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Chiefs sign former Emporia tight end -7/28/2014, 9:59 AM

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Gordon wins at Indy -7/28/2014, 9:58 AM

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K-18 state schedule, results -7/28/2014, 9:58 AM

Billy Butler bashes, Jeremy Guthrie battles as Royals beat Indians 7-5 -7/27/2014, 11:12 AM

Greyson Tempel guides West to Shrine Bowl win -7/27/2014, 11:10 AM

Detmer a big bat for Larks -7/27/2014, 4:35 PM

Herman falls in match play quarters -7/27/2014, 4:35 PM

Ellis baseball headed to AA state -7/26/2014, 3:50 PM

Wiggins signs contract -7/25/2014, 10:04 AM

Western Kansas athletes overcome long road to be in Shrine Bowl -7/25/2014, 10:20 AM

Aoki's walkoff single lifts Royals in 14th -7/25/2014, 10:03 AM

Larks cap league turnaround with win -7/24/2014, 10:23 AM

Herman moves on in match play -7/24/2014, 10:03 AM

Ellis to play for Zone title -7/24/2014, 1:26 PM

2014 Kansas Shrine Bowl rosters -7/24/2014, 1:29 PM

Jayhawk League standings, July 24 -7/24/2014, 10:34 AM

Jamaal Charles agrees to contract extension -7/24/2014, 10:38 AM

Ubelaker looks to make impact on Shrine Bowl -7/24/2014, 10:51 AM

Snyder hopes season carries over -7/24/2014, 10:33 AM

Herman, Hecker, Kaup advance at Kansas Am -7/24/2014, 10:13 AM

Larks get non-league win -7/23/2014, 1:29 PM

Golfer cards ace in Ellis -7/23/2014, 9:57 AM

Fisher hopes bigger is better -7/23/2014, 9:47 AM

Royals grab win in Chicago -7/23/2014, 10:42 AM

Overachievers set tone for KSU football -7/23/2014, 10:42 AM

Chiefs have had discussions with Charles -7/23/2014, 10:44 AM

Hays Eagles headed back to state -7/23/2014, 10:43 AM

Tuesday's Larks game called off -7/22/2014, 4:49 PM

K-18 state bracket, July 25 to 29 -7/22/2014, 10:46 AM

Royals' offense silenced again in loss to Chicago -7/22/2014, 10:25 AM

Monarchs' season comes to an end -7/22/2014, 10:19 AM

Larks win sixth straight -7/22/2014, 10:24 AM

No bold predictions from Charlie Weis at Big 12 Media Days -7/22/2014, 10:19 AM

Eagles rally for Zone win -7/22/2014, 10:25 AM

'One true champion' gets a workout in Big 12 -7/22/2014, 10:09 AM

K-State clarifies Klein's role -7/22/2014, 10:26 AM

Browns rookie Manziel leads in jerseys sold -7/22/2014, 10:09 AM

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Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

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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

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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

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SPOTLIGHT
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Lehman making case for MIAA's best

Published on -3/3/2014, 10:06 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Fort Hays State University junior center Kate Lehman smiled and laughed when asked if she was the MIAA's best player this winter.

"That's a loaded question," Lehman said. "I feel guilty answering it."

Lehman does believe she and University of Central Missouri senior Keuna Flax are the two leading contenders.

By statistics, Lehman said she is "probably" MIAA's Player of the Year. Flax, a returning honorable mention All-American, averages 20.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and shoots 56.4 percent from the field with 13 blocks.

The Jennies are 23-3, 17-2 in conference play, ranked No. 11 in NCAA Division II and just clinched their first outright MIAA title since the 1990-91 season.

Lehman averages 16.8 points and 11.4 rebounds with a nation-best 140 blocks. She also shoots 56.4 percent from the field.

FHSU finished the regular season 19-7, 12-7 MIAA and in fifth place.

"Flax is very good from Central Missouri, and she is a senior," Lehman said. "...If you look at seniors and everything else, it will be her. Just because if I was a senior, I would want it to be like that."

Flax and Lehman could repeat as first team all-league selections, and Lehman could collect league Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second straight season. Awards should be released early this week. Lehman has the opportunity to become the first Tiger to win two first-team all-league awards since Shauna Porter won three in a row from 1997-2000.

However, FHSU coach Tony Hobson and Northeastern (Okla.) State University coach Randy Gipson believe Lehman could be the league's best player.

"To me, there is no doubt," Hobson said. "There is nobody in our league that influences both ends of the floor."

"You could sure make a strong argument," Gipson added.

Tonight, the Tigers and Lehman receive their next opportunity to continue a historic season in the first round of the MIAA postseason conference tournament. FHSU, receiving votes in the national poll and No. 10 in the Central Region rankings, faces No. 12 seed University of Nebraska-Kearney (10-16, 6-13 MIAA).

Fort Hays has won seven straight versus the rival Lopers, including two this year.

"We have to win Monday or it's all over, but from there, anything can happen," senior Katelyn Edwards said.

A victory would give Fort Hays its third straight 20-win season, a new school mark. Start time is 7 p.m. at Gross Memorial Coliseum. The winner faces No. 4 seeded Missouri Southern State University at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday from Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.

Winning those two games puts the Tigers closer to an NCAA tournament berth. The winner of the conference tournament receives an automatic bid.

"We could possibly get a bid into regionals if we don't win out," Edwards said. "We still believe that we can win the conference tournament, and we have a lot of faith in ourselves."

Lehman, looking to become the first All-American in the Tigers' Division II era, has boosted her resume with the two Kearney games.

"What is great about our team is that the rest of her teammates enable her to be that," Hobson said. "They get her the ball. They guard off the screens, so she doesn't have to be out there chasing around and hedging and all that. She can set back in there and just eat them up."

In the first matchup, an 85-67 road victory on Feb. 4, Lehman collected a career-high 33 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocks. In the second one, an 81-53 home win on Feb. 22, Lehman had 26 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks.

"Kate and I have had a great relationship on the basketball court," Edwards said. "We came here at the same time, and we have been here for three years together. Kate has just been an amazing player here. She is by far, one of the best, if not the best players I have ever played with my whole life."

Flax leads the MIAA in scoring, while Pittsburg State University junior Lizzy Jeronimus, a two-time honorable mention All-American, is second. Lehman stands third. She is 2.2 rebounds ahead of anyone else in the MIAA.

"Which is dominating," Hobson said.

Only Emporia State's forward Merissa Quick (76 blocks) is within 86 of Lehman. Flax, Lehman and Quick are tied for first in field goal percentage.

"When you are third in scoring, and lead the league in field goal percentage and you are the best defender, and the leading rebounder, please," Hobson said. "...To me, I would not trade Kate Lehman for anybody in our league. Whether she gets player of the year, I don't know. To me, she is better than anybody in the conference."

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