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Subway Sports Spotlight, January 21st

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Kansas Pregame takes a look at a few noteworthy stories from recent high school sports action

  • Pictured, clockwise from left: Central Plains seniors with coach Pat Stiles, Blue Valley Southwest senior Seth Nitzel and Maize senior Devin Gomez. (Photos by Everett Royer, Whitney Parks and Dan Loving)
    Pictured, clockwise from left: Central Plains seniors with coach Pat Stiles, Blue Valley Southwest senior Seth Nitzel and Maize senior Devin Gomez. (Photos by Everett Royer, Whitney Parks and Dan Loving)

Check out a few noteworthy stories from recent Kansas high school basketball and wrestling action, and head to Subway for pre- or post-game meals, catering or Footlong Faves starting at $4.99. Order online at Subway.com.

Central Plains continues dominance

MaxPreps provides statistical rankings that combine several factors, including win-loss record, strength of schedule, quality of opponent and margin of victory.

Generally, the larger classification schools have a much higher strength of schedule compared to the smaller classes. This winter, though, Claflin-Central Plains is bucking the trend with another round of dominant victories – against multiple elite programs.

Through Jan. 19, Central Plains has improved from last year and is the best team in Kansas, according to MaxPreps.

On Tuesday, Central Plains defeated Sterling, 54-26, at home, and then knocked off Victoria, 90-18, on Friday at home. CP, ranked No. 1 in Class 1A by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, bumped its all-time record winning streak to 120 games. Sterling, ranked No. 1 in 2A, had its first loss of the winter and sits at 7-1.

Central Plains received 28 points and 11 rebounds from senior point guard Emily Ryan, an Iowa State signee. Ryan, fourth on the state’s career scoring list, and Bishop Miege’s Payton Verhulst are the state’s consensus top-two players. Additionally, CP finished plus-21 on the glass behind another strong inside performance from seniors Addison Crites and Delaney Rugan.

“Those girls can defend,” coach Pat Stiles said. “I am just so proud of the way they can defend. Delaney and Addi are just so athletic. They have quick feet, they can get around so well, and just effort, effort. They play with a lot of effort.”

Central Plains stands at 9-0 and is currently ranked first in all classes by MaxPreps. CP is directly ahead of 5A St. Thomas Aquinas, 6A Liberal and 5A McPherson, all squads ranked first or second in its respective classes by the Kansas coaches.

CP has a 10.4 strength of schedule ranking. That ranks sixth among the top-75 teams in the MaxPreps all classes rankings, trailing only 6A Shawnee Mission Northwest (11.8), 3A Hugoton (11.1), 6A Olathe Northwest (10.9), 3A Haven (10.6) and Sterling (10.4). Central Plains has the top SOS in 1A by a significant margin.

Entering the winter, there was consideration that this year could be CP’s best team. Central Plains has won six straight titles with five perfect seasons, and four in a row. All are state records. Last winter, CP broke marks for scoring defense (24.5 points allowed a game) and scoring defense (plus-49.2).

Central Plains returned four senior starters: Ryan, Crites, Rugan and guard Rachel Lamatsch, and has speedy sophomore guard Kassidy Nixon. Central Plains spent substantial time working on its half-court defense in the summer. Ryan believes the team has improved.

In the first six title runs, CP finished fourth, seventh, 14th, fifth, sixth and second in the final MaxPreps all-class rankings. Last year had a final 3.9 strength of schedule.

This season, with the bulk of its challenging regular season games finished, CP has allowed 21.9 points per game and scored 73.3 points a contest for an average margin of victory of 51.4 points.

After Sterling, teams had shot 32.5 percent on 2-pointers and 14 percent from beyond the arc. When Central Plains’ opponents are not playing CP, they are a combined 46-18 (72 percent).

That includes wins against Sterling, Haven (No. 8 in 3A), and Phillipsburg (No. 9 in 3A). Those squads have just one loss – when Sterling defeated Haven – when they have not played CP. Central Plains defeated Phillipsburg, 57-37. The Panthers average 68 points a game when not playing the Oilers. Haven averages 51 points a contest when not playing CP, Sterling 50.

