With a state tournament berth on the line, the Ness City boys were forced to adapt in last weekend’s sub-state final when Lakin focused its defensive efforts on containing standout senior guard John Pfannenstiel.
Not only did Pfannenstiel find other ways to contribute, but the Eagles continued to prove they have other weapons who can step up when called upon.
Pfannenstiel, who is averaging 22.4 points, was held to 13 points against Lakin on 3-of-9 shooting, but compensated by nearly recording a triple double, adding 10 rebounds and nine assists in the 66-58 win over the Broncs at Meade.
“He’s a really, really tough player,” Ness City coach Brandt Rogers said. “They kind of got under his skin against Lakin. They were really, really physical, but we didn’t let that bother us. He contributed in so many ways. He didn’t have the game he wanted to have as a scorer, but he definitely contributed a considerable amount to us being successful.”
The Eagles (19-4) are the No. 4-seed in the Class 2A tournament, facing Lawrence-Bishop Seabury at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday in Gross Memorial Coliseum.
Seniors Andres Rios and Landon Reinhardt are adding 14.1 and 12.3 points per game, respectively, for the Eagles while senior Angel Guzman and junior Easton Seib are also playing key roles.
Rios scored 22 points in the Lakin win while Reinhardt finished with 17.
“Andres Rios has really, really come on strong,” Rogers said. “He averaged over 20 a game at sub-state and he averaged over 10 rebounds also. Landon Reinhardt continues to work hard and get baskets where he needs to get baskets. Sometimes it’s a mismatch, sometimes he cleans everything up underneath.
“Angel Guzman’s been attacking really well and he hit the open shot that he was left at sub-state. That really helped. And then Easton Seib, people don’t really think he can shoot, and if he his the first one, he’s most likely going to hit two or three more.”
All four of Ness City’s losses have come against quality opponents. They have two losses against Class 1A qualifier St. John. They were also beat by Sunrise Christian Academy and undefeated Central Plains, the top seed in 1A.
“I think our schedule really helped, as much as I hated playing some of the games we played,” Rogers said. “Just playing those games really, really helped prove a lot to our kids in how we were able to outlast those teams (in sub-state).”
Seabury punched its ticket to state with a 95-71 win over Maranatha in the sub-state final.
“They’re very athletic across the board,” Rogers said. “They’ve got a couple big kids. They’ve got some real players. (Zach) Bloch, he’s the real deal. He’s the one you always see hitting the game-winners.
“We’re going to have be able to withstand a few runs, because they go on those six-to-eight point runs. They like to do a lot of one-on-one stuff, so all five of our guys on the floor are just going to have to sell out to play defense and help and keep them from doing what they want to do.”
Rogers is hoping the Eagles bring a big crowd to Hays.
“I think our fan support has been huge this year and it’s only getting bigger,” Rogers said. “I expect to see that bottom level completely full, if not one whole side completely blued out.”