4A girls' state tourney assured of team with losing record

By Steve Sell
March 04, 2016

We’re already assured of a losing team at next week’s Class 4A Division I Girls State Basketball Tournament at Salina after a confounding night of games in Towanda, where McPherson High’s boys certainly know strange things can happen when you think back to their inexplicable loss to Circle in 2013 just a few days after winning the McPherson Invitational.

Either Augusta or Andale, teams McPherson High’s girls defeated by comfortable margins this season, is going to be in the field of eight next Wednesday at the Bicentennial Center.

Andale, 8-12 in the regular season, stunned Andover Central on Thursday, while Augusta, also 8-12, edged favored Circle. Andover Central and Circle had a combined 27 wins entering the sub-state and were expected to play in Saturday’s finals.

Unless something else crazy happens, the Andale-Augusta winner on Saturday will be first-round fodder for undefeated Bishop Miege.

That’s the thing about sub-states, you never know what’s going to happen. Andale is not a  bad team, but I totally expected Andover Central to have its way. It plays up two division from Andale as it’s in AVCTL Division II while Andale is in D-IV. The Jaguars also play a tougher schedule that I thought would prepare it well for postseason play.

The Basehor-Linwood sub-state is knocking out some good teams on both sides. The Piper girls are now 19-2, but they’ll most likely be spectators after running into Miege on Saturday. Then, of course, we’ve heard the howling for weeks about the boys’ sub-state as Basehor-Linwood and Miege are ranked Nos. 2 and 3 in the class, but one of them will be staying at home.

I’ve harped on this before, but this year should prove to KSHSAA just how flawed the system is. The boys’ tournament is going to be missing some marquee names because they are going to lose to teams of similar ilk because of the pairings. Then you’re going to have teams that have no business getting in and will do so because they happen to have a weak sub-state or get hot in a two-game series.

The girls’ games in Towanda were the only two surprises of the night. Tonight’s boys’ games should be fascinating as there are five games with teams with winning records squaring off. Some really good teams will see their seasons end tonight.

My attention will be focused on Hays and Buhler as I’m not sure which team McPherson High would rather face on Saturday. I think I’d like to see Hays, since Buhler is familiar with the Bullpups and know what to expect. The Bullpups are playing tremendous basketball right now and while I could see a running clock coming into play tonight, Saturday’s title game could go down to the wire.