Andover boys No. 1 in preseason KBCA Poll

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Andover's Jack Johnson applauds Andover's fans at the Class 5A State Tournament in Emporia in March after the Trojans beat BV Southwest.

ANDOVER - The Andover Trojans spent the majority of last season as No. 2 in the polls behind Bishop Carroll. This season, they’ll start at the top as they are riding a 23-game winning streak into the season.

Andover rode through last season 23-0 and had won their first round game against BV Southwest, advancing to a semifinal showdown with Kapaun Mt. Carmel.

"We have worked really hard to get to the top,“ senior Jack Johnson said. ”Now, we can’t afford to play bad because everyone wants to beat us this year. No more sneaking in and beating people, now people want to beat us. We have to be a different kind of focused this year.“

Last season, the Trojans won seven of their 23 by five points or less. They beat their opponent by 10 or more 16 times.

The Trojans are not afraid to face anyone as they will host McPherson, a typical basketball power in the state, despite only being in Class 4A and then they will travel to Campus for a big-time match up on Dec. 8.

On Saturday, Dec. 12, they will get 6A’s Wichita Heights on the road in the annual GWAL/AVCTL match up.

They return three starters off last year’s unbeaten team, including Dallas Baptist commitment, Jack Johnson, who averaged just a shade over 19 points per game last year. There is defensive standout Isaiah Maikori and point guard and floor runner Kaleb Gaddis. The trio will give any team fits and are expected to be a bulk of the offense this season.

“We know it’s more of a reflection of what we did last year,” Andover Head Coach Martin Shetlar said. “We have a very talented team this year; I hope we can play up to that potential.”

The Andover Central Jaguars are No. 2 in girls 5A

Andover Central wanted their shot at McPherson again and their only chance they were going to get it was in the state championship game. That unfortunately never came but the expectations are still very high for the Jaguars.

With Brittany Harshaw, Jayden Newfarmer and Bailey Wilborn, the Jags have arguably the best 3-player lineup in the state. All three will play big time college basketball. Ellie Stearns and Maddi Amekporfor will probably join them as well.

The Jaguars bench will have to be key this season. They expect some depth out of Brayden Wheatley, Kellyn Rogers and Carlie Parker. Coach Stana Jefferson was please without the sub-varsity performed last season.

Expect Andover Central to let the threes fly once again in Head Coach Stana Jefferson’s 16th season at the helm as they averaged 24.9 three-point attempts per game last season (37.5 percent).

Central has never been one to shy away from challenges as they travel to Wichita Heights in the GWAL-AVCTL Challenge on Dec. 11.

Augusta slides in at No. 2 in boys 4A

The Orioles are bringing in a new head coach, Ryan Petty, but are coming in with lofty expectations from the coaches.

It’s not surprising for what the Orioles have done recently. They’ve been in back-to-back Final Fours and an appearance in the 2019 State Championship Game. The platform for a consistent state tournament contender is there.

They have Ely Wilcox who is an all-around player and will provide a lot of minutes for the Orioles. Brendan Parker is a sharpshooter who is the leading returning scorer from a team that only lost four games last season.

Can the Orioles replicate what Zach Davidson did for them a year ago? That’s the big question. When you have a player of that size and that caliber, banging down low, it frees of a lot for your outside shooters and that’s where the Orioles made people pay.

The Augusta bench is deep and that’s going to pay dividends deep into the season.

Not surprisingly, Bishop Miege is No. 1 in 4A.

Other opponents the Orioles may face in 4A that are in the early rankings are league foes, McPherson at No. 4 and Buhler at No. 8.

Circle is seventh in girls 4A.

The Lady Thunderbirds and Brian Henry are poised to get back to the Class 4A state tournament after missing out last season. They’ll do it on the back of Kimalee Cook if they are going.

Cook, committed to Southern Nazarene (OK), is a speed burst of lightning on the court. When she’s hitting her threes, it’s almost impossible to stop her. he averaged 15.4 points per game last year and 3.4 steals per game.

Maci Claycamp will do her best for Circle to try and replace Mallory Cowman’s attention down low. There were flashes of last season, showing how good she could be in the post.

