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Local Sports News
MSC Sports Top Moments of 2020
By Jonny Kane
Copyright: MSC Sports

There is no doubt that the 2020 high school sports season was a year that we will never forget with everything that happened amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

State basketball tournaments were cancelled after the first round along with baseball, softball and track seasons cancelled before they even started.

Despite that, area athletes still delivered memorable sports moments and like we do every year, we have put together some of our top moments from 2020.

#8 Frankfort's Gerstner Nails Game-Winner in Sub-State Semifinals

In one of the most thrilling games of this past season the Frankfort Wildcats won thriller over Valley Falls in the 1A sub-state semifinals on a 3-pointer from Aiden Gerstner at the buzzer for their first and only lead of the game. 

The win capped off a comeback which saw the Cats battle back from a 14-point deficit entering the fourth quarter. 

#7 Perry Lecompton Football Wins First Big 7 League Championship

For the second straight season the Perry Lecompton football team reached the Class 3A State Championship game before falling to the juggernaut that was Andale in the title game.

In the process the Kaws captured their first Big 7 League title and featured an offense that averaged over 375 yards per game led by Thad Metcalfe who finished with 2,631 all purpose yards and 35 touchdowns.

Ryan Besler led the Perry defense with 147 tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss while Hayden Robb added 139 stops and went over 500 career tackles during the season.

#6 Hanover Football and Volleyball Teams Capture State Titles

The Hanover Wildcats have proven over the years to be one of the best high school programs in the entire state of Kansas and that continued this past year with a football and volleyball state title in the fall.

The football team was dominant in their title run going a perfect 11-0 on the season with each win by at least 20 points including a 46-24 win over St. Francis in the title game.

As to the volleyball team they were nearly as impressive finishing the year with a 27-5 record despite taking fourth in the Twin Valley League.

#5 Two Area Wrestlers Capture State Titles

Each year we have area wrestlers reach their respective state tournaments and this season we had two guys win state championships.

Holton’s Konnor Tannahill captured the 195-pound title in Class 4A while Riverside’s Luke Horn won the 160-pound title in the 3-2-1A classification.  

Tannahill was dominant in his championship run as he went 4-0 with four pins including a pin in the title match in just 1:51 to finish with a 31-6 record.

Horn meanwhile also went 4-0 on his day with three pins before winning the championship match by a close 2-1 decision.

#4 Nemaha Central Girls Finish Unbeaten Basketball Season

The Nemaha Central girls delivered one of the most impressive seasons we have seen this past winter as the Thunder ran through the always tough Big 7 League and reached the Class 3A State Tournament.

Following a 45-35 win over Osage City in the opening round of state, the Thunder girls were delivered heartbreak as it was announced the remainder of the tournament would be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

Despite the disappointment the Nemaha girls finished the season with a perfect 24-0 record which included a Wellsville Invitational title along with a Big 7 championship.

It was one of the most dominant seasons we have seen in quite some time earning the Thunder girls the No. 4 spot on our countdown.

#3 Doniphan West Girls Cross Country Wins Second Straight State Championship

For the second straight season the Doniphan West girl’s cross-country team captured a state championship earning them our No. 3 sports moment of the year.

The Lady Mustangs made it back-to-back state titles with three girls inside of the top 11 as Elle Williams led the way taking second while Chloe Clevenger was fifth and Claire Cole 11th.

The title came after the Mustang girls captured the Twin Valley League cross country title along with a regional title earning the Doniphan West girls our No. 3 moment.

#2 Sabetha Wins First Ever State Volleyball Title

In one of the more dominant seasons we have seen in recent years the Sabetha volleyball team ran the table to a 41-1 record and the school’s first ever state volleyball to claim our No. 2 spot.

The Lady Jays only loss came to Royal Valley in the Silver Lake Invite but Sabetha still went 14-0 in Big 7 League play in dominant fashion.

Sabetha then won the St. Marys sub-state which included a 3-set win over Royal Valley before beating Perry Lecompton in straight sets in the state quarterfinals.

In the state tournament in Hutch the Lady Jays beat Goodland, Smoky Valley and West Franklin in two sets each before beating Goodland in two sets and then a three-set win over Smoky Valley in the championship.

It was a magical season for head coach Abby Stueve and the Lady Jays, who were not ranked or on anyone's radar entering 2020, earning the Sabetha volleyball team our No. 2 sports moment of the year.

#1 – Centralia Girls Basketball Comeback at State

When looking back at everything that happened throughout 2020 there is one thing that continued to stand out.

Coming back from 18 points down in the second half of any game is a feat itself but doing it in the state tournament is even more special and the Centralia girls basketball team did just that earning them our top sports moment of 2020.

Down 18 points going into the fourth quarter the Centralia girls were just looking to make the game competitive down the stretch and force unbeaten Cunningham to feel a little bit of pressure in the opening game of the Class 1A State Tournament in Dodge City.

What the Panthers did instead was something that nobody saw coming as they came all the way to tie the game with under a minute to play before Kennedy Becker won it with a lay-up with 15 seconds to go giving Centralia an improbable 48-46 upset victory.

Becker was unstoppable in the fourth as the senior finished with 15 points in the quarter and 21 for the game on 9-of-10 shooting from the field, while Morgan Kramer and Olivia Kuckelman each drilled big 3-pointers in the fourth.

Besides the 21 points from Becker, the Panthers also got 10 points from Kramer and six from Sarah Koch off the bench which were all in the first half.

It is something we may not see again any time soon, which is the biggest reason why it is our top sports moment of 2020.

©2021 MSC Sports
Hiawatha, KS 66434
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