Nathan Sage and Steve Sell sit down in this weeks episode of The Lunchtime Sports Sandwich and preview the McPherson High boys basketball game on Friday as well as look ahead to the Chiefs and Broncos on Sunday. Tune in every Thursday from 12:15 to 1 p.m. and get your lunch with a side of sports.
Listen to the complete episode here: soundcloud.com/kbbesports/ltss-episode-17-12-3-20
The McPherson Invitational Basketball Tournament is going to have a drastically changed format next month.
McPherson High Athletic Director Shane Backhus announced today that due to COVID, five teams have pulled out and it will be a four-team, round-robin tournament spread out over the week. Remember, this will be during a time no fans are allowed.
Teams forced to opt out due to travel restrictions were Olathe East, Blue Valley West, newcomer St. James Academy, Shawnee Mission East and Lawrence Free State.
Still left are MHS, Manhattan, Shawnee Heights and Maize South. There also may be a JV tournament with those schools that’s played in the auxiliary gym.
Playing dates were spread out over the week because teams couldn’t stay overnight.
Jan. 18 – No. 2 seed vs. No. 3 seed at 5:00; No. 1 seed vs. No. 4 seed at 7:00
Jan. 19 -- No games
Jan. 20 – No games
Jan. 21 – No. 2 seed vs. No. 4 seed, 5:00; No. 1 seed vs. No. 3 seed at 7:30
Jan. 22 – No games
Jan. 23 – No. 3 seed vs. No. 4 seed at 5:00; No. 1 seed vs. No. 2 seed at 7:30.
As for the girls’ Mid America Classic, seven teams are still on board. The only opt-out was Olathe South, so remaining schools are MHS, Wellington, tourney newcomer Marysville, Wichita Southeast, Dodge City, Valley Center and Manhattan. This tournament is also spread out because due to state rules, only four teams can be on site in a given day.
The tournament is still seeking an eighth team. It will be played over five days, with no games on Tuesday. If an eighth team can’t be found, the McPherson High JV team will fill in.
If it’s an eight-team tournament, two games will be played on Monday, Jan. 25, two games on Wednesday, Jan. 27, two games on Thursday, Jan 29, two games on Friday, Jan. 30 and four games on Saturday, Jan. 31 – 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., the gym is then cleared for sanitizing, and then games will be played at 3:30 and 6:00 on Saturday.
According to KSHSAA, Jan. 28 is said to be the first day fans could be allowed, unless that changes.
Welcome to the weirdness.
We’re a day away from the opening night of the high school basketball season and we’re about to embark on the strangest season of all time.
The final two days of last year’s season were chopped off as semifinals and finals around the state were cancelled as a novel new illness called the coronavirus appeared on the scene and it was the beginning of 9 months of pure hell as it quickly spread out of control. And right now, we’re a day removed from the most deaths in U.S. history, so until the vaccine is administered it’s going to run rampant.
Knowing what we know now, KSHSAA probably wishes it had played the final two days without fans in order to complete the season. But because this illness, not a pandemic at that time, was so unknown, the state erred on the sign of caution and we’ll never know how many cases that prevented, because I’m sure it did.
We were hardly thinking about masks on that March day in Emporia. I can remember it well, McPherson High’s girls had won their opening-round game earlier in the day, but as we were sitting at press row during the St. Thomas Aquinas game, word was circulating like wildfire that the plug was about to be pulled.
For the MHS girls, it was devastatingly disappointing as they were eagerly looking forward to their rematch with 5A’s version of Bishop Miege in St. Thomas Aquinas. With apologies to Andover Central, many on press row believed the MHS-Aquinas winner would probably go on and win the state championship.
As we moved into November, we didn’t know if there was even going to be a basketball season, whether it was going to start on time, whether fans would be limited or there would be no fans at all.
KSHSAA ultimately decided last week if the season was going to start on time, it was going to start with no fans until Jan. 28. Parents, understandably, were bitterly disappointed and voiced their concerns about what happens if there’s an injury during the competition.
But that’s the tradeoff. If parents truly don’t want their kids to miss games, this is the way it’s going to be for a while. Hopefully the much-heralded vaccine will be successful and be administered soon, maybe to the point we can lop a week or 10 days off that Jan. 28 date, which remember is just the day the state will reassess the situation.
As for the McPherson High teams, I think it’s safe to say coach Chris Strathman’s girls – especially being back in 4A with old nemesis Miege – will be in the state title talk. The Bullpups’ Grace Pyle will battle with Miege’s Payton Verhulst for the class’ top player, but coach Chris Strathman also returns another of the state’s best in Kassidy Beam along with a third senior, Emma Malm. There are some good role players, such as Lauren Labertew, Ella Schmid and Payton Howard, and some other juniors who need to take the next step.
The Bullpup boys will be among coach Kurt Kinnamon’s most inexperienced teams. It’s also a team with less height than it has had in a long time. But Seth Madron is a wondrous talent and Jayton Alexander is the ultimate leader. Eli Pyle can shoot it as well as anybody. Rebounding, rebounding and rebounding are the three keys as to how far this team can go.
As for the McPherson area, all eyes are on Little River’s boys as they return their entire team from last year that was playing in the 1A semifinals, plus Graham Stephens -- a key player as a sophomore -- is again healthy after missing last season, so in essence the Redskins have six starters back. And as I always say, the team with the best player on the court more often wins and Jayden Garrison will be the best player on the court for Little River every game.
Rubbing elbows with the Redskins are the Hesston boys, who have 9 of their 10 top players back from a team that was 21-2 and ranked near the top of 3A all year. Again, the Swathers will most often have the best player on the floor in junior Cason Richardson. They are ranked No. 1 today by the KBCA.
I also like the looks of the Inman boys. It’s basically the same group of athletes that advanced to the 1A state football semifinals. Jace Doerksen will be one of the best players in 2A, which is Inman’s class for basketball.
Never count out Moundridge or Elyria Christian School, given their recent success. Canton-Galva and Smoky Valley are in the middle of rebuilds, but Larry O’Connor comes to Canton-Galva with a state championship pedigree, having won four titles at other schools.
On the girls’ side, there’s probably not many area teams considered state contenders. Hesston and Moundridge have a lot of tradition and some good players back. Elyria Christian returns almost intact, while Inman, Canton-Galva, Little River and Smoky Valley have some key graduation losses to overcome.
LINDSBORG – Each November, students from Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming gather to participate in the
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Welcome to the weirdness.
We’re a day away from the opening night of the high school basketball season and we’re about to embark on the strangest season of all time.
The final two days of last year’s season were chopped... Read More
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