by matt browning
2:21-Greetings from Salina!
We’re about 30 minutes from tip-off here in the girls quarterfinals and Holton and Hesston are warming up as we speak.
Here are the three things I’m looking for on the girl’s side:
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1. Concordia’s duo of Karly Buer (playing at Missouri State next season) and 6-2 center Melissa Hartsel (committed to play volleyball at Missouri) have won 49 games in a row and it’s hard to see any team ending that streak this week. Buer is an all-state caliber player and most teams try to take her perimeter scoring away. But with Hartsel, 6-0 forward Ashleigh Johnson and 5-11 forward Paige Champlin, the Panthers have more than enough weapons to score, if teams choose to take away Buer.
2. Can Cheney be the team that steps up and ends Concordia’s streak? If there is any team here capable of doing it, it’s the Cardinals. With Marissa Quick (6-3) and Courtney Traxson (6-1), Cheney has the size to match up with Concordia. The question then becomes can the Cardinals make enough perimeter shots to open up the paint for Quick and Traxson? So far this season, Ally Nickel (14 ppg) has been able to do that (19-52 from the three-point line) and she must continue that in order for Cheney to get a shot at a championship.
3. Finally, is there a team out there who can end the thought of a Cheney vs. Concordia final? If there is one, it would have to be perennial power Holton, who is also 23-0. The Wildcats take on Hesston in the first quarterfinal here in a bit.
One other note, I love the setup for the media here at The Bicentennial Center. I’m elevated from the floor, so I can see everything. Great effort by the folks here at TBC.
I’ll be back at the end of each quarter, or more often, if need be.