KSHSAA Game Recaps
Tournament Correspondent - 1A DI KSHSAA State Basketball
presented by BTI Equipment
Game Recaps
Girls Semifinals Game 1: Olpe 38 Hodgeman CO. 21
Two compelling statistics personified Thursday’s opening semifinal battle of the Class 1A Division I girls state basketball tournament here at United Wireless Arena.
Olpe’s girls suffered through one of the worst shooting performances of legendary 44-year coach Jesse Nelson’s career, hitting only 14-of-61 shots (23 percent). Jetmore-Hodgeman County was guilty of 34 turnovers while only able to put up 30 shots in the game.
Thursday’s victory improved the Eagles’ record to 24-0 and extended their two-season winning streak to 49 games. Hodgeman County, meanwhile, was making its first state appearance since consolidating with Hanston back in the mid-2000s. They finish the season at 21-5.
The poor shooting and turnovers were not lost on either winning coach Nelson or Hodgeman County mentor Trent Bright.
“I can’t remember a team of mine shooting this poorly,” said Nelson, whose team gave their coach win No. 948 in his career. “It started in the first few minutes and never got better. We were fortunate they turned the ball over as much as they did.”
For Bright and the Longhorns, it was a case of tournament nerves that struck when they walked into the Arena a couple of hours earlier.
“My girls have never been in this environment and it’s all new to them,” Bright said prior to the start. “We never got comfortable in the first half. We played better and competed better in the second half. I’m proud of what the girls accomplished because we fought hard for all of what they did.”
Bright said he would have a happy coach if someone had told him prior to the game that his defense would hold Olpe to 38 points, after averaging nearly 70 points a game and putting up 91 in Monday’s quarterfinal win over Rosalia-Flinthills.
“Defensively, we held them to 3 points in the third quarter, so I can’t be unhappy with that part of our effort,” Bright said. The Longhorns also held a 43-31 advantage on the boards with Malynn Biel and Grace Shiew grabbing 11 each. Shiew’s 6 points led the Longhorns.
The only points by the Eagles in that third-quarter drought came on a 3-point bomb from Hattie Fisher. By the end of the low-scoring affair, it was Olpe up 25-16.
Hodgeman County cut the lead to 29-20 at the 6:14 mark, but then Olpe scored 7 unanswered points to essentially put the game out of reach. In that mini-run, Lauryn Bowles scored on a layup off a nifty pass from Macy Smith, and then Smith hit the second big trey at the 5:20 mark before Marley Heins dropped in another floater layup to make it 36-21 with 2:53 remaining. While Hodgeman County couldn’t score the rest of the way, Olpe could muster only a couple of free throws by Smith.
Heins topped all scorers with 17 points (6-of-17 field goals) and Maya Bishop grabbed 8 rebounds.
Olpe will await the winner of the late 7 p.m. semifinal between Highland-Doniphan West and Norwich.
The first half seemed to be a combination of Olpe’s cold shooting being offset by the turnover miscues that best the Longhorns. During that opening 16 minutes of action, Hodgeman County could only get off 11 shots, making 5 of them while committing an unsightly 23 turnovers.
However, Olpe couldn’t totally capitalize as they were icy cold from the field, connecting on just 8 of 33 shots for a chilly 24.2 percent. Still, it was enough to provide them leads of 10-4 after one quarter and then 22-10 heading to the locker room at halftime.
Heins seemed to be the one spark that lifted the Eagles in the first half, scoring half of her team’s points off 4-of-8 field goals and 3-of-4 free throws to finish with 11 points at the break.
Rebounding also helped the Longhorns as they were up 21-11 on the boards in the opening half. Shiew had 6 boards and 4 points to pace the Longhorns.
Brett Marshall, Tournament Correspondent. Presented by BTI Equipment.
Girls Semifinals Game 2: Norwich 54 Doniphan West 49
Fifty-two weeks earlier to the day, the Norwich Eagles and Olpe Eagles met on the United Wireless Arena floor in an opening quarterfinal contest of the Class 1A state tournament when 1A was still just one combined class.
On that Thursday afternoon in Game 2 of four, Olpe prevailed 59-43. In a normal year, it would have moved them to the semifinals the next day and Norwich headed home.
Later that night, though, with early signs of the COVID-19 pandemic, KSHSAA officials cancelled the remainder of the tournament’s semifinals, championship and consolation games.
On Thursday, the Norwich Eagles made some amends for the year before as they survived a furious finish from first-time state attendee Doniphan West of Highland, 54-49, after Olpe earlier dispatched Hodgeman County of Jetmore, 38-21.
