Kansas Prep Basketball History Part  5      Revised January 18, 2014              Kansas High School Basketball History

Part Five: Kansas High School Association Tournament: 1925-1940     * Overtime   ! Forfeit     by Patrick Macfee  test

  Chapter One: 1926-1930           Chapter Two: 1931-1935                  Chapter Three: 1936-1940

Ralph Miller 1937

Ralph Miller tosses one high off the board against Leavenworth at the Topeka High gym --  1937 State Tournament.

Topeka State Journal, March 18, 1937 - Miller's number was 13 (only the 3 shows in this photo). Official is Gene Kemper who was also a noted sports columnist in Kansas.

1936 CLASS A State Tournament         March 19-21                                Topeka High School Gym              Topeka

                                                                                                                         Team                        Coach                         League

1st:  Newton  33  Arkansas City  24                                                          1  Newton (22-2)                Lindley/Hunt             ARK VALLEY
3rd:  KC-Wyandotte  37  Winfield  26                                                       2  Arkansas City (20-3)     Everett Nicholson     ARK VALLEY
SF:   Arkansas City  30  KC-Wyandotte  22                                             3  KC-Wyandotte (24-3)    Percy Parks              NEKL
SF:   Newton  36  Winfield  26                                                                   4   Winfield (13-8)               Ollie Thomas            ARK VALLEY
QF:  Arkansas City  39  Parsons  21
QF:  KC-Wyandotte  31  Lindsborg  17
QF:  Newton  33  Emporia  30 *
QF:  Winfield  31  Chanute  21
1R:  Arkansas City  39  Osborne  17
1R:  Parsons  26  Lawrence  22
1R:  KC-Wyandotte  39  Kingman  26
1R:  Lindsborg  29  Topeka  20
1R:  Emporia  40  Marysville  29
1R:  Newton  38  Colby  11
1R:  Chanute  48  Abilene  29
1R:  Winfield  35  KC-Argentine  33                                                          
Officials: Ab Hinshaw, George Gardner, Gene Kemper, Floyd Smith


Consolation Bracket

1st:  KC-Argentine  30  Lawrence  16
SF:  Lawrence  33  Topeka  24
SF:  KC-Argentine  32  Colby  23
QF:  Lawrence  32  Osborne  19
QF:  Topeka  29  Kingman  24
QF:  Colby  29  Marysville  27
QF:  KC-Argentine  32  Abilene  24

Score Source:  One Hundred Years of Hoops, Carol R Swenson, KSHSAA (2011)


FIRST TEAM:  Bill Ravenscroft, Gene Grove, NEWTON Jim Baker KC-WYANDOTTE Bruce Reid ARKANSAS CITY Jack Buckman  KC-=ARGENTINE
SECOND TEAM:  Marvin Tucker (x) WINFIELD Ralph Miller CHANUTE  Howard Englemen ARKANSAS CITY  Vernon Hall PARSONS  Dean Watson EMPORIA


GUARDS:  Gene Grove, Harry Bafus NEWTON, Lowell Long PARSONS, Morrell WINFIELD, Robert Wilson ARKANSAS CITY, Joe Kasinec KC-WYANDOTTE, Albert Metz KC-ARGENTINE, Bob Allen LAWRENCE
FORWARDS: Bill Ravenscroft, Leason McLoud  NEWTON, Howard Englemen, Paul Quinn ARKANSAS CITY, James Baker KC-WYANDOTTE, Jack Buckman KC-ARGENTINE, Don Conroy EMPORIA
                           Marvin Tucker (x) WINFIELD

(x) Marvin Tucker is often listed erroneously as Olin Tucker


1936 CLASS B State Tournament         March 19-21                                Memorial Hall                Salina

                                                                                                                         Team                        Coach                         League

1st:  Pretty Prairie  33  Levant  23                                                          1  Pretty Prairie (30-3)     Walter Graber       INDEPENDENT
3rd:  Garrison  27  Inman  21                                                                  2   Levant (27-1)                Earl Morrison       INDEPENDENT
SF:   Levant  34  Garrison  27                                                                 3   Garrison (25-2)            R. W. Lewis           INDEPENDENT
SF:   Pretty Prairie  38  Inman  25                                                           4   Inman (25-5)                Louis Koch            INDEPENDENT
QF:  Levant  44  Virgil  18
QF:  Garrison  38  Downs  11
QF:  Pretty Prairie  35  Salina-Sacred Heart  17
QF:  Inman  28  Hoyt  26
1R:  Levant  36  Oxford  15
1R:  Virgil  34  Palco  30
1R:  Garrison  40  Kinsley  30
1R:  Downs  50  Fontana  14
1R:  Pretty Prairie  53  Lebanon  25
1R:  Salina-Sacred Heart  46  Eskridge  23
1R:  Hoyt  44  Erie  24
1R:  Inman  27  Hamilton  18                                                            
OFFICIALS:  Rudolph Uhrlaub, Leroy Sandberg, Percy Fossey


Consolation Bracket

1st:  Erie  31  Kinsley  28
SF:  Erie  40  Lebanon  13
SF:  Kinsley  36  Oxford  29
QF:  Erie  33  Hamilton  17
QF:  Lebanon  32  Eskridge  24
QF:  Kinsley  37  Fontana  26
QF:  Oxford  29  Palco  24

Score Source:  One Hundred Years of Hoops, Carol R Swenson, KSHSAA (2011) except for
                            Levant-Oxford: Salina Journal, March 19, 1936, 1
                            Kinsley-Fontana/Inman-Hamilton: Salina Journal, March 20, 1936, 1
                            Garrison-Downs/Erie-Hailmton: Salina Journal, March 21, 1936, 10


FIRST TEAM:  Elmer Johnson, Garrett LEVANT  Bruce Voran, Roy Robinson PRETTY PRAIRIE  Daniel Howe GARRISON
SECOND TEAM:  Swan ERIE, Ike Friesen, Edd Buller, Dan Thiessen  INMAN  Chester Unruh PRETTY PRAIRIE


GUARDS:  Roy Robinson, Chester Unruh PRETTY PRAIRIE  Wilbur Garrett, Ernest Touslee LEVANT  Dan Thiessen INMAN  Sands ERIE  Cartwright FONTANA Herschel Giles OXFORD 
FORWARDS:  Willard Pierce GARRISON Calvin Jones, Victor Unruh PRETTY PRAIRIE  Ike Friesen INMAN Max Joy HOYT Bert Gagnon SALINA-SACRED HEART Swan ERIE F Harner LEVANT 
CENTERS:  Daniel Howe GARRISON  Elmer Johnson LEVANT  Bruce Voran PRETTY PRAIRIE Ed Buller INMAN

          Chanute returned to Topeka to defend their title but without the sterling aides that supported Ralph Miller in 1935. The 1936 team was still very good, but a late season elbow injury to Miller was followed by three straight losses that ended a forty game win streak. Miller played with a shin guard protection over the infected elbow. He was regaining form as they entered the tourney, but writers concluded that even though they had crowned him as a phenomenon in 1935, he was still just a boy after all. Columnist Gene Kemper added in his defense, "just because he is human, that doesn't keep Miller from being the finest basketball player this state has produced since DeBernardi." 1

          Ark Valley dominance returned in tournament play. Arkansas City won the conference championship with two stars , Bruce Reid and Howard Englemen, finishing first and second in league scoring. Newton made great strides during the season and claimed a second place league finish. 2

         Newton rode the hot shooting of Bill Ravenscroft and Gene Grove on the way to the school's sixth state championship. They continued a long standing strength - dominance of the center jump - that Coach Lindley stressed to survive a very tough overtime game against Emporia. They won comfortably over Winfield and Arkansas City. 3

        Coach Frank Lindley was credited with his sixth championship even though his assistant Harold Hunt handled the team starting with the Emporia game. Coach Lindley was called away from the tourney due to the grave illness of his father in Oklahoma. 4 The Topeka Daily Capital reviewed his career that started with his athletic accomplishments as a player for Southwestern College in the very early days of collegiate basketball. Gene Kemper noted Lindley's introduction of the five-man defense (zone) to the high school game at Newton and how he used guards in the offensive play to heavily dominate teams in the first years of the tournament. Gene Kemper explained how he influenced the people of Newton.

