Recapping a wild and busy Week 2 of Kansas high school basketball that featured tournaments all across the Catch It Kansas area, the annual AVCTL/City League challenge, and several critical regular season contests Friday and Saturday.
1. McPherson girls defeat Derby on Friday – The McPherson girls, down multiple starters, delivered a pair of ranked road wins last week. Last Tuesday, McPherson defeated Andover Central, 54-50. AC is ranked seventh in Class 5A. The Bullpups, ranked second in 5A, won at Derby, 49-40, on Friday. Derby is ranked fourth in 6A. McPherson is without three starters, all whom have signed to play college basketball: Emma Ruddle, Lakyn Schieferecke and Andrea Sweat. Ruddle is out with compartment syndrome, and Sweat is done for the year with a torn ACL/MCL. Derby, with excellent depth and Newman commit Sydney Nilles, had defeated McPherson, 47-35, last season. McPherson trailed Derby by five at halftime. Even without the key players, Division I prospect Grace Pyle and Kassidy Beam have led the Bullpups. Beam had 17 points, Pyle 16 against Andover Central. Versus Derby, Pyle finished with 12, and Beam with 10. It ended Derby's three-year home winning streak. Via Twitter, longtime McPherson coach Chris Strathman said of the Derby victory: “We may have had the most rewarding regular season tonight that I can remember. Beat a very talented and good Derby team (#4 in 6A) on the road without 3 senior starters. Girls showed so much heart and competed like crazy. #hustleandheart.” McPherson is 3-0 and will face rival Buhler on Tuesday.
2. Bishop Carroll boys with big win – Andover Central boys are the defending state champions and are currently No. 1 in 5A. However, that's expected to change this week. AC lost to McPherson, and then fell to Bishop Carroll, No. 2 in 5A. Carroll delivered an emphatic 68-46 win versus Central. Brenyn St. Vrain had 17 points, while Alex Littlejohn and Tanner Mans each scored 16. BC opened the game on a 19-0 run in the AVCTL/City League challenge at Koch Arena.
3. Small-school tournaments conclude Saturday – A significant number of small-school tournaments finished Saturday. In WaKeeney, the Trego girls and Ness City boys repeated as champions. Trego beat Oakley, 50-38, and defeated the Plainsmen in the finals for the second straight year. The Golden Eagles are 4-0 and ranked No. 4 in 2A. On the boys' side, NC improved to 4-0 with a 53-49 win versus Hodgeman County. In a unique scheduling twist, WaKeeney/Oakley and Ness City/Hodgeman County will again play Tuesday.
NC sophomore forward Taylor Cable has emerged as a breakout player and reached 20 points in all three tournament contests. WaKeeney-Trego enjoyed a strong tournament from junior Tillie Malinowsky, who missed part of last season with a concussion. She combined for 21 points and 15 rebounds in the last two games. Central Plains girls had rare game under 30 points with a 57-37 semifinal victory versus Phillipsburg and standout freshman Taryn Sides. Central Plains did not run its trademark press because of Sides' ability.
Then, CP rolled to a 48-4 halftime margin and 62-11 final versus Beloit/St. John's-Tipton to win the Amos Morris in Russell on Saturday. CP continued the longest winning streak in state history at 115 games.
In the boys' final at Russell, Plainville defeated Phillipsburg, 60-57 in overtime in a matchup of Mid-Continent League teams. Plainville led 26-4 after the first quarter. Plainville standout Jared Casey fought through a banged up knee, ankle, pinched nerve and, for the first time, played without protection for his hand. Casey hurt his hand in football. Plainville is sixth in 2A boys.
In Quinter, the Ellis boys defeated Hoxie, 67-65, in the Castle Rock Classic on a buzzer-beater. Hoxie is ranked No. 5 in 2A, Ellis is No. 8.
4. Other key AVCTL/City League results – Andover boys came back from 10 down and defeated Kapaun Mt. Carmel, 54-52. Andover is ranked No. 7 in 5A, and KMC is ninth in 5A. KMC freshman Will Anciaux – brother of Crusader standout Ella Anciaux – delivered a solid game. Jack Taylor hit a key three-pointer to put Andover up 50-48. Wichita South beat Newton, 92-85, in a wild game that featured three players with at least 25 points. South's Romao Townes led with 29.
5. Liberal girls win long road trip, other key results – The Liberal girls, ranked No. 5 in 6A, took a 387-mile trip east to face Olathe West. The matchup featured three standouts with Liberal senior duo of Katie Horyna (Abilene Christian signee) and Machia Mullens (UMKC) and OW junior Bailey Collar. Liberal earned a 55-37 victory. Liberal had strong games from its supporting cast, including multiple 3s from Bree Horyna and solid defense from Ashley Carrillo. Liberal finished plus-22 on the glass, and held OW to 33 percent shooting, 22 percent from long range. … Cedar Vale-Dexter boys defeated Udall, 54-53, on a last-second shot from Devin Catlin. CV-D ran an out of bounds play to Catlin, who took a couple of dribbles, and then hit the 3 just to the right of the arc. Catlin and Udall all-stater Brayden Sadler each scored 18 points. … Dodge City girls earned a big win with a 50-47 overtime victory versus Maize, ranked No. 3 in 6A. Kisa Unruh tallied 26 points for DC, including all seven points in OT, according to DC broadcaster Sean Boston.