Those two victories set up what looms to be another historic championship game between the two Eagles. Norwich will enter the 2 p.m. Saturday title match-up with a 20-3 record while Olpe goes after its 25th win of what has been a perfect season thus far. Combined with last year’s unfinished season of 25-0, the Olpe Eagles are going after consecutive win No. 50.
With the decision to not have any consolation games on Saturday, Doniphan West and Hodgeman County shared third-place trophies.
Whatever discussion was had in the locker room at halftime, it worked to the Norwich advantage as they came out firing and worked to their inside power game to Brittany Gosch, who had just 5 of those points at halftime, but Norwich went to her time and time again and she ended the quarter with 9 for a 14-point output that pulled the Eagles within two, 41-39, heading to the closing eight minutes.
The fourth quarter was a wild scramble to the finish line as the Eagles finally knotted the score at 41 just 56 seconds into the period. They would go up by five, 47-42, with 5:31 remaining only to have the Mustangs keep in close range at 49-47 with 2:38 left.
Norwich executed a semi-delay game to near perfection, closing out with a 5-2 mini-run. Free throws proved costly to the Mustangs, as they made just one basket in the final three minutes, only one free throw in the final 2:38 and missed their final six free throws 1:53. It proved too much to overcome.
Gosch finished with a game-high 20 ponits before fouling out with 0:56 showing on the clock. Avery Rosenhagen and Kira Kelly added 12 points each. For the Mustangs, Avery Weathersbee tallied 16 points and Chloe Clevenger chipped in with 10. Norwich finished with a narrow 29-22 rebounding advantage. In the turnover department, Norwich had 12 and Doniphan West 17. Kelly dished out 6 assists for Norwich and Clevenger 5 for the Mustangs.
From the outset, Doniphan-West played little like a first-time attendee at the state tournament semifinals.
The Mustangs jumped out to an early lead and maintained it to a 13-7 advantage after the opening quarter. Midway through the second stanza and Doniphan West was only up 16-14, but from there they would go on an 11-5 run to finish the half up 27-19.
That would set up a memorable final 16 minutes that allowed Norwich to finish off a stirring comeback and move into Saturday’s title game for a chance to win their first state title since 1988.
Brett Marshall, Tournament Correspondent. Presented by BTI Equipment.
Boys Semifinals Game 3: Montezuma-South Gray 69 Ness City 58
It could have been billed as the Best in the West as the two most western schools geographically played in the Class 1A-Division I semifinals here Friday afternoon at United Wireless Arena.
The teams – the Ness City Eagles and the South Gray Rebels – had recent success history on their side as the Eagles had won the 2019 Class 2A state crown while the Rebels had captured the 2018 Class 1A-I title.
South Gray eventually prevailed 69-58 in a wild-and-wooly fourth quarter, but the Eagles didn’t go down quietly.
What seemed like a runaway with 7:10 left in the game when the Rebels built a 56-35 lead, turned into a nail-biter until the final minute. Ness City scorched the nets with six, count ‘em six, 3-point bombs to pull themselves back into the stretch run, closing to within 64-58 when 0:57 seconds showed on the clock.
It was a stunning explosion as the Eagles had managed just two through the first three periods. Dawson Stoecklein knocked down three of those en route to a team-high 15 points while sharing team-high honors with Jose Guzman and Matthew Delaney contributed 12.
For the Rebels, Aaron Skidmore paced the victory with 20 points while Brady Deges and Brent Penner each contributed 18 points. Penner might have been the biggest spark for coach Mark Applegate, who got his 725th victory in his 39th season. The 6-2 junior off the bench hit 8-of-11 field goals and he also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for a brilliant double-double.
The Rebels (24-0) will now advance to Saturday’s 6 p.m. championship game against the later winner between No. 1-ranked Little River and Olpe. Ness City, with a mostly underclassmen roster, finished 17-8. Each of the losing two teams in the semis will share third-place trophies as KSHSAA made a decision to not have any consolation games this year due to COVID-19.
The first half started off slowly for both teams, something that seems to happen to teams when they get into the bigger arenas at state tournament time.
Ness City led early 6-3 and 10-6 before the Rebels got things unwound, using the long-range missle 3-point program with four deep ones that eventually brought them to an 18-16 lead after one quarter.
The second quarter, though, was all South Gray as the Rebels’ tenacious defense created turnovers (11) that became transition baskets which created 13-3 run and a 31-19 lead. The Runnin’ Rebs would finish out the half up 34-21.
Junior Brent Penner came off the bench to give the Rebels 7 important points in the second. Deges and Skidmore paced the Rebels with 11 and 10 points in that stretch.
Brett Marshall, Tournament Correspondent. Presented by BTI Equipment.
Boys Semifinals Game 2: Olpe 69 Little River 58
Little River had come to Dodge City for the Class 1A-Division I State Tournament with the goal of completing a rare double-double by winning both the 8-Man Division I football championship last November and completing it with a basketball title at United Wireless Arena.