       Lindley's success made the town of Newton basket ball conscious and the kids started playing the game as soon as they were able to walk. As most of the populace is connected with the Santa Fe railroad, the punsters used to say : "Newton babies are born with a lantern in one hand and a basket ball in the other." Opposing squads gradually copied Lindley's system and the cry of "Beat Newton" became a by-word around the Valley and also around the state. Fear of Newton teams has gradually subsided, with the advancement of the game, but every team respects the Railroaders. 5

        Reports circulated after the tournament that Lindley might finally retire from the high school game and accept a job in the college ranks or just rest on his accomplishments. 6 But Lindley would continue - with the exception of 1938 - as coach of Newton basketball until his protege John Ravenscroft took over in the mid-1940s. 

       The Topeka High Gym continued to gain praise as the home of the Class A tournament. The event was setting attendance records each year. The seating had been increased from the original estimate of 3,500 during construction in 1931 to several reports of 5,000 by state newspapers covering the semi-finals and finals. 7 There were some complaints that came from officials like Phog Allen and E. A. Thomas that criticized the Topeka crowds "booing" of basketball referees and some teams.  City crowds brought the increased reveuue that tournament directors wanted and the association countered the offensive behavior by establishing a strong campaign to maintain sportsmanship between the schools. Thomas strongly cautioned the Topeka fans and sponsors as early as 1935 to educate the younger fans in the principals of true sportsmanship. He noted, "I am told they get some of their training as members of 'knot hole clubs' attending contests where they are admitted for a small fee and attempt to repay their benefactors by joining in unsavory demonstrations against visiting teams and officials. We are not going to sacrifice decent sportsmanship in return for large crowds ... if we can help it." 8

        For the third consecutive year Memorial Hall in Salina hosted the Class B meet. Stu Dunbar provided excellent reviews of each team in the Salina Journal's sports pages. He noted four schools as favorites in the upcoming tournament. Garrison of Pottawatomie County had a town population of 125 and a 22-1 record.  Levant was undefeated at 24-0 and the town population was only slightly larger at 150. Coach Zamrzla liked the home advantage that his Sacred Heart team might enjoy at Memorial Hall. Pretty Prairie (29-3) came from the highly competitive Reno-McPherson-Harvey County area that provided most of the early Class B champions. 9 (These teams would join to form the legendary Mid-Kansas league in 1937) 10

        Sacred Heart was happy to see Garrison^ eliminate Smolan in the Junction City regional. as their Saline County neighbor had defeated the Knights three times that year. Unfortunately for the Knights, Garrison would also be too much for them in that tournament final. 11 The Knight's received one of the few invitations to compete in the State, but were eventually knocked out by the tough man to man defense and crisp passing of Pretty Prairie. 12

        Elmer Johnson of Levant was the most valuable player in the tournament. He faced off against another great center in Daniel Howe of Garrison in a hard fought semi-final game. Johnson won the battle over Howe by contributing four goals in a big second half for Levant. Both had great college careers - Johnson at Fort Hays State and Howe at Kansas State. 13

         The third great center playing in the Class B, Bruce Voran, was the leader of the Pretty Prairie Bulldogs. They jumped out to a lead on Levant and never let go of it. The boys were honored once they gathered back in the home town. As the Pretty Prairie Times described the dinner - " Crowd - you telling me; Eats - oh boy; Program - splendiferous!  The crowd was immense; the eats were sufficient for a multitude, as they always are in Pretty Prairie, and the program was snappy and full of pep. " 14

        1936 was the final year for consolation tournaments. 

^ The town is now underwater due to the Tuttle Creek development in the early 1960s. 15

Rule Changes: No offensive player with or without the ball may stand in the free throw lane for more than three seconds. 16

1   Gene Kemper, "Kibitzing on Sports", Topeka Daily Capital, March 23, 1936
2   Arkansas City Daily Traveler, February 29, 1936, 8
3   Curtis Buller, 319
4   Gene Kemper, "Kibitzing on Sports", Topeka Daily Capital, March 23, 1936
5   Ibid, "Newton Vet May Quit After His 21st Year", Topeka Daily Capital, March 18, 1936, 10
6   Ibid
7   Bryce Engle, "Rambling On Sports", Arkansas City Daily Traveler, March 21, 1936
8   E. A. Thomas, "Secretary Thomas Raps Discourtesy", Topeka Daily Capital March 25, 1935, 6
9   Salina Journal, March 18, 1936, 12
10 Stu Dunbar, "Sport Chaff", Salina Journal, March 15, 1937,
"Buhler & Inman...Pretty Prairie, Haven, Moundridge"
11 Salina Journal, March 18, 1936, 12
12 Ibid, March 21, 1936, 10
13 Ibid, March 23, 1936, 10
14 Pretty Prairie Times, April 2, 1936, 1
15 http://www.nwk.usace.army.mil/tc/History.cfm 
16 http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/m_basketball_RB/2012/Rules.pdf 


1937 CLASS A State Tournament         March 17-20                                    Topeka High School Gym              Topeka

                                                                                                                         Team                        Coach                         League

1st:   Newton  36  Chanute  22                                                                   1  Newton (26-1)            Lindley/Hunt             ARK VALLEY
3rd:  Arkansas City  35  Eureka  27                                                          2  Chanute (24-2)           Tony Lockyear         SEKL
SF:   Newton  30  Eureka  25                                                                     3  Arkansas City (16-6)  Everett Nicholson    ARK VALLEY
SF:   Chanute  38  Arkansas City  24                                                        4  Eureka (13-9)              Oren Stoner             INDEPENDENT
QF:  Newton  48  Pittsburg  22
QF:  Eureka  31  Emporia  19
QF:  Chanute  39  Winfield  29
QF:  Arkansas City  43  Topeka High  38
1R:  Newton  34  Dodge City  21
1R:  Pittsburg  33  Manhattan  32  **
1R:  Emporia  33  Norton  22
1R:  Winfield  35  Hays  20
1R:  Chanute  47  Leavenworth  19
1R:  Topeka  42  Beloit  26
1R:  Arkansas City  42  KC-Ward  34                                                    
OFFICIALS:  Gene Kemper, George Gardner, Cliff Ogden, Smith 


Score Source:  One Hundred Years of Hoops, Carol R Swenson, KSHSAA (2011) 


1st TEAM:  Howard Englemen ARKANSAS CITY  Ralph Miller CHANUTE  Leason McCloud NEWTON  Paul Schmidt NEWTON  Bert Hayes CHANUTE
2nd TEAM: Jack Horacek TOPEKA  Raymond Kite EUREKA  Joe Showalter CHANUTE Claude Spoon WINFIELD Herbert Hartman NEWTON


GUARDS:  Herbert Hartman NEWTON  Bert Hayes, Earl Ahring CHANUTE  Robert Wilson ARKANSAS CITY  Bradbury EUREKA  Griffith EMPORIA  Simoncio PITTSBURG
FORWARDS:  Ralph Miller CHANUTE  Howard Englemen ARKANSAS CITY  Raymond Kite EUREKA  Jack Horacek TOPEKA  Hart WINFIELD  Baumgardner EMPORIA 
                            Phillips, Flottman NEWTON
CENTERS:  Leason McCloud NEWTON  Joe Showalter CHANUTE  Claude Spoon WINFIELD  Messner ARKANSAS CITY


