The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


March 11, 2014

Chetopa boys making first state tourney appearance in decades

The Chetopa boys basketball team will snap a considerable dry spell when it tackles Attica at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday in the Kansas Class 1A-Division II Tournament at Fort Hays State University.

Chetopa coach Dennis Orns said it’s the first state appearance for the Hornets since the 1959-60 campaign.

An Attica drought fell just short of Chetopa, Eagle coach Danton Hilton said Monday. The Eagles’ last such journey came in 1961-62.

“I just know we didn’t win (state),” Hilton said.

The 1959-60 Hornets, coached by Tony Zuzzio, placed fourth in Class B. They were 24-2 overall and 12-0 in the Mineral Belt League after sharing the title with Oswego in 1958-59.

This Chetopa edition, seeded fourth with a 12-game winning streak, and Attica have respective records of 19-4 and 17-6.

The opener at 1 p.m. has No. 1 seed Beloit St. Johns/Tipton (22-1) meeting Almena Northern Valley (13-10).

The 6:30 game has No. 2 Sharon Springs Wallace County (21-2) playing Hutchinson Central Christian (165-7), and at 8:15 No. 2 Fowler (20-3) faces Baileyville B&B (17-7).

The Chetopa-Attica winner advances to a 4:45 p.m. semifinal on Friday.

Orns, in his 10th season at Chetopa, said the Hornets finished third in the Three Rivers League at 7-2 behind co-champions Northeast and Oswego (8-1).

Three seniors gained starting experience from a 15-7 edition in 2012-13, Orns said. They are 5-foot-9 Breylan Berrios, 6-5 Brice Riddle and 5-10 Austen Sanders.

Completing the usual starters down the stretch were 6-0 junior Chisom Cloud and 6-1 sophomore Sherrick Rogers.

Philip Moses, 5-8 junior who started most of the season before a shoulder injury, and 5-8 senior Blake Clayborn are leaders off the bench, Orns said, with help from 6-0 junior Jon Whetstone and 5-1 freshman Bryar Underwood.

Riddle scored 24 points, Sanders 19 and Rogers 11 as the Hornets, on their floor, beat Colony Crest 59-34 on Saturday to capture their sub-state.

Orns, who’s assisted by Bryan Midgett, said Sanders carries an 18-point average. Riddle is at 15 and Rogers more than eight.

Rogers and Riddle combine for an average of about 15 rebounds, Orns said. Sanders, the point, also contributes some four assists.

“Attica has a nice player in (6-2) Devon Newberry, who’s averaging about 20 points,” Orns said. “His cousin, Austin (5-10, Newberry), and Daymon Howell are averaging 11 points apiece.

“The Eagles are small but quick,” said Orns, who recently posted his 100th win at Chetopa. “They’ve used mostly a man-to-man on defense, but against us I wouldn’t rule out a zone. We have a good inside-outside game.”

Hilton said Attica, which is located some 45 miles southwest of Wichita, placed third in its Heart of the Plains Conference behind South Barber and 1A-Division II entry Central Christian.

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