This day has finally arrived. Everything the players and coaches have worked for in the offseason training programs, the open-gym nights, the practices, the games, the time spent watching game tape — this is what it’s for.
Who will go home happy? Who will be devastated? Will there be blowouts? Will there be tight games? What player will be the star in leading a player to state?
We’ll get those answers today, and along the way, the trip should be thrilling.
Let’s take a look at the state title games:
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Boys: It would be easy to say that last night’s semifinal between Wichita Heights and Leavenworth was the true state title game. It was a wonderful game. But fact is, today is the championship, and BV Northwest, an outstanding shooting team is looking for the upset. Heights must stop Tyler Brashears and Brett Fisher’s outside shooting. BV Northwest must be able to contain Perry Ellis. And then find a way to slow the other four starters who always are stepping up in some way — Evan Wessel, Dreamius Smith, Terrance Moore and E.J. Dobbins.
Girls: Wichita Heights and Olathe South in the final, just like preseason predictions. Olathe South won this game in the semifinals last year. Olathe South is six deep but those six are highly skilled, talented and patient. Natalie Knight and Kelsey Balcom are the key. But Heights is playing its best basketball of the season. While Olathe South may be able to contain Jhasmin Bowen, where Washburn Rural failed in the semis, there are so many other players that are doing well right now — Tahlia Pope, Kamisha Richard, Taylor Chandler, Ashlee Ivy, Mary Sims, Allegria Chisom. If Heights plays as it did in the semis, it wins this game.
Boys: Bishop Miege is so loaded with Rodney Givens, Justin McCay, and of course, Trevor Releford. Topeka West is the surprise of the tournament getting to the final. No doubt in my mind on my pick.
Girls: Andover Central vs. St. Thomas Aquinas. Andover Central is led by Tiffany Bias, she’s what makes them go, she is a huge defensive and offensive presence. But an undersized crew in the paint comes up big in every game.
Pick: Bias. I mean, Andover Central.
Boys: KC Sumner needed overtime to get past Topeka Hayden in the first round — when four players fouled out. Then it beat Pratt by five. Sumner has been in so many great games this year, including upsetting defending champ Basehor-Linwood in the sub-state finals.
Girls: Concordia is riding an undefeated streak, is playing with confidence, has Karly Buer. Cheney is undefeated, as well, and has so much talent, including Ally Nikkel. But with Merissa Quick on the bench with a broken foot, this is Concordia’s game.
Boys: Is there any doubt that Wichita Collegiate will win this game? If you’re not convinced, aren’t those blowouts of some talented teams in the past two games convincing enough for you?
Girls: Marion will face Thomas More Prep. I don’t know if Marion can get past TMP. But Marion is athletic and has made it this far, so why not?
Boys: What have I been saying all week — never pick against Pittsburg Colgan. Why should you do anything different in the title game?
Girls: Olpe and Hill City play in this title game. I can’t go against Olpe, which will finish undefeated.