Varsity Basketball

VK Top 25: Preseason rankings for the top Wichita area basketball teams

Derby players celebrate after winning the Class 6A championship at Koch Arena.
Derby players celebrate after winning the Class 6A championship at Koch Arena. Correspondent

Top 25 Boys

1. Bishop Carroll

Carroll’s program has changed about as much as possible in 365 days. The Golden Eagles sneaked up on Kansas last season, but the defending champions will get everyone’s best shot.

2. Wichita Heights

Wichita Heights lost a lot of senior talent, but coach Joe Auer did an outstanding job of developing his young players last season while still winning a City League championship.

3. Salina Central

Central shocked the state by reaching the Class 5A championship game before falling to Carroll in overtime. The Mustangs reload in 2018 with nearly the same team they brought to state last year.

4. McPherson

The Bullpups lost a lot. All-State forward Ben Pyle and All-League point guard Mason Alexander are gone, but McPherson brings back its biggest asset in coach Kurt Kinnamon.

5. Andover Central

The Jaguars caught fire toward the end of last season and bring back almost the whole roster. Andover Central moves up to Class 5A but are expected to be there for state.

6. Campus

Campus showed bursts of excellence last season. The Colts bring in some top-end talent in Shawn Warrior from Southeast and others. From top to bottom, they are among the most talented teams.

7. Maize

With Caleb Grill on the court, the Eagles will have a chance in every game they play. Maize fell short of a state berth, scoring 30 points against Salina Central. That loss will motivate the Eagles in 2018.

8. Derby

Derby lost a pair of the best players in the area in Bryant Mocaby and Tyler Brown. Coach Brett Flory will need to new scorers to come to the surface as the Panthers compete in one of the toughest leagues in Kansas.

9. Wichita East

East was seen as a young, up-and-coming team last season. The Blue Aces will be expected to win now. Bishop Carroll and Heights are expected to be toward the top of the City League, but East is the dark horse.

10. Wichita Southeast

From one top scorer to another, Southeast lost Israel Barnes and added Jackie Johnson III. The Golden Buffaloes are in a flux after coach Melvin Herring resigned before the season, but Southeast brings a winning pedigree.

11. Maize South

12. Collegiate

13. Eisenhower

14. Arkansas City

15. Andale

16. Newton

17. Andover

18. Kapaun

19. Trinity Academy

20. Wichita South

21. Halstead

22. Circle

23. Cheney

24. Goddard

25. Augusta

Top 25 Girls

1. Derby

Derby captured its first girls basketball state championship last season, and the Panthers bring back probably the most talented roster in Kansas, including center Kennedy Brown and point guard Tor’e Alford.

2. Bishop Carroll

After reaching the Class 5A championship game last season, Carroll will be the favorite in the City League and the most likely to reach that same height in 5A out of the Wichita area.

3. Maize

Maize lost one player. The Eagles bring back a roster that knows how to win after reaching the 5A semifinals last season. Halie Jones and Alexis Cauthon will be called upon to lead these talented Eagles.

4. McPherson

The Pups will be without their leader for a bit. McPherson coach Chris Strathman announced on Twitter he will be out for the rest of the semester because of a cancerous tumor found in his colon.

5. Maize South

Maize South will look different this season. The Mavericks have welcomed Alexis Snodgrass, the City League’s leading scorer, from Northwest and Zayda Perez from Valley Center to go with an already-skilled roster.

6. Wichita South

Wichita South will miss coach Antwan Scales, who left for Colby Community College in the offseason. Scales brought four state championships to the Titans, and they will look to carry on that legacy without him.

7. Salina Central

Central lost the AVCTL I MVP Elisa Backes, but the Mustangs are considered among the top teams in Class 5A. They reached the state tournament last season but were bounced in the first round.

8. Andover

Andover is coming off an AVCTL II title and bring back a lot of talent, including All-Metro selection Shanti Henry. The Trojans will need to get to a hot start, hosting McPherson on Friday night.

9. Wichita Heights

Laniah Randle was outstanding as a freshman and is expected to take another step for the Falcons. With Wichita South going through a coaching change, Heights is considered one of the City League favorites.

10. Circle

Quietly, Circle is going for its third straight state tournament appearance. The Thunderbirds bring back a pair of the Wichita area’s best in Carissa Beck and Allyson Potter.

11. Goddard

12. Newton

13. Wichita East

14. Andale

15. Kapaun

16. Garden Plain

17. Augusta

18. Rose Hill

19. Conway Springs

20. Halstead

21. Andover Central

22. Trinity Academy

23. Wellington

24. Cheney

25. Valley Center

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