Monthly Archives: February 2013

KCAC championships postponed until Tuesday, looking back on Newman’s loss, the Oscars

Just a heads up on the KCAC Tournament championship games – they’ve both been moved to Tuesday and are both still going to be played at Hartman Arena in Park City. The men’s final between McPherson (14-17) and Sterling (21-10) is at 6 p.m., followed by the women’s final between Kansas Wesleyan (18-12) and Southwestern (22-7) at 8 p.m.

Here’s the KCAC’s official release on the postponements.

I like McPherson in the men’s final and Southwestern in the women’s. Here are the stories from Saturday night by Eagle stringer Lionel Tipton on the Friends men losing to McPherson on a last-second shot. The top-seeded Friends women – the KCAC regular-season champs – lost to Kansas Wesleyan at home in the semifinals but already have a bid to the NAIA Division II Tournament next month in Sioux City locked up.


I covered No. 21 Newman’s loss to Arkansas-Fort Smith on Saturday at Newman – the Jets and UAFS were tied for first place in the Heartland, and the win clinched at least a share of the title for the Lions and the right to host the Heartland Tournament. The Lions won this game in the post and from beyond the three-point arc — Newman can usually negate any team’s three-point shooting when Trae Beck gets hot, but he was ice cold on Saturday. In the post, there wasn’t much the Jets could do … especially when UAFS big men showed they were able to hit the three, handle the ball in the open court and then post up in half-court sets. That’s a tough out for anybody.  UAFS swept the regular-season games against Newman this year and a third matchup, at Fort Smith, would be incredibly entertaining. Key for Newman? Senior guard Shamar Acuay has to stay out of foul trouble. He’s a physical guard


Last night’s Oscars were as much fun as I’ve had watching the Academy Awards in I don’t know how long. Yeah, I know it’s long, but it’s long every year. Yeah, I know it can be a little stuffy, but it’s stuffy every year. That’s just the Oscars.

From the variety of movies that won (Jennifer Lawrence, Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee, Daniel Day Lewis … wow) to MacFarlane as a host to Ben Affleck’s amazing, heartfelt speech at the end, this was a home run.




All about KCAC basketball


Two big happenings in the KCAC this week – All-KCAC picks are out and KCAC Tournament quarterfinals begin Friday.

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Beyond the Cutline: Star-Spangled Sons

This is a new, weekly feature for Sunflower Slate where I’ll take a picture from off the beat and get the story behind it – from the person that took it and the people in it. If you have ones you think might be worthy, feel free to e-mail them to me:

Be safe out there in all this snow.

“Star-Spangled Sons” 


Cutline: Butler Community College men’s basketball coach Mike Bargen stands for the national anthem with his son, John, before Butler’s Feb. 9 game at Hutchinson. Butler defeated Hutchinson, then No. 1 and undefeated, 70-64.

Beyond the Cutline: I saw the picture, taken by Mike Bargen’s wife, Kacy, on Facebook while I was in Orlando last week. When I got back I was interviewing Mike and asked him about it.

The Grizzlies have won five straight and were 21-6 and 9-4 in Jayhawk West play headed into Wednesday afternoon’s game at Cloud County. I thought it was striking because Mike would have been about the same age as John, who is five years old, when Mike’s father, Gary, was the head men’s coach at Hutchinson from 1978 to 1986.

Mike Bargen: (Kacy) and I talked for awhile about finding a road game that we could bring (John) to that was close enough where we wouldn’t have to keep him up too late. I want him to get to experience some of the things that I experienced with my dad when I was young. I’ve got some very similar (pictures) of me with my dad when he was the coach at Hutchinson.

Kacy Bargen: I’m from a military family and was brought up with some fairly strict guidelines … including attention during the national anthem. I was so proud of his posture! I hated to be snapping a photo during the national anthem … but the moment was too good to miss.



Butler pulls off recruiting coup with QB Zeke Palmer


Probably the biggest signing news out of the state/junior college ranks this week was Butler Community College landing Bishop Carroll’s Zeke Palmer, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound dual-threat quarterback who has a good shot at being the Grizzlies’ starting quarterback this fall. It was a major recruiting coup for the Grizzlies in not only landing a high-profile in-stater but a player who was very, very close to being either a Division I or I-AA player right out of high school and became the victim of he and his team’s success more than anything.

