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Tigers travel to face Lopers -10/31/2014, 11:10 AM

Tiger women's soccer rallies for win at UNK -10/31/2014, 10:05 AM

Closing stretch will be crowded at the top for Big 12 -10/31/2014, 11:07 AM

Hays High heads for Wamego -10/31/2014, 11:08 AM

Norton runs by TMP, now 9-0 -10/31/2014, 11:09 AM

Area prep football roundup, Oct. 30 -10/31/2014, 10:05 AM

Area high school football scores, Oct. 30 -10/30/2014, 9:26 PM

MVP Bumgarner steps up -10/30/2014, 10:43 AM

District up in the air for HHS -10/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Area prep football district standings, scenarios -10/30/2014, 2:28 PM

A look at the area's state volleyball qualifiers in 1A Division I & II -10/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Dream season ends for K.C. -10/30/2014, 10:33 AM

TMP turns it around, headed to state -10/30/2014, 10:33 AM

Tiger volleyball falls to UNK -10/29/2014, 3:28 PM

Monarchs rally for regional win -10/29/2014, 10:10 AM

One win away for K.C. -10/29/2014, 10:10 AM

Kansas State No. 9 in first football playoff rankings -10/29/2014, 10:10 AM

Hays High soccer sees season end -10/29/2014, 10:10 AM

Tigers look to finish strong -10/29/2014, 10:10 AM

1989 WSU baseball champs reunite -10/28/2014, 10:21 AM

KC's Yost still confident -10/28/2014, 10:21 AM

Romo hurt as Redskins upend Cowboys in OT -10/28/2014, 10:21 AM

Big second half leads to HHS win -10/28/2014, 10:21 AM

CFB notes: TCU and WVU ready to take center stage -10/28/2014, 10:21 AM

Royals down, not out -10/27/2014, 10:57 AM

Earnhardt wins at Martinsville -10/27/2014, 10:57 AM

Romo showing smarts, backbone as Redskins visit -10/27/2014, 10:57 AM

Chiefs defense hammers Rams -10/27/2014, 10:57 AM

Tiger men draw, women win Sunday -10/27/2014, 10:48 AM

Hays High rallies for district win -10/26/2014, 8:35 PM

Tigers fall to No. 10 Bearcats -10/26/2014, 8:35 PM

XC roundup -- Hays High boys, girls qualify -10/26/2014, 10:57 AM

Friday's area prep football roundup -10/26/2014, 8:35 PM

K-State shuts out Texas -10/26/2014, 8:35 PM

Volleyball roundup -- TMP headed to state -10/26/2014, 8:35 PM

HHS, TMP begin regional play -10/26/2014, 8:26 PM

Phillipsburg remains unbeaten in district play -10/26/2014, 8:26 PM

Hays High volleyball sees season end -10/26/2014, 8:26 PM

Russell nabs second win, beats Monarchs -10/26/2014, 1:00 AM

Area prep FB scores, Oct. 24 -10/24/2014, 10:45 PM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

Click To View All


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SPOTLIGHT
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Game looms large for Tiger men

Published on -12/20/2013, 10:23 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Last season, Fort Hays State University men's basketball coach Mark Johnson called the home game against Northwest Missouri State University on Feb. 6 the "biggest game of the year." The Tigers collected a 59-58 last-second victory, a win that eventually propelled FHSU to a conference championship.

This winter, the Tigers play host to Northwest Missouri State University in a 4 p.m. start Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum. FHSU is receiving votes in the NCAA Division II poll at 8-2, 0-2 MIAA. Northwest Missouri, ranked No. 2 in the preseason MIAA poll behind the Tigers, stands at 7-4, 2-0 MIAA.

"This game is about as big a game as we are going to have all season," Johnson said.

Fort Hays opened the conference slate with back-to-back overtime losses at University of Central Missouri and Missouri Western State University. Northwest Missouri has five seniors, including speedy point guard DeShaun Cooper and a big front line. Senior Dillon Starzl leads five scorers in double figures with 17.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.

Fort Hays last opened 0-2 in the MIAA in 2008-09 and eventually started 2-5 in conference play before it finished 20-9 and narrowly missed the NCAA tournament.

"It's going to be a bigger game than the last two games that we played, because they are a big, strong, physical team, and we are going to need everyone for that game," senior forward Dwayne Brunson said.

Starzl stands at 6-foot-8, 250 pounds, while senior Kyle Schlake is 6-10, 250 and junior Grant Cozad is 6-8, 205 and averages 11.6 points a contest.

Cooper missed a 22-point loss to Southwest Minnesota State University on Nov. 10, but Northwest's other three losses have come by a combined 13 points.

"They have got some really good guards, but I think Starzl is probably the best back-to-basket post player that we have in our conference," Johnson said. "Cozad up front, too. They have got a very good, physical, big, strong front line. I think size and physicalness has given us problems all year, and we are really going to be challenged. Our big guys really need to be at their best."

FHSU has suffered several injuries among its forwards. Senior Andrew Victoria, the team's biggest player at 6-8, 230 pounds, has longtime knee issues. Sophomore Jake Stoppel (6-5, 210) is coming back from ankle and knee injuries, while Brunson has battled a knee problem. Brunson leads the Tigers with 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds.

"It can get worse, if I don't treat it or take care of it, but I am doing all that," Brunson said. "Right now, it's just a little slight ouch in it still. But I will be back by (Saturday). It's just ice, stretching and treatment."

Victoria has averaged 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds this winter and is expected to play key minutes against Starzl and the big forwards. Early on, Victoria's knee was really bothering him and there was uncertainty whether the forward could continue.

"We have done a better job, I think, of monitoring his practice to alleviate some of that pain issue on his knee," Johnson said. "I think he has done well."

Stoppel has tallied 29 and 18 minutes the last two games, his most in back-to-back contests this season.

Senior Marty Wendel (6-6, 210) didn't play in the first half of the last contest against Central Christian College on Dec. 14, but finished with a career-high 10 points in 12 minutes. Johnson wanted to give Wendel, who averages nearly nine minutes a game, plenty of playing time to prepare for Saturday.

"It's a good chance that we are going to need him (Saturday) with the front line that Northwest Missouri has," Johnson said.

"They are big, physical guys and Marty is a pretty good athlete. He is a little more bigger body guy than we have, and plus, he is one of the few, healthy big guys that we have."

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