Haven is the only team to defeat Nickerson (No. 5 4A) and Halstead (No. 2 3A). Sterling is the lone one to beat Cheney (No. 3 3A).

Additionally, Smith Center, Ellinwood and Beloit/St. John’s-Tipton, while not currently ranked, are a combined 17-3 when not facing CP, according to KSHSAA standings.

Haven coach Dwight Roper, which played the Oilers on Dec. 20, said his game plan was to get the ball inside. Sterling took a similar tactic. While CP’s attention is sometimes overshadowed by Ryan, the supporting cast continues to play excellent.

The 5-foot-11 Crites was the 1A Volleyball Player of the Year for the state titlist Oilers this fall and has signed with Barton County volleyball.

Following the Sterling victory, she is the team’s second-leading scorer at 10.6 points per contest and leads with 7.1 rebounds. Crites also blocks 1.2 shots a contest. Rugan is at eight points and two steals.

“She’s just amazing. I think she gets overlooked some times, because of her size,” Ryan said of Crites. “She is not the biggest girl in there, but she has the biggest heart, so that’s what’s most important. She just impresses us every single night. We are really lucky to have Addi. We trust her every matchup.”

Against Sterling’s physical play, Rugan had one of her best games. Similar to the Haven matchup, Crites normally guarded a player that had a size advantage. Crites finished with seven points, 11 rebounds and three blocks versus Sterling.

Against Haven, Crites stayed out of foul trouble, though Wildcat senior post Sara Yutzy had three fouls midway through the first half. Crites finished with 11 points and five rebounds and helped the Oilers finish plus-four in rebounds.

“We knew Haven would be a tougher one, so she told us, and we understood that we need to help her as well, and she is not afraid to admit that when she knows she has a mismatch,” Ryan added. “She wants us to help, and she just steps up every time there’s a big matchup, so we are so proud of her.”

Conor Nicholl 

Quinter sophomore Jaden Boone enjoying big season

Entering this winter, Quinter had five straight sub-.500 seasons, including back-to-back 7-16 marks. The Bulldogs have no seniors and have started 4-5 behind a big winter from sophomore Jaden Boone. After nine games, he is averaging 17.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.3 blocks – a very rare player to lead his team in all five major categories.

Last year, Quinter opened 0-5 and was 2-8 through its first 10 contests. As a freshman, Boone had 9.4 points and 6.9 rebounds, second-most to Conner Havlas, who graduated after he delivered 20.8 points and 14.3 rebounds a game. Boone, listed as a small forward, has been 6-foot-2, 217 pounds each of the last two years.

On Jan. 10, Quinter defeated Dighton, 59-56, behind 18 points and 12 rebounds from Boone. On Tuesday, Quinter beat Western Plains, 56-28, and Boone delivered 16 points and 12 rebounds. On Friday, Quinter lost 56-55 to traditional power Wallace County, though Boone had 18 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, three steals and three blocks.

Boone is just 2 of 5 on 3-pointers and is at 56 percent on 2-pointers and 61 percent from the free throw line. Without Havlas, Boone has helped Quinter improve its offensive efficiency from .73 points per possession last year to .764 this winter.

Conor Nicholl 

West more than just football standout at Maranatha Academy

After a stellar career as a wide receiver for Maranatha Christian Academy that included back-to-back first team all-state selections, senior Brock West has continued his success in basketball. MCA is ranked third in Class 2A.

Maranatha is part of the Lyndon sub-state that is arguably the hardest in the state. The Eagles are 8-1 overall, but 7-0 versus Kansas schools. MCA is one of four teams that is perfect in-state, along with Allen-Northern Heights (7-0), Mission Valley (7-0), and Bishop Seabury (3-0). Lyndon is also 5-2, according to KSHAAA standings.

On Jan. 17, MCA defeated Bishop Ward, 80-54. Through eight contests, West is at 16.5 points, five rebounds, 3.3 steals and 2.6 assists per game. Five of the top-six and the top-four scorers are all seniors. West is playing 29.1 minutes per game. Senior Jason Friesen, in just 14.8 minutes a contest, is at 14.6 points and 10.1 rebounds. MCA has made a big improvement after 11-12 last winter.

