These are exciting times in Teuton Town.
With McPherson High off on Tuesday, I had a chance to get out in the area and make one of my favorite stops, Inman.
It is home not only to the new No. 1-ranked boys basketball team in Class 2A, but the No. 2-ranked girls team as well.
It’s almost akin to being in Claflin, where both Central Plains teams are ranked No. 1.
Of course the big hope is that Teuton Town will turn into Title Town come March.
Things started popping for Inman last year when both teams went on a postseason run to win sub-state championships in one of the toughest fields in the class. The Inman girls made an improbable comeback against Moundridge in the first round of sub-state, a game I saw in Moundridge. The Wildcats led most of the way before Inman stormed back. The Teutons then won their final two games to make state, certainly the surprise team in the field.
The Inman boys have been on the cusp of greatness and it was only a mild surprise they made state since they certainly had the talent. Coach Brett Froese went with a youth movement a few years back, starting freshmen Payton Froese and Mason Thiessen and letting them learn on the fly.
I had not seen the Teutons play since that duo was in its first year. Now all grown up as seniors, it’s remarkable to see the progress they’ve made.
Brett Froese is always one of my favorite interviews. He’s a straight shooter and candid about his team.
I really liked his comment after the game Tuesday how his team really isn’t putting much stock in the fact it’s ranked No. 1. It would have approached the Berean game just the same had it been ranked No. 2 as it was last week.
I never get to see Berean play, but boys coach Lewis Wiebe is one of the most respected coaches in the state. He has an uncanny knack for making teams play at the Warriors’ pace, which includes a lot of passing and cutting. It’s kind of a high school version of Princeton with its dissection of a defense.
Berean actually came out running early and fell behind, but Wiebe got his troops gathered and gradually the tempo was Warrior-like.
But that didn’t matter for Inman. I think Froese has to be happy that it was able to win playing at Berean’s pace.
Thiessen was an absolute horse on the inside with 14 points and 14 rebounds. He shot 7 free throws in the game, but could easily have shot twice that number. I think because he’s so strong and can flick defenders off of him like gnats that officials believe he can play through the contact and give the defender a benefit of the doubt.
A lot is made of Thiessen and Payton Froese, but 6-3 Jaxon Eddy is a very good athlete with an explosive first step and Jared Friesen furnished 9 clutch points. Those guys have to continue doing that as teams are going to gimmick it up on Thiessen and Froese.
It’s not a deep team — only four players scored – but the starting five certainly will give the Teutons a chance to make a deep postseason run.
The Inman girls have been tremendous defensively and they were again against Berean. Dantlie Raney is an energizer bunny for the Teutons and Macy DeWitt does a nice job of running things, while Rachel Harman is the defensive protector. Coach Bill Maurer plays a lot of people and his bench probably will win some games for him this year.
It’s great to see the excitement back in Inman, much like the 1990s when both the boys and girls brought home a state championship.