Varsity Kansas

Class 1A-Division II boys tournament preview

At Gross Memorial Coliseum, Hays

Wednesday’s Quarterfinals

3 p.m.: Northern Valley vs. Beloit St. John’s-Tipton

No. 8 Northern Valley (13-10) — Defense is the key to Northern Valley’s success as it allowed 59 points combined in its two sub-state games. Jordan Baird and Matt Stutsman lead Northern Valley in scoring, both averaging 12 points. At one point, Northern Valley had a six-game losing streak. Northern Valley’s last tournament appearance was in 1992.

No. 1 Beloit St. John’s-Tipton (22-1) — Three players average double figures for St. Johns: Trey Dubbert (13), Luke Eilert (12) and Connor Eilert (10). St. John’s only loss came on the last day of the regular season; a three-point loss to Plainville. St. Johns won its three sub-state games by an average of 21 points.

4:45: Attica vs. Chetopa

No. 5 Attica (17-6) — This is Attica’s first trip to the state tournament since 1962. Two sophomores start for Attica, including leading scorer Devon Newberry (20 points). Only two teams have scored more than 60 points on Attica this season. At no point did Attica lose back-to-back games and its longest winning streak was five games.

No. 4 Chetopa (19-4) — Chetopa uses nine players and all average at least three points. Austen Sanders leads with 15 points, while Brice Riddle adds 13. Chetopa was 6-4 on Jan. 24 before winning 12 in a row. Its average margin of victory in sub-state was 28 points.

6:30: Central Christian vs. Wallace County

No. 7 Central Christian (16-7) — This is the second consecutive season Central Christian has qualified for the state tournament; last year was the first trip. Axtell defeated Central Christian last season in the first round. All five starters carry positive assist-to-turnover ratios. Ben Krehbiel and Noah Starkey average 15 points.

No. 2 Wallace County (21-2) — A year ago, Wallace County lost to White City in the third-place game. Wallace County won its first 14 games. Playing an up-tempo style is what Wallace County does best, as it is averaging over 75 points. Cayden Daily (19 points) and Nate Klinye (14 points) lead Wallace County.

8:15: Baileyville vs. Fowler

No. 6 Baileyville (17-7) — One of Baileyville’s seven rotation players average in double figures (Dustin Rottinghaus, 13 points). This is Baileyville’s first tournament appearance since 2010, when it placed third. Baileyville knocked off the defending champion, Axtell, by two points in the sub-state final.

No. 3 Fowler (20-3) — Despite losing many of its key players from last season, Fowler is making its fourth straight appearance. A year ago Fowler lost to Axtell in the finals. Four of the five starters average eight points or more, with Taylin Bird leading the way at 16 points and Ty Clark at 14 points.

Friday’s semifinals

Northern Valley-St. John’s-Tipton winner vs. Attica-Chetopa winner, 4:45 p.m.

Central Christian-Wallace County winner vs. Baileyville-Fowler winner, 8:15

Saturday’s finals

Third place, 2 p.m.

Championship, 6:15

Joanna Chadwick’s picks

Beloit St. John’s-Tipton over Wallace County

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