1. Liberal girls win thriller, take control of Western Athletic Conference – On another Friday full of postponements and delays, Liberal earned a 51-49 overtime Homecoming win against Dodge City that featured a huge late 3-pointer by standout senior point guard Katie Horyna.
Liberal, ranked No. 2 in Class 6A the last several weeks, improved to 9-0, 4-0 in WAC play. Dodge City, ranked ninth in 6A earlier this year, dropped to 6-3, 0-2. Liberal has swept the season series from Dodge City after a 54-41 road win on Dec. 19. Liberal and Dodge City have established themselves as the top-two squads in the five-team WAC. Liberal owns blowout wins against Hays High and Garden City, and while the Redskins have not played Great Bend, though GB is struggling with year.
Liberal has won 43 straight regular season contests and 19 straight conference games, according to Redskin broadcaster Brock Kappelmann. Horyna and senior Machia Mullens (19 points, nine rebounds) are both Division I signees. Sophomore Ashley Carrillo, who missed all of last year with injury, added 10 points. Liberal faced severe foul trouble and only made one second half shot.
However, that field goal was a 3-pointer from Horyna with 8.5 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game. The game combined for 51 fouls and 67 free throws. Liberal avoided a rare loss and remained one of three undefeated squads in 6A West, along with Topeka and Wichita Heights.
2. Carroll sweeps the Holy War; BC girls improving in close games – On Friday, Bishop Carroll girls and boys, both ranked, earned victories in the Holy War versus Kapaun Mt. Carmel. BC girls, ranked seventh in 5A, improved to 7-2 with a 50-49 win versus KMC.
Carroll is 4-1 in games decided by six points or fewer. Last year, BC lost 32-31 to Kapaun, part of a 15-7 year that included a 1-4 mark in contests decided by seven points or fewer. Kapaun girls stand at 5-4.
On the boys’ side, Bishop Carroll is ranked first and KMC is ranked third. In front of a massive crowd, the Golden Eagles controlled the game with a 65-55 victory. BC (8-0) and Andover are the only two perfect teams in 5A Boys.
Carroll boys has won every contest by at least nine points. The Golden Eagles have only permitted 39 points a game. No other 5A squad has permitted fewer than 49 a contest, according to KSHSAA statistics. BC boys have won seven straight in the series. Alex Littlejohn led Carroll with 21 points.
3. Wichita Heights girls continue to roll – Heights, ranked fourth in 6A girls, continued to roll with a big week that featured a 70-29 win versus Bishop Carroll last Tuesday and 82-52 versus Wichita Southeast on Friday. Heights is 9-0 and is 29-3 since the start of last year. In addition, Heights owns wins against Maize (44-28) and Kapaun (59-35) earlier this season.
Southeast opened the season 5-1 and lost to Kapaun and Carroll by a combined four points. The Falcons, with junior Laniah Randle and sophomore Zyanna Walker, have outscored teams by an average margin of 67-29.
Heights is second in 6A offense, just behind Topeka (68 points per game). However, the Falcons’ 38-point average margin of victory leads 6A. Heights gets rematches against Wichita West and Kapaun on Tuesday and Friday, respectively, before its midseason tournament.
4. West Elk celebrates Isaiahh Loudermilk Day with two wins – West Elk graduate Isaiahh Loudermilk, Kansas eight-man football’s most highly recruited player in recent memory, has enjoyed a nice career as a starting defensive lineman at Wisconsin. The 6-foot-7 Loudermilk enjoyed a big season for the Badgers, which lost to Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
In 2019, Loudermilk played in all 14 games with five tackles for loss, three sacks, five passes defended and a pair of forced fumbles. He has played in 34 games in the last three years. On Friday, WE celebrated Isaiahh Loudermilk Day.
Coach Dave Miller and assistant Scott McClendon coach both the Patriot girls’ and boys’ programs. West Elk girls defeated Central-Burden, 60-13, to improve to 8-0. WE, ranked eighth in 2A girls, received 22 points, nine steals and six assists from Megan McClendon, and 14 points from junior Hayley Helms.
The boys earned a 60-21 victory that included nine points from Devin Loudermilk, Isaiahh’s brother. WE boys moved to 4-4.
On Saturday, the Patriots opened the South Central Border League tournament with a 42-21 victory versus Argonia and improved to 5-4. WE led 11-0 after the first quarter, and had 18 points and six steals overall from Loudermilk. He leads the Patriots with 16.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.7 steals.
5. Midseason tournaments underway; Trego boys tie last season’s win total – This next week marks the first of several weeks of midseason tournaments. In addition to the South Central Border League opening, the Mid-Continent League also started this weekend.
On Friday, Trego had a great 46-27 win versus Ness City in a non-league home contest. On Saturday, the Golden Eagles had to face Smith Center and won 52-39 in its MCL opener. Trego stands at 7-3 – after a 7-13 record last year.
The Golden Eagles have not had double-digit victories in a season since ’08-09. On Tuesday, Trego has a quarterfinal MCL tournament game at TMP. The Monarchs defeated the Golden Eagles, 65-44, on Jan. 14.
Eight of the 11 MCL boys squads are at least two games over .500, including 7-1 for Hoxie, TMP and Plainville. Before Friday’s win, Trego had been 0-8 versus NC since 2010. Trego has an average score of 57-31. Last year, Trego opened 6-4 with an average of 47-44.