Saturday, 08 August 2020
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Twin Valley League High School Basketball Season Preview
By Jonny Kane
Copyright: MSC Sports

Twin Valley League Preview                                                                   


It was another strong showing for Twin Valley League teams last year in what was another loaded year in the TVL with several teams state ranked throughout the season. The Hanover Wildcats gave the league its fifth runner-up finish at a state tournament in the past six seasons while in the past six seasons the league has produced two third place finishes and a pair of fourth place finishes as well. After seven of the 13 teams in the league finished with winning records a season ago, this year is shaping up to be another fun and competitive season.

Valley Heights enters the year with perhaps the biggest expectations of any TVL team after going 18-5 last season and finishing third in the league at 10-2. Coach Jordan Broxterman returns four starters from last year and because of that the Mustangs have been picked to win the league by nearly all coaches throughout the league.

The Frankfort Wildcats delivered a strong year in the third year under head coach Brian Ebert as the team finished 22-3 and captured the Twin Valley League tournament championship. This year three starters and seven letter winners overall are back for the Wildcats as they look to build upon last year’s successful season. Replacing some key contributors including all-state selection Emilee Ebert and the development of some younger plays will be key for the Wildcats to achieve the success level of last year and make another run to state where they were just two short years ago.

The Clifton-Clyde girls have continually increased their win total over the past handful of years but last year took a small step back winning 13 games which was still a successful season. The Lady Eagles took fourth in the Twin Valley League tournament and 8-5 league record which was good enough for a fifth-place finish in what was a loaded TVL last season. Coach Kieran Wurtz enters his seventh season at Clifton-Clyde with seven total letter winners and most of the production back from a year ago bringing in high hopes for the 2019-20 season.

Coach Perry Smith directed Doniphan West to a 13-win season with zero seniors on the roster. This year the Mustangs only have one senior, but she is one of the best players in the TVL in Makinley Smith. Everyone else returns along with a good freshman class which should make D-West a true contender this year.

After claiming the school’s first girls’ basketball state title three seasons ago and another two years ago the Hanover Wildcats posted another strong season a year ago winning 24 games and finishing runner-up at the state tournament. Replacing a strong group of seniors won’t be easy but with some top talent coming back Head Coach Chris Beikmann hopes the younger more inexperienced players can grow into their roles and help Hanover achieve another successful season. 

The Centralia girls have been a top team in the Twin Valley League for years now and it continued again last season with the Panthers winning 17 games which included a second-place finish in the TVL Tournament. Centralia also finished second in the regular season TVL standings but most of that team graduated. Coach Roger Holthaus enters his tenth season with only one starter back and several question marks heading into the year.

For the second straight season the Blue Valley girls posted a 12-11 record and finished in the middle of the pack in what was a loaded league as always. Coach Matt Schreiber begins his fifth season with four starters back including his top two scorers which should equate to another successful season and an exciting one for Blue Valley fans.

After winning 14 games two seasons ago the Axtell girls took a step back last season winning just seven total games but six of them in what was a stacked Twin Valley League. Coach Abby Stueve enters her fourth year as the head coach of the Eagles and with three starters back and several question marks leaving expectations up in the air heading into the year.

The Wetmore Cardinals were up and down a year ago finishing 10-11 overall with an extremely young squad that featured zero seniors and only one upperclassman. Coach Jason Claycamp enters his second season with optimism with all five starters and all key contributors back and hopes of getting towards the top third of the TVL at the end of the year.

Coming off a 13-win campaign two years ago the Washington County girls took a step back last season winning just eight games in what was absolutely loaded Twin Valley League. The Lady Tigers held leads in several games early but couldn’t find a way to finish them off and pick up wins. That began to change in the second and head coach Scott Romeiser enter his seventh season with all five starters back hoping his girls can roll that end of the year success over to this season.

Troy won only three games last year but has 15 girls out including nine letter-winers back this year for Derek Jasper's 23rd year on the sidelines. The Lady Trojans again lack size and must cut down on turnovers while hoping to be more competitive in the TVL. 

The Onaga Buffaloes have struggled mightily the past few years to win games but this year have at least 14 girls out for high school basketball. There’s newfound optimism this year for the Onaga girls as Ryan Noel has taken over after coaching the Buffalo boys a year ago. The future looks bright in a tough league but being able to piece together the right combination could add up to the win column.

With only one senior that saw extensive time last year and an overall young team the Linn Lady Bulldogs struggled throughout the season finishing just 4-15. After struggling the past couple seasons the switch has been made to Trevor Kuhlman who will look to lead the Lady Bulldogs in the right direction. Linn looks to make strides in the tough Twin Valley League and knows while experience is returning how it’s time to take what they learned from last season and continue to develop and takes steps forward.

