Holy War is green
Nine days before Thursday, Bishop Carroll beat Wichita Heights by 20 and hit 16 three-pointers.
The Golden Eagles hit 13 fewer in their first round game against rival Kapaun Mt. Carmel and still won 46-32. Coach Mike Domnick said his crew did an outstanding job at finding the seams in the defense and attacking the basket.
Senior point guard Carsen Pracht scored a game-high 14 points, and sophomore Alex Littlejohn was just behind with 11. He was scoreless in the first quarter and quiet until the fourth when he took over in the paint.
“Knowing that we can drive in, that means we’re more than just a one-trick pony team,” Littlejohn said.
Littlejohn and Domnick said Kapaun was one of the last teams they wanted to play in their sub-state tournament. The 8-12 Crusaders were respected as much as the undefeated Maize Eagles, Domnick said.
Carroll earned its third win over Kapaun on Thursday. The season series started with a Pracht buzzer-beater on the road. Domnick said he knew beating the same team, especially a rival, three times in one season was a tall order.
The last time Carroll and Kapaun met in the postseason, the game went to five overtimes and ended 103-102.
“This team, they play hard, and they’ve played us tough all year,” he said, catching his breath. “It was a 14-point game at the end, but it was tough, and I just don’t like playing them. (Coach John Cherne III) does a great job, even in a down year.”
Carroll will host No. 6 McPherson, who is fresh off an impressive win itself, at 6 p.m. Saturday.
“McPherson, they expect to win every time they go out on the floor,” Domnick said. “We’ll be excited to play them. They are a tradition-rich program. We are just excited we don’t have to go play in their barn.”
With about two seconds left, Jake Alexander looked toward the hoop but knew he couldn’t get a clean shot off and deferred.
He tossed to Jace Kinnamon, who appeared to be caught off guard. He hoisted a contorted shot that was so far off line that it clanked off the backboard and went down to force overtime in an enventual 88-86 McPherson win over Newton.
Bullpups coach and Jace’s father, Kurt Kinnamon, said it wasn’t a moment he wished for as a dad; he always just wanted his son to play hard and be the best teammate he could be. He does those two things, and Kinnamon said he is proud of him because of it.
Nevertheless, he said it was a game he would never forget.
“On a personal level, I’m as emotionally and physically drained as I can remember being after a game,” he said. “I tell our guys they got to get their rest, but I’ve got to find a way to get my rest.”
Late in the overtime period, senior Kyler Hoppes, who scored a career-high 11 points, pulled up for a three in a tied game and was fouled with about a second to go. He hit two of his three free throws, and Newton’s Ty Berry missed a three-quarter-court shot that would have won it.
Berry, who had 28 points, and Alex Krogmeier combined for 58 points in the loss. McPherson had five players in double figures.
Kinnamon said it was a complete team effort, something the Pups will need again on the road to beat the defending Class 5A champions Bishop Carroll.
“There’s no way to single anyone out,” he said. “There were just too many big plays from every single guy that played.”
3-for-37 and pulled it out
Cheney hit one bucket in the first 11 minutes of game time but will play for a sub-state championship.
The Cardinals beat Halstead 44-38 but had 14 points at halftime, were 3-of-37 from the floor in the first half and were outscored 11-1 in the second quarter.
Cheney coach Rod Scheer said his players were taking shots they don’t normally take and were completely out of sync. Halftime served as a remedy, he said.
“We outscored them 14-1 in the third quarter,” Scheer said. “And they hit one free throw at the end of that quarter.”
Scheer said he has never been part of a game as turbulent as what he saw Thursday in Haven.
“I thought we dug ourselves too big of a hole and it wasn’t going to happen,” he said. “I told them it was ugly, but right now, it’s good enough to get the job done. It would have been so easy to quit, but they didn’t.”
Cheney will play Haven on the road for the second championship game this season. The Cardinals fell to Haven in the title game of the Wildcat Classic midseason tournament. It was their first loss of the season and Haven’s first midseason tournament title in six years.
Best game on paper
In the loaded Class 5A West, the 8-9 seed game in the first round was bound to be the one to watch.
Arkansas City hosted league rival Eisenhower. Last year Ark City handed the Tigers their only two regular season losses. Thursday, they got back even with a 60-51 road win that ended the Bulldogs’ season in the first round of the postseason.
Ark City senior Cevin Clark finished his high school career with a 27-point performance, but it wasn’t enough. The Bulldogs finished the 2018-19 season on a 3-6 run.
Eisenhower has captured lighting late this season with wins over Maize South and Ark City twice with in the past month. Coach Steve Blue said his post players stepped up with 25 points but the execution will need to be heightened at 6 p.m. Saturday when they travel to undefeated Maize.