December — 9, Derby; 12, at Pratt; 16, Wellington; 19, at Circle.
January — 6, Clearwater; 9, at Collegiate; 13, Mulvane; 16, at Augusta; 19-24, Halstead tournament (B); 20, McPherson (G); 27, McPherson (B); 29-31 McPherson tournament (G).
February — 3, at Winfield; 6, Rose Hill; 10, at Maize South; 13, at Wellington; 17, Andale; 20, at Clearwater; 24, Collegiate; 26, at Mulvane.
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Coach: Jeff Buchanan, ninth season, 83-41
Last season: 21-4, finished third in 4A-Division II
Hunter Knoblauch, 6-0, sr., G
Lane Macari, 6-5, sr., F
Clint Walstad, 6-1, jr., G
Jason Hermreck, 6-3, sr., F
Jeff Ast, 6-5, jr., F
When the Indians declare their goal of winning a state title, it’s not merely a statement replicating every other team’s desires. Andale has the pieces to win the Class 4A-Division I title.
The Indians finished third in 4A-Division II in March and return five starters, seven lettermen and 60.2 points.
And they have chemistry.
“They are really good friends, every single one of them,” Buchanan said. “That’s what makes it the most fun. Practices are fun, games are fun, driving to the games are fun.”
They’re also highly talented players. The inside game with Macari, Ast, Avery Roe, Winter and Hermreck will be tough for opponents to stop.
“I’m comfortable with the inside game,” Buchanan said. “We know with the height of those guys and their size, that it’s something every game people have to honor and try to take that away.”
If an opponent does focus its energy on the Indians’ play in the paint, then Andale can run its offense from the perimeter with Knoblauch, a four-year varsity player.
“He’s very comfortable at the point-guard role,” Buchanan said. “He’s very unselfish. There will be many games where he’ll score a couple points and then have a ton of assists. And then there’s other games, if they don’t honor him, he’ll put up 20 points.”
And there are other scorers — Hermreck, Walstad, senior Jordan Anderson and junior Bo Knoblauch.
“We have very good depth this year, good all-around players,” Buchanan said. “We’re hoping it’s a good year.”
Coach: Mark Kerschen, 24th season, 342-160
Last season: 13-8
Brittany Meyer, 5-3, sr., G
Lauren Rowland, 5-9, sr., G-F
Kylee Ebert, 6-0, sr., F
Abbie Maxwell, 5-9, sr., G-F
Jaiden Easter, 5-6, jr., G
Kerschen was joking when he said that three of his players — Meyer, Easter and Rowland — played on one leg at the end of last season.
But it wasn’t a humorous joke because injuries hobbled Andale.
“We were struggling to get to the end,” Kerschen said. “But if they’re all healthy, we should have a good range of people, good depth.”
Andale will be strong inside with Ebert (6 points, 6 rebounds), who causes problems simply because of her height. But she can score with relative ease inside and can step out to 15 feet and knock down jumpers.
“I like her around the basket,” Kerschen said. “They have to be aware of her, and the rebounds she can get will help a lot.”
Andale also returns senior Rachel Friedrichs, who is 6-foot-2, and although she hasn’t played since her freshman season, she is athletic and talented. She was an All-Metro volleyball selection.
The Indians have a mix of players who can play inside and out, which Kerschen plans to utilize by either using a pressure defense or fall into a half-court game and take advantage of their size.
Rowland (10 points) and Maxwell can help inside along with junior Kadey Dreiling. Because of the depth inside, though, Rowland may spend the majority of her time on the perimeter.
Kerschen wants Easter to run the point, which would allow Meyer (12 points) more freedom as a shooting guard. Meyer had surgery on a knee to remove a bone chip following her junior season.
“Last year was nothing like the way she can shoot,” Kerschen said. “She struggled all year. When she’s healthy, she’ll give us a good threat.”
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEWS ON VARSITYKANSAS.COM
Nov. 17: Derby, Southeast
Nov. 18: Heights, Trinity Academy
Nov. 19: Andale, East
Nov. 20: Andover Central, North
Nov. 21: Carroll, Maize
Nov. 22: Andover, West
Nov. 23: Collegiate, Northwest
Nov. 24: Circle, Kapaun
Nov. 25: Independent, Wichita South
Nov. 26: Goddard, Maize South
Nov. 27: Clearwater, Garden Plain
Nov. 28: El Dorado, Mulvane
Nov. 29: Newton, Valley Center, other teams in the AV-CTL, CPL, CKL and area smaller schools
Nov. 30: Eisenhower, Rose Hill
Dec. 1: Augusta, Campus
Dec. 2: Cheney, Conway Springs