Four local teams played in first-round games of State basketball on Wednesday and Thursday, but word came out late Thursday night that the Kansas State High School Activities Association was canceling the semifinal and final rounds, set for Friday and Saturday at sites around Kansas.
All four of our local teams won their first-round games, and were scheduled to play on Friday and Saturday. The cancellations follow the lead of major professional and college sports. At first, several college conferences had said they would play without crowds, and that was the expectation for the NCAA Tournament, also known as March Madness.
The National Basketball Association cancelled a game minutes before tipoff last night, and the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer did the same today. Major League Baseball has cancelled spring training and postpone the start of the season by two weeks. On Thursday, the University of Kansas and Duke University cancelled all upcoming sports, and within hours March Madness was cancelled along with all college tournaments. The NCAA has already called off spring championships like baseball and softball, which were scheduled for June.
Locally, the Wichita Thunder won’t play as the East Coast Hockey League has suspended play. Wichita’s new baseball team, the Wind Surge, will not have their home opener as planned on April 14 at the new Riverfront Stadium. That season will be delayed, following the lead of MLB. The National Junior College tournament in Hutchinson also was called off.
With all that happening on Thursday, there was little surprise that high school games were cancelled. Other states called off tournaments as well.
Scroll down for recaps of Wednesday’s and Thursday’s State high school basketball games.
Campus Colts – 6A Boys
The Campus Colts made the most of their State game, beating Manhattan Indians 66-50.
The Colts jumped out to a big first-quarter lead, 18-7, and led 28-19 at halftime. They extended that lead after halftime to go up 43-28 after three quarters. The Indians were able to trim Campus’ lead to single digits, but the Colts got found momentum again on the fast break against Manhattan’s press, and Steele Chapman was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the closing moments, helping Campus get its first State tournament win since 1996.
Sterling Chapman scored a game-high 26 points. Shawn Warrior and Thomas King were in double digits with 14 and 10 points, respectively. Steele CHapman and Keither Florence had 8 each.
The Colts won’t have the chance to claim their first-ever State title in boys basketball, but this was without a doubt their best season in school history. Campus had a perfect 23-0 record and won the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League Div. I title. It was their first AVCTL title, and first league title since in the old Ark Valley League. The Colts also beat rival Derby three times, including a 69-58 win at home in the substate championship.
Cheney Cardinals – 3A Girls
The Cheney Cardinals led nearly the entire game in a 66-53 win over the Phillipsburg Panthers. Cheney’s Kylee Scheer scored the first basket of the game. The Panthers made a 3-point shot for a 1-point lead, and then Cheney went on a 12-4 run and never trailed again. At halftime, the Cardinals were up 36-25. Cheney’s defense fed its offense in the third quarter, as the Cardinals outscored the Panthers 18-11 in the quarter, taking a 54-36 lead.
The Cardinals came into the tournament as one of four teams with 20-3 records, seeded third through sixth. Cheney had the No. 5 seed, and beat No. 4 Phillipsburg. Had the tournament gone on, Cheney would have played undefeated Nemaha Central, the top seed, in Friday’s semifinal.
Cheney has appeared in three of the last four State tournaments. The Cardinals were runners-up in 2017 and 2019.
Garden Plain – 2A Girls
The Garden Plain Owls were on fire early, jumping out to a 16-3 lead on the Sterling Black Bears, the team they beat in last year’s title game. Sterling came into the game with a 21-2 record, and showed their mettle by battling back. The Bears got to within 5 points before the Owls ended the first half on a 5-0 run for a 27-17 lead. Sterling opened the second half with a 10-2 run to get to within 2 points, but each Sterling run was met by a Garden Plain run. The Owl never trailed, however, Sterling never got closer than 5 points in the fourth quarter. Kennedy Horacek led GP with 18 points, Madysen Zoglman had 19 and Natasha Dooley scored eight. Dooley powered the Owls early but then was sideline by foul trouble. Brooke Hammond had 6 points and 10 rebounds, while Alli Puetz scored 6 and Christia Rose Gorges added 4.
The Owls (19-5) will play at 3 p.m. Friday against No. 2 Trego Community (23-1). Trego played the first game Wednesday and rolled over No. 7 Bennington 45-31.
The Owls have won two straight titles. The Owls were the No. 4 seed a year ago when they won the 2A crown, and were the top seed in 2018 when they won Class 3A.
A win Friday means an appearance in the title game at 4 p.m. Saturday. The third-place game tips off at noon.
Garden Plain – 2A Boys
The Owls played one of the last game’s in this year’s State tournaments, and apparently were unaware that the rest of this year’s tournaments were cancelled until after their 50-47 win over the Hoxie Indians at the 2A State tournament in Manhattan on Thursday. It was the Owls’ first State appearance since 2016.
The Owls looked overwhelmed at first, quickly falling behind 7-0 in the game’s opening minutes. But after a 30-second timeout, the Owls went on a 10-2 run to take a lead. Hoxie went ahead 13-12 on a 3-point basket, but Market Rex hit a basket for a 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter, and Garden Plain led most of the rest of the game. At halftime, the Owls were ahead 28-22.
Garden Plain and Hoxie were tied at 47 late in the game, but the Owls made three free throws in the closing minutes to secure the victory. The Owls scorers were: Matt Pauly 13, Arden Rex 11, Marke Rex 6, Tyler Dreiling 6, Gabe Mannebach 5, Colby Haukap 4, Trey Smith 2 and Jordan Thomas 2.