By Brent Maycock – KSHSAA Covered
Coach: Jason Tynon
Sub-state results: beat Linn, 66-36; beat Hanover, 56-52
Quarterfinal game: vs. Bucklin (15-9), 6 p.m. Thursday
Key players: Isaac Detweiler, sr., G; Brandon Schmelzle, so., F; Eli Broxterman, so., G; Grady Buessing, jr., F; Colin Shaughnessy, fr., G; Landon Schmitz, fr., G; Grant Buessing, jr., F; Evan Buessing, sr., G.
Worth noting: Eagles back at state for the first time since 2018 and are making 10th state appearance overall. … Axtell won 2013 Division II state championship. … Eagles captured Twin Valley League Tournament title, beating 1A Division I qualifier and regular season champion Clifton-Clyde in the semifinals. … Only losses came to Clifton-Clyde and three 2A schools, two of whom were sub-state runners-up. … Eagles lost 6-6 senior post Owen Strathman to knee injury before season. … Detweiler reached 1,000 career points this season and averages 13.3 points, 7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. … Schmelzle and Broxterman each average 12.4 points per game with Schmelzle adding 7 rebounds a game. … Grady Buessing adds 9.1 points and 6.2 rebounds a contest. … Bulk of squad has helped Axtell to two straight Eight-Player Division II state championships.
Coach: Lance Bergmann
Sub-state results: beat Stockton, 62-16; beat Thunder Ridge, 51-48 OT; beat Northern Valley, 65-50
Quarterfinal game: vs. Lebo (16-7), 8 p.m. Thursday
Key players: Josh Towner, sr., G; Luke Bates, sr., G/F; Daniel Eilert, jr., F; Jacob Winkler, jr., F; Koevin Schroeder, jr., G; Tyson Gates, so., G; Edward Horinek, fr., G.
Worth noting: Blujays back at state after a one-year hiatus. … Blujays won a state title in 2014 in Division II and also took second in 2015 and third in 2016. … Beloit-St. John’s won the Northern Plains League Tournament title and finished 11-1 in league play during the season. … Blujays came back from down 14 in the fourth quarter to beat Thunder Ridge in overtime of sub-state semifinal, losing one starter to an ankle injury in the first quarter of the game and having three other players foul out. … Win over Northern Valley avenged sub-state loss to the Huskies last year. … Eilert averages 12.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game to lead team. … Horinek averages 10.5 points and 2.6 assists per game as freshman. … Luke Bates adds 8.5 points and Winkler 7 points per game.
Coach: Derek Bevan
Sub-state results: beat Ashland, 60-40; beat Deerfield, 79-34
Quarterfinal game: vs. Axtell (20-4), 6 p.m. Thursday
Key players: Jaron Lindsay, sr., C; Andrew Bowman, jr., G; Garin Stimpert, sr., G; Lucas Kirk, so., G; Kolson Cook, so., G; Kaden Tilley, so., F.
Worth noting: Red Aces finished fourth at Class 1A Division II state tournament last year, falling in semifinals to Hanover. … Last year’s appearance ended 28-year state drought for program and this year’s trip is just fifth overall and first back-to-back for the program. … Red Aces have won eight of their last nine after starting season 6-8. … Lindsay averages 12.6 points per game and Bowman and Stimpert are right behind at 12 points a game each. … Kirk averages 9.5 points a game. … Lindsay also is leading rebounder at 9 rebounds a game while Bowman is at 7.8 per game. … Bowman also averages 4.4 assists and 2.2 steals per game.
Coach: Dennis Becker
Sub-state results: beat St. Paul, 62-28; beat Waverly, 60-48
Quarterfinal game: vs. Beloit-St. John’s (19-5), 8 p.m. Thursday
Key players: Landon Grimmett, sr.; Grayson Shoemaker, jr.; Zach Oswald, so.
Worth noting: Wolves return to state for first time since 2020. … Lebo took runner-up in Lyon County League Tournament to Olpe and finished third in the regular season behind Olpe and Burlingame. … Three of six losses came to Olpe, the two-time reigning Division I state champion and two came to 3A Osage City. … Grimmett leads team in scoring at 16.7 points per game, just a smidge ahead of Shoemaker’s 16.4 points per game. … Oswald averages 11.3 points and 7.9 rebounds. … Shoemaker adds 6 rebounds per game and has battled back from injury that hampered him early in the season. … Wolves boys and girls team qualified together for the first time since 1999.
