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AV-CTL basketball ready to measure itself against City League

Published Jan. 1 at 4:35 p.m. | Last updated Jan. 2 at 9:09 a.m.

When the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League was created in 2004, it was designed to be a football-strong high school sports league. The four-division, 26-school league achieved its goalwith multiple state titles in 6 of 10 years.

But the AV-CTL would like to be known as a basketball league, too. It has its chance Thursday through Saturday when it faces the City League in 18 boys and girls games at Koch Arena.

“I’m glad our league can carry that banner for football,” Maize boys coach Chris Davis said. “But I do not think that our league has to take a backseat for basketball.”

The City League has long been considered Kansas’ best boys basketball league. Rightfully so, with 14 state titles in the last 14 years.

“It’s off-the-charts good,” said Davis, who coached at Kapaun and South. “Obviously when you have three major college players (Perry Ellis and Conner Frankamp at Kansas, Evan Wessel at Wichita State), who have come out of the City League in the past two years.…”

Maize senior Kavan Jobe played football for the Eagles, who finished 7-3, and is also a guard for the basketball team.

“No doubt the City League is a great basketball league,” he said. “I don’t know if the AV-CTL will ever get up to what the City League has, but I think it’s close. It’s on the way up, especially with all the talent coming through the schools.”

In last year’s first challenge between the leagues, the City League won 7 of 9 boys games and 4 of 9 girls games.

The girls championship history is closer between the two leagues. The AV-CTL has 10 state championships since 2000, while the City League has nine.

Organizers changed the format this year, keeping all 18 games at Koch Arena and the matchups were decided once the season was underway. Boys and girls teams from the same school aren’t tied to playing the same school. as opposed to nine months ago. City League athletic director J Means and Maize district athletic director Marc Haught also had more freedom in scheduling opponents. Instead of having Carroll boys and girls play the same school, for example, Means and Haught looked at the best matchup for each individual team.

Which means the Southeast and Maize boys will meet, while the Maize girls, ranked No. 1 in 6A’s coaches association rankings, will face No. 2 Wichita South.

“I love the matchups,” Davis said. “I think it’s a truer test of where we stand.”

The challenge has garnered so much attention that other AV-CTL schools have expressed interest in playing in future years.

“In the worst way,” Eisenhower boys coach Steve Blue said. “Anytime I see a tweet about it or something in the paper.… It would be a good opportunity for us to see some City League schools. With Heights falling into 5A, it would be a great opportunity for us to see them and play against them before sub-state comes around.

“It’s a great challenge, and it would be even better if we were in it.”

City League vs. AV-CTL

Where: Koch Arena

Tickets: Daily pass $6 for adults, $4 for students

Thursday

Girls: West vs. Arkansas City, 11:45 a.m.

Boys: Wichita South vs. Arkansas City, 1:30 p.m.

Girls: Northwest vs. Derby, 3:15

Boys: Kapaun vs. Hutchinson, 5

Girls: Carroll vs. Maize South, 6:45

Boys: Northwest vs. Andover Central, 8:30

Friday

Girls: Southeast vs. Goddard, 3:15 p.m.

Boys: West vs. Goddard, 5

Girls: Heights vs. Andover Central, 6:45

Boys: East vs. Derby, 8:30

Saturday

Girls: North vs. Hutchinson, 8:15 a.m.

Boys: North vs. Andover, 10

Girls: East vs. Salina South, 11:45

Boys: Carroll vs. Salina South, 1:30 p.m.

Girls: Kapaun vs. Andover, 3:15

Boys: Heights vs. Maize South, 5

Girls: Wichita South vs. Maize, 6:45

Boys: Southeast vs. Maize, 8:30

Reach Joanna Chadwick at 316-268-6270 or jchadwick@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @joannachadwick.