A look at the Class 5A boys tournament
At Kansas Expocentre, Topeka
3 p.m.: Salina South vs. SM South
No. 8 Salina South (9-12) — Ten of the losses came by double digits, including two to Salina Central by a combined 45 points, the team the Cougars defeated on a last-second three-pointer to advance. Junior Justin Stonebraker, who hit the game-winner, scored 47 total points in the sub-state and is averaging 14.7 on the season. The Cougars have defeated two teams with winning records.
No. 1 Shawnee Mission South (22-0) — After being upset in sub-state play the last two seasons, SM South returns to the state tournament for the first time since 2010 behind a talented group of underclassmen. Despite playing 14 teams that finished with a .500-plus record, 19 of the Raiders’ 22 wins came by double-digits. Sophomores Dainan Swope (13.8 points) and DeAngelo Bruster (9.6) provide the highlights, while 6-foot-8 senior Josh Pedersen (13.7 points, 6.8 rebounds) is the muscle to the overwhelming favorites in the field.
4:45: Andover vs. Mill Valley
No. 5 Andover (17-5) — The Trojans defeated two teams that finished with winning records, but four of their losses came by eight points or less. Andover will be able to match up with any foe down low, boasting the giant duo of 6-foot-6 Dallas Bruner (10.0) and 6-4 Adam DeKoning (11.4). But the heart and soul of the team remains senior point guard Brady Carter (10.3), who will be looking to lead the Trojans in their first state appearance since 2008.
No. 4 Mill Valley (18-3) — Scoring against the Jaguars has been a difficult proposition this season. Opponents are shooting 36 percent and scoring less than 48 points on average against Mill Valley. The go-to player is 6-foot-4 all-state player Nathan Stacy (16.2 points, 8.4 rebounds), but the Jaguars have a more balanced attack this season with Wyatt Voorhes (15.0), Patrick Muldoon (8.4) and Brett Hamilton (8.6)
6:30: Hays vs. Lansing
No. 7 Hays (14-7) — The Indians had to recover from losing one of their top scorers to a knee injury midway through the season, as they ended the regular season losing six of nine. Hays is still an extremely young team, led by sophomore 6-foot-6 double-double machine Brady Werth, but coach Rick Keltner said this team has more talent than many suspect from a Western Kansas foe. It will be Hays’ first state tournament appearance since 2003.
No. 2 Lansing (20-1) — The Lions are no strangers to the state tournament or advancing out of the first round — they’ve done so the last two seasons. But Lansing has faded each time, finishing fourth. Coach Rod Briggs believes this year is different, as Lansing brings its most balanced and talented team yet. Junior guard Joe Schneider (13.4 points) is the closest thing the Lions have to a star, as they have six players scoring between five and nine points on average.
8:15: Kapaun vs. Emporia
No. 6 Kapaun Mount Carmel (16-6) — Knocking off one of the top-ranked teams in Eisenhower on the road was the requirement just for the Crusaders to get their chance at defending the 5A title. Kapaun has transitioned to a more fluent offensive attack, led by seniors Braden Hullings (16.9 points) and Toby Baxter (9.6), who has developed a knack for late-game heroics. Kapaun won the state title last season with nine losses.
No. 3 Emporia (20-2) — Senior Jackson Perez (20.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 8.5 assists) is the top scorer in the tournament field and will lead an up-tempo Spartan attack. Few teams have been able to contain Emporia, which averages 70 points a game, but how well it defends will likely decide its fate. The starting five is rounded out by 6-foot-6 Garin Vandiver (16.4 points, 10.5 rebounds), JL Savage (10.8 points), Jerel Morrow (9.6 points) and Jordan Torres (8.5 points).
S. South-SM South winner vs. Andover-Mill Valley winner, 4:45 p.m.
Hays-Lansing winner vs. Kapaun-Emporia winner, 8:15
Third-place game, 2 p.m.
Joanna Chadwick’s pick
SM South over Kapaun