Boys Preview

It was another fun and competitive year in the Twin Valley League last season with the Hanover Wildcats once again reaching the state tournament and capturing the regular season league crown. In the past six seasons TVL teams have racked up a pair of runner-up finishes, four third place finishes and two fourth place finishes compiling over 25 wins across state tournaments. Last year was another highly competitive season and this one appears to be no different with a few teams separating themselves at the top and a toss-up for the remaining spots in the league.

For the 15th time in the last 24 years the Hanover boys were playing basketball in March at the state tournament but unlike the most of those years the Wildcats were upset in the opening round last season falling to St. John-Hudson by five. Entering his 25th season coaching at Hanover, Kim Lohse brings back just two players with extensive experience at the varsity level leaving the Wildcats with more questions than answers heading into the 2019-20 season.

Clifton-Clyde boys’ basketball has come a long way from just winning two games five seasons ago and the success from the last few years continued last year resulting in 14 wins in a loaded TVL. After losing six seniors from the year before the Eagles had several young players step up last season and play well which resulted in a second-place finish at the TVL Tournament. Coach Jim Blackwell enters his third season with four starters back and 12 total letter winners which should help create an exciting year for Eagle fans. 

 It was another up and down season for the Centralia boys last year with the Panthers finishing 15-9 overall and taking fifth in the regular season TVL standings but finishing third in the midseason tournament. Coach Cole Alderfer enters his fifth season at the helm with just two starters back and several question marks but with the athletes coming back it should still be a fun and exciting season at Centralia.

The Valley Heights Mustangs enter the 2019-20 campaign with possibly the most anticipation of any area team and for good reason with three starters and nine guys back that saw extensive time at the varsity level last season. Coach Adam Schreiner enters his fifth season with a group he expects to not only add to the win total from a year ago but also a chance to compete for a league title on the hardwood.

Coming off their lowest win total in years, Washington County figured things out last year and increased their win total by eight to win 15 game and finish second in the Twin Valley League. Coach Robert Smith enters the season with a group of guys that will allow the Tigers to play fast and push the pace as they look to compete once again for a league title. Finding a balance between the returners and new contributors will be key in the development of the team’s chemistry and play a big role in the success of the team

Last year the Frankfort Wildcat boys headed into the season with a young and inexperienced crew having to replace plenty of scoring and leadership and finished the season in the middle of the pack in the tough Twin Valley League. The Wildcats will look to increase their pace of play to create more possessions and shot opportunities, while finding ways to rebound as the team will be undersized and also trying to stay out of foul trouble.

The Axtell Eagles were never able to get going last season and dealt with injuries throughout the air which kept the guys from ever getting comfortable. This year the Eagles look to fly, and Coach Jason Tynon looks to loosen up the reigns and let his guys go make plays as he has four starters back and plenty of experience overall. Making the improvements and fine-tuning things will be big for the Eagles to fly to a top spot as Coach Tynon hopes his team has improved and that shows this season.

Blue Valley took a major step in the right direction last season finishing third in the TVL and this season look to get over that final hump and compete for a league championship. Head Coach Blake Fronce starts his fifth season having to replace a couple key seniors but brings back eight guys with varsity experience which should help Blue Valley be competitive once again this season.

Coming of a 7-13 season two years ago the Linn Bulldogs took another step back last season winning just three total games in the first year of head coach Dalton Haist. Haist goes into year two with a team that brings back nearly all experience from a year giving Linn high optimism despite what appears to be another loaded year in the Twin Valley League. The Bulldogs are just looking to make strides and improve in the TVL along with competing each time they take the floor.

The Wetmore Cardinals continued to trend in the right direction improving their record by three wins as they made strides in every facet of the game. This season the Cardinals and second-year head coach Mark Martin bring back four starters and eight total players with high hopes of taking that next step and move into the top half of the TVL.

The Onaga Buffaloes have a new coach for the second straight season in Chase Sperber who brings back three starters and seven guys with experience at the varsity level. The Buffaloes went just 1-19 a year ago and this year have another young team leaving Coach Sperber with more questions than answers heading into the year.

The Troy Trojans  have a new coach for the second straight year as Jonathan Rodvelt takes over a team that went 6-13.  Only one starter returns after key senior Kipp Jasper was lost for the senior with a football ACL injury. Troy will likely have to play many underclassmen while development is key to this year.

David Johnson returns after a one-year hiatus to coach the Doniphan West Mustangs. D-West won only three games last season, but had only one senior and expect zero seniors to play this year with a lineup full of sophomores. The hope is varsity experience gained last year can help the program take a step back in the right direction. 

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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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