1937 CLASS B State Tournament         March 17-20                                    Memorial Hall                     Salina

                                                                                                                         Team                          Coach                         League

1st:   Salina-Sacred Heart  27  Downs  25                                       1  Salina-Sacred Heart (28-0) Anthony Zamrzla      INDEPENDENT
3rd:  Plains  31  Inman  23                                                                2  Downs (24-3)                        Cade Suran              INDEPENDENT
SF:   Downs  41  Plains  22                                                               3  Plains  (23-4)                         Harold Elliott           INDEPENDENT
SF:   Salina-Sacred Heart  20  Inman  19                                        4  Inman  (19-11)                      Virgil Baer               MID-KANSAS
QF:  Plains  32  Gem  29 *
QF:  Downs  23  Cullison  16
QF:  Salina-Sacred Heart  40  Winchester  26
QF:  Inman  31  Morrill  29
1R:  Plains  48  Frontenac  24
1R:  Gem  31  Buhler  30
1R:  Cullison  25  Argonia  21
1R:  Downs  23  Stanley  21
1R:  Winchester  32  Hamilton  23
1R:  Salina-Sacred Heart  45  Allen  18
1R:  Morrill  34  Oxford  32
1R:  Inman  30  Jamestown  23                                                                  
OFFICIALS: Rudolph Uhrlaub, Darrell Hinkhouse, Percy Fossey, Stuart Dunbar


Score Source:  One Hundred Years of Hoops, Carol R Swenson, KSHSAA (2011) 


1st TEAM:  Ed Hawthorne SALINA-SACRED HEART  Ivan Carrell PLAINS  James Arnold DOWNS  John Bredengerd  SALINA-SACRED HEART  Dan Thiesen INMAN
2nd TEAM:  Bett Gagnon  SALINA-SACRED HEART  Don Dougherty DOWNS  Lawrence McPherson GEM  Chester Garland DOWNS  Don Wiegand INMAN

      The state organization running the tournament changed their official name to the Kansas State High School Activities Association in 1937. This new group was a consolidation of the Kansas State High School Athletic Association and other groups like the Debate League and the Music Educators Association. There were 661 high schools in the association for this school year. Schools with 200 or more students competed in Class A. Schools with enrollments of 150 to 200 could choose between Class A and Class B competition. Schools with a population under 150 could only compete in Class B. 1

        The basketball tournament in Topeka continued to increase in profit for the association each year. The group cleared $720.00 in 1933 - $1341 in 1935 - $1765 in 1936. All of this success in the middle of the depression solidified Topeka as the home of the Class A tourney.   With four days of play and elimination of the consolation tournament, directors were hopeful of even better crowds with less expense. Team expense money provided by the association ended with a tournament loss in any round. The move to four days of competition was a concession to the exhaustion factor of semi-final winners playing two games in one day. 2

     The championship crown seemed possible for any of the top three Ark Valley teams - Newton, Winfield and Arkansas City. No one could rule out Chanute who possessed the best player in the state in Ralph Miller and an improved supporting cast. Newton was the number one seed with only one loss prior to the tournament start. 3 Chanute did travel to Newton during the regular season where they lost their only game of the season. Newton offered the Chanute school a $100.00 to add the game to their schedule. The Chanute press reminded critics of this move that the challenge gave valuable experience to the Blue Comet team. Stu Dunbar of Salina wrote "that the powers as-be there do not rate as financial wizards ... the Chanutes are going to play at Newton February 13 for a paltry $100." The Chanute Tribune responded, "(Stu), we've had a depression down here in Southeast Kansas and $100 seems like a lot of dough to us." 4

     Eureka was the surprise team of the meet. E. A. Thomas saw the regional final game where Eureka nearly upset Chanute. That game was enough evidence for Thomas to invite the Eureka boys to the tourney. 5 Jack Baumgardner, Ray Kite and Junior Hamilton were the stars that guided Eureka to a shocking first round win over KC-Wyandotte. They followed that low-scoring victory with another upset. Emporia had defeated the Oren Stoner coached boys twice during the season. 6 The Eureka boys were well trained in the art of passing the ball to gain the best possible shot and were close to knotting the score with Newton in the final quarter of the semi-finals.  With Newton only up three, Leason McLoud stepped forward to hit charity shots that closed out the 30-25 victory over the dark horse challenger. 7

      Arkansas City featured future All-American KU player Howard Englemen and Chanute had returning high school legend Ralph Miller when they met for the right to play Newton for the championship. Miller had help from his brother Dick and Richard Cloke who kicked in with offensive support when the Comet star was double teamed by Bulldog defenders. Miller showed he was also a star on defense as he held Englemen to nine points. 8 A dejected Englemen admitted, "That Miller could deflect my shots when he was six feet away from me." 9

       The finals matched Newton's best player in years, Leason McCloud, against the tournament scoring leader Miller (68 points) from Chanute. McLoud won the scoring battle and the Newton team made sure that Miller never had easy looks at the goal holding him to ten points. 10 Coach Lindley called the squad his "most balanced team in our history." 11 Most other observers just claimed they were the best Lindley coached team ever. Gene Kemper, now a Topeka Daily Capital columnist in 1938, commented, "The best team ? Last year's champions from Newton. It was the strongest club at all positions this tournament has ever known." 12

     The All-Tournament 1st Team was the best to that date ever honored in Kansas. Howard Englemen was a consensus All-American at Kansas in 1941. Ralph Miller was a star in basketball and football at Kansas University and he might have joined Englemen as an All-American if not for serious football injuries that hampered his play. Leason McCloud and Paul Schmidt went on to start for Colorado teams coached by Forrest Cox. McCloud was named to several All-American teams in 1942. Bert Hayes was a starting guard for Wichita University and running back on the football team. 

       Advance ticket sales were at an all-time high for the Class B tourney in Salina. Salina-Sacred Heart was a big favorite as they entered the tournament with an undefeated record. 13 The Salina Journal warned that there were many talented teams in the field that would give the Knights a stiff challenge. 14 That fact became obvious in the semi-final game between Inman and Sacred Heart. The Teutons had maintained a lead through most of the game. They had a one point lead with about a minute left in the contest. Several furious scrambles and jump balls eventually led to Bert Gagnon recovering the ball for the Kinghts near their own goal. He turned and jumped and with a two-handed toss banked the ball through the goal. Time expired as the official recovered the ball when it cleared the net. 15

        An Inman student reporter described the heart-breaking scene. "Inman lost by a one-half a second. Impossible? No, because they did. This reporter was on the floor, in the last few minutes of the exciting play, and didn't see that perfect shot that entered the basket just as the gong was sounded. All eyes turned to the time keeper, who was shaking his head. The goal counted ! The Inman boys walked dazedly from the court (while) Sacred Heart was in a hysterical mood." 16 Coach Zamrzla told Inman's Virgil Baer that, after winning 140 games over the last six years, this game was the only one he was ashamed to take. He congratulated Baer and told him, "Your boys deserved to win." 17

        The final against Downs featured a near repeat of the exciting finish Sacred Heart experienced against Inman. The lead changed hands several times during the game and the score was tied at the end of the first half and the 3rd quarter. With less than forty seconds remaining, Gagnon recovered a loose ball that had been tapped away from a Downs player by Willie Beffort. Gagnon grabbed the ball in stride for a game winning set-up. 18

        Chet Garland of Downs became the first black player to ever participate in a state championship basketball final. He was also named to the Salina Journal All-Star 2nd team. 19

RULE CHANGE:  The state high school association ruled after the 1936 season that new age rules would be in effect. The maximum age of a player was 21 for the 1935-36 season but the maximum age was changed to 20 for the 1936-37 season. 20

