Its that time of year again for high school playoff basketball. Both the boys and girls bracket for this substate is up for grabs for the teams that are playing their best basketball here at the end of February and beginning of March.
The Jayhawk Linn boys (15-4) and the Eureka lady Tornadoes (16-3) will be the number 1 seeds. As any Humboldt person will tell you after last year is the that seed only means you have played better up to this point. I believe there are 7 teams that could win the boys bracket. About half that for the girls side.
Eureka (16-3) will start at home Tuesday versus the Central Heights (3-16) team. I have seen both of these teams in action this season. Eureka is as good as their record says they are. They have height in the post and athletic guards that can beat you off the dribble. The lady Tornadoes share the ball well and will hit their free throws in a tight contest. Central Heights is not as bad as their record would make you think. They will fight till the final buzzer and can put some pressure on you with their never give up attitude. I don’t think they can score enough to actually beat Eureka but they might give them a little scare early on in the game. Eureka should move on to Wellsville Friday night.
In the #4 and #5 seeded game Humboldt (13-7) will have to travel to Mound City(12-7) to play host Jayhawk-Linn after a coin flip decided the home team. The lady Cubs have not had the regular season that it had hoped to but have been playing better as of late. They are a team that will play fantastic for about 5 minutes then the next 5 minutes will make you want to pull your hair out. I believe this team goes where Rylan Wilhite and Aricah McCall take them. But they also need Maggie Johnson and Winter Snyder to play well if they hope to repeat as substate champs. Humboldt will play good defense but has struggled at the free throw line and turnovers in their last 5 games. The lady Jayhawks have beat the teams they were supposed to beat up to this point. They finished tied for fourth in the Three Rivers League. Going into substate with a 3 game winning streak and home court advantage this should be a tough game for the lady Cubs. I am picking Humboldt in a very close game here to advance to the next round of substate.
Wellsville (14-4) will host Osage City (5-14) on Monday night. The lady Eagles come in with a 10-1 league record . They have played some big schools this season and have done pretty well against the tougher competition. Beating Bonner Springs, Paola, and Lansing to name a few. The most impressive win in my eyes was a 58-52 win over the ever tough Burlington Lady Cats. Who they lost to earlier in the season. Osage City has lost atleast 6 in a row according to the schedule I have seen . I think there are some scores missing . They will have their hands full with this Wellsville squad and will probably play their last game this season. Wellsville will win this game and advance to play on their home court to try and advance to the state tournament.
With the # 3 seed and the #6 seeds playing in Council Grove (14-5) Tuesday night to finish off the first round of this years substate. West Franklin (7-11) will play on the road to try and advance. They are familiar foes and the Lady Indians lost at Council grove with a score of 49-35 in January. But they might be catching them at the right time. Council Grove has lost 4 games out of their last 5. Could this be the big upset in the first round? Tune in this week to find out if you can not make the game.
I predict Wellsville will take the winning spot and go to Hutchinson for the state tournament.
The Boys Bracket
This bracket is very tough . Osage City, Council Grove, and West Franklin finished second,third, and fourth in the Flint Hills league. Jayhawk-Linn probably has the best player in the substate with Brandon Gray. Wellsville has the home court advantage and is always better than their record says. Humboldt brings in an athletic team that can get hot and beat some tough competition.
#1 seed Jayhawk-Linn (15-4) will host Central Heights (3-16) on Monday night @ 7pm. The Jayhawks beat them earlier this season in Richmond 51-36. The Jayhawks finished fourth in the Three Rivers League . They have won 5 in a row. Central Heights has had a really tough season. When I seen them they just didn’t have any height. Brandon Gray and the Jayhawks should move on to play the winner of the Wellsville Osage City game.
#4 Wellsville (11-7) host Osage City (11-8) to begin substate play on Monday night @7:30. They have not played each other this season. Both of these teams play in tough leagues. The Eagles have lost two in a row heading into this matchup. Osage City finished second in the Flint Hills league with a 8-3 record. This will be the best game of the first round of this substate and maybe in all of 3A. I am going to pick Osage City to upset the host of the substate.
Eureka (13-6) will have the #2 seed and host #7 seed Council Grove (8-11) on Monday night at 7:00. The Tornadoes finished tied for second place in the Tri-Valley league with a 5-2 record. They have won 6 of their last 7 games. Not bad after losing their first two games of the year. Kash Parmes and Meade have really been playing at high level as of late. Council Grove is not the normal 7 seed you would want to play to start a substate. They finished third in the Flint Hills league . Council Grove has a good win against a tough Abilene team 61-57 this month. If Eureka plays like it has of late I believe they will go to Wellsville to try and capture a substate title.
The Humboldt Cubs (13-7) will host West Franklin (9-9) Monday night at 7pm. This Cub team like the lady Cubs have had an up and down season. They just don’t have the depth that they have had in past years. They are quick and athletic . But not a whole lot of varsity experience going into this season. Conor Haviland leads the team in scoring with 13.5 points / game. But if they lean on big man Tucker Hurst to get the offense going I believe they will win games in this substate. If they rely on the three point shot this could be their last game of the season. West Franklin finished fourth in the Flint Hills league with a 7-5 record. They did win one of two games against Osage City and Santa Fe Trail this season. Humboldt will have the home court advantage in this one but this game should come down to who plays the best in the last minutes of the game. I will take Humboldt in a close game .
I am going to go out on a limb here and pick Osage City to win this substate. Of course they have to win that first game at Wellsville.
Good luck to all the athletes . This should be a lot of fun with some great basketball. Have safe travels and lets all show good sportsmanship .