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Morning Sun
  • Titles on the line tonight

  • The Baxter Springs Lions, the Frontenac Raiders and the Girard Trojans all have one loss in Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League girls basketball play entering tonight.

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  • The Baxter Springs Lions, the Frontenac Raiders and the Girard Trojans all have one loss in Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League girls basketball play entering tonight.
    Baxter Springs lost to Frontenac, Girard lost to Baxter Springs and Frontenac lost to Columbus during a very competitive race all season. Baxter Springs defeated Columbus 43-40 on Friday night to earn a share of the league title and eliminate Columbus from league title competition. Baxter Springs and Southeast play on Thursday night but already played their official league game back in late January.
    Girard and Frontenac make it simple tonight: the winner claims a share of the league title and the loser misses out on a league title in the final regular season game for both teams. Frontenac owns homecourt advantage.
    It should be no surprise that Frontenac and Girard placed themselves in this position. The Raiders won the league title last year, their first since 2003, with a 67-60 win over the Trojans in the hostile territory of Ted R. Taylor Gymnasium, ending a 50-game winning streak for Girard in CNC games. Both teams were the preseason favorites.
    Since a rare two-game losing streak, Girard (14-5, 5-1 CNC) bounced back with victories over Oswego (54-42) and Southeast (54-40).
    Girard senior guard Hadyn Herlocker burned Southeast with 22 points, 14 rebounds, eight steals and six assists. Meanwhile, fellow seniors Jenna Schroeder, Jordan Ivey, Paige Zimmerman and Hope McLeod combined with Herlocker for 43 points on Friday, as Girard recovered from an early 12-0 deficit and outscored Southeast 31-13 after halftime.
    Frontenac (15-4, 5-1 CNC) dropped a nonleague game last Friday against Coffeyville, 64-60. The Raiders own a 2-2 record over their last four contests.
    Coffeyville junior guard Devin Cosper, one of the fastest players in the state, burned Frontenac for 26 points, matching her previous season high against Ulysses and Parsons. Alexus Johnson added 17 for the Golden Tornado.
    Frontenac received a little more balanced offensive production — 14 points from Amanda Cicero, 12 from Ryleigh McCartney, nine from Bailey Flora, eight from Libby Warrick, seven from Natalie Coomes and five from Haley Wilson.
    Not only does this game tonight between Girard and Frontenac have league implications, the regular season ends this week and postseason basketball starts next week.
    Frontenac (15-4) and Girard (14-5) belong to a rugged Class 4A substate including Fort Scott (13-5), Pittsburg (12-6), Baxter Springs (13-6), Prairie View (13-5), Columbus (11-8) and Anderson County (6-12).
    That means seven teams with winning records currently jumbled together in the 11-15 win range.
    The Kansas Basketball Coaches Association released its final rankings of the regular season Monday and Girard landed at No. 9, Fort Scott No. 10. In that 4A substate, Girard, Fort Scott, Frontenac, Pittsburg and Prairie View have all been ranked by the KBCA.
    Caney Valley was ranked No. 9 in 3A and Pleasanton No. 10 in 2A.
    Page 2 of 3 - In other games tonight, Pittsburg travels to Labette County, Colgan travels to Riverton, Southeast hosts Columbus, Independence hosts Coffeyville, Fort Scott visits Chanute, St. Paul hosts Chetopa, Prairie View hosts Jayhawk-Linn, Crest hosts Madison, Altoona-Midway hosts Northeast, Oswego hosts Pleasanton and Southern Coffey County hosts Uniontown.
    The Fort Scott girls have an inside track on the Southeast Kansas League title, 9-1 in league — a mark ahead of 9-2 Labette County and 8-3 Chanute. Fort Scott also hosts Pittsburg on Thursday night.
    The Jayhawk-Linn girls already clinched an outright Three Rivers League title with a 9-0 mark, defeating every TRL school (St. Paul, Oswego, Uniontown, Pleasanton, Northeast, Marmaton Valley, Chetopa, Crest and Altoona-Midway). The Jayhawks play their former Pioneer League rivals tonight in a game that will have an impact on seeding in the 4A substate.
    The Altoona-Midway boys and girls both have identical 0-18, 0-8 TRL records entering their clash with Northeast tonight.
    BOYS BASKETBALL
    The boys side of the CNC League this year defines competitive every bit as much as the girls side.
    Frontenac, Colgan and Riverton all have one loss in league play entering tonight. The Raiders host the Girard Trojans and the Rams of Riverton host the Panthers of Colgan tonight for Senior Night and a share of league.
    Within a ridiculously short span of time, Frontenac defeated Riverton, Galena defeated Frontenac, Riverton defeated Galena, Frontenac defeated Colgan and Colgan defeated Galena. Several of these games — Frontenac-Riverton, Galena-Frontenac, Frontenac-Colgan — went down to the wire and delivered games kids will remember for the rest of their lives.
    With a win tonight, Frontenac clinches a share of its first league title since 2004. The Raiders have one of the deepest teams in the area and seniors Avery Coronado, Blake Barto, Nick Zafuta, Matt Standlee and Ross Edge, and juniors Brett Macary, Dylan Clark and Caleb Spangler all have their offensive capabilities. For example, Coronado scored 35 on Lamar and Barto went for 21 against SEK League champion Coffeyville.
    The Trojans have their own capable offensive players: junior leading scorer Devin Alters, junior Austin O’Dell, seniors Cody Grilz and Trenton Stolte, and freshmen Drew Davied and Laike Damman. Alters draws the most attention from opposing defenses.
    The last time Colgan and Riverton played was in the Class 3A substate semifinals hosted by former CNC League member Erie.
    Anyway, that was the game that lasted four overtimes and resulted in a 72-65 win for Colgan en route to its first-ever 3A state tournament appearance.
    Colgan veteran head coach Wayne Cichon (head coach at Colgan since 1983) said it was his first four-overtime game during all his years of basketball.
    Senior forward Dyson Dechant, sophomore guard Austin Commons and junior forward Luke Marquardt each have double-figure scoring averages for Colgan. Dechant and Commons both can take over a game quickly and Marquardt sneaks up in the scoring column on opponents with his defensive back-like instincts and his offensive rebounding.
    Page 3 of 3 - The Rams have a balanced, deep team — including seniors Greyson Spriggs, Dylan Weaver and Chandler Underhill, sophomore Landon North and freshman Grant North. The Norths both average double figures.
    In other games tonight, Pittsburg visits Labette County, Independence hosts Coffeyville, Chanute hosts Fort Scott, Southeast hosts Columbus, St. Paul hosts Chetopa, Prairie View hosts Jayhawk-Linn, Crest hosts Madison, Altoona-Midway hosts Northeast, Oswego hosts Pleasanton and Southern Coffey County hosts Uniontown.
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