Here are five things to watch in the high school basketball playoffs, featuring Missouri big-class district tournaments this week, Missouri small-class quarterfinals on Saturday and Kansas substate tournaments, which conclude on Saturday.
1. Barstow eyes another Final Four
The midseason hiccups are in the rearview mirror for Barstow, which is one victory shy of its third straight appearance in the Missouri Class 3 Final Four.
Since losing twice in a nine-day stretch in January, the defending-champion Knights have won 11 straight games. Jeriah Horne, Shea Rush and Jacob Gilyard rotated 20-point outings while navigating a district that included four 20-win teams.
But their quarterfinal opponent is on its own winning streak. Lawson, 23-6, has won 12 consecutive games. Junior point guard Cody Glenn is averaging 21 points per game during the postseason.
The two teams will meet at 7:45 p.m. Saturday at Lee’s Summit High School.
2. A championship-worthy matchup
For the past two months, Liberty and North Kansas City have been ranked as The Star’s top two big-class girls teams from Missouri.
One will have its season end Friday. North Kansas City, 24-2, will travel to Liberty, 23-3, for the Missouri Class 5, District 15 championship game at 7 p.m.
Liberty, the state runner-up last season, has allowed only 40 points per game over an eight-game winning streak. But North Kansas City senior Maya Brewer is an adept scorer accustomed to fighting tough defenses.
3. Fritz aims for No. 501
Blue Valley North fought back from an early deficit in defeating Blue Valley Northwest in the opening round of the Kansas Class 6A girls substate tournament.
The significance of that win? It was victory No. 500 for Blue Valley North coach Ann Fritz.
The Mustangs stumbled in their initial three attempts to land Fritz her 500th career victory, but they came through in the playoffs and kept their season alive.
Win No. 501 won’t come easy. BV North plays at Olathe East at 7 p.m. Friday.
4. Sub-state bracket to watch
Basehor-Linwood will play host to one of the top substate brackets in Kansas Class 4A — even though it includes only four teams.
Top-seeded Basehor-Linwood is 18-2, and No. 2 seed Bishop Miege is 17-3 — with a 14-game winning streak to boot. The Stags’ last nine victories have all come by double digits.
The two teams could meet in the title game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
5. Lee’s Summit still standing
Only one team in Missouri Class 5 took an undefeated record into the postseason.
The Tigers, 26-0, have scored 79.5 points per contest over their last 10 games. For the second straight season, their path to a district championship concludes with a matchup against 21-win Raytown. The game will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Truman High School.