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Why Cowley and Butler don’t play in softball


In the process of putting together our juco softball previews on NJCAA Division I No. 11 Butler and NJCAA Division II No. 3 Cowley that ran in today’s Eagle and at, one of the questions I asked both coaches – Doug Chance at Butler and Ed Hargrove at Cowley – was why the two schools don’t play each other.

Turns out, there’s some lingering bad blood between the schools. And it all goes back to a Cowley pitcher named Ashly Bright, a 2006 doubleheader that never happened, the difference between NJCAA Division I (Butler) and NJCAA Division II (Cowley), some hurt feelings and two completely different stories on what went down.

According to Chance, the Grizzlies were scheduled to play a doubleheader at Arkansas City. He didn’t think the Grizzlies could beat Cowley twice because of Bright, who would end up being a unanimous pick for Jayhawk East player of the year and pitch for Wichita State.

“She was so good, just dominant,” Chance said. “We didn’t think we could beat her, but we thought we might be able to get one game from them, from another one of their pitchers.”

Chance said that Hargrove called him a couple of weeks before the doubleheader was scheduled to be played and said Cowley would only play one game of the doubleheader against Butler, and would bring in another team to play the other game.

That didn’t sit well with Chance, because Butler and Cowley were both Division II at the time – Butler is now Division I – and he wanted both shots at Cowley, who would finish the year No. 2 in the national rankings.

Chance then had Butler assistant coach Zack Sigler call a Cowley assistant at the time — someone Zigler had worked with before — and cancel the doubleheader.

“I didn’t think that was right, for them to not play us both games because we had an agreement in place,” Chance said. “Since Zack had someone on their staff he knew, I had him call them.”

This is where the stories diverge in a big way.

“(Chance) had his assistant call us and cancel, and I think they didn’t want us to play because of Ashly, who was so dominant,” Hargrove said. “We never proposed bringing in another team. They cancelled on us and left a huge hole in our schedule.

“The assistant said it was because of budgetary concerns … which I find hard to believe because the schools are only 60 miles apart. Doesn’t make sense.”

Hargrove also admitted that their had been  lingering problems between the schools dating back to before Chance took the job, and in the battle for recruits.  From my perspective, Hargrove has been dogged in publicizing his team – if there’s any mention of Butler in the paper, brief or story, there’s usually a follow-up e-mail asking for the same for Cowley and citing the battle for recruits. Usually, the e-mails are pretty heavy-handed, but I understand he’s trying to promote his team.

“We split on going after a lot of the same recruits,” Hargrove said.

And that leads to the Division I vs. Division II stuff – Butler is one of five teams in the Jayhawk that play Division I, which means they’ve chosen to go against jucos around the country with full scholarships, something the Jayhawk does not offer. Cowley is one of 16 Jayhawk schools that play DII and go against other partial and non-scholarship jucos.

“I think one difference you can see is where we place players,” Chance said.

That’s actually a good point – take this for example – Cowley outfielder Laura Seeman has signed with Emporia State. Seeman was an All-American last season. Butler pitcher/outfielder Kelsey Berlin, a similar player is headed to Arkansas. Butler has a glut of Division I players on their roster, already signed. The Tigers might have one this year. How successful they’ll be on the next level is anyone’s guess, but the perception from NCAA Division I programs is that the juco DI schools are producing more talent right now.

That’s not to say the teams won’t ever play again – Chance said he’s approached Cowley about setting up games, which Hargrove confirmed, but said he’s taking more of a wait-and-see approach.  Chance said he’d even be willing to pay for the umpires to make it happen.

“We want to play,” Chance said. “Anytime, anywhere.”




Friends women on hot streak


The Friends University women have been reeling off victories as of late – nine straight including last night’s 76-57 win over Kansas Wesleyan. The link is to a story from Eagle correspondent Austin Colbert.

The hot streak has put the Falcons back in the hunt for winning their second straight KCAC regular-season title – they are now one game back of No. 25 Tabor in the standings with five regular-season games left, including a Feb. 14 tilt at Tabor.

Abril Marshall leads the Falcons in scoring with 12.9 points per game – fourth in the KCAC. Rose Hill product Whitney Bates is third in the KCAC in steals (2.21) and assists (3.54). Friends plays at Sterling on Saturday night.