College Sports

5A Girls

At Kansas Expocentre, Topeka

Thursday's Quarterfinals

3 p.m.

No. 8 Shawnee Heights (9-12)

After dropping to 4-13 in a tough opening schedule, the Thunderbirds won five straight to make it back to state for the third straight year and ninth of the last 10. The Thunderbirds are led by forward Cierra Ceazer (15 points, 7 rebounds) and guard Cassidy Downing (10 points). They have finished third three times and second once at 5A since 2000.

No. 1 Andover Central (22-0)

The Jaguars return to the state tournament after missing it last season for the first time since 2005. Central also entered undefeated in 2008, when it won the title. Senior guard Tiffany Bias, an Oklahoma State signee, averages 20.5 points, 7.4 assists and 5.5 steals. Central, already without post player Brae Stiverson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last month, is facing the absence of sophomore forward Cami Gee. She injured her knee in sub-state and will be limited if she plays.

4:45 p.m.

No. 5 Newton (17-5)

Junior Kate Lehman, who averages a double-double (15.8 points, 10.6 rebounds), and Avery Vogts (10.2 points) lead Newton. Once Newton understood the inside-out game with Lehman, the offense really started clicking. Newton has won 9 of 10 games heading into the state tournament.

No. 4 Bishop Carroll (20-2)

Nicole Walden and Julie Sooter control the middle for Carroll and combined for 26 points against Andover in its sub-state final. Kathleen Duling can make outside shots and Cathy Brugman adds even more offense for Carroll. The Eagles allowed only 33.6 points, the best in the City League. Carroll makes its ninth trip to state in the last 11 years.

6:30 p.m.

No. 7 Topeka Seaman (16-6)

Senior Kara Lee (9.8 ppg) leads a balanced scoring attack and five seniors give Seaman a lot of experience. Jessica Sowards scored 19 points in its sub-state final win at Highland Park. Taking care of the ball and its defense (Seaman held opponents to 33.7 percent shooting) will be key.

No. 2 St. Thomas Aquinas (21-1)

Led by Deshawn Harden (13 points), Aquinas returned everyone from last year's state team that lost in the quarterfinals to Carroll. Aquinas has won 18 games in a row since losing to Norman, Okla., in the third game of the season. Aquinas gives up only 34 points and its man-to-man defense should allow it to get out and run.

8:15 p.m.

No. 6 Bishop Miege (16-6)

Senior Rosie Youngstrom (11 points, 4 assists, 2.5 steals) and junior Shandelyn Stewart (14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assist, 2 steals) lead Miege. Miege won 7 of 8 games to start the season. The defending champion is in state for the 10th consecutive year and has won five championships in the same span.

No. 3 McPherson (20-2)

McPherson missed state last year for the first time since 1995 and aren't just happy to return. Guards Casyn Buchman (the best perimeter player) and Tanner Hein average 13 points lead McPherson. Forwards Katelyn Loecker and Sarah Gaeddert (who takes the opponent's best post player) combine for 20 points and 16 rebounds.

Friday's Semifinals

Shawnee Heights-Andover Central winner vs. Newton-Carroll winner, 3 p.m.

Seaman-Aquinas winner vs. Miege-McPherson winner, 6:30

Saturday's Finals

Third-place game, noon

Championship, 4 p.m.

The Eagle's picks

Joanna Chadwick: Andover Central over St. Thomas Aquinas

Jeffrey Lutz: St. Thomas Aquinas over Andover Central