But somebody forgot about the Olpe Eagles, a team that had captured its own state football crown in Class 1A 11-man on the same day that Little River won its 8-man title.
Those two teams met in Friday’s second semifinal and this time it was No. 3-ranked Olpe surviving a monumental battle, prevailing 75-66, to advance to Saturday’s 6 p.m. championship game against another tradition-laden school in South Gray, which toppled Ness City, 69-58, in the first afternoon semifinal.
Little River ends its season at 22-2 while Olpe takes a 17-3 mark into the title game against the unbeaten Rebels (24-0).
Olpe accomplished what some might call a mini-upset, but the Eagles earned this one as they hit 30-of-48 field goals (62.5 percent) and had 24 assists on those 30 made field goals. Little River, meanwhile, struggled hitting 23-of-58 for 39.7 percent. The Eagles overcame 17 turnovers against the high-pressure Redskin defense.
Olpe led from the get-go and never trailed.
After a blitz in the first half that produced a 35-20 halftime lead for the Eagles, Little River made its first run by knocking down four 3-pointers in the third and eventually had cut what once been a 20-point deficit, 44-24, to just 10 at 52-42 with still eight minutes to play.
Every time Little River made a run at the Eagles, they responded with nifty passing and easy layups. It was a late free throw parade for Olpe as they scored their final 10 points at the line in the last 1:53 to preserve their lead. The Redskins could never get any closer than 8 on three different occasions.
Little River’s all-state star Jayden Garrison did lead all scorers with 28 points, but he was 8-of-23 from the field and just 3-of-8 behind the arc. Trey Rolfs and Braxton Lafferty each contributed 13 points for coach Wayne Morrow.
For the Eagles, their big gun came from Jordan Barnard, who hit 10-of-16 field goals and finished with 24 points. Christopher Olsson followed with 16 off 8-of-10 shooting while Derek Hoelting and Damon Redeker each chipped in with 11 points. Olpe dominated the boards with a 37-22 advantage with Barnard leading that category with 8. Damon Redeker contributed 7 assists. Little River committed just 7 miscues.
Olpe came out firing on all cylinders, which was something of an understatement in the opening quarter. The Eagles drilled 8-of-9 field goals for 88.9 percent while the Redskins could muster only 3-of-9 shooting as they struggled to get into their offensive flow.
Olpe will be seeking its first state basketball crown when they take the court against South Gray, which has 4 titles to its credit.
Brett Marshall, Tournament Correspondent. Presented by BTI Equipment.
Girls Championship Game 1: OLPE VS. NORWICH
Maybe one could call it unfinished business.
Or perhaps just think of it in terms as a team that wanted to go out on top after a year’s wait.
Maybe it was both for the Olpe Eagles.
It had been a decade since Olpe captured a state title, at the time two in a row with back-to-back undefeated seasons that was part of a 76-game winning streak, the state’s fourth longest in girls’ high school basketball history.
Four times since that last title of 2011 the Olpe Eagles had come up short in the title game, falling in 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017. And then it was a year ago, after a 59-43 quarterfinal victory over these same Norwich Eagles, the state tournament had the lights turned out by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The seniors for legendary coach Jesse Nelson, who earned his 949th win in his 44th season had waited long enough.
They did it with precision offense and a tenacious defense, two of the traits that have come to characterize their year-in-year-out excellence.
They shot the ball respectably at 41 percent (18/44), while limiting the other Eagles into 30.6 percent shooting on 11 of 36 field goals.
More importantly, it was the tenacity of the defense, forcing their counterpart Eagles into 18 turnovers while committing only 3 miscues of their own.
“Once we get going, the game just kind of gets into a higher speeds for us which we like,” Macy Smith, who will head to Emporia State next year to play, said afterward. “We’ve been playing together since second grade and this is a great reward.”
A lead that was at the low double-digit number, 10, at 24-14 at the intermission, soon erupted into leads of 34-14 and 40-16 when five different players scored – Marley Heins on a driving layup, Hattie Fisher on a baseline 3-pointer, Macy Smith a steal layup, Maya Bishop on another deadly 3-pointer. One basket interrupted the 16-2 run with Lauryn Broyles two baskets and a steal layup by Bishop.
That pretty much was it. 40-20 Olpe at the end of the third quarter. From there, it was run out the clock and cap off a 25-0 season, win No. 51 in a row and the school’s fourth state championship and four undefeated seasons to go along with it.
And for the seniors who will graduate in two months, the memory of erased disappointments of 2020, will be one for the scrapbook.
“We wanted to come back and finish it,” senior Maya Bishop.
“It’s very special to win and to be undefeated,” senior Hattie Fisher.
