6-4, Sr., Hays High
The Hays High School forward finished his prep career as a member of the Western Athletic Conference first team.
Head coach Rick Keltner called Berens a four-year contributor to the program both on and off the court and a valuable leader on an Indian team that was hampered by an injury to junior guard Ethan Nunnery early in the season.
As a forward, Berens stretched defenses with his 3-point range while maintaining a presence inside. He was the Indians’ third leading scorer and second rebounder, posting averages of 8.4 points and six rebounds per game. He was one of the team’s best bets at the free throw line, making more than 80 percent of his 45 attempts. He also took a team-best seven charges on defense.
Hays High’s loss in the opening game of sub-state likely ended his competitive basketball career, as Berens recently committed to join the Southeastern Louisiana University track and field program as a thrower.
6-2, Sr., Norton
The Norton senior guard spearheaded a group of three Bluejays that led Norton back to the Class 3A state tournament for the second consecutive season.
After suffering just two losses in the regular season, the Bluejays entered the state tournament as the top seed behind the play of Porter.
While Norton’s stay was ended in a quarterfinal loss to Cheney, Porter led the Bluejays with 16 poins in the game, as Tyus Henson and Jace Ruder were limited with foul trouble.
Despite being a perimeter player, Porter shot 50 percent from the field and led the Bluejays with an 18.6 points per game average. He scored in double figures in every game this season, notching a season-high 29 points in a lopsided win over Goodland.
The senior added more than six rebounds and two assists per game. He posted five double-doubles on the season, one of which was an 18-point, 15-rebound outing against McCook, Neb.
His all-around game earned him a spot on the All-MCL first team.
6-3, Sr., Ness City
The Ness City boys’ basketball team broke through and returned to the state tournament in 2017, and explosive guard Chandler Stiawalt had a lot to do with that.
The senior posted a scoring average of 21.2 points per game and added nearly seven rebounds and four assists per contest. He was held under 10 points in just two of the games he played in this season.
His best outing, at least statistically, came in a win over Hill City on Jan. 31. Stiawalt posted a 29-point, 13-rebound double-double on 57 percent shooting from the field.
Stiawalt scored in a variety of ways for the Eagles. He put down alley oops, got out in transition, got to the line and forced teams to guard him on the perimeter as he made just under 40 percent of his 3s.
Stiawalt was a member of the HDN All-Area first team as a junior and was a first-team selection in the competitive Central Prairie League.
6-4, Sr., Ellis
Ellis High School coach Brandon Maska called Smith a go-to player when the game was on the line. That’s just the start of it. Smith was a go-to player at any point during the game.
A good scorer, defender and passer, Smith put up 20.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.8 assist and 1.3 steals per game.
He was able to basically play anywhere on the floor. He was a 54-percent shooter and hit 39 percent from 3-point range, and was a 78-percent free throw shooter.
He led Ellis all the way to the 2A sub-state championship game after a semifinal upset win against host and higher-seeded Plainville.
Ness City held Smith to nine points, the only time the senior was in single digits in the scoring column. He scored a season-best 31 in a 71-63 loss to Trego.
He put up 22 in the win against Plainville, scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter to help Ellis gain the edge. The Railers’ season ended the next game with a 67-61 loss to Hoxie, where Smith notched 23 points to cap his career.
5-10, Sr., Hill City
The Ringnecks’ starting point guard in his senior campaign, Wilson averaged 20 points and 13 rebounds per night.
In addition, the 5-10 guard also dished out nearly six assists, and was the only consistent scoring threat for the 11-11 Ringnecks. Wilson recorded 17 double-doubles and was one assist shy in January of recording a triple-double. Three more times, he notched seven assists.
Wilson was the top vote-getter on the MCL first team this season, a league that included Class 3A title hopeful Norton along with up-and-coming Phillipsburg and sub-state runner-up Ellis.
An HDN second-teamer a year ago, Wilson was relied on to score more for the Ringnecks this year, and made good. Only one time did Wilson score in single digits, and he scored 30 or more in three games. He scored a season-best 35 in a double-overtime 72-69 loss to Plainville, then scored 32 as the Ringnecks lost 64-57 in the Class 2A sub-state opener to eventual sub-state champion Hoxie.