Varsity Kansas

Class 4A-II girls tournament preview

At White Auditorium, Emporia

Wednesday’s quarterfinals

3 p.m.: Burlington vs. Girard

No. 7 Burlington (17-5) – Burlington achieved its berth by holding off Iola 40-36. Among the starters, senior guard Shelbi Emling averages 11 points a game and nearly four steals. The Wildcats start three players 5-9, including leading rebounder Rylie Hess, a guard. Freshman guard Kirsten Young has given Burlington a spark, averaging 12.6 points. The Wildcats won Class 3A in 2013 after being runners-up in 2012.

No. 2 Girard (21-1) – The Trojans are returning to the state tournament with a higher seed after being a No. 7 seed a year ago. Point guard Sydnee Crain is Girard’s leading scorer, averaging 13.2 ppg, and 6-4 post Ashley Ray is right behind at 12.1. Swing players Calea Augustine (5-11) and Olivia Hanson (5-9) both average around nine points a game. Ray controls the boards, averaging 7.6 rebounds, and Crain has a team-leading 80 steals..

4:45 p.m.: Haven vs. Hayden

No. 6 Haven (18-4) – Led by 5-9 senior Katelynn Stucky, who has signed to play at Neosho County Community College next year, the Wildcats edged Kingman 34-32 for their berth. Stucky likes to mix it up inside and scored many of her points on rebounds and stickbacks. Half of its losses were to 3A qualifier Sterling. The other losses were to Hesston and to Rose Hill (4A-I qualifier) in the opening round of Haven’s tournament.

No. 3 Hayden (19-3) – There’s no doubting the Wildcats’ athleticism, as six of their players have signed to play in college in other sports. Jordan Lenherr, a 5-8 senior who will play soccer at Emporia State, averages 17 points, and freshman Preston Reid averages 14.1. Two other players will go on in soccer, two in volleyball and one in track.

6:30 p.m.: Collegiate vs. Hugoton

No. 8 Collegiate (9-13) – The Spartans caught fire in sub-state, defeating Clearwater and Trinity Academy to earn their berth. Collegiate came along slowly but finished winning five of its final seven, with the losses coming to Wellington and Andale, both of whom made the 4A-I state tournament. First-year coach Greg Lower said a key to the run has been the play of post players Kirby Krumsick (6-0 junior) and Kennedy Brandenburg (5-10 sophomore).

No. 1 Hugoton (21-1) – Defending 4A-II champion Hugoton’s only loss came at Sterling, which is in the Class 3A tournament. Juniors Katy Heger and Amy Scott powered the Eagles’ attack. Heger averaged 16.7 points, and Scott 15.8. Hugoton prides itself on its defense, allowing 38.3 average while scoring 63.9. Although she’s just 5-7, sophomore Dallie Hoskinson led Hugoton in rebounds and steals with 210 and 126, respectively.

8:15 p.m.: Clay Center vs. Baldwin

No. 5 Clay Center (18-4) – Clay Center returns to the tournament for the third straight year after bowing out in the semifinals to eventual champion Hugoton last year. Clay Center has held its opponents to an average of 33 pointswhile scoring 47. Courtney Hammel, a 5-9 senior forward, is the Tigers’ only double-figure scorer in a balanced attack, averaging 10 points.

No. 4 Baldwin (19-3) – Baldwin went all the way to the championship game last season, falling to Hugoton for the title. Three seniors are back and start. Kyna Smith, a 5-4 guard, is the team’s leading scorer (13.9) and shoots 41 percent from three-point range. Fellow senior Madeline Neufeld, a 5-6 guard, averages 11 points. Baldwin’s other leading scorer is sophomore Abby Ogle (11.2).

Friday’s semifinals

Girard-Burlington winner vs. Hayden-Haven winner, 3 p.m.

Hugoton-Collegiate winner vs. Baldwin-Clay Center winner, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday’s finals

Third-place game, noon

Championship, 4 p.m.

Joanna Chadwick’s pick

Topeka Hayden over Hugoton