breaks of any school. HHS girls dropped to 3-3, 0-1.
Liberal, the state’s leader in free throw shooting percentage, went 17 of 19 from the foul line. On the boys’ side, Hays High won 68-56 and had a key 24-3 run. Hays High (4-2, 1-0) received 20 points from Tradgon McCrae, the third straight contest he scored at least 20. Cade Swayne delivered 13 points and 12 rebounds. Liberal boys are 5-2, 0-1.