Conor Nicholl 

Goddard wins Newton TOC behind Atkins, Dawson

The top three teams in 5A finished in the top three at the 57th annual Newton Invitational Tournament of Champions, but the final results did not reflect the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association rankings. 

Goddard, ranked second in 5A, won the invitational with 213.5 team points. Third-ranked Blue Valley Southwest finished second with 190 points, and No. 1 Maize was a close third with 183.5 points. 

Goddard was led by junior Cayleb Atkins at 160 and senior heavyweight Devon Dawson, who both won their respective classes. Atkins, ranked second at 160, defeated third-ranked Carson Wheeler of Maize in the finals by a 3-1 decision in overtime. Dawson, also currently ranked second in his division, picked up a win over top-ranked Tony Caldwell of Valley Center in the championship with a pin at the 2:47 mark. 

Blue Valley Southwest finished with three champions. At 126, third-ranked Brett Umentum defeated top-ranked Hector Serratos (4A) of Andale in the finals by a 5-1 decision. Top-ranked Brandon Madden at 145, fresh off a state championship at 138 last season, continued his dominance this season by defeating McPherson’s Rhett Edmonson in the finals, 4-0. Seth Nitzel, also ranked first in his respective division, won the 170 draw by defeating Wichita South’s Malachi Karibo in a tight 1-0 match; Karibo is the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 170 in 6A.

Maize finished with two champions. Devin Gomez (152) and Kyle Haas (220) both showed why they are the top ranked wrestler in their respective weight class. Gomez defeated second-ranked Jace Fisher of Goddard in the finals by a 12-3 decision, while Haas picked up a win by pin 1:23 into the championship match. Gomez is the defending state champion at 145, while Haas is the defending state champion at 182.

Host Newton, ranked eighth in 5A, finished eighth at its prestigious home invitational. The Railers had two champions - Nick and Grant Treaster. Nick, a freshman, is ranked second at 106. He won the 106 division with a 3-2 decision over third-ranked Ian Demoss’ of Maize South. Grant, a senior, is the defending 120 5A State Champion. He defeated Goddard’s Jason Henschel by a 4-2 decision in the championship. 

Find complete results at for the Newton TOC on the Track Wrestling website at this link.

Gallagher Martin 

Top-ranked, undefeated Campus continuing dream season

Campus, ranked No. 1 in 6A, is looking for its first appearance in the state tournament since 1996. So far this season, the Colts are 8-0 and the last remaining unbeaten team in the Wichita area. 

Campus picked up two AVCTL Division I wins last week against rival Derby and on the road at Salina Central. 

On Tuesday, Jan. 14, Campus defeated Derby 56-53 for the second time in 16 years and the second time in two years. A large crowd was on hand to watch Campus and Derby, both undefeated at the time, battle to the end. 

Campus went into halftime with a three-point lead thanks to a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from senior Steele Chapman. Derby tied the game entering the fourth, where Campus held a three-point advantage. 

Campus nearly had a letdown the following Friday on the road at league-foe Salina Central, who is 2-5 overall and 0-4 in AVCTL Division I play. Campus trailed by two at the end of the first quarter and trailed by four entering the second half. Despite an 8-0 run by Campus in the third, the Colts went into the fourth quarter tied at 45. 

Campus took the lead with 6:07 remaining and never gave the lead up en route to a 64-57 victory. Shawn Warrior led the team with 17 points in the win over Central, while Chapman had 16 and Thoams King chipped in 14. 

The schedule does not get any easier for Campus, who in addition to a win over Derby also has wins over Wichita Southeast and Maize. The Colts will play Derby and Maize again as part of their AVCTL Division I schedule, in addition to defending 5A State Champions Andover Central on Feb. 4. 

Gallagher Martin

Coaches, athletes, fans and parents, are you aware of an interesting story about your favorite high school team? Email us details for future releases of the Subway Sports Spotlight, and head to Subway for pre- or post-game meals, catering or Footlong Faves starting at $4.99. Order online at Subway.com.