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Three Thoughts on 1A Substate Basketball Substates


By Brad Hallier


The madness has officially arrived in Kansas for 2024.

Saturday morning, KSHSAA released the substate brackets for Class 1A Division and Division 2. While some 1A schools still have regular season games on the schedule, postseason play will get going Thursday at the higher seeds’ home. Semifinals and championship games will move the following week to the pre-determined host sites.

Here are three thoughts on the brackets.

The time has arrived for the Little River girls

We all remember what happened nearly 52 weeks ago. The Little River girls, the top seed in a strong substate they were hosting, were knocked off in the semifinals by a young, energetic and fearless St. John squad. It was as shocking of an upset Kansas high school basketball had seen in a few years.

Here’s how strong that substate was – Central Plains won it.

Still, that loss has driven and motivated this year’s top-ranked, top-seeded and undefeated Little River squad. First-year coach Cy Rolfs has had to manage a team that returned almost everyone. The heartbreak will always be there, and Rolfs understands that. While he hasn’t wanted that loss to be the focus of the season, it has been a driving factor. Little River is angry. Little River is annoyed. And Little River is taking it out on everyone. Only Hanover has played Little River to a single-digit game. Nobody has scored 50 points on Little River.

Little River’s substate isn’t easy again. Canton-Galva is 13-7 and the No. 4 seed. Canton-Galva was a state-tournament qualifier last year and has a lot of that youthful vigor St. John showed last year. No. 2 seed Sylvan-Lucas and No. 3 Goessel have a combined 27 wins. But Little River isn’t messing around this year.

The oddities of neutral-site tournaments

Central Christian and Elyria Christian are separated by 24 miles. Both their boys and girls teams could meet up in the 1A Division 2 semifinals … in Lebo. Which is 105 miles from Elyria and 127 miles from Central Christian.

Both games could be fun, too. On the girls side, Central Christian is the No. 2 seed and 15-4, with Elyria right behind at 13-7. The boys teams could meet for a third time, with the top-seed and top-ranked Elyria boys getting a 13-day break after Friday’s win over Marion. Central Christian is just 8-11 but playing some good basketball since last seeing Elyria in December.

Sadly, fans from both schools – and neutrals for that matter – may get robbed of seeing what could be a couple fun postseason matchups.

Cunningham isn’t just about football

While Cunningham has built a power in six-man football, let’s not discount the Wildcats’ basketball team.

Cunningham is the top seed at the 1A Division South Haven substate with a 15-3 record. The Wildcats have not lost to anyone in Division 2, and seven times have scored at least 70 points. While Novembers are fun in Cunningham, this March could be just as entertaining.