I’m about to leave for Norton for my third trip there this week. The girls semifinals of the basketball sub-state the Bluejays are hosting tip at 6 p.m. with Russell playing TMP-Marian. The second game is Norton vs. Beloit.
Last night was a long, long one, both physically and emotionally. The TMP-Beloit game went int double overtime–the Monarchs won 55-51 after trailing for most of the last two and a half quarters of regulation–forcing a late start to the Ellsworth-Norton game. There were a lot of fouls called in that game, with the Bluejays winning an ugly contest 48-44. So it’s Norton and TMP for the third time for the sub-state championship tomorrow night.
I got upset by something on Facebook which had nothing to do with the game, nor anything to do with the one person who has been tormenting me for the past eight months. It really upset me. I was to the point where I didn’t think I would be able to drive back to Russell. I begged Peggy to ride with me to WaKeeney, and then Clark could pick her up at Trego High. She agreed, and then offered to drive down US 283.
Lucky for them, and for me, I recovered enough after the game to the point where I could make it. I messaged Peggy after passing Hill City and WaKeeney, and then again when I got back to Russell.
It was so hot in the gym last night that I’m wearing shorts tonight, something I never do for basketball games. I do it all the time for volleyball, since it’s during the late summer and early fall, but basketball? Sometimes you have to change.
Getting ready to saddle up and head west, then north.
I am a few minutes away from departing Russell for my return to Hill City for tonight’s Class 2A sub-state championship doubleheader between the host Ringnecks and Mid-Continent League rival Ellis.
Hill City’s girls jumped all over Ness City early and the game looked like it would be a blowout. Instead, the Ringnecks missed many makeable shots, and the Eagles slowly but surely clawed their way back into the contest, forging a 33-33 tie at the end of the third quarter. It was tied at 36-36 with 6:50 to go before Hill City finally pulled away for a 49-42 victory.
Ellis and Hill City have played sub-state championship doubleheaders before. In 2010, the girls and boys teams from both schools met at WaKeeney. The Hill City girls won fairly comfortably, but the boys game went into overtime, with the Ringnecks coming out ahead 48-47. The Ringneck girls went on to finish second at the state tournament to Olpe, but the boys were one and done in Manhattan.
Ellis’ boys have not been to the state tournament since 2003. The Railers’ coach then, Chris Rorabaugh, has grandchildren playing on both the girls (Brittany Bollig) and boys (Brandon Bollig) teams, and his daughter, Jessica Bollig, is the assistant on the girls team to Perry Mick. Another of Chris’ granddaughters, Candace, plays softball at Barton Community College in Great Bend.
Hill City has won three boys state championships (1970, 1978, 1998) under its ageless wonder coach, Keith Riley, who will wrap up his 46th season at the helm either tonight or next week in Manhattan. The guy is amazing. He has the energy at almost 70 I wish I had, and I’m just over half is age. He loves the game of basketball and it shows in the way he coaches and the way his boys play the game. You’ll never see a Hill City team be anything less than totally fundamentally sound.
Ringneck girls coach Linda Nighswonger is the same way. She had a very long and successful run at Logan before coming to Hill City in 2006, and she pulled the Ringnecks out of a funk and back into a top-tier program. They should be a force to be reckoned with next year, too, since almost everyone is back.
It’s going to be a good night for the MCL regardless of who wins and loses. Time to get going.
It was a little tougher than it should have been, but the Ellis Lady Railroaders will be playing for a sub-state championship tomorrow night.
The Railers led by as many as 20 over Oberlin in the third quarter, but the Red Devils made a game of it, coming as close as six on the strength of excellent free throw shooting, before Ellis finally closed out a 53-43 victory.
Ellis (11-11) now awaits the winner of the second game between Hill City (17-4) and Ness City (9-13) in tomorrow’s 6 p.m. title game.
If the Ringnecks win, it will set up an Ellis-Hill City doubleheader for the titles. This would be a repeat of 2010, when the Ringnecks won both championships of the sub-state at Trego. In 2009, the Ellis girls defeated Hill City at Plainville for the title.
