Varsity Kansas

Day 3: Tournament of Champions

1st Quarter: Heights 14, Dodge City 9

It looked like the struggles of Heights were about to extend for a third game, as Dodge City grabbed a 7-1 lead in the first three minutes. But, in case you forgot, Heights can play a little defense on its own. For as much as the Falcons struggle on offense, their defense is unquestionably among the elite in Class 5A and it was on full display in their start against Dodge City. Heights employed an aggressive trapping zone defense that attacked the ball handler right as they approached half-court and it just ate Dodge City up, forcing 10 turnovers and allowing Heights to avoid getting bogged down in a half-court game against that 3-2 defense. So Heights didn’t really do much to solve its zone offense woes, but it did finally start to look like the team that is in 2nd place in the City League back in Wichita.

Pre-Game: Heights (8-3) vs. Dodge City (4-5)

It’s just the (bad) luck of Heights that it would draw the three teams in the TOC bracket that play exclusively zone in Manhattan, Hutchinson, and Dodge City. I’m sure after three days of this, Heights will be ready to get out of Dodge because it’s so tired of seeing zone. But this is a real problem for this team that is has to solve sooner rather than later. It will get another crack at it today, as Dodge City and Denny Hamilton are synonymous with the 3-2 zone (the same kind that caused the Falcons fits in the first round against Manhattan). This is a 7th place game, so this game will be all about pride. If Heights can not only pick up a win, but perform well offensively (i.e. scoring over 55 points) against a zone before it leaves Dodge City, I think it would do wonders for the team’s mental state facing a zone leaving this tournament.

Heights will wears its road blacks with white trim and use an interesting line-up in its third game in Dodge City. Coach Joe Auer has decided to send usual starters Ealy Bell and Arie Johnson to the bench, and will go with a 3-guard line-up with Semaj Hervey (5-10 junior), Chris Lowe (5-9 junior) and Tre King (6-0 junior) paired along with Davon Gill (6-4 sophomore) and Jordan Wilbeck (6-5 senior).