1   Topeka Daily State Journal, March 16, 1937, 3
2   Ibid
3   Topeka Daily Capital, March 16, 1937, 11
4   Chanute Tribune, January 28, 1937, 8
5   Eureka Herald, March 18, 1937, 1
6   Ibid, March 25, 1937, 1
7   Topeka Daily Capital, March 20, 1937, 10
8   Ibid
9   Dick Hall, "Sports Critique", Arkansas City Daily Traveler, March 22, 1937
10 Topeka Daily Capital, March 21, 1937, 11B
11 Curtis Buller, 338
12 Gene Kemper, "Kibitzing on Sports with Gene Kemper", Topeka Daily Capital, March 16, 1938
13 Salina Journal, March 15, 1937, 10
14 Ibid, March 17, 1937, 10
15 Ibid, March 20, 1937, 8       
16 Inman Review, March 26, 1937, 2
17 Stu Dunbar, "Sport Chaff", Salina Journal, March 23, 1937
18 Ibid, March 22, 1937
19 Salina Journal, March 22, 1937, 8


1938 CLASS A State Tournament         March 16-19                                   Topeka High School Gym              Topeka

                                                                                                                         Team                        Coach                         League

1st:  KC-Ward  33  KC-Wyandotte  30                                                   1  KC-Ward (23-3)          Tom Dorney            INDEPENDENT
3rd:  Winfield  37  Newton  25                                                                 2  KC-Wyandotte (21-5)  Percy Parks            NEKL
SF;   KC-Ward  22  Winfield  20                                                              3  Winfield  (16-7)            Ollie Thomas          ARK VALLEY
SF:   KC-Wyandotte  35  Newton  34                                                      4  Newton  (20-5)              Harold Hunt           ARK VALLEY
QF:  Winfield  42  Columbus  15
QF:  KC-Ward  35  Topeka  18
QF:  Newton  34  Coffeyville  25
QF:  KC-Wyandotte  46  Emporia  24
1R:  Winfield  28  Chapman  21
1R:  Columbus  27  Kingman  25
1R:  KC-Ward  39  Independence  29
1R:  Topeka  20  Hutchinson  16
1R:  Newton  40  Pratt  19
1R:  Coffeyville  23  Norton  22
1R:  KC-Wyandotte  26  Hays  24
1R:  Emporia  27  Wellington  25                                                         
OFFICIALS: Cliff Ogden, John Lance, Ab Hinshaw, Darell Hinkhouse


Score Source:  One Hundred Years of Hoops, Carol R Swenson, KSHSAA (2011)  except for
                            Newton-Coffeyville: Topeka Daily Capital, March 18, 1938, 10


Paul Schmidt, Leason McCloud, Bill McCloud  NEWTON  George Conklin, Francis Lynch, Bill Young KC-WARD  Pete Dye, Bill Hahn  KC-WYANDOTTE  Olin Tucker, Geral Tucker WINFIELD


GUARDS:  Bill Hahn KC-WYANDOTTE, George Conklin, Tom Ronan KC-WARD, Paul Schmidt, Kyrle Boylan NEWTON, Bob O'Neil TOPEKA
FORWARDS:  Pete Dye, Maurice Parker KC-WYANDOTTE, Dick Nolan, Bill Young KC-WARD, Gerald Tucker, Olin Tucker WINFIELD, Alfred Anaya COFFEYVILLE
CENTERS:  Francis Lynch KC-WARD, Leason McCloud NEWTON, Harold Dody EMPORIA, Lou Steinmeir


1938 CLASS B State Tournament         March 16-19                                    Memorial Hall                     Salina

                                                                                                                         Team                          Coach                         League

1st:  Downs  19  Corning  17                                                           1  Downs (26-2)                        Cade Suran                   INDEPENDENT
3rd:  Cullison  21  Salina-Sacred Heart  17                                    2  Corning (27-1)                      E. W. Stewart                M & N
SF:   Corning  33  Salina-Sacred Heart  22                                    3   Cullison (26-3)                      Elmer Crumpacker       PRATT COUNTY  
SF:   Downs  24  Cullison  23                                                          4   Salina-Sacred Heart (23-9)  Anthony Zamrzla          INDEPENDENT
QF:  Corning  36  Plains  28
QF:  Salina-Sacred Heart  33  Nickerson  26
QF:  Downs  27  Stanley  19
QF:  Cullison  33  Bison  27
1R:  Corning  27  Olivet  25
1R:  Plains  40  Rexford  31
1R:  Nickerson  23  Frontenac  21
1R:  Salina-Sacred Heart  38  Admire  36
1R:  Stanley  38  Midian  19
1R:  Downs  43  Clearwater  28
1R:  Cullison  58  Toronto  17
1R:  Bison  53  Linn  51 *                                                           
OFFICIALS:  Carl Kopelk, Rudolph Uhrlaub, Ron McClain, Stuart Dunbar


Score Source:  One Hundred Years of Hoops, Carol R Swenson, KSHSAA (2011)  except for
                            Bison-Linn: Salina Journal, March 17, 1938, 14


1st TEAM:  Bert Gagnon SALINA-SACRED HEART  Don Bryant CULLISON  Ralph Allen CORNING  Walter Allen CORNING  Don Hansen  DOWNS
2nd TEAM:  Vance Hall DOWNS  Ivan Carroll PLAINS  Lyle Sullivan SALINA-SACRED HEART Bob Eshnaur CULLISON  Russell Granger STANLEY


GUARDS:  Walter Allen, Ralph Allen CORNING  Bob Eshnaur , Homer Hainline CULLISON  Chet Garland DOWNS  Glenn Martin ADMIRE  Church SALIN-SACRED HEART
FORWARDS:  Bert Gagnon SALINA-SACRED HEART  Don Bryant CULLISON  Vancve Hall, Don Dougherty DOWNS  J Peterson CLEARWATER  Mac McCabe CORNING  Louis Chappell PLAINS
                            Bill Engelland NICKERSON
CENTERS:  Lyle Sullivan SALINA-SACRED HEART  Ervin Smrcka BISON  Don Hansen DOWNS Marvin Ryden STANLEY

       In this year, one hundred and ten teams competed in the Class A that started with eleven regional tournaments. The thirteen Class B Regionals were composed of the winners and runner-ups from forty-five district tourneys held in early March. The winner of a regional automatically qualified for the state tournament.  Then the KSHSAA picked the best of the runner-ups to fill out the sixteen team state tourney brackets. 1 Secretary Thomas invited Independence, Emporia, Wellington, Hutchinson and KC-Wyandotte to the Topeka meet. Class B invitees were Linn, Nickerson and Admire. 2

       Topeka had settled in as the home of the Class A tourney. Record crowds jammed into the Topeka High gym every year. The college coaches were in attendance to judge the talents of the players from all over the state. The sports columnists were known to gather at the two large downtown hotels ( The Jayhawk and the Kansan) to trade insults and stories and enjoy an overall "convention" atmosphere. Local fans had become accustomed to the entertainment value of the four day basketball show. 3 The NAIB (later known as NAIA) was in its infancy in Kansas City (started in 1937). There was no NCAA tournament around to siphon off basketball interest and the AAU National had moved to Denver in 1935. 4 An indication of the popularity of the tournament was the call by some in the business community to dramatically increase the seating for the new Municipal Auditorium under discussion to as many as 10,000 seats. 5

        There was a major change in the rules of the game in the 1937-38 season. The elimination of the center jump after every made field goal had been proposed many times over the years and the college and high school coaches decided to experiment for one year with the new rule. 6

          There was a change in the basketball coaching ranks as Harold Hunt took over all coaching duties at Newton. Coach Hunt politely requested that he would not need assistance from Frank Lindley. Lindley agreed but retained his post as Principal of the high school. 7

