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Three storylines to follow for state boys basketball


By Brad Hallier

There were some surprises in substates, such as 15-loss Wichita East getting to the Class 6A state tournament, Class 4A bully Bishop Miege going out in the first round, and top-ranked Elyria Christian going ice cold in a Class 1A Division 2 championship loss at Lebo.

But there was also some normal stuff happening, like McPherson beating the you-know-what out of everyone and the Wichita City League sending three of its seven 6A teams to state.

Here are three area storylines for this week’s state boys basketball tournaments.

Can anyone play with McPherson?

Normally, we’d say Bishop Miege can, but Miege isn’t there and McPherson beat Miege by 14 points anyway back in December in Kansas City.

Kurt Kinnamon is bringing one of his best squads ever to the Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina for the 4A state tournament. Only three teams have played McPherson within 10 points, including 6A Derby twice (58-57, 62-55), 5A Andover (70-61) and 3A Wichita Collegiate (71-62)

In other words, no 4A team has been close to the Bullpups. But even then, Kinnamon will make sure McPherson is as focused as possible. Defending champion Hugoton looms on the other side of the bracket, in what could be a tasty rematch of last year’s championship game.

Cheney is looking to complete the football/basketball double

Class 3A boys has been wide open all year. There hasn’t been that dominant team like we’ve seen with Hesston the last few years, or Southeast of Saline and Haven right on Hesston’s heels last year.

Cheney is having quite the athletic year so far. The 3A football champion, Cheney comes to Hutchinson’s Sports Arena as the No. 2 seed at 21-2. The Cardinals have only lost to 4A schools Wellington and Pratt, and have won their last 20 games.

Although the path to the championship won’t be easy – an athletic and physical Southeast of Saline team is Cheney’s first-round opponent – there’s no reason to think Cheney can’t complete the football/basketball championship double.

If it happens, both titles would have been won in Hutchinson.

Anybody up for a Moundridge-Sterling rematch in 2A?

2A in Dodge City has seemed to be a three-horse race all season among top-seeded and undefeated Lyndon, second-seed Sterling and third-seed Moundridge.

In the regular-season finale, Sterling and Moundridge – the reigning 2A champion – met in Moundridge. It was a great game, with Moundridge nudging past the Black Bears – who played without injured Colby Beagley who has since returned – 54-52.

They’ll each have to win their first-round games, with Sterling taking on 16-7 Plainville and Moundridge battling 16-7 Jefferson County North. Win those, and the hottest semifinal ticket would be in Dodge City at 8 p.m. Friday.