After a grueling week of sub-state games, only two teams from the Manhattan area remain to play for a state championship.
The Riley County girls and Wamego girls each advanced through their respective sub-states and will start state tournament play in the coming days.
The Falcons (17-5) travel to Hutchinson on Wednesday and will enter the Class 3A state tournament as the No. 7 seed. They play in the opening game of the tournament against second-seeded Garden Plain (22-1) at 3 p.m. at the Hutchinson Sports Arena at Hutchinson Community College.
Should the Falcons advance, they’d get the winner of No. 3 Caney Valley (20-1) and No. 6 Russell (18-5). Burlington (23-0) is the No. 1 seed in the bracket, though with four teams with two losses or less in the field, it won’t be easy for whichever team is crowned state champion on Saturday.
Riley County defeated Osage City, Council Grove and Silver Lake to advance to the state tournament.
For the Red Raiders (22-1), a solid regular season is rewarded with the bracket’s top seed, as Wamego will start with No. 8 Pratt (14-9) on Thursday at 3 p.m. in Salina’s Bicentennial Center.
None of Wamego’s players were born yet the last time the Red Raiders advanced to the state tournament. The last trip came 21 years ago, during the 1991-92 season. Wamego lost to Goodland in the opening round game, with Goodland knocking down a pair of free throws to win by one and send the Red Raiders home.
Led by Kaylee and Lanie Page, this Wamego team figures to have more staying power, though the road will not be easy.
Should the Red Raiders advance past the Greenbacks on Thursday, they’d face the winner of No. 4 Fort Scott (17-5) and No. 5 Clearwater (16-6). McPherson (20-3) looks like the team to beat on the other side of the bracket, as the No. 2 seed tries to defend its championship from last season.