          The final four group was among the strongest ever gathered together in tournament history.  Newton had two first team all-stars returning from the 1937 championship team. Winfield's huge 6' 7" center, Dick Dolloff, was joined by Gerald & Olin Tucker as a challenger for the title. KC-Ward brought their best team in history to the tourney with only three losses and KC-Wyandotte hoped to avenge their previous losses to the Cyclones with one of Coach Percy Parks best teams. 8

          Jim Reed of the Topeka Daily Capital said of the Newton-Wyandotte semi-final, "Never in the history of the tournament has there been a more thrilling game. The crowd was wild, cheers echoed back and forth in the big gymnasium until the officials' whistles could hardly be heard, and both teams played their hearts out." The flashy play of Bill Hahn, Bulldog guard, was cited by the press as equal to stars of previous tourneys (DeBernardi, Miller). Paul Schmidt, exhausted from the furious pace of the game, missed some key free throws near the end of the game. Newton as a team was awful from the line missing eleven tosses.  9

         Ward and Winfield played a low-scoring contest in the other semi-final. Both teams played a very patient game that was accompanied by a constant roar from the 4,500 fans in attendance. Two late free throws by Francis Lynch gave the game to Ward. This insured the first final since 1932 that did not include an Ark Valley League team. 10

         The final was sold-out despite an increase in ticket prices. A huge crowd of out-of-towners gathered for the first final between high schools from the same city. The always colorful reporter Jim Reed described the scene. "From the thundering ovation that shook the rafters, every Kansas Citian except the night watchman must have been on hand. The two quintets broke like ten harvest hands at the dinner bell, executed snappy passes and shot with bulls-eye accuracy." 11 The return of an injured Maurice Parker allowed Wyandotte to maintain a lead for most of the game. Parker was able to score over Ward's famous zone for eighteen points. A determined team effort by Ward in the 4th quarter ultimately was the difference. Francis Lynch's defense and the scoring punch of Tom Ronan contributed greatly to Ward's third win of the year over their public school rival. Wyandotte was set back when Pete Dye fouled out of the game just as the third quarter ended. 12

         No clear cut favorite could be picked in the Class B event held again at Memorial Hall in Salina. Corning, Bison and Stanley all entered with undefeated records. Salina-Sacred Heart always seemed to have a contender and they did have the advantage of playing in front of their hometown fans. Some opponents even suggested that Sacred Heart's schedule should have been preparation for the Catholics to compete in Class A. 13  Coach Cade Suran's Downs five were considered a threat as well with many returning veterans from a runner-up finish in 1937. 

         Corning players impressed tournament crowds early with the accurate shooting of Ralph and Walter Allen. The boys came out for their warm-ups clad in bib overalls and stocking feet. Chuck Lear - future Salina High star - was a ball boy for the Class B event. He witnessed the unusual basketball skills and uniforms of the Corning team. "They had regular undershirts for jerseys with hand painted numbers." The standard shot of the time was a two-handed set thrown from about chest high. Lear said that the Corning players used scoop shots from below the waist and off the hip and could connect from long range to the amazement of the fans. 14

         Downs eliminated the undefeated eastern team, Stanley, in a quarter-final game. Stanley was hurt by the loss of their best player, Harry Gray, who was forced out due to a raging fever. Small schools simply did not have the deeper benches of Class A teams that could overcome a loss of a star player. 15 Corning maintained their spotless record as they advanced to the final against Downs. The Topeka Daily Capital said that Corning's record was as clean as pockets were in 1929.  The Corning Gazette replied, "It (the TDC) might have used 1938 instead of 1929 and still included most of us." 16 

         The final between Corning and Downs was played without substitution. Corning relied on their solid zone defense to check any break away by the potent Dragon offense. It was not until the fourth quarter that Vance Hall's hot outside shooting turned the tide for Downs. Coach Suran claimed his only state championship trophy but would have more success at Wellington and a long career at Fort Hays State. 17

           A history making note of this tournament was the participation of Chester "Chet" Garland for the Downs Dragons championship team. He became the first African-American to play for a Kansas High School basketball champion. When Downs honored their team with a dinner, no player received  a more enthusiastic ovation. 18 It was Garland who sank the winning free throw against Cullison in the semi-final. 19       

          Stu Dunbar wrote in the Salina Journal that all final four teams in Class B appeared to be exhausted on Saturday. He noted the long tournament schedule for these last four teams. They had played through district and regional tournaments and three state tournament games on their way to to the Saturday trophy games. In addition, several were committed to playing County tourneys in the middle of February. He suggested that was too much basketball for these small town teams. "Precious few of these smaller schools have the man-power to capably replace their regulars", he said. "Add the mental strain (to) the physical strain of tournaments and the youngsters are asked to carry a terrific load." 20

         The general good sportsmanship of the Class B tourney was recognized by the Downs News and Times. They revealed the letter that Stanley's Captain Marvin Ryden addressed to the Dragon Coach and players. He never mentioned the loss of their star player. He stressed, "We are proud to have played (Downs) and to have been beaten by your champions." The paper replied to Ryden by stating that the Stanley team proved you don't have to be a winner to be a champion. 21

RULE CHANGES:  1) This was the year that elimination of the center jump after a field goal was granted a one year experiment. In college, the Pacific Coast League had pushed for the change and experimented with it for several years. 22 After the season, the old guard of basketball (Dr. Naismith and Phog Allen among others) came up with a variety of objections. They claimed that the quickened pace of the game caused undue player exhaustion. They lamented that the end of the center jump play made the game too predictable. 23 Most Kansas high school coaches approved the change - Ollie Thomas and Harold Hunt were exceptions. The change allowed a faster game and greater use of substitutes. The approval of the fans made the change permanent. 24
2)  Overtime rules changed to make the first team that scored two points the winner in the first overtime period. Previously the "sudden death" feature would only apply after the first overtime period had not produced a winner. This rule was in effect for all tournament play, but may have been optional for regular season games.

1   Topeka Daily Capital, March 6, 1938, 12B
2   Ibid, March 14, 1938, 6
3   Gene Kemper, "Kibitzing on Sports", Topeka Daily Capital, March 19, 1937
4   Adolph H Grundman, 31
5   Topeka State Journal, March 24, 1937, 
6   Curtis Buller, 340
7   Ibid, 13 
Ernie Unruh quotes about Coach Hunt
8   Jim Reed, "High School Corner", Topeka Daily Capital, March 7, 1938
9   Topeka Daily Capital, March 19, 1938, 14
10 Ibid
11 Jim Reed, "High School Corner", Topeka Daily Capital, March 20, 1938
12 Kansas City Kansan, March 20, 1938, 6B
13 Stu Dunbar, "Sport Chaff", Salina Journal, March 27, 1937
14 Chuck Lear, interview by author in Topeka, Kansas, January 26, 2011
15 Downs News and Times, March 24, 1938, 4
16 Corning Gazette, March 10, 1938, 4
17 Downs News and Times, March 24, 1938, 4
18 Ibid, March 31, 1938, 4
19 Ibid, March 24, 1938, 4
20 Stu Dunbar, "Sport Chaff", Salina Journal, March 21, 1938
21 Downs News ans Times, March 31, 1938, 4
22 Oswald Tower, "The Basketball Rules for 1937-1938", ATHLETIC JOURNAL, May 1937
23 Curtis Buller, 341
24 Jim Reed, "High School Corner", Topeka Daily Capital, March 15, 1938
25 Salina Journal, March 17, 1938, 14  



1939 CLASS A State Tournament         March 15-18                                Topeka High School Gym              Topeka

