1. AVCTL/GWAL showdown; Day 1: Derby girl win another big matchup – While most of the state’s games were postponed because of weather, easily the biggest storylines emerged in the annual AVCTL/GWAL (City League) showdown. The games run Thursday-Saturday and are normally held at Koch Arena but due to a conflict with Wichita State women’s basketball, the contests were at high schools this season.
On Thursday, the Derby girls, ranked No. 1 in Class 6A, held off Wichita Heights, the City League leader and ranked eighth in 5A, 66-52. Both teams were undefeated entering the contest. Derby’s Division I signees, point guard Tor’e Alford and post Kennedy Brown, paced the effort, but Derby continues to have strong seasons from its secondary players, like Aliyah Myers. Brown delivered 25 points in the victory, and Alford again ran the offense effectively. Derby led 26-19 at halftime. Derby already owns wins against McPherson, Maize, Newton and Salina Central.
2. AVCTL/GWAL Day 2; Maize/Carroll highlight – The key games in Friday’s contests featured Bishop Carroll and Maize. On the girls’ side, many of the players know each other well and have played together on high-level summer teams. Maize is ranked fourth in Class 5A, and Carroll had dropped out of the poll after a rough last week that included losses to Kapaun and Heights and an altercation in the Heights game. Maize defeated Carroll, 54-44. Maize led 23-10 at halftime as Carroll missed Britney Ho and Allison McFarren, both college signees, in the contest.
For the boys, Carroll had earned a huge win against Wichita Heights on Tuesday, but fell to Maize, ranked No. 3 in Class 5A, on Friday, in a great overtime game, 56-52. Caleb Grill sunk a 3-pointer in overtime and kept the Eagles with a perfect record at 9-0. In Class 5A West, Heights stands at 8-1 and Carroll is 5-3. Additionally on Tuesday, Maize beat Salina Central, 55-43, in another ranked matchup. Senior Brandle Easter Jr. continues to put up big numbers for Maize, including a team-high 19 points Friday.
3. Other ACVTL/GWAL results – On Thursday, Wichita Southeast, ranked third in 6A, gave Andover Central its first loss with an 82-72 overtime victory. AC is ranked second in Class 5A. Jackie Johnson had 34 points for Southeast. Wichita Heights boys bounced back from the loss to Carroll and defeated Derby, 55-43. Maize South girls, ranked sixth in 5A, stayed undefeated with a 56-49 win versus Wichita South. Maize South boys rolled over Wichita South, 86-54 and have won five straight.
4. More AVCTL/GWAL matchups – The cross-league games continue Saturday when Wichita East plays red-hot Haysville Campus. In the last eight days, Campus has ended losing streaks of at least 20 games in wins against Salina Central and Derby. Campus is No. 10 in Class 6A, and Wichita East stands ninth in Class 6A. Additionally, Wichita North faces Andover, and Wichita West is set to play Eisenhower.
5. Other key results – In the North Central Kansas League, Abilene girls defeated Clay Center, 30-21. Abilene is ranked fourth in Class 4A, and Clay Center stands second in 3A. Abilene won for the first time in three years at Clay Center. The game featured a scoreless quarter from both teams. Clay Center led 4-0 after the first quarter, and Abilene outscored CC, 8-0, in the second quarter. … In another high-profile Southern Plains Iroquois contest, Spearville girls, ranked third in 1A, dropped Bucklin to 8-3 with a 45-42 victory. … Ness City, ranked fifth in Class 2A, had its game versus WaKeeney-Trego postponed, but standout point John Pfannenstiel announced via Twitter that he had picked up an offer from Bethel College. Pfannenstiel averages more than 20 points a game. … Many of the top smaller leagues have their conference/midseason tournaments this upcoming week, including the Mid-Continent League, the Hoisington tournament, competitions at St. John and Hillsboro. The MCL started their tournament Saturday with play-in games.