1. Central Plains boys streak ends, CP girls roll – The bulk of the state opened its basketball season Friday. Central Plains boys entered this year with a 54-game winning streak, while CP girls had its state record 111 consecutive wins. CP boys, though, had graduated four starters with Alex Hickel, Myles Menges, Devin Ryan, and Brett Liebl, and returner Lawson Oeser suffered an injury in football. Coach Brett Rolfs elected to not return to the program. The girls returned four starters with Rachel Lamatsch, Delaney Rugan, Addison Crites and Emily Ryan, an Iowa State signing and one of the state's all-time great players. Veteran coach Pat Stiles returns for the Oiler girls. Barton County rival Hoisington defeated Central Plains boys, 62-28, and led 29-12 at halftime. It marked the first time Hoisington boys beat Central Plains since a 38-32 win on Dec. 21, 2012. The Central Plains girls rolled 95-17 behind 44 points from Ryan.
2. 500 wins for coach Shelly Hoyt; has three grandchildren on her team – On Friday, legendary coach Shelly Hoyt earned her 500th career victory in her third season at Eureka. Hoyt has coached at several places, including Utica, Madison and her well-known stint at Hoxie. Hoyt led Hoxie to a then-state record 107 victories. Last winter, Hoyt paced Eureka girls to the first state tournament appearance in program history and a 20-4 record.
Eureka graduated six seniors, including Kylie Vinson and Madelyne Koop is now at West Elk. The Tornadoes, though, opened with a 51-27 victory versus Humboldt. Eureka led 24-13 at halftime. Eureka has senior Emilee Escareno and the three Ptacek sisters: junior shooting guard Chazni, and 5-foot-11 sophomore forward Brooklyn and freshman Cadence. All three are Hoyt's granddaughters, and their father, Brendan, is again Hoyt's assistant coach. He is married to Tabitha, the oldest of Coach Hoyt's four daughters. Hoyt's daughter, Jacie, is the current women's basketball coach at University of Missouri-Kansas City, and her youngest daughter, Terran, plays for Tabor.
3. Garden Plain girls win on buzzer-beater – Garden Plain is ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, and the Owls are the defending 2A state champion and won the 3A title two years ago. GP defeated Wichita Trinity, 51-50. Trinity led 14-4 after the first quarter, and the Owls were up 47-38 midway through the fourth quarter. Then, Trinity went on a 12-2 run and took a lead with 40 seconds left from junior Austin Broadie. GP required three shot attempts before Christia Rose Gorges grabbed her own blocked shot and scored with under five seconds left.
Garden Plain lists five seniors on the roster: Kennedy Horacek, Claire Clark, Natasha Dooley, Taylor Meyer, and Anna Smith, along with key juniors Alli Puetz and Gorges. Last year, GP opened with a 57-45 victory at Trinity. Horacek, Clark, Dooley, Puetz and Gorges were all instrumental players last winter. However, GP does not have its top-three scorers back with Abby Gordon (12.2 points per game), Lauren Danahy (11.6 ppg) and Kara Heimerman (8.4 ppg).
Danahy and Heimerman, also a terrific defensive player, both graduated. Gordon, an Arkansas softball signee, would be a senior this year and is not on the roster. GP has lost just twice to Trinity since Feb. 20, 2007, though did fall 51-47 in overtime on Feb. 15 last winter. Trinity girls have great height with senior Lauren Mathews and Broadie, both 6-1. Broadie has committed to Washburn for volleyball and basketball. On the boys' side, Garden Plain defeated Wichita Trinity, 57-42. GP is ranked No. 2 in 2A, and Trinity sixth in 3A.
4. Salina Central girls with upset of Goddard – Salina Central finished 12-10 last season, though sophomore Aubrie Kierscht is back after she delivered a team-high 14.7 points per game and made 37 percent of her 3-pointers. Sophomore Hampton Williams is back after 9.6 points and 7.1 rebounds, and senior Kadyn Cobb, a Missouri Western signing, had 8.7 points and 39 treys. Goddard opened the season No. 6 in 5A girls after it reached the state tournament and returned Kade Hackerott, a Central Missouri signing. Salina Central won 46-40 after a 62-42 loss to Goddard last season. Salina Central led 38-37 with just under two minutes left. Williams finished with 12 rebounds. Hackerott had 23 points, Kierscht with 22.
5. Ellis boys with key win in Mid-Continent League play – Ellis boys delivered a key 54-40 home victory versus Phillipsburg in Mid-Continent League play. Ellis boys are ranked No. 8 in 2A. The Railroaders had lost seven in a row to Phillipsburg. Ellis outscored Phillipsburg, 21-6, in the third quarter. Phillipsburg led Ellis, 21-19, at halftime. Ellis junior point guard Brady Frickey delivered 17 points, and Austin Miller led Phillipsburg with 12.
On the girls' side, Phillipsburg defeated Ellis, 47-38. Standout Panther freshman Taryn Sides opened her career with 22 points. Ellis junior Grace Eck, who averaged 19.5 points per contest last winter, tallied 15 in the victory. Smith Center girls defeated Plainville, 57-37, with a 21-1 margin in the second quarter. Trego girls boys swept Dighton by big margins in home non-conference victories.