The Heights boys basketball team's now-annual field trip to Kansas City, Mo., will have a different feel Saturday.
The Falcons are making their third straight appearance in the Hy-Vee Shootout, hosted by Avila University. They take on Raytown (Mo.) South in a 6 p.m. game that will be televised on Cox 22.
Raytown South is located about 10 miles northeast of the Avila campus and will have a distinct home-court advantage that Heights didn't have to face with 2010 opponent Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge or 2011 opponent Nixa (Mo.), located south of Springfield.
"We'll have good support with family and friends, but they'll have a good student body representation there," Heights coach Joe Auer said. "We'll have the distinct feeling of being the enemy."
Large-school coaches from the Kansas side of the state line usually drop in on the game to get an in-person scouting report of the Falcons. Auer doesn't mind giving up a free look at his team for the experience of playing an out-of-state, out-of-town opponent.
"The City League championship is not at stake, nothing in the postseason's at stake, so it's a fun day for us," Auer said. "It's a good way to challenge the kids and see where we're at early in the season."
Raytown South is 3-2 after a 63-46 victory over Raytown on Wednesday night. The Cardinals are led by guards Earl Peterson (6-foot-3, 17.2 points) and Diago Tyson (6-1, 14.3 points).
"They're very athletic in terms of size and quickness, probably one of the most talented teams we'll play this year," Auer said.
Of course, there is a little something at stake Saturday: Heights' 47-game winning streak. The Falcons' last loss was Dec. 19, 2009 on the same Avila court, 75-70 to Columbia Rock Bridge.
"The kids know they have a bull's-eye on them, but we're trying to enjoy it and go one game at a time like we always do," Auer said. "We have to focus on what's right in front of us."
The unbeaten Heights girls team plays in the Hy-Vee Shootout tonight, taking on Columbia Rock Bridge at 5:30 p.m. That game is also scheduled for Cox 22.
Around the area tonight _ Several matchups involving league-leading boys teams highlight the Wichita-area basketball schedule tonight.
In AV-CTL Division II, McPherson and Andover Central are 4-0 and the winner has a leg up in the division. In Division III, Buhler (3-0, 1-0) plays at Augusta, which is 1-0 in the division.
Collegiate takes its unbeaten record to Clearwater (5-1, 1-0).
Two girls games also feature teams at the top of their league standings. Andale, coming off a win over unbeaten Wellington, plays host to Circle in an AV-CTL IV game. Hillsboro and Sterling (both 4-0) meet in the Central Kansas League, though the game doesn't count in league standings.