1. What's your biggest takeaway from the first week of league play?
Kelton, HutchNews: The loss to Coffeyville opened the eyes of the young players at Hutchinson. The raucous crowd in the Red Ravens' gym was a major factor in the loss and noticeably got under the skin of HCC sophomore James Rojas. Steve Eck started freshman D.J. Mitchell in the blowout win over Independence and scored 24 points. He's a scorer for a team that needed offense in the loss to Coffeyville. Rojas is the Blue Dragons' best player but thrived off the bench a season ago. It will be interesting to see how Eck uses Rojas as the season progress.
Levi, GCTelegram: The West is going to be fun. Already, there’s only one team left undefeated in conference play, and that’s a Barton team that only played one conference game so far. And the Cougars have to go to Coffeyville on Wednesday.
2. Best win from the first week of league play?
Kelton, HutchNews: How does the Dodge City women have any energy left? The fact that the Conqs have won five straight is marvelous compared to what they were the past three seasons, but the last three wins came in overtime, including a double overtime win over Independence.
Levi, GCTelegram: The Butler women’s decimation of Seward County on Wednesday. Not that a 65-54 win is that big of a “rout” but the No. 16 Grizzlies held the No. 10 Saints to 38.9 percent shooting from the field and turned them over 20 times. That’s a big early win between two favorites for the league crown.
3. Are Dodge City women really going to compete for top of the West?
The Conquistadors won 15 combined games in 2016-17 and 2017-18, but are nearly halfway there already at 7-3, including three-consecutive overtime wins.
They downed Independence, 76-70, in two overtimes on the road on Wednesday and then edged Neosho County, 87-76, in overtime at home Saturday.
But they also lost by wide margins to No. 15 South Plains and unranked Redlands in non-conference play, suggesting the Conqs will not be competing for the division this season. But a major improvement looks to be in the offing.
Kelton, HutchNews: Yes and no. Yes, because by definition, they technically are competing every game for the top spot. They are playing well for a program that had to suspend nearly the whole team two season ago and once trotted out six players. But, no, because Hutchinson is still the class of the west. If Dodge City can defeat a Hutch team that still hasn't found a consistent groove in all phases, then I'd say the Conqs are cooking with grease.
4. Are Coffeyville women really this bad?
Levi, GCTelegram: The Red Ravens are 1-9, with their only win coming on Saturday vs. Northwest Kansas Tech. Coffeyville won 16 games a year ago and 21 the year before that, in head coach Stephen Harrell’s first season. But now in Harrell’s third year, Coffeyville looks like its heading in the wrong direction.
Kelton, HutchNews: Ok, quick story. Coffeyville's Riana Rangi-Brown stole some of my gummy candy while I was covering the Hutchinson-Coffeyville game last Wednesday. She was coming back in after a timeout and swiped them right out the bag and went onto the court. She later asked for more after halftime. I graciously shared and laughed hysterically. The end. I've had a few conversations with Coffeyville's Stephen Harrell and he's a great man and coach from what I received, but Coffeyville played like a high school team in the loss to Hutch. As of now, they are that bad.