Oberlin concluded its season 10-12. Brandon Gehring is going to have a major rebuild, as all five of his starers were seniors. Gehirng enjoyed much success at Logan, leading the Trojans to back-to-back trips to the Class 1A-Division II state tournament, but the Red Devils’ massive graduation losses, plus the presence of superpower Hoxie, will make 2015-16 challenging to say the least.
I’m going to stay for at least the first half of the Hill City-Ness City game. I know a lot of people in Hill City, so I owe it to them to stay for at least awhile. I know I’m coming back tomorrow.
Wasn’t too hungry when I was on the road last night, so I bypassed Salina and headed straight for Russell after making the long drive on US 24 and US 81 from Beloit. Got home a couple of minutes past 11.
Today, it’s on to Hill City, where it’s a Class 2A girls doubleheader, Ellis vs. Oberlin and Hill City vs. Ness City. These were the same two matchups in the boys bracket yesterday, with the Railers and Ringnecks coming out on top. It could be an all-Mid-Continent League double dip tomorrow night, although Ellis will have a tough time against Oberlin and their outstanding all-around athlete, Demi Murray.
This was supposed to be a special season for Ellis. It returned several key performers from last year’s team which reached the state tournament, most notably 5-foot-10 junior Alexcia Deutscher, who already was a two-time first team All-League selection, as well as a second team All-State pick last year. Also back were Stephanie Greenway, Skylar Gottschalk, Jenna Schoenberger and Sarah Mick, daughter of Lady Railer coach Perry Mick.
Sadly, Deutscher’s season ended in the third quarter of Ellis’ third game vs. Dighton when she tore ligaments in her left knee. She is not only out for basketball, but she will miss track in the spring, and could sit out volleyball in the fall in order to be fully recuperated for basketball.
Deutscher’s absence was the main reason Ellis went from 18-5 in 2013-14 to 10-11 as it heads into tonight’s game.
Hill City has bounced back nicely after a couple of down years. The Ringnecks reached the state championship game in 2010 behind a barrage of 3-point shooting, led by All-State standout Lexi Hardiek, but they fell on tough times in the recent past. This year, with a core of veterans who were thrown into the fire early, including Lexie McDowell, Amanda Conway and Adrianna Nickelson, coach Linda Nighswonger has a unit which is capable of returning to the big dance.
I saw Hill City play a great game at home last month vs. Smith Center. The Ringnecks never trailed and won 54-36 in a game which wasn’t all that close. If they can get two performances like that tonight and tomorrow, Manhattan (Kansas) will be calling.
This is my second visit to Hill City this athletic year, although I’ve been through the place enough going to and from Norton. I probably should go more. The people there are so friendly. Keith Riley, the ageless wonder of a boys basketball coach, always likes seeing me, as does Ms. Nighswonger. Alan Stein, the principal who was once volleyball coach, really cares about the kids and doing the best possible job for them. I really miss Chris Shank, the former football coach who is now doing radio in Hutchinson while working in the family business. Good people.
Time to get rolling. It’s an easy drive, but if I fart around, I’ll keep pushing myself back.
The chalk has held in the girls portion of the Class 3A sub-state at Beloit. The top seeded Trojans completed the three-game sweep of Russell this season with a 67-51 decision.
Beloit trasiled only once, 3-2. The Trojans built their lead to 32-17 at hafltime with a 16-1 run over the final 4:25 of the second quarter.
Russell got as close as four with 1:19 to go in the third, but trailed by seven to start the fourth and was never closer than eight down the stretch.
The Broncos’ season ends 11-11, their first non-winning season since 2009-10, Frank Schulte’s first as coach.
Beloit is 19-3 and takes on 15-7 Minneapolis for the sub-state title Saturday at 6 p.m. The Lions, who defeated Phillipsburg 48-34 in the first game, lost both matchups with the North Central Activties Association champion Trojans during the regular season.
Time to go back to Russell. I’m heading west tomorrow. Just don’t know where.
Phillipsburg’s girls are done, losing 58-44 to Minneapolis in the first game of the sub-state doubleheader in Beloit.
