Post-minded Royal Valley awaits THS
In their first game at state, Tonganoxie High players will face a team that possesses something they also have -- size.
The Chieftains' post players will be challenged Thursday when they meet Royal Valley (17-6) in the substate quarterfinals at 8:15 p.m. at Salina's Bicentennial Center.
Royal Valley relies on strong inside play from its two post players. The Panthers, who hail from the Big Seven League, also relied on some big victories in their substate tournament.
The Panthers outlasted Hayden, 41-40, in overtime on the Wildcats' home floor in Topeka before dropping Jeff West, 57-48, in the substate finals.
Jeff West is a common foe for the two state teams. Tonganoxie defeated the Tigers in the semifinals of the Tonganoxie Invitational in January by a 45-27 score. Royal Valley fell to Jeff West twice in the regular season, 49-37 in December and 59-46 in early February.
The Panthers, though, claimed the third and most important meeting Saturday.
Tonganoxie will be the No. 3 seed, while Royal Valley earned the No. 6 seed.
In other first-round games Thursday, No. 1 Wichita Collegiate will face No. 8 Clearwater (11-12), No. 4 Colby (20-3) meets No. 5 Labette County (18-5) and No. 2 Iola (21-2) takes on No. 7 Buhler (14-9).
A win Thursday would put Tonganoxie in a 6:30 p.m. semifinal game Friday against the Iola-Buhler winner, while a loss would end Tonganoxie's season.
If the Chieftains advanced to a second game, the team would play in the consolation game at noon Saturday or the state championship at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The Southeast Kansas and Ark Valley Chisholm Trail leagues have two teams each in this year's field. Iola and Labette County come from the SEK, while Buhler and Clearwater are in the AVCTL.
As for the Class 4A boys bracket, games begin today and continue Friday and Saturday.
No. 1 Fort Scott (22-1) plays No. 8 Louisburg (16-7) at 3 p.m. today, while No. 4 Buhler (20-3) meets No. 5 Towanda-Circle (19-4) at 4:45 p.m.
In the evening session, No. 2 Sumner (21-2) takes on No. 7 Hayden (16-7) at 6:30 p.m. and No. 3 Scott City (21-2) will meet No. 6 Andover-Central (18-5) at 8:15 p.m.