Centralia Panthers (15-9)
Coach: Cole Alderfer (3rd season)
School’s past state experience: Won 1A DI state title in 2016
Statistical leaders: Daegan Steinlage 13.4 ppg; Nathan Rempe 10.5 ppg.
Projected starters: Trenton Flentie, 5-9, sr.; Kamble Haverkamp, 5-9, so.; Nathan Rempe, 5-9, sr.; Josh Hasenkamp, 5-10, sr.; Daegan Steinlage, 6-3, jr.
Notes: The Panthers won 1A DI state title in 2016 in Alderfer’s first year as coach. All nine of the Panthers’ losses came to teams which made the sub-state finals including state qualifiers Hanover (1A I) and Marysville (4A II).
Osborne Bulldogs (21-1)
Coach: Jamie Wolters (6th year, 98-40 with boys; 136-51 overall)
Past state experience: This is the third straight trip to the state finale for the Bulldogs. They lost in the first round in Hays last season, but two years ago placed third in the 1ADI tourney in Dodge City.
Projected starters: Steele Wolters, 5-9, soph., G; Darrien Holloway, 6-0, soph, G; Darnell Holloway, 6-4, jr., F: Kade Miller, 6-1, jr., F; Denton Schurr, 5-10, sr., G.
Team leaders: Wolters, 14.5 ppg; 3.2 apg; 3.2 reg; Darnell Holloway, 12.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg; Miller, 10 ppg, 5.4 rpg; Darrien Hollway, 7.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg. Jordan Wherry, 6-5, jr., F, 12.3 ppg, 7 rpg.
Notes: The Bulldogs go only six or seven deep on the bench, however those six or seven have been highly effective. The Bulldogs won’t often press because of a lack of depth, but did so to get by league foe Lakeside in the sub-state semifinal game at Sylvan Grove. Osborne has won 12 straight games heading into the first-round game against Centralia, the school that beat Osborne two years ago in the 1ADI championship game. The Bulldogs lost last season the first round to Burlingame. Osborne averages 58.6 points per game, while holding opponents to 38.8 per game and holds the No. 4 spot in the final KBCA coaches rankings. The Bulldogs’ lone loss was a one-point, two-overtime setback to Beloit/St. John’s-Tipton in early January.
LeRoy-Southern Coffey County Titans (19-4)
Coach: Jay Applegate (1st season)
School’s past state experience: 1st qualification since consolidation of LeRoy and Gridley
Statistical leaders: Kolgan Ohl 14 ppg; Chonnor Ludolph 13 ppg, Dawson Leimkuhler 13 ppg.
Projected starters: Chonnor Ludolph, 6-1, sr.; Kolgan Ohl, 6-1, jr.; Dawson Leimkuhler, 6-2, jr.; Luke Gillis, 5-8, sr.; Jett Harvey, 6-0, jr.
Notes: Titans have won 10 straight games, beating St. Paul twice in that span. One of four losses came to 2A state qualifier Burlingame. Ohl also averages 8 rebounds a game and Leimkuhler and Ludolph each average 7.
Hanover Wildcats (20-1)
Coach: Kim Lohse (23rd year, 481-106)
School’s past state experience: 14th qualification in last 21 years. Won state tournament in ’98, ’99, ’09, ’10, ’15 and 17. Runner up ’00 and ’08.
Statistical leaders: Thomas Atkins 12.1 ppg; Carlos Emmanuel 11.4 ppg; Pete Peters 11.2 ppg; Carter Bruna 10.3 ppg
Projected starters: Brennan Zabokrtsky, 6-0, sr.; Thomas Atkins, 6-3, jr.; Pete Peters, 6-3, jr.; Carter Bruna, 6-0, jr.; Carlos Emanuel, 6-5, sr.
Notes: Wildcats beat South Gray 60-36 in last year’s championship game. This state trip is their fourth straight. Hanover’s only loss came to Doniphan West in finals of Twin Valley League Tournament. The Wildcats won regular-season TVL league title.
Hanover has won at least 20 games for four straight years. The bulk of squad helped the football team to its second straight Eight-Man Division II state title in the fall.
Rawlins County Buffaloes (18-5)
Coach: Ryan Marvin (2nd season, 26-18)
School’s past state experience: Fourth qualification and first since 1994
Statistical leaders: Braden Leitner 18.2 ppg, Nick Withington 15.9 ppg
Projected starters: Braden Leitner, 5-6, sr.; Jorge Chacon, 5-10, jr.; Brenan Dixson, 6-0, jr.; Nick Withington, 6-1, sr.
Team notes: The Buffaloes are averaging 59.6 points per game while giving up 46.5. They enter on an eight-game winning streak and defeated Dighton 44-35 in the sub-state championship.
Rural Vista Heat (12-9)
Coach: Adam Sobba (1st season, 34-31 career record)
School’s past state experience: Second qualification, lost in first round to Hanover in 2017
Statistical leaders: Dawson Worrell, 15.1 ppg; Cameron Campuzano, 12.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg
Probable starters: Dawson Worrell, 6-1, sr.; Cameron Campuzano, 6-3, fr.; Josh Sandow, 6-4; Eli Fleming, 6-0, sr.; Chance Jacobson, 6-1, jr.
Team notes: The Heat are making their second straight state trip and just second since co-op of Hope and White City four years ago. The Heat had to replace four starters and eight seniors off last year’s state team, which fell in the first round to eventual champion Hanover. They lost twice during regular season to Centre by double digits before topping the Cougars in the sub-state finals.
South Gray Rebels (23-0)
Coach: Mark Applegate (27th season, 650-214 overall)
School’s past state experience: 16th appearance (14 in Class 1A or 1A-I, 2 in Class 2A). Won state titles in 1997, 2007, 2008. Runner-up in 1993, 1996, 2010, 2017.
Statistical leaders: Clifton Miller, 17.4 ppg; Gilbert Peters, 16.0 ppg, 10.8 rpg.
Projected starters: Tyler Askew, 6-2, sr.; Gilbert Peters, 6-7, sr.; Brock Davis, 6-1, sr.; Clifton Miller, 6-0, jr.
Notes: The Rebels are averaging 73.7 points per game while giving up just 33.1 a game South Gray has scored 100-plus points twice, 90-plus points twice and 80-plus points three times.
St. John-Hudson Tigers (18-5)
Coach: Clint Kinnamon (17th year at St. John, 430-186 overall)
School’s past state experience: Won state tournament in 1974, ’82, ’07, ’13, ’14, ’15, runner-up finishes in ’08, ’17.
Statistical leaders: Chase Fisher 15 ppg, Tanner Hailing 14 ppg, 10 rpg.
Projected starters: Chase Fisher 6-4, sr.; Tanner Halling 6-7, so.; Quincy Smith 5-11, sr.; Mason Osborne, 6-3, jr.; Braden Witt 6-3, sr.
Notes: All five of St. John’s losses have come against two teams. The Tigers lost three times to Class 2A No. 1 seed Central Plains. They went 1-2 against Macksville, which lost in sub-state to Central Plains. St. John has four players who played in two state tournaments.