The Lions took control with a 9-0 run int he second quarter which turned a 15-12 deficit into a 21-15 lead. Minneapolis expanded its margin to 29-19 at halftime, as Kynedi Allison and Lindsay Shupe each hit threes.
Phillipsburg was down seven following Mindy Gower’s 3-point play with 5:26 left in the third, but it would get outscored 13-3 the rest of the period.
THe Pnathers were never closer than nine in the fourth quater, and that wasn’t until 1:36 remained. Tatum Bartels, Phillipsburg’s 5-foot-10 sophomore, fouled out 19 seconds later.
Next up is Russell vs. Beloit. The Trojans are going for a three-game season sweep of the Broncos. Regardless of who wins, it will be an all-North Central Activities Association girls final Saturday at 6 p.m.
Back to basketball after a reprieve Wednesday. Tonight’s journey is to a familiar location, Beloit, for a girls doubleheader, Phillipsburg vs. Minneapolis and Russell vs. Beloit.
Tuesday’s trip to Scott City was great, except for the game itself. Sean Spoonts and I had a great ride down. He was all excited about the different types of animal meat the truck stop in Oakley sold. I found a new auxiliary audio cable for my iPhone which works perfectly, unlike the piece of crap Best Buy sold me last month. Sean and I were able to jam to songs on my iPhone from Oakley to Scott City and then all the way back home after the game.
Scott City jumped all over outmanned Russell, leading 25-0 and going on to win 81-29. Many have called the Beavers the best high school boys basketball team in Kansas, regardless of classification, and it may be true. Glenn O’Neil, who also coaches the Beavers’ powerhouse football team, has a group of interchangebale parts which are all athletic, great jumpers, accurate shooters and prolific passers. The coach’s son, Trey O’Neil, scored 26.
Scott City is the home of Wichita State’s All-Missouri Valley Conference guard, Ron Baker. Ron’s brother, Sloan, is a starter for this year’s Scott City squad. Sloan probably won’t start for a Division I power like Ron, but he will make a program very happy with his presence.
Sean and I got home from Scott City right at 10 p.m. I got a few hours of sleep, then woke up early to get my work for the Russell County News done before my 8 a.m. appointment with Crista Geyer in Hays. We started a few minuets late since Crista was returning calls and e-mails from Tuesday when she wasn’t in the office, but now that I’m doing far better than I was on my first two visits, the missed time was not a big deal.
I got out of Russell at 2:15 this afternoon after getting my hair cut. Got to Beloit just before 5, since I took the long way through Salina to make a couple of stops. I’m going back through Salina on the way home, so I probably won’t see Russell until 11:30. I’m going in the opposite direction tomorrow, either to Hill CIty or Quinter in all likelihood.
I have got to get to Kansas City. Liz’s situation with her mom still in the hospital has me really worried.
It wasn’t much of a matchup in the Amos Morris Gymnasium this evening. The Russell Lady Broncos never trailed Norton, building a 15-2 lead through the first six minutes and coasting to a 44-29 victory.
Russel (11-10 gets a third shot at Beloit (18-3) in the semifinals Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on the Trojans’ home floor. Beloit won the two regular season meetings, 53-47 at Russell Jan. 9 and 73-54 at Beloit Feb. 13. This will be the first postseason game between the North Central Activities Association foes since 2003.
The Bluejays (10-12) got as close as six late in the third quarter, but the Broncos quickly responded and extended their lead back to double figures.
The Broncos will have trouble getting past Beloit. Not only did the Trojans sweep the regular season series, but Russell is 1-9 this season vs. teams with winning records. The lone win was over Class 1A LaCrosse in the semifinals of the Hoisington Winter Jam Jan. 23. The Broncos were also 0-2 vs. Ellinwood, Minneapolis and Southeast of Saline, and lost to Central Plains in the championship of the Amos Morris/George Stephens Classic.
It looks like Phillipsburg will be half the matchup in the other semifinal at Beloit. The Panthers lead Hoisington 36-24 after three. The opponent will likely be Minneapolis, which is going for the three-game sweep of Ellsworth.