1. Close calls for Derby girls, Maize boys – Derby girls are ranked first in 6A, and Maize boys stand No. 1 in 5A. Derby (15-0) had an uncharacteristic offensive struggle and held off Newton, 37-28. Oregon State commit Kennedy Brown had 11 points. Newton dropped to 7-9. Derby had a 17-0 run to take a 20-4 lead but the Railers steadily came back.
Entering the contest, Derby had an average margin of 60-29 and had won every game by double figures. Derby’s low point total was a 44-31 victory against Maize on Monday. Before last week, Derby had scored at least 47 in every game.
Jaiden Schomp, the first player off the bench, had 10 points, including three treys. For Maize, the Eagles held off Campus, 46-45, and improved to 5-0 in games decided by 10 points or fewer. The Eagles moved to 17-0. Campus is ranked seventh in 6A. The Colts’ Sterling Chapman missed the second of two free throws with 1.5 seconds left.
Campus has taken just four losses, two to Maize. Brandle Easter, Jr. paced the Eagles with 21 points. Devon Koehn had 12, and Caleb Grill tallied 10. Maize’s close wins include a 58-57 win versus Derby, an overtime victory against Bishop Carroll, a 65-63 win against Maize South and Friday. On Dec. 14, the Eagles beat Campus, 61-48.
As well, Wichita Heights girls clinched the City League title with a 57-34 win against South. Heights stands fourth in 5A.
2. Milestones for McPherson – Jake Alexander cleared 1,000 career points for the Bullpups in its victory against Winfield on Friday, 55-42. According to Bullpup play-by-play announcer Jim Joyner, it marks the 12th time a McPherson boy has cleared 1,000 points. McPherson boys have won four in a row and improved to 12-4. Alexander paced McPherson with 20 points. The Bullpup girls have captured 13 straight and moved to 15-1 with a 51-21 victory against Winfield, a 10-6 team.
This week, McPherson girls coach Chris Strathman became the all-time winningest coach in Bullpup girls’ basketball history after a 76-25 victory Tuesday against El Dorado. The highly successful Strathman surpassed former coach Scott Schaefer.
Schaefer went 272-43 with four state titles, while Strathman is now 274-53 with three crowns, including one last March. Strathman had assisted Schaefer for 10 years before he took over as head coach 14 years ago. McPherson’s only loss is against Derby. The Bullups stand fifth in 5A.
3. Phillipsburg boys continue to roll – Phillipsburg enjoyed a big week with two key wins and improved to 15-2. The Panthers, ranked third in 3A, have captured 11 straight. On Tuesday, the Panthers earned a 67-49 home win against Hoxie, ranked No. 2 in Class 2A. Phillipsburg led by 28 after three quarters.
On Friday, Phillipsburg remained undefeated in Mid-Continent League play with a 61-50 road win against Thomas More Prep-Marian at Al Billinger Fieldhouse. It marked the first time TMP had ever lost a home conference game since switching to the MCL. On Friday, Phillipsburg opened the game on a 7-0 run and led by seven at halftime. Trey Sides scored 19, and Ty Sides tallied 16 for the Panthers.
Jonathan Hunnacutt, the state’s all-time career leader in kicking points, signed with Fort Hays football to kick this week. The 5-foot-11 Hunnacutt then earned team player of the game honors Friday for his nine points and 10 rebounds against TMP’s big post players, several whom are at 6-4 or taller. The TMP girls improved to 12-4 and remained perfect at home with a 54-34 victory against Phillipsburg.
4. Trinity Catholic boys with key victory; Campuzano with triple-double for Rural Vista – In Heart of America play, Hutchinson Trinity defeated Inman, 49-40, in a key road contest. Inman has led 2A virtually all season with a No. 1 ranking, while the Celtics have steadily moved up the poll. Trinity was fifth this week, up a spot from last week. Trinity led 20-15 at halftime and held a 1-point lead late before scoring the game’s last eight points. Kaleb Hammeke paced the Celtics with 21 points as the Celtics moved to 7-0, and Inman dropped to 7-1.
In Wheat State League play, Rural Vista boys delivered a 53-22 victory against Wakefield and moved to 14-3, 8-1 in conference and captured at least a share of the WSL title. Cameron Campuzano had his first career triple-double with 12 points, 12 blocks, 10 assists and five rebounds.
5. Key girl conference wins - Liberal girls, ranked No. 2 in Class 6A, remained undefeated with a 55-34 road win against Hays High, ranked No. 10 in Class 5A. The Redskins had usual stellar play from its junior standouts Katie Horyna and Machia Mullens, who each tallied 12 points. Liberal senior Whitney Hay had a team-best 13, one off her career high. Liberal improved to 15-0, 4-0 in Western Athletic Conference play and took a significant step toward a conference title. …
Central Plains rolled over La Crosse, 95-13, and moved to 18-0 and have won 102 straight. The Oilers, ranked No. 1 in 1A, received 38 points from Emily Ryan, who is now just seven points away from 2,000 in her career. CP led 40-0 after the first quarter. … Rural Vista, No. 4 in 1A, improved to 17-0 with a 68-14 victory against Wakefield and accomplished a goal of winning the Wheat State League. The last two years, RV has made state but not won the WSL. The Heat went 8-0 in league play. Earlier in the week, Rural Vista defeated Herington, 47-23.