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A look at the Class 1A-Division 2 boys tournament

Published March 5 at 7:09 p.m. | Last updated March 5 at 7:11 p.m.

At Fort Hays State

Thursday’s quarterfinals

3 p.m.: Fowler vs. Cunningham

No. 1 Fowler (23-0) — Fowler finished third a year ago, it’s best finish in school history. The team is led by Jett Reese, who averages 15.7 points, while Taylin Bird chips in 13.8 points. According to coach Scott Brown, the team’s success comes from its commitment off the court, which goes back to sixth grade when they played summer league ball together.

No. 8 Cunningham (15-8) — Cunningham bounced back after a 2-5 start to the season. The senior trio of Nick Huhman, Jordan Schaller and Zach Chambers carry the team on and off the court. Huhman brings in 16 points a game, while Schaller averages a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Cunningham is going back to state for the second season in a row.

4:45: Wallace County vs. Crest

No. 4 Wallace County (18-5) — Coach Larry O’Connor is 208-86 and has brought the Wildcats back to the state tournament for the first time since 2008. The team is built around a high-powered offense, which averages 73.6 points per game. Eli Kuhlman leads the team with 18.4 points a game.

No. 5 Crest (17-6) — Crest is making its fifth appearance in the state tournament, the most recent coming a year ago. The Lancers started hot out this year, but stumbled at times following the midseason tournament. They are led by senior forward Kyle Hammond, who scores 21.9 points a game and brings in nearly 8 rebounds.

6:30: Central Christian vs. Axtell

No. 2 Hutchinson Central Christian (19-3) — Central Christian is making its first trip to the state tournament despite having played in six sub-state championship games. The team has won 12 straight and has a stout defense, holding teams to 34.2 percent shooting. Leading the team is 6-foot-10 senior Jared Starky, who averages 16.5 points a game.

No. 7 Axtell (16-8) — Axtell is making its first trip to state since 1996. After a 4-5 start, the team won 12 of 15 to have its first winning season since 1996. Senior Aaron Schmelzle and junior Payton Heinen lead the team with 14 and 15 points per game, respectively. Coach Lucus Dalinghaus is in his second year.

8:15 p.m.: White City vs. Dighton

No. 3 White City (19-3) — Since taking over at White City, coach Denny Crable has slowly turned the program around. After 11 wins in two seasons, White City has now had win totals of 14 and 19 the last two seasons. Junior Sam Morgan, who averages 15.8 points per game, leads White City.

No. 6 Dighton (16-7) — Dighton is making its first state tournament appearance since 1994. Dighton averages 56 points a game and prides itself on its defense. A veteran core of six players share starting roles, led by three-year captain Ryan Kuhlman who averages 17.1 points per game and reached 1,000 career points this season.

Friday’s semifinals

Foweler-Cunningham winner vs. Wallace County-Crest winner, 4:45 p.m.

Central Christian-Axtell winner vs. White City-Dighton winner, 8:15 p.m.

Saturday’s finals

Third place, 2 p.m.

Championship, 6:15 p.m.

Joanna Chadwick’s pick

Fowler over Hutchinson Central Christian

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