“It means the world to all of us,” senior Marley Heins.
“It’s so meaningful for all of us,” senior Smith. “We lost one senior last year and we wanted to win this for her, too.”
Smith had 13 points to lead the charge, and Bishop finished with 11. Kira Kelly was the lone double figure scorer for Norwich with 12 points. Brittany Gosch did pull down 11 rebounds to help her team to a 35-19 bulge on the boards. Of the 18 baskets made by Olpe, they assisted on 11 of them with Smith dishing out 5.
Just before the end of the first quarter, things didn’t look all that great for Olpe as two of its starters – Maya Bishop and Lauryn Broyles – were sitting on the bench saddled with 2 and 3 fouls, respectively.
Yet the Olpe squad was up 10-6 and that’s how the scoreboard read when the opening period came to an end. Typically, Olpe had forced Norwich into 8 turnovers while committing just one miscue of its own.
But the Green and Gold Eagles of Olpe, playing in its ninth state championship game in its storied history, got its long-range artillery warmed up as senior guard Macy Smith drilled two 3-pointers and Hattie Fisher added another trey to put them on the way to 11-6 mini-run and a 21-12 lead that eventually finished at 24-14 as the teams headed into the locker room at the break. Smith led all scorers with 11 points and also dished out 3 assists in the opening half.
The Olpe Eagles connected on 10-of-26 shots for 38.5 percent while Norwich’s Eagles hit 6-of-16 for 37.5 percent. The reason the Red, White and Black Eagles were able to stay within range came from a 20-9 rebounding advantage over the shorter Olpe team. That translated into six buckets inside the paint, providing 12 of the team’s 14 points. In fact, they didn’t attempt a trey until Avery Rosenhagen’s long shot with 12 seconds before halftime came up well short.
Brett Marshall, Tournament Correspondent. Presented by BTI Equipment.
Boys Championship Game 2: Olpe 54 Montezuma-South Gray 47
The Olpe Eagles boys basketball team etched itself a place in history here Saturday night when it produced a rare football-basketball double-double, claiming the Class 1A-Division I championship with a 54-47 come-from-behind victory over the previously unbeaten South Gray Rebels.
The victory enabled the Eagles to duplicate their girls’ team state title from earlier in the day and followed by a few months their Class 1A 11-man football championship when they beat Oakley, 12-0, on Thanksgiving 2020 weekend.
It was the first boys’ state championship in school history, and was only the second time the boys had played for a state championship, dating back to 2002 when they lost to Pittsburg-St. Mary’s Colgan 58- 56 in double overtime.
Olpe had somewhat been playing in the shadows all season of the No. 1 ranked Little River Redskins and the Rebels, but on back-to-back nights, knocked off the top two teams in Class 1A-I. First it was Little River 75-66 in the Friday semis and then the big, big win over South Gray which was looking to complete its second undefeated season in four years.
South Gray had gotten red-hot in the second quarter to go up 27-20 at halftime following a 21-point explosion, but then seemingly the Rebels’ offense went icy cold in the third again, scoring only 6 points but still clung to a 33-31 advantage.
Four more Olpe points completed a 10-0 run that erased a 33-25 South Gray lead late in the third and then the teams shared the lead at 37 and 39 before a mini 5 point run made it 44-39 with 3:52 to play. The Rebels would never get the lead back as the Eagles made several big defensive stops in the closing two minutes.
Yet, with 27 seconds remaining, Brady Deges’ deep 3-pointer pulled the Rebels into a one-possession game at 50-47. Olpe dropped in 4-of-6 free throws down the stretch and South Gray missed a couple of 3-pointers as the clock went to 0:00.
It would have been South Gray’s fifth state championship but the Eagles were not to be denied. Rebels'coach Mark Applegate finished his 39th season with 725 career wins. Jordan Barnard led the scoring for the winners with 17 points, Truman Bailey came off the bench in support with 11 points while Derek Hoelting and Damon Redeker each netted 10. Brent Penner finished with 14 points to lead the Rebels while Brady Deges and Aaron Skidmore each contributed 11.
The start of the game resembled something like a car stuck in the mud.
Olpe scored the first six points in the first four minutes while South Gray couldn’t get untracked. It wasn’t until the 2:04 mark that the Rebels got on the scoreboard and by the end of the period it was just a 7-6 Eagles lead.
Things heated up in the second quarter, though, as South Gray drilled five 3-pointers en route to a 21-point period while Olpe managed 13 that produced a 27-20 halftime edge for the Rebels. Junior Brent Penner off the bench produced 12 first-half points while Jordan Barnard, the hero of Friday night’s semifinal win over Little River, led the Eagles with 11.
Brett Marshall, Tournament Correspondent. Presented by BTI Equipment.

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