Coach: Bud Valerius
Sub-state results: beat Attica, 52-35; beat Cunningham, 50-49
Quarterfinal game: vs. Stafford (18-5), 4 p.m. Thursday
Key players: Gavin Uhl, jr.; Jamie Sarmiento, so.; Heath Howell, jr.; Jack Herd, fr.; JT Prusa, so.
Worth noting: Timberwolves saw last trip to state prematurely end after 2020 tournament was canceled after they had reached the semifinals. … State berth that year was first since consolidation of Coldwater and Protection in 1999. … Four of seven losses this season have come to state-qualifying teams: South Gray (twice), Medicine Lodge and Alva (Okla.). … South Central swept two meetings with fellow 1A II qualifier Bucklin. … No seniors on varsity roster. … Uhl leads Timberwolves in scoring at 12.7 points per game, just ahead of Sarmiento’s 12.5 average. … Howell adds 10 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4 blocks per game. … Uhl adds 6 rebounds and 2.5 assists a game and Sarmiento averages 2.5 assists and 3.3 steals a game. … Herd averages 7.8 points as a freshman.
Coach: Roger & Ryan Perkins
Sub-state results: beat St. Xavier, 59-39; beat Hutchinson Central Christian, 53-44
Quarterfinal game: vs. Tribune-Greeley County (22-1), 2 p.m. Thursday
Key players: Levi Cool, sr., G; Bryson Schmidt, sr., F; Trenton Welch, so., G; Kye Chase, so., F.
Worth noting: Trip to state is first-ever for Southern Cloud, which is co-op between Glasco and Miltonvale. … Glasco last qualified for state in 1988 and Miltonvale never did. … Warriors were without starting point guard Cool until after Christmas because of injury and have won 7 of last 8 games. … Welch leads team with 12.8 points per game while Cool averages 10.9 per contest. … Chase’s 8.4 rebounds per game are a team best, just ahead of Welch’s 8.2. … Cool averages 4.1 assists a game.
Coach: Cole Smith
Sub-state results: beat Wilson, 62-33; beat Pawnee Heights, 49-42
Quarterfinal game: vs. South Central (17-7), 4 p.m. Thursday
Key players: Josh Hildebrand, sr., F; Colson Minks, sr., G; Dakota Rodriguez, sr., PG; Jimi Oleson, jr., PG; Brody Kerschenske, jr., F; Dylan Gantz, sr., F; Ashton Harter, sr., F.
Worth noting: Stafford ends one of longest state-tournament droughts in the state, qualifying for the first time since 1947. … Trojans avenged last year’s sub-state championship game loss by beating Pawnee Heights in this year’s title game. … Stafford shared Heart of the Plains League title with Norwich, each going 8-1 in league play. … Two of five losses came to state-qualifying teams Macksville (1A I) and Medicine Lodge (2A). … Trojans have rallied around loss of teammate Shane Sheets, who died in a car accident in September. … Balanced offense with four players averaging at least 8 points per game. … Rodriguez leads Trojans at 11.2 points per game, just ahead of Minks, who is at 11 per game. … Hildebrand is just shy of averaging double-double at 9.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. … He also adds 2.3 blocks per game. … Kerschenske averages 8.2 points and 8 rebounds a game.
Coach: Josh Gooch
Sub-state results: beat Sharon Springs-Wallace County, 65-40; beat Dighton, 54-36
Quarterfinal game: vs. Southern Cloud (12-11), 2 p.m. Thursday
Key players: Jaxson Brandl, sr., F; Lincoln Shafer, so., G; Titus Sherer, sr., G; Jariath Yanes, sr., G; Valentin Vallalobos, sr., G.
Worth noting: Jackrabbits are defending Division II state champions, winning last year’s state title on 3-pointer at the buzzer by Lincoln Shafer that beat Hanover 56-55. … Last year’s trip was first since 2012. … State title was third for the program, the others coming in 1968 and 2011. … Jackrabbits swept the Northwest Kansas League titles, winning the regular season title for the first time. … Only loss came to Northern Valley by seven points in early January. … Gooch got his 100th career victory in sub-state semifinals. … Brandl was an All-State Top 5 selection by KSHSAA Covered last year and is having another huge season, averaging 25.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 3 assists per game. … Jackrabbits average nearly 19 assists per game as a team with Villalobos leading individually with 4 per game, while Sherer is right behind at 3.9 per game and Shafer adding 3.3. … Shafer also scores 11.4 points a game and Yanez adds 10.4 points per game. … Gooch played on Greeley County’s 2001 and 2002 state teams, the latter losing to Centralia in the state title game.