All Varsity Kansas Stories

A look at the Class 6A girls tournament

Published March 5 at 1:25 p.m. | Last updated March 5 at 1:26 p.m.

At Koch Arena

Thursday’s Quarterfinals

3 p.m.: Blue Valley vs. Wichita South

No. 8 Blue Valley (13-9) – Blue Valley’s strength of schedule, with six losses to St. Thomas Aquinas, Bishop Miege and Blue Valley North, all state qualifiers, was strong preparation for the Tigers’ postseason. Blue Valley is back in the 6A tourney for the first time since 2010 but finished second in Class 5A the past two seasons. Senior Bailey Geiman (12.7 points, 3.5 assists) is 6-1, but late in the season she has started playing out of position and running the Tigers’ offense.

No. 1 Wichita South (21-1) – The Titans, who finished second in 6A in 2005-06, are on a 20-game winning streak and have one starter, sophomore Kirea Rogers, back from last season’s state qualifying team. South’s starting lineup has two freshmen (Kendrian Elliott, Ericka Mattingly), Rogers and two juniors (Madison Northcutt, Eledria Franklin). South prefers to play a disciplined, slow tempo and has held every opponent below 42 points. Only one scored above 37.

4:45: Olathe Northwest vs. BV North

No. 5 Olathe Northwest (18-4) – The Ravens, who started 1-3, have played two top 20 nationally ranked teams and beat previously unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Olathe South, Maize and Kapaun. The Ravens lost in the title game in 2011-12 but returned three Division I signees in guard Kelsey Brooks (Arkansas, 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.4 steals), guard Jaylah Jackson (South Dakota, 10 points, 4.5 rebounds) and forward Mikey Crall (Wisconsin, 9.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.5 blocks).

No. 4 BV North (18-4) – The Mustangs, who won titles in 1998, 2000, 2005, return to the 6A tourney for the first time since 2007. BV North’s offense is led by 6-1 Caroline Dupont, 6-1 Ali Pollard, Christian Keys, Bria Pierce and Maria Klug, who each average around 11 points. Keys averages a team-high 13 points. The Mustangs, who have two losses to Aquinas and one to Miege, both 5A qualifiers, play an uptempo style. Coach Ann Fritz’s husband coaches the 6A favorite BV Northwest boys and their son Vince.

6:30: Wichita Heights vs. Olathe South

No. 7 Wichita Heights (16-6) – This is the fifth time the Falcons have played Olathe South in the past six state tourneys. Heights won in the 2012 semifinals and went on to win its second straight title with an undefeated record. The Falcons are led by seniors Katie Palmer (Missouri State, 16.4 points, 4.1 steals), Jharian Bowen (13.8 points) and Jada Lynch (10 points). The last time Heights lost six games was in 1999-2000, when they were 14-8 and lost in the sub-state final.

No. 2 Olathe South (20-1) – The Falcons, who finished fourth last season but won 6A in 2010, are led by 5-10 sophomore Kylee Kopatich (18 points, 3.6 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 45 percent shooting from field), who has offers from Iowa State, Kansas State and Kansas. She’s taken on a much larger role since the season-ending knee injury to Bailey Rinehart. Olathe South has made nearly 100 more free throws than opponents have attempted and have outrebounded teams by nearly eight a game, allowing six offensive rebounds per game.

8:15: Washburn Rural vs. Maize

No. 6 Washburn Rural (17-5) – The Junior Blues, 6A champs in 1996, 1999 and 2009, are led by senior Erika Lane (Tulsa, 14.1 points, 6.9 rebounds). Lane, Paige Cunningham and Courtney Winkley (9.7 points, 6.1 rebounds) were starters on the past two 6A volleyball title teams, while Lane started on the past three championship volleyball teams. Jordyn Musselman adds 7.2 points and Charly Michaelis 6.7 for the Junior Blues, who started the season 1-3.

No. 3 Maize (20-2) – Maize has relied on its defense, holding opponents to 37.2 points and averaging 13 steals. The Eagles, who finished third in Class 6A in 2011-12, are led by All-State senior Paige Lungwitz (Pittsburg State, 15.1 points, 3.7 rebounds), a versatile player with the ability to take over games. Sophomore Keiryn Swenson (14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds) has been a force inside, while Daley Handy can play multiple positions.

Friday’s semifinals

Olathe Northwest-BV North winner vs. Blue Valley-Wichita South winner, 3 p.m.

Washburn Rural-Maize winner vs. Wichita Heights-Olathe South winner, 6:30

Saturday’s finals

Third-place game, noon

Championship, 4 p.m.

Joanna Chadwick’s pick

Olathe Northwest over Maize

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