Since before the basketball season began, the Blue Valley Northwest High School boys squad was the team to beat in Kansas.
A year ago, the Huskies went undefeated on their way to the Kansas Class 6A state championship, and this season they returned all five starters, which made them early favorites for a repeat title.
Sure enough, the Huskies, who lost only two games during the regular season, cruised through the postseason and into their fifth consecutive state championship game, where they routed Blue Valley North 73-46 for the repeat.
“It seemed like there was a lot of pressure on us this year,” Huskies coach Ed Fritz said. “I was a little uptight during the year, and the guys stumbled a little bit, but we finished hard.”
Blue Valley Northwest’s only losses during the season came against Apple Valley, a nationally ranked team from Minnesota, and Blue Valley North on Jan. 31. Following the loss to the Mustangs, Blue Valley Northwest won the next two meetings, which included the state title game.
“Our careers had a fitting end,” BV Northwest senior guard Clayton Custer said. “We have been rivals with them and played against them for four years. It is a pretty heated rivalry.”
Custer, who will play at Iowa State University, was one of eight seniors on the Blue Valley Northwest roster. In the last four years, the Huskies compiled a 94-6 record on the varsity squad and four of them have signed letters of intent to play college ball next season. In addition to Custer, Vince Fritz is going to Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., Ben Richardson is going to Loyola of Chicago, and David Salach is going to Washburn University in Topeka.
“The way our team was, it was never a one-man show,” Custer said. “We were a good team, and I think we showed that.”