Tough to pick against Manhattan for Classic title

By Steve Sell
January 25, 2017

There’s unprecedented star power at the top of the 22nd annual Mid America Classic, much like the early days of the tournament when McPherson High, Little River and Moundridge jostled for supremacy.

Three teams are ranked in the Top 3 of their respective classes, which probably narrows the field when trying to determine the winner.

History could very well be made as Olathe South has never lost in its 4 previous years and 12 games, but its perfection could be threatened.

Manhattan has won one championship and in its five years of competition, has finished first, second, third, fourth and fifth.

McPherson High dominated the Classic for so many years, winning it 10 times. But the Bullpups haven’t visited the championship circle since 2012.

Here’s how I see the order of finish:

1. Manhattan — This is the year somebody takes down Olathe South and it’s going to be the Indians. It will be interesting to see how they respond when pushed in the championship game. I’m looking forward to seeing Christianna Carr, who reportedly is the 23rd-ranked player in the country by ESPN.

2. Olathe South — Steve Ingram retired as coach, so Mike Allen has some big shoes to fill. The Falcons have continued his legacy with a 6-1 record and have not lost to a Kansas team. They don’t have a superstar player, but two very good ones in Kaiti Butaud and Dejanee Roebuck. They also have a lot of height.

3. McPherson High — Don’t fall asleep on the Bullpups. They are 9-2 and have one of the best duos in the tournament in Taylor Robertson and Mandi Cooks, who combine for 36 points a game. The Bullpups will give Olathe South a real push in the semifinals, but the Falcons have too much height.

4. Valley Center — The Hornets' game with Hays will be by far the most competitive of the first round. Valley Center has pretty much dominated the games it's played in the past with Hays. Valley played Newton tough and I saw Newton and how good it is, so I go with the Hornets.

5. Hays — It's been a nice season so far for Hays, but it hasn't had good success in the first round here.

6. Dodge City – I’m a little surprised Dodge comes in 3-6. It lost to Hays by 19 points in its last game.

7. Andale — I know the Indians are better than what they showed the last time they were in the Roundhouse because I believe Ted Anderson is a quality coach.

8. Wichita Southeast — The Wichita schools haven’t done well in this tournament. The three schools that have been here are a combined 3-12.