Varsity Kansas

Class 4A-Division I boys tournament preview

At Bicentennial Center, Salina

Thursday’s Quarterfinals

3 p.m.: Topeka Hayden vs. Independence

No. 7 Topeka Hayden (12-10) – The Wildcats make their fifth 4A appearance in seven seasons under coach Ted Schuler after edging Baldwin 42-41 on Brogan Heinen’s three-pointer with 20 seconds to play in the sub-state final. Center Marcus Meier (18.1) and guard Jacob Head (17.1) give Hayden an inside-outside threat. Head scored 40 against Basehor-Linwood and Meier had 34 against Leavenworth. The Wildcats entered the season with no returning starters.

No. 2 Independence (19-3) – The Bulldogs are making back-to-back trips to state for the first time since 1978 and ’79. They defeated rival Coffeyville 59-41 to secure a berth. Junior guard Tate Turner averages 19 points and hit a shot from just inside halfcourt at the buzzer to beat Coffeyville in January. Senior forward Dominique Thornton (12 points, 6 rebounds) adds scoring depth. Independence, which won its first outright SEK title since 1996, has won 14 in a row.

4:45: El Dorado vs. Basehor-Linwood

No. 6 El Dorado (13-9) – El Dorado hasn’t won a state title, but it’s not for lack of trying. This is the Wildcats’ 25th state appearance and fourth under coach Gary Melcher, who guided them to the title game in 1999. El Dorado overcame injury issues and won five of its last six. Senior Travis House (15.0) is a physical guard and a good three-point shooter. At 6-foot-5, senior Jared Haury (10.0 points, 6.9 rebounds) gives the Wildcats a complementary inside threat.

No. 3 Basehor-Linwood (19-3) – The first notable thing about the Bobcats: When coach Mike McBride brings them to state, they win. Basehor-Linwood is 6-0 in Salina, claiming 4A titles in 2009 and ’12. Senior Chase Younger (19.1) shoots 50 percent from three, while 6-6 junior Pat Muldoon (14.7) and senior Zach McNabb (12.2) fuel a potent offense that outscored Kansas City Piper 100-99 in a double-overtime game.

6:30: KC Sumner vs. McPherson

No. 8 KC Sumner (10-12) – The Sabres return to state for the first time since winning consecutive 4A titles in 2010 and ’11 under coach Daniel Parra. They’ll be a longshot this time. Sophomore Derek Sykes (15 points, 6 rebounds), senior Deamonte Sykes (13, 9) and senior Andre Faison (12.8, 5.9) lead a strong rebounding and defensive team. Sumner plays two freshmen and two sophomores in a 10-man rotation. It’s Sumner’s sixth state trip in eight seasons with Parra as coach.

No. 1 McPherson (20-1) – The Bullpups’ 11 boys state titles are third most in Kansas behind Kansas City Wyandotte (20) and Newton (13). They are looking for their first since dropping from 5A three seasons ago. Junior Kyler Kinnamon scored 21 points in the sub-state final victory over Abilene. McPherson’s lone loss is to 6A qualifier Wichita North. Senior twins Peter and Ryan Horton, both 6-foot-5, were third in doubles at the 4A tennis tournament last spring.

8:15: Winfield vs. Paola

No. 5 Winfield (14-8) – Winfield returns to state after a quarterfinal loss to runner-up Highland Park last season. First-year Vikings coach Drew Gruver played for Scott City in the 1997 tournament and led Liberal to three 5A appearances as coach from 2008-12. The Vikings are led by junior guard Will Adler (20.6), senior center Jacob Dennett (10.0) and senior Logan Maize (9.6). The trio combined for 69 points in an 81-72 sub-state final victory over Mulvane.

No. 4 Paola (16-6) – The Panthers saved their best defense for sub-state, limiting Louisburg to 26 points and Spring Hill to 24. Mason McDow, a 6-7 sophomore, leads Paola in scoring (20) and rebounding (9). Forward Lucas Wilson (12) and point guard Justin Criddle (11) are key contributors on a team that has impressed coach Dave Cash with its chemistry. Cash was an assistant to Dennis Darting when Paola won its lone state title in 1995.

Friday’s semifinals

El Dorado-Basehor-Linwood winner vs. Topeka Hayden-Independence winner, 4:45 p.m.

Winfield-Paola winner vs. KC Sumner-McPherson winner, 8:15

Saturday’s finals

Third-place game, 2 p.m.

Championship, 6:15

Joanna Chadwick’s pick

McPherson over Basehor-Linwood

Related stories from Wichita Eagle