Sub-state arrives early for Ottawa teams

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

The basketball postseason is here and starts early. The Ottawa High School teams will compete in sub-state play-in games Saturday in Ottawa.

The boys have a rematch with Paola at 5 p.m. The Cyclones earned home court with a 44-42 win Tuesday over the Panthers.

Ottawa High School senior Brady Beets keeps his eye on the target as he drives to the hoop against Paola Tuesday in Ottawa.

The Cyclone girls play Iola at 2 p.m. The winners advance to play top-seeded Louisburg next week on the Wildcats’ home floor in the semifinals.

All the other area teams begin their sub-state tournaments Monday and Tuesday. All games will have 7 p.m. starts.

The Wellsville and West Franklin boys play Tuesday at Wellsville in a 3A first-round game. Wellsville bested the Falcons this past Monday.

The Wellsville girls play Monday second-seeded Ward in Kansas City, Kansas. West Franklin girls play Monday third-seeded Anderson County in Garnett.

The Central Heights squads earned fifth seeds in their 2A sub-state. The Viking boys play Monday at Yates Center, while the girls play Tuesday at Lyndon.

The Ottawa-Paola boys matchup will be the third of the season. Ottawa won both regular season games.

““One more time with them,” Ottawa coach Cliff McCullough said. “Saturday is going to be tough. It will be a one or two possession game just like it was [Tuesday]. Both teams have struggled. This is not typical [season] for either team. It is a rivalry. There is a lot of respect there.”

It will be a quick turnaround as both teams played season-ending games on Friday.

McCullough said there will not need to be much preparation for this game, but both teams may attempt to put in new wrinkles.

“Playing for a third time, what we are going to have to do something different,” McCullough said. “We went to the well [Tuesday] with the 2-3 zone. We have to come with something different that they are not preparing all week for.”

Ottawa’s play has improved in the past couple of weeks. Ottawa came into Friday’s game with Spring Hill on a two-game winning streak.

“We are better than we were last week,” McCullough said. “We have to keep plugging away. They have a great opportunity ahead of them. I still believe in these guys. I don’t want the season to end Saturday. We have to scratch and claw for wins. We have to grind out [games]. Fight to no end to just get a win. That is who we are.  May be we can grind out a couple more.”

The Ottawa girls won a big game over Paola, but fell to the fourth seed with Fort Scott’s win over Independence.

“I would have liked to get that third seed and get back to Paola,” Ottawa coach Matt Schurman said. “We will prepare for Iola. Some of those losses in mid-season kind of haunt you right now. Give it to Fort Scott, who won the last two games.

Ottawa lost several games in the later stages of games this season, which gives the Cyclones confidence they can make a postseason run.

““We can be scary because we have done so well against the top-tier teams,” Schurman said.