                                                                                                                         Team                        Coach                         League

1st:  Winfield  22  El Dorado  18                                                                1  Winfield (18-2)            Ollie Thomas              ARK VALLEY
3rd:  KC-Ward  38  Arkansas City  36 **                                                 2  El Dorado (19-4)         Emmet Breen              ARK VALLEY
SF:   Winfield  28  KC-Ward  18                                                                3  KC-Ward (19-9)          Tom Dorney               INDEPENDENT
SF:   El Dorado  25  Arkansas City  22 *                                                  4  Arkansas City (15-10) Everett Nicholson      ARK VALLEY
QF:  Winfield  47  Leavenworth  14
QF:  KC-Ward  32  Hutchinson  21
QF:  El Dorado  20  KC-Wyandotte  15
QF:  Arkansas City  32  Hays  29
1R:  Winfield  35  Clay Center  15
1R:  Leavenworth  22  Coffeyville  20
1R:  Hutchinson  42  Scott City  25
1R:  KC-Ward  28  Lawrence  27
1R:  El Dorado  37  Salina  22
1R:  KC-Wyandotte  63  Liberal  12
1R:  Hays  31  Topeka  28
1R:  Arkansas City  26  Pittsburg  24                                                    
OFFICIALS:  Cliff Ogden, Ab Hinshaw, Darrell Hinkhouse, Wayne Campbell

INVITED TEAMS:  HUTCHINSON  LAWRENCE  ARKANSAS CITY  KC-WYANDOTTE                                                                                                             

  Score Source:  One Hundred Years of Hoops, Carol R Swenson, KSHSAA (2011)  


1st TEAM:   Larry McSpadden  EL DORADO  Dick Nolan KC-WARD  Gerald Tucker  WINFIELD  Dale Covert  EL DORADO  Dan Sidener ARKANSAS CITY
2nd TEAM:  Barney Oldham HAYS  Jim Roberts WINFIELD  Guy Mitchell  HUTCHINSON  Jack Weddle  WINFIELD   Stanley Cyhel  KC-WARD


GUARDS:  Dale Covert, Paul Geyman  EL DORADO  Jack Weddle, Lawrence Klein  WINFIELD  Stan Cyhel KC-WARD  Malone LEAVENWORTH  Dan Sidener ARKANSAS CITY
FORWARDS:  Larry McSpadden, Bob Kebt  EL DORADO  Barney Oldham  HAYS  Vestie White, Dick Hatfield  ARKANSAS CITY  Jim Roberts, Clifford Sickles  WINFIELD Guy Mitchell HUTCHINSON
CENTERS:  Gerald Tucker  WINFIELD  Dick Nolan KC-WARD  Lou Steinmeir KC-WYANDOTTE  W. Settles  SCOTT CITY


1939 CLASS B State Tournament         March 15-18                                    Convention Hall                    Hutchinson

                                                                                                                         Team                          Coach                         League

1st:  Nickerson  41  Bison  36                                                                1  Nickerson (24-4)           Morris Deeter           MID-KANSAS
3rd:  Inman  32  Lebo  19                                                                       2  Bison (26-1)                   Lou Odle                    R.E.N.
SF:   Bison  29  Inman  27                                                                      3  Inman (22-4)                  John Krehbiel           MID-KANSAS
SF:   Nickerson  43  Lebo  25                                                                4  Lebo (23-5)                    Clarence Wood         COFFEY COUNTY
QF:  Inman  40  Clearwater  25
QF:  Bison  58  St. Mary's  27
QF:  Nickerson  49  Peabody  33
QF:  Lebo  24  Page City  19
1R:  Clearwater  33  Haddam  23
1R:  Inman  45  Virgil  35
1R:  St. Mary's  40  Glendale  34
1R:  Bison  43  Prescott  23
1R:  Nickerson  49  Powhattan  40
1R:  Peabody  38  Mankato  34
1R:  Page City  37  Benedict  23
1R:  Lebo  27  Sublette  20                                                               
OFFICIALS:  Percy Fossey,  Barney Forker, LeRoy Sandberg, Carl Kopelk


Score Source:  One Hundred Years of Hoops, Carol R Swenson, KSHSAA (2011)  


GUARDS:  Schuerman, C. Pivonka BISON  Gibbons ST. MARY'S  Walt Buller INMAN  Burkhardt VIRGIL  Hawks, Risley NICKERSON  John Keller PAGE CITY
FORWARDS: Bill Engelland, Jeffrey NICKERSON  Harry Voth INMAN  Glick ST. MARY'S  McQuillen CLEARWATER  Baker PEABODY  Olin Smrcka BISON  Long LEBO
CENTERS:  Standifer LEBO  Ervin Smrcka BISON  Henry Doerksen INMAN Bozeman NICKERSON

       The Ark Valley returned with a load of contenders for the 1939 tournament. Coach Lindley returned as head man for Newton, but the Railroaders suffered through their worst season since 1913 and did not qualify for the tournament. Instead, Winfield, El Dorado, Arkansas City and Hutchinson played under the banner of the state's best basketball league. 1

       The only real surprise in the early contests was the 31-28 win by Hays over Topeka. The western team out-hustled the Trojans and Topeka also had one of their worst shooting nights of the season. 2 Topeka writer Jim Reed liked to quote the odds he obtained from local bookies. He said that Topeka had been favored 4-1 over the Hays team. The many references to gambling indicated that there was a market for betting on basketball - at least in Topeka. Some others around the state took notice. The Winfield Courier asked the question, "When did they start this bookmaking on high school meets, any way, Mr. Commissioner ?" 3

        No answer about high school gambling appeared in print from Commissioner Thomas - he was probably busy answering criticism for the selection process used for inviting teams. Colby and Emporia were left out - but Thomas did receive plenty of support for the teams he did select. The solution for this annual problem was suggested by schools and the press. The idea of a Class AA for schools over 500-600 in population was gathering support. The remaining schools, many of them expressing the complaint  that "we don't have a chance" for the finals even when they did qualify for the tourney,  would remain in Class A. First round dominating wins by Winfield, Wyandotte and Hutchinson over Clay Center, Liberal and Scott City supported these complaints. 4

        El Dorado made their first semi-final since 1927. It took a sudden death overtime for the Wildcats to advance to the championship game. Dale Covert scored a lay-up to secure the win after scoring a free throw earlier in the first period. The victory was especially sweet for Coach Breen as Arkansas City upset his team twice during the league season preventing a Wildcat Ark Valley championship. 5 Fans for both teams were so into it and noisy that the official timer fired the gun in order to get a substitute entered during the overtime period. 6

        Winfield had an easier time of it as they defeated defending champion Ward of Kansas City. Gerald Tucker established the Winfield five as the favorites to win it all with another fine performance in this game. He was the Ark Valley scoring leader as a Junior. He was famous for his rebounding and defense and he was as good as anybody scoring the ball inside. 7

        The title game was a duel between Dale Covert and Tucker. Covert was able to limit Tucker to only three field goals, but Tucker directed the offense out on the court and "formed a defense in himself", according to writer Gene Kemper. "Tucker's play stamps him as one of the greatest tourney players in history." Winfield's rigid zone defense prevented the Wildcats from ever taking the lead. Tucker ordered a stall with less than three minutes left and the Vikings ahead by two. Then, with time running out, he saw an opening and drove for the final score of the game leaving El Dorado with only three seconds to reply. 8

        Hutchison grabbed the hosting duties for the Class B tourney away from Salina in 1939. The games were played at Convention Hall that had an advertised seating capacity of 2,000. The Hutchinson management increased ticket prices and with two local teams (Nickerson and Inman) in the final four, the tournament broke the box office record set in 1937 at Salina. 9

        With over five hundred schools in Class B, predicting a winner was nearly impossible. Nickerson with returning star Bill Engelland was tabbed the slight favorite. 10 Engelland was the difference as he scored twenty-one in the title game with Bison. He scored 82 total points in the tourney. Mid-Kansas League fans had hoped for an Inman-Nickerson final, but Bison broke the heart of the Inman team in the semi-final. 11

