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A Look at Boys Substate Possibilities

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By Brad Hallier

 

Just two weeks remain in the regular season for basketball teams across the state, which means it’s almost time for substate play. Here’s a look at area boys teams and what their potential fates are.

Class 5A – Hutchinson is still sitting alone at the top of the 5A West substate, undefeated at 16-0. But a ton of work remains for the Salthawks if they want the top seed, or even homecourt advantage throughout substate.

Hutch still has to play Maize South, whose only losses this season have been to the Salthawks. A tough game with Derby looms as well.

Hutchinson may have to win out to guarantee the top seed, as Kapaun Mount Carmel – coached by former Hutchinson Community College coach Steve Eck – is 15-1 and less than 1.5 points behind Hutch in average margin of victory.

Class 4A – McPherson has a big game coming up against the top seed in the Western substate, Circle. But McPherson, at 13-3, won’t likely get the top seed, even by beating 15-1 Circle, as No. 2 Hugoton is 16-2 and doesn’t have a tough finish to the regular season. Still, McPherson should at least host a substate, and potentially get the No. 2 seed by winning out.

Buhler currently sits in 13th place at 5-11. The Crusaders aren’t quite out of the woods, as only top 16 of 18 make the postseason. And with rugged tests looming with McPherson and Circle, the Crusaders will be under pressure to get at least one more win to ensure a substate berth. But that should come against 3-13 Winfield next week.

Andale is 10-6 and sits among a massive cluster of teams. Hosting a substate isn’t out of question, as fourth-place Augusta is 11-5. Not getting any home games is possible, too, with 9-8 Abilene sitting ninth.

Class 3A – The Lyons substate should be fun. Haven is undefeated still at 17-0, but the Wildcats aren’t even assured of the top seed, as looming right behind at 16-1 is two-time reigning state champion Hesston. The two meet Tuesday in Hesston. The benefit to getting the top seed is avoiding a tough Cheney team, which is 12-5 and likely the third seed.

Going north, to the Russell substate, is Smoky Valley. At 10-7, you might think Smoky is in good shape at least to host a game. But this substate is stacked. Mathematically, Smoky Valley could finish anywhere from second to eighth still. Currently, the Vikings sit sixth.

Class 2A – The Sterling substate is loaded beyond belief. Remington has spent much of the season ranked, is 11-6 and is coached by a guy named Clint Kinnamon. The Broncos are sitting fifth right now and likely won’t move up.

So who wants Remington first? It’s a battle to avoid the Broncos, but do you feel a ton better playing Trinity Catholic or Berean Academy, the likely sixth and seventh seeds?

Ellinwood has all but locked up the top seed at 17-0, and then you have 14-3 Moundridge, 14-3 Inman and 13-4 Sterling. The substate semifinals will feel like a state tournament.

At the Hillsboro substate, both Hillsboro and Marion will likely find the going tough, as both will be on the road in the first round.

Class 1A Division 1 – The Little River substate is a little top-heavy, but when the seven seed is St. John, you can figure there are some quality teams all the way across.

Macksville sits on top currently at 15-2, with Little River second at 13-4. Pratt Skyline, third at 10-6, always seems to be a tricky opponent.

Moving a little east to Goessel, Elyria Christian sits on top at 15-2 and hasn’t lost since Dec. 16, but watch out for 12-6 Canton-Galva, sitting at No. 3. The Eagles have the athletes to hang with and beat anyone.

Class 1A Division 2 – Most area teams will be in the mix for a berth in Dodge City. Stafford is 12-5 and just a half-game behind Pawnee Heights in the Western Plains substate. Cunningham is also in second in the South Barber substate, and Central Christian is second in the Burrton substate.

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