The bench will be important, as it is for every team, but with so many seniors on this team (5), the Lady T-Bird’s bench production could be an indicator of future success for Circle.

They were performing well at the sub-varsity level. However, will that translate to varsity success? That’s the big question.

League opponent, McPherson is No. 2 in Class 4A and AVCTL-IV’s Wellington is No. 9.

KBCA PRESEASON RANKINGS

Butler County teams highlighted.

BOYS

CLASS 6A

1. Blue Valley Northwest; 2. Blue Valley North; 3. Lawrence; 4. Campus; 5. Blue Valley; 6. Derby; 7. SM East; 8. Free State; 9. Olathe South; 10. SM Northwest.

CLASS 5A

1. Andover; 2. Basehor-Linwood; 3. Carroll; 4. Maize; 5. St. James Academy; 6. Kapaun; 7. Topeka West; 8. DeSoto; 9. Goddard; 10. Emporia.

CLASS 4A

1. Miege; 2. Augusta; 3. Parsons; 4. McPherson; 5. Tonganoxie; 6. Ottawa; 7. Buhler; 8. Paola; 9. Independence; 10. Clearwater.

CLASS 3A

1. Hesston; 2. Wichita Collegiate; 3. Cheney; 4. Rock Creek; 5. Royal Valley; 6. Galena; 7. Haven; 8. St. Marys; 9. Beloit; 10. Hoisington.

CLASS 2A

1. Hoxie; 2. Berean Academy; 3. Sterling; 4. Lyndon; 5. Belle Plaine; 6. Hillsboro; 7. Garden Plain; 8. Hutchinson Trinity; 9. Erie; 10. Ellinwood.

CLASS 1A DIVISION I

1. St. John; 2. Madison; 3. Osborne; 4. South Gray; 5. Centralia; 6. Lebo; 7. Meade; 8. Udall; 9. Little River; 10. Olpe.

CLASS 1A DIVISION I

1. St. Francis; 2. Logan-Palco; 3. Attica; 4. Wheatland-Grinnell; 5. Tribune; 6. South Haven; 7. Northern Valley; 8. Triplains-Brewster; 9. Pawnee Heights; 10. Beloit-St. John’s.

GIRLS

CLASS 6A

1. Topeka High; 2. Olathe North; 3. SM Northwest; 4. Wichita Heights; 5. Derby; 6. Washburn Rural; 7. Olathe West; 8. Dodge City; 9. SM West; 10. Olathe East.

CLASS 5A

1. Aquinas; 2. Andover Central; 3. KC Piper; 4. Maize; 5. Salina Central; 6. KC Schlagle; 7. Seaman; 8. Carroll; 9. Blue Valley Southwest; 10. Maize South.

CLASS 4A

1. Miege; 2. McPherson; 3. Nickerson; 4. Eudora; 5. Clay Center; 6. Andale; 7. Circle; 8. Louisburg; 9. Wellington; 10. Clearwater.

CLASS 3A

1. Cheney; 2. Halstead; 3. Nemaha Central; 4. Wichita Trinity; 5. Sabetha; 6. Hugton; 7. Riley County; 8. Phillipsburg; 9. Jefferson West; 10. Eureka.

CLASS 2A

1. Sterling; 2. Spearville; 3. Garden Plain; 4. WaKeeney; 5. Valley Heights; 6. Wabaunsee; 7. West Elk; 8. Jefferson North; 9. Hillsboro; 10. Bennington.

CLASS 1A DIVISION I

1. Olpe; 2. Centralia; 3. Clifton-Clyde; 4. Lebo; 5. Burlingame; 6. Pratt-Skyline; 7. Jackson Heights; 8. Rural Vista; 9. Pretty Prairie; 10. St. John.

CLASS 1A DIVISION II

1. Central Plains; 2. Hanover; 3. Cunningham; 4. Golden Plains; 5. Beloit-St. John’s; 6. St. Paul; 7. Hutchinson Central Christian; 8. Attica; 9. Waverly; 10. St. Francis.