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Five Thoughts on Area 3A and 2A Substates


By Brad Hallier


HUTCHINSON, Kan. – One of the most coveted state-tournament berths usually goes to area Class 3A schools. Why? Their proximity to Hutchinson’s Sports Arena, home of the 3A state tournament.

Need proof? Look at the crowd size Hesston brought last year to the boys championship game. The crowd size dwarfed all others during the week.

Here are some thoughts on this year’s area 3A and 2A substates.


Is there a substate with better coaching than the 2A Sterling boys substate?

Probably not. Good grief, how does this first-round matchup sound? Remington and Clint Kinnamon vs. Sterling and Derek Schneider. Five state championships have been won between the two. Kinnamon has coached such players as Jackie Stiles and Dean Wade. And Kinnamon’s 13-7 Remington Broncos will travel to play Schneider’s 15-5 Black Bears on Monday. This is a game befitting a substrate championship game, and a coaching matchup befitting a state championship game. You don’t want to miss this one.

But there are others. Vance Unrau is wrapping up his illustrious career at Moundridge, where he’s won five state titles and led one of the state’s greatest dynasties from 1989-1993. His 17-3 and second-seeded Wildcats are primed for a deep run.

So is 17-3 and third-seeded Inman, coached by Brett Froese, whose team will be eager to atone for a tough state-championship football loss.

We haven’t even brought up Lewis Wiebe, who has won a couple state titles at Berean Academy, who will be dangerous at 7-13 and the six seed.

And then there’s top-seed Ellinwood at 19-1. So much talent. So many great coaches. An elite substate.


A potential Hesston-Haven boys matchup in 3A is ridiculous

I’ve mentioned plenty of times the need to divide smaller classes into east-west like in 6A, 5A and 4A, or at least four quadrants. The reasons are endless. But here’s another.

Hesston is 19-1 and the top seed in the Lyons 3A substate. The Swathers are the two-time reigning champion and have the look of a team ready to win another, especially with probable state player of the year Jake Proctor.

Alas, in order to get to state, Hesston may have to beat fellow 19-1 Haven. Hesston already beat Haven, 41-39 but may have to do it again just to get back to Hutchinson.

Hesston-Haven could have very well ended up being the state championship game under a different system.


Cheney girls favored but don’t discount Haven and Hesston

Cheney has the top seed in the Lyons 3A substate. The Cardinals sport a glossy 18-2 record, having been beaten only by Wellington and Garden Plain.

But don’t write off the matching 15-5 teams from Hesston and Haven. Hesston battled Cheney earlier this year in a 42-38 Cheney win. Haven played right with Hesston in a 50-45 loss.

Both Hesston and Haven play suffocating defense that will always give them a puncher’s chance. Whoever survives the lower half of the bracket will be capable of spurring the upset, but will have to find a way to score enough against Cheney’s incredible length and size.


Can anyone hang with the Hillsboro girls?

First of all, it will be tough as Hillsboro is playing home. The top seed at 17-3, Hillsboro has played a challenging schedule. This isn’t an easy substate, with every team having at least six wins. Salina Sacred Heart at 11-9 and the four seed could provide a challenge, but it’s hard to envision Hillsboro faltering on its home floor.


Berean Academy girls seem to be heavy favorites in Sterling

At 19-1, Berean’s suffocating defense and incredible size make the Warriors dang near impossible to beat. Remington, the second seed at 15-5, gave it a good effort earlier this season in a 31-20 loss. It just seems like Berean’s defense is too elite to have an off night to catch the Warriors off guard. Thirteen of their 20 opponents failed to get to 30 points.