RULE CHANGE: The rules committee cleaned up the rule regarding the center jump. The team shooting a technical foul would be given possession at half-court after the free throw. Previously the ball was put in play by a center jump after a technical. 12

1   Topeka State Journal, March 4, 1939, 2
2   Topeka Daily Capital, March 16, 1939, 6
3   Winfield Daily Courier, March 17, 1939, 6
4   Jim Reed, "Off the Sports Cuff", Topeka Daily Capital, March 19, 1939
5   Topeka Daily Capital, March 18, 1939, 12
6   Gene Kemper, "Kibitzing on Sports with Gene Kemper", Topeka Daily Capital, March 19, 1939
7   Topeka Daily Capital, March 18, 1939, 12
8   Ibid, March 19, 1939, 14B
9   Stu Dunbar, "Sport Chaff", Salina Journal, March 22, 1939
10 Hutchinson Herals, March 13, 1939, 2
11 Ibid, March 19, 1939, 2
12 http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/m_basketball_RB/2012/Rules.pdf


1940 CLASS A State Tournament         March 12-15                              Topeka High School Gym              Topeka

                                                                                                                         Team                         Coach                         League

1st:  Winfield  29  KC-Wyandotte  27 *                                                  1  Winfield (17-4)            Ollie Thomas            ARK VALLEY
3rd:  Newton  25  Hutchinson  24                                                            2  KC-Wyandotte (30-2) Ashley Elbl                INDEPENDENT
SF:   Winfield  31  Newton  20                                                                 3  Newton (19-8)              Frank Lindley           ARK VALLEY
SF:   KC-Wyandotte  31  Hutchinson  14                                                4  Hutchinson (18-4)        Edmund Cairns         ARK VALLEY
QF:  Newton  26  KC-Ward  22
QF:  Winfield  23  Emporia  19
QF:  Hutchinson  39  Parsons  17
QF:  KC-Wyandotte  30  Arkansas City  13
1R:  Newton  30  Chanute  17
1R:  KC-Ward  37  Salina  34
1R:  Winfield  29  Shawnee Mission  23
1R:  Emporia  24  Hays-St. Joseph  18
1R:  Hutchinson  38  Belleville  27
1R:  Parsons  32  Dodge City  14
1R:  KC-Wyandotte  33  Colby  26
1R: Arkansas City  33  McPherson  27                                               
OFFICIALS:  Ab Hinshaw, Bob Moffat, Darrell Hinkhouse, H. M. Anderson


Score Source:  One Hundred Years of Hoops, Carol R Swenson, KSHSAA (2011)   


1ST TEAM:  Gerald Tucker, Clifford Sickles  WINFIELD  Ray Evans, Bill Brill KC-WYANDOTTE  Bill Mcloud NEWTON
2ND TEAM:  Jim Roberts, Jack Weddle  WINFIELD  Leo Headrick, John Bortka KC-WYANDOTTE Stan Cyhel KC-WARD
3RD TEAM:  Dale Hall PARSONS  John Dewell NEWTON  Alvin Billinger HAYS-ST. JOSEPH  Guy Mitchell, Earl Harrison HUTCHINSON


GUARDS:  Jack Weddle, McDermott WINFIELD  Ray Evans, John Bortka, Bill Brill KC-WYANDOTTE  Milsap EMPORIA  Clark Ullom BELLEVILLE  Nibergall NEWTON  Earl Harrison HUTCHINSON
                     Alvin Billinger HAYS-ST JOSEPH
FORWARDS:  Clifford Sickles, Jim Roberts WINFIELD  Leo Headrick, Johnny Noone KC-WYANDOTTE  Bill McLoud NEWTON  Dale Hall PARSONS  Slim Campbell EMPORIA  Keith Harper COLBY
                            Paul Turner SHAWNEE MISSION Ken Love HUTCHINSON Dick Hatfield ARKANSAS CITY
CENTERS:  Gerald Tucker WINFIELD  Stan Cyhel KC-WARD  Guy Mitchell HUTCHINSON  Bill Cochrane SALINA  Johnny Dewell NEWTON


1940 CLASS B State Tournament         March 12-15                                 Convention Hall                    Hutchinson

                                                                                                                         Team                               Coach                         League

1st:  Buhler  24  Menlo  22                                                                        1  Buhler (24-4)                     Harold Binford           MID-KANSAS 
3rd:  Emporia-Roosevelt  32  Powhattan  30 *                                         2  Menlo (25-1)                      Ray Thurlow              INDEPENDENT
SF:   Menlo  30  Emporia-Roosevelt  20                                                  3  Emporia-Roosevelt (?-?)   Gus Fish                     INDEPENDENT    
SF:   Buhler  33  Powhattan  31                                                                 4  Powhattan (32-4)                Johnny Corrigan        INDEPENDENT
QF:  Menlo  30  Nickerson  29
QF:  Emporia-Roosevelt  32  Sublette  29
QF:  Powhattan  53  Almena  38
QF:  Buhler  25  Erie  17
1R:  Nickerson  44  Edgerton  27
1R:  Menlo  23  Weir  22
1R:  Sublette  48  Randall  33
1R:  Powhattan  23  Mulvane  15
1R:  Erie  35  Spring Township  29
1R:  Buhler  44  Mayetta  34                                                       
OFFICIALS:  Rice Brown, Earl Yoos, ______


Score Source:  One Hundred Years of Hoops, Carol R Swenson, KSHSAA (2011)  


GUARDS:  George Bailey MENLO  Wilmer Voth, John Martens BUHLER  Singular, Wendell Link EMPORIA-ROOSEVELT  Volz POWHATTAN  D. Bartlett ALMENA  Sherwood SUBLETTE
FORWARDS:  Richard Siemens, Irvin Schroeder BUHLER  Kyle ERIE  Elton Winter SUBLETTE  Bruce Holman POWHATTAN  Foster EMPORIA-ROOSEVELT  Jay Poage ALMENA  Arvin Liester MENLO
CENTERS:  Bill Engellend NICKERSON  Otto Schnellbacher SUBLETTE  LaVerne Unruh BUHLER  Steve Frazier SPRING TOWNSHIP

                               Hutchinson fans were proud of the job Coach "Chop" Cairns had done in 1940 - taking a team that had been an Ark Valley cellar dweller to an undisputed league championship. Many observers tabbed the Salt Hawks as title favorites and the best Hutchinson team since the 1923 State runner-up squad that lost in overtime to the famous national champions from Wyandotte. 1

                              Topeka was absent from the tourney, so the opening round attendance was slightly reduced. But, the usual group of interested college basketball instructors increased in size. Reports circulated in sports columns that Bruce Drake (Oklahoma) had contacted the Mitchell brothers from Hutchinson. Phog Allen innocently told writers that he hoped to see Ray Evans enroll at KU next term. 2 Gene Kemper reported in his column that Kansas "offered to do everything anyone else will for Ray Evans. And a friend of the school has promised him a job with an oil company upon graduation." 3 Ray Evans was the "wanted man" sought by not only basketball coaches, but by football leaders as well.

                             The Wyandotte boys came into the tourney with only one loss. Bulldog fans excused the season opening loss to Winfield because it was thought that Winfield (they did not participate in the sport of football)^ had much more time to prepare for that first meeting. The twenty-seven straight wins after that early game convinced many KC fans that this team was in the  discussion as the best ever Wyandotte team. 4 A late February foot injury to all-star Evans dampened that outlook, but Wyandotte was far from a one man team. Bill Brill, John Noone and Leo Headrick carried the team while Evans rested for the state tourney.  5

                             No one was overlooking the defending champion Winfield and their all-star center Gerald Tucker. He was called the "flat-footed floogie" by one writer.  6 The name referred to his  flat foot condition that severely limited his jumping ability. He compensated for that defect by positioning his 6' 4" body to block out opposing team re-bounders and he also possessed a highly developed eye for the ball when battling under the boards.  He could score, with either hand, a hook shot that was accurate from any position. 7

                           The championship season dream of Hutchinson was crushed by the Wyandotte team in the semi-final round. Jim Reed reported, "The Bulldogs started like five harvest hands at the sound of the dinner bell and ran up nine points before Hutchinson could score a field goal." By half-time the Wyandotte lead grew to 20-6. Ray Evans appeared to be completely recovered from the broken bone in his foot and the starters performed like an all-star team.

