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Sub-state basketball tournament pairings announced

POSTED: February 24, 2012 1:00 a.m.

Lady 'Cat Lainey Dunn. shot is blocked in the Feb. 17 win over the Lady Indians in Larned. I/R photo by Mark McCoy.

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ELLSWORTH --- Both the boys’ and girls’ teams will meet Lincoln in the 2A  Ell-Saline sub-state tournament at Lincoln High School in Lincoln.

The Lady ‘Cats will play third-seeded Lincoln at 6 p.m., Monday Feb. 27. It is the toughest 2A sub-state this season with top-ranked and undefeated Washington County; third-ranked Smith Center; seventh-ranked Lincoln; ninth-ranked Ell-Saline and 10th-ranked Republic County. The semi-finals and finals of this bracket will undoubtedly be the best 2A girls’ basketball games of the season.

The Lady Leopards have clawed their way to seventh in the Kansas Basketball Coaches Rankings during the course of the season, led by long-distance running star Jenna Faris -- who also happens to play a great game of basketball. Faris can and will play an entire four quarters of basketball and averages 23 points per game. Emma Huskey is also a quality player that can shoot the 3-ball and defends well beneath the rim. The Lady Leopards like to run and gun.

The young Lady ‘Cats have had their best season in six years, but will have to contain Faris and Huskey to pull off an upset.

The Bearcats will face Lincoln, who although unranked, are a quality team that has played a lot of tough teams in the Northern Plains League and tournaments.

Led by 6’6” Wyatt Schroeder, who averages 18.8 points per game and 6’2” Dayton Walter who averages 13.1 and 7.5 boards per outing, the Leopards play a controlled game of basketball, carefully setting up Schroeder and Walter for the high percentage buckets on the inside.

Rebounding and conditioning will be the keys for a ’Cat win in this match. The Bearcats’ sixth-man-in-the-stands will also have to rise to the occasion for the win. The ‘Cats play their best game of basketball when they can hear the roar of the crowd.

CENTRAL PLAINS --- The Lady Oilers are the second-seeded team in the 2A Pratt-Skyline sub-state tournament. With a 15-5 record, the Lady O’s are deep with talent and often can substitute players platoon-style. Led by Sydney Rugan Jennifer Hitschmann and Katie Hipp, the Lady O’s have often decimated their opponents in the first season of Central Plains basketball.

They will play 6-13 Medicine Lodge at 6 p.m., Monday Feb. 27 in the Oiler Dome in Claflin, a daunting home-court advantage.

The Lady Black Bears are the top-ranked team in the brackets and have wavered on and off of the coaches polls most of the season. They are defensive specialists, rarely letting their opponents into the paint and are a quality club.

The Oilers are seeded at seventh in the tournament and will face sixth-ranked Sterling at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28 in Sterling. The Black Bears have a good history of basketball and know how to win.

The Oilers are a very good 9-11 basketball team, having played a lot of quality opponents throughout the season. A lot of their losses have come in the final few minutes of the game. There is a lot of talent on the Oiler squad, but they will have to avoid simple, costly fundamental mistakes to close for the win.

Medicne Lodge is the top seed in the tournament and is ranked seventh in the state. The Black Bears are ranked sixth and are the second seed in the tourney.

WILSON --- Led by the double-double king Jake Stoppel--who averages a whopping 26.9 points and 15.4 rebounds per game--the Dragons will compete in the St. John’s of Beloit/Tipton 1A Division II sub-state tournament.

The second-ranked Dragons will have a bye in the first round, playing the winner of the St. John’s of Beloit/Tipton versus McPherson-Elyria Christian game Thursday. Time and location has yet to be announced.

Fourth-ranked Hope is the top seed in the tournament.

The deep and talented Lady Dragons are ranked fifth in the state and are the third seed in the tournament. They will play the Lady Trojans of Tescott at 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 27 at the formidable Dragon Lair in Wilson. The Lady Trojans are very young and talented, but are not yet a match for the seasoned Lady Dragons.

The Lady Dragons have Karlie Steinle, who averages 21.7 points per game and 9.8 rebounds is one of, if not the best all-around female player in the state. Steinle is complimented by a crew of dangerous team-players including Sarah Lanter, Emily Beneda and Shania Steinike.

The Lady Dragon bench is deep and has seen a lot of playing time.

Hope is also the top seed of the girls’ tournament, and is ranked sixth in the state. Central Christian of Hutch is the second seed and is currently ranked fourth.

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