MHS basketball on tonight, off for Saturday

By Steve Sell
February 15, 2019

McPherson High’s basketball games on Saturday in Lawrence have been cancelled, it was announced moments ago.

The MHS girls were to have played Baldwin, while the boys were scheduled against Lawrence Free State.

The weather in and around Lawrence was the determining factor, MHS Athletic Director Shane Backhus said.

MHS’ games tonight in Towanda against Circle will be played as scheduled. Backhus is on his way to Arkansas City for regional wrestling and reports the roads are fine.

Kinnamon reaches 400-assist milestone

By Steve Sell
February 15, 2019

HAYS — With 5 assists against Lindenwood University on Thursday, McPherson High grad Kyler Kinnamon became only the fourth player in Fort Hays State basketball history to reach 400 career assists.

Kinnamon, now a senior for the Tigers, finished with 3 points and 5 assists in a 73-67 loss. Fort Hays is now 8-6 in the MIAA and 14-9 overall.

Sooner Conference not a good fit for CCC

By Steve Sell
February 15, 2019

Tony Romero has never experienced a season quite like this.

Until this year, Romero’s Central Christian College men’s basketball teams had been a model of consistency.

Through his first nine years, Romero had led the Tigers to 175 wins, an average of nearly 20 a season. He’d never had a losing record and his teams had competed in the postseason every year.

The Tigers were 23-9 as recently as the 2016-17 season. They have won at least 20 games four separate years.

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary to start this season as the Tigers winged away to a 6-1 start, including a 68-60 win over city rival McPherson College in the first-ever “Mayor’s Cup” game. 

But their Sooner Athletic Conference opener apparently was a harbinger of things to come.

The Tigers lost 66-64 to Southwestern Christian University. Not soon after they suffered an 88-87 loss to nationally ranked Wayland Baptist. Throw in losses to Southwestern Assemblies (101-99, overtime), nationally ranked Langston (78-76), Wayland Baptist again (71-70) and that adds up to five one-possession defeats. They have lost three other games by 6 points or less.

If they just go 4-4 in those games, they are 15-11 and in the hunt for a SAC playoff spot.

Instead they are 11-15 overall, 5-14 in the Sooner. Their talent belies their record, as they have several players with tremendous ability and play an exciting brand of basketball.

The Tigers turned independent in 2015 after the folding of the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference, which included traditional NAIA powers Oklahoma Wesleyan, Bellevue, York and College of the Ozarks. I thought it was as good of a conference as there was.

After playing one year as an independent and having difficulties filling their schedule, Central went searching for a conference, which led to them joining the Sooner.

I know being an independent wasn’t ideal, but the move to the Sooner has not been kind. It’s a spread-out 12-team conference, resulting in grinding road trips. There are three teams in Texas, seven teams in Oklahoma, a team in Arkansas, then of course Central represents Kansas. Many of them dwarf Central in terms of enrollment and facilities. 

And to be honest, that Romero’s team has done as well as it has (it had a winning season last year) is admirable. Five of the SAC teams currently are ranked or receiving votes in the national poll. 

On Thursday, I covered the Tigers in their game against Southwestern Assemblies. The Lions are now tied for sixth in the SAC and if they were in the KCAC, they would be Top 3. They have the athletes to play with Oklahoma Wesleyan and Southwestern, the flag bearers for the KCAC.

Of course Central would dearly love to join the KCAC, after all the “K” does stand for Kansas. The college has tried in the past to gain admittance, but has been turned away. To me, it doesn’t make sense to add a school like York, or even Oklahoma Wesleyan, when you have a school in Kansas, which is close to several of the KCAC schools in terms of travel. The addition of Avila was to get into the metro area, but it’s only close to Ottawa and Saint Mary.

The KCAC reportedly used to say because Central didn’t have football that it was a huge strike against it. But Oklahoma Wesleyan and York currently don’t have football.

Central really struggles in the other sports as well in the SAC, where many of the athletes hail from Texas and Oklahoma. It makes it really tough to lure quality talent when the sports don’t have a lot of success. Tiger teams generally are in the bottom third of nearly every sport.

Maybe someday the 13-school KCAC will relent and let Central in, but I have a feeling that might be many years down the road or never at all. I guess it would make too much sense.

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Sell On Sports

Sooner Conference not a good fit for CCC

Tony Romero has never experienced a season quite like this.

Until this year, Romero’s Central Christian College men’s basketball teams had been a model of consistency.

Through his first nine years, Romero had led the Tigers to 175 wins, an... Read More

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