                          Frank Lindley was firmly in charge as Newton returned to final four competition against Winfield. He used everything in his defensive playbook but his players were unable to stop Gerald Tucker. "The Vikings passed the ball like a bullet and controlled the leather as if it had strings on it," reported Jim Reed. "Tucker did everything but sell popcorn."9

                          The championship game between Winfield and Wyandotte provided a thrilling finale to the end of one era in Kansas high school basketball. The score was tied seven  times. Coach Ollie Thomas played his starters the entire game., while Wyandotte threw seven players into the fray. Evans and Tucker traded great plays against one another. Tucker in the middle of Winfield's zone posed a tremendous challenge to the usually smooth Wyandotte offense. The Bulldogs slowed their game down but were unable to take advantage of some openings in the final quarter. 10 Ray Evans scored a field goal from the corner that tied the game with less than ten seconds on the clock. Tucker was fouled with five seconds left but missed his free throw attempt. Neither team could gather possession and the contest moved to "sudden death" overtime. The flat footed Tucker was able to get the tip at the start of the extra period. After a few passes, Winfield's Jim Roberts found a path to the goal and pushed a one handed lay-up through the basket for the championship.  11

                       Reporters and fans were touched by the emotional ending to this Class A tournament. The Winfield players hoisted up their hero Jim Roberts and carried him off the floor.  But for Wyandotte, the Kansas City Kansan reported, "Tears fell like raindrops on the Wyandotte bench. The players cried their hearts out. The five Wyandotte starters were seniors. They were playing their last game. They saw their 4-year dream of a state championship turn into a nightmare." 12  Gerald Tucker walked to the Wyandotte bench to congratulate and console the players who had given everything and lost. Stu Dunbar wrote, "(He) remained to cry on Bill Brill's shoulder. Brill, who had guarded Tucker, like all of the other Wyandotte players was openly in tears, and Tucker could not resist the urge to shed a tear, too."  13

                       The emotion displayed by the Wyandotte team was probably intensified by the loss of their Coach Percy Parks - he was killed in the summer of 1939 in a traffic accident with a Kansas City streetcar. (See Below)  Coach Ashley Elbl was Parks assistant and took over head coaching duties. It is probable that the Wyandotte boys and Elbl drew inspiration from the memory of their beloved coach and friend. 

                      Observers were united that the "sudden death" feature in the first overtime was flawed and should be dropped from future tourneys. The Topeka State Journal commented, "The only bad taste in the mouths of the large crowd was the sudden death plan used to decide the 27-27 tie. 14 Gene Kemper commented in his column, "Winfield, in this case, played smarter basketball and probably deserved to win. There is no way of telling that the Vikings wouldn't have taken a 3 or 5 minute playoff. But the sudden death arrangement is not a real test of two well matched teams. It is like putting two boxers who have (fought to a draw) back in the ring and awarding the fight to the first man who lands a blow." 15

                      Nickerson was favored at Hutchinson to repeat as Class B champion. They had scoring machine Bill Engelland for his senior season. Bill showed plenty of scoring with twenty-seven points in the opening round win over Edgerton. 16 Menlo of Thomas county had an enrollment of sixty-one students and they were undefeated on the season. Teams of  northwest Kansas, large and small, knew that Nickerson would have trouble with the small school. It was still quite a shock to the tourney crowd when Menlo's Thomas connected with the game winning shot with thirty seconds left in the game. 17 

                     Powhattan, coached by KU alumnus Johnny Corrigan, played a schedule that included many victories over Class A teams (Haskell, Atchison, Maur Hill and others). They brought a glossy 30-2 record to the tourney. 18 Roosevelt of Emporia was a private school in Emporia with ties to Emporia State. They also had a schedule that included several Class A teams and had access to the practice facilities of the college. They were coached by the excellent tournament veteran Gus Fish. 19 

                     Class B dynasty Buhler prevailed in the final against Menlo. Coach Binford's team played a schedule as tough as any due to their membership in the Mid-Kansas league. All five of the starters made the tournament honor roll. Menlo never gave up - they were down 18-9 at the end of the half. They came back to tie the game early in the 4th quarter. Buhler's Unruh scored a go ahead goal with about four minutes left in the game. The taller Buhler boys were able to protect that two point lead the rest of the way and won their third Class B championship. The rule change in regard to retaining possession of the ball rather than shooting a free throw when fouled played a big part in the Buhler victory. The Crusaders were able to maintain possession as Menlo fought to get back in the game. 20

RULE CHANGE:  Teams were given the option of taking a free throw or taking the ball out of bounds at mid-court. If two or more free throws were awarded, the option applied to the last throw. 21

WINFIELD FOOTBALL: Winfield schools did not play football during this era. This was the result of a reaction to the death of Southwestern College athlete Edison Ogrosky in 1924.  The depression over the loss was so great that the high school and the college dropped football for many years. 22

PERCY PARKS:  Percy Parks, Ashley Elbl, Ed Ash (KCK Junior College Head Coach), Alfred Kustra (Wyandotte Asst.) and Harold Reade (Shawnee Mission Head Coach) were traveling  on US Hwy 50 when a Strang Line street car crashed into the left rear side of the automobile. All the coaches were injured to a certain degree - but Parks was nearest to the collision point. While he and the other coaches were being cared for at the hospital, the effects of a secondary brain hemorrhage took hold. Coach Parks lost consciousness and, despite the successful surgery to stop the bleeding and several blood transfusions, the young coach died several days later. Former students and current Wyandotte players had maintained a vigil for their popular mentor. It was a tragic loss for the Kansas City and Olathe (he coached there previously) area. He won two state basketball championships and compiled a 245-38 record at Wyandotte. He was also the head football coach and won 7 League championships. 23

1   Jim Reed, "Off the Sports Cuff", Topeka Daily Capital, March 12, 1940
2   Ibid, March 15, 1940
3   Gene Kemper, "Gene Kemper's Column", Topeka Daily Capital, March 18, 1940
4   Kansas City Kansan, February 27, 1940, 6
5   Ibid, February 24, 1940, 5
Jim Reed, "Off the Sports Cuff", Topeka Daily Capital, March 11, 1940
7   Edgar L. Frost, "Tucker Made Most of Athletic Ability", Winfield Daily Courier, January 2, 2010
8   Jim Reed, "Bulldogs Win Under Wraps", Topeka Daily Capital, March 16, 1940, 12
9   Ibid
10 Topeka Daily Capital, March 17, 1940, 16B
11 Ibid
12 Kansas City Kansan, March 17, 1940, 6B
13 Stu Dunbar, "Sport Chaff", Salina Journal, March 20, 1940
14 Topeka State Journal, March 18, 1940, 6
15 Gene Kemper, "Gene Kemper's Column", Topeka Daily Capital, March 18, 1940
16 Hutchinson News, March 14, 1940, 2
17 Ibid, March 15, 1940, 2
18 Ibid, March 14, 1940, 2
19 Hutchinson News-Herald, March 17, 1940, 3
20 Ibid, 2
22 http://www.ausbcomp.com/~bbott/whviking/ogrosky.htm
VARIOUS: Kansas City Kansan: June 22-24-25, 1939 Olathe Mirror: June 29, 1939