Category Archives: Heartland Conference

MIAA, KCAC and Jayhawk title races

Fort Hays State's Craig Nicholson (FHSU photo)

Fort Hays State’s Craig Nicholson (FHSU photo)

Title races are coming down to the wire in the MIAA, KCAC and Jayhawk — along with races for league MVPs, where it’s not hard to identify the players who have separated themselves as the best.

Here’s a look at the men’s and women’s title races in each league:

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Newman women clinch share of Heartland Conference title

Amazing stuff from the Newman women’s basketball team – lose their best player in the first game of the year and then this …

Newman’s Alex Adekunle scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Jets rallied from 13 points down in the second half to beat Texas-Permian Basin 84-81 in Odessa, Texas, and clinch at least a share of the Heartland Conference women’s title in a battle of the league’s two first-place teams.

It’s the first women’s crown for the Jets since moving up to NCAA Division II.

Newman was playing without two injured starters in Bobbi Coleman and leading scorer Philicia Kelly.

“We worked pretty hard to get back in this one,” said Newman first-year coach Jaime Green. “The players are the ones that have to execute, though. Us coaches are just along for the ride.”

Tasha Cannon added 26 points and nine rebounds for the Jets. Celeste Key added 10 points and point guard Rhea Codio had 14 points and six assists.

“I thought Rhea did a great job of keeping us focused when we got down,” Green said.

The Jets improved to 18-7 overall and 8-1 in Heartland play. Newman’s final regular-season game is Thursday at Oklahoma Panhandle State in Goodwell, Okla., where they can clinch the title outright with a victory and the top seed in the league tournament.

“I’m a competitor so I’d rather win it straight out and be conference champs and then also win the conference tournament,” Green said. “I was really proud of our kids today.”

Newman sweeps Heartland Conference’s weekly awards

CHIP STEVEN

It was a huge week for the Newman men’s and women’s basketball teams, with both Jet squads going 2-0 in a crucial stretch of the season. The women have been pretty steady throughout league play, but the men really struggled at the start of the season and have found a way to turn things around. Tremendous work by Mark Potter and Jaime Green. Not to mention both teams also beat St. Mary’s on Monday.

And there’s some side perks, too, with men’s player Chip Steven being named the Heartland Conference player of the week and Newman’s Tasha Cannon picking up the same award for the women.

Steven, a Derby native who played at Barton CC before coming to Newman, scored 19 points in a win over Arkansas-Fort Smith and then went 11 for 11 from the free-throw line and scored 28 points in a win over first-place Texas A&M-International. Cannon, a junior transfer from Coffeyville CC, had 19 points and 16 rebounds in a win over Arkansas-Fort Smith (triple overtime win, that is) and then hit TAMI for 26 points in another win. She’s averaging 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds this year.

The Jets will spend pretty much all tomorrow on the road, I’m guessing, to make it to Austin, Texas, for Thursday’s game against St. Edward’s. The men are currently in second place in the HC, and the women are tied for first.

TA

About last night: Newman & Friends

CHRIS JACKSON

CHRIS JACKSON

If you managed to pick up a copy of today’s Eagle (which I hope you did), you got a double-dose of state-college hoops with the Friends men beating McPherson as our display and another front-page story on the Newman men defeating Dallas Baptist. The Falcons moved to 7-0 in the KCAC with the win and took sole possession of first place and the Jets moved into a tie for first in the Heartland Conference with the win … and let’s get this out of the way right now: Friends forward Chris Jackson is making a serious case for KCAC MVP. My argument? He’s averaging almost 19 ppg, hit ‘em up for 26 in a game for first place last night and he’s shooting 46 percent from beyond the arc.

As far as Newman, this is really turning into a breakout season for the Jets, and a testament to Mark Potter as a recruiter. We knew Jaray Mathews, Chip Steven and Jake Darby were going to be good. What we didn’t know is that Keaton Schultz would turn into a star. The story of his transformation from an also-ran to The Man is really intriguing — dude played two years, redshirted on his own volition last season to work on his game and develop his body into that of a college player and now he might be his team’s second-best player. If you know anything about college sports, that type of patience is rare and, at Sunflower Slate, well thought of.

Now if Friends and Newman would only play each other …

Out. TA.

Ps. I stole that “About last night” tag from J. Mart. Thanks, J. Mart.

Q&A with Sunflower Slate: Newman AD Vic Trilli

Newly-minted Newman University athletic director Vic Trilli was kind enough to sit down with Sunflower Slate for a Q&A last week, and while he’s adjusting to his move from Garden City — where he was the Garden City Community College AD since 2005 — to Wichita just fine, there’s still a few loose ends that needed to be tied up in Western Kansas before he can set up roots here. I had the opportunity to cover a Trilli-led athletic department for the better part of two seasons when I was with the Garden City Telegram, so there’s a little history there between us, which of course makes him a Sunflower Slate favorite. He’s also got big-time experience; he was the men’s basketball coach at North Texas and an assistant at the University of Texas before getting into an administration role.

Vic Trilli, Newman AD

Vic Trilli, Newman AD

Here’s some excerpts from our interview:

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UPSET SPECIALS (NEWMAN, PITT STATE)

There were a couple of big upsets in state college sports Friday and none bigger than the one right here in the Air Capitol by the newly-minted NCAA Division II Newman Jets, who defeated No. 7-ranked Drury University 3-2. Much props to Brian Alvarez, a fellow Wichita Northwest graduate who scored one of Newman’s three goals. He gets his picture on this blog right here, right now, because he’s a Grizzly. And he’s a pretty good soccer player. But more because he’s a Grizzly.

Brian Alvarez, Newman

Brian Alvarez, Newman

Newman SID Brian Petrotta wrote a great story on the game.

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Newman’s May gets big win

Props to Newman’s Nick May — A Kechi native — on his big win Tuesday at the SMUBWMI on Tuesday in Austin. Nothing like a great win at the SMUBWMI. And no, the tournament’s name isn’t SMUBWMI, it’s just short for its ridiculously long proper name.

Here’s the release from Newman SID Bryan Petrotta, who is doing a heckuva job in his new role in Wichita. And when I say he’s doing a heckuva job I don’t mean like this. That’s definitely somebody who wasn’t doing a good job.

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Roll Call: Best of the MIAA, Heartland, KCAC and Jayhawk (9/22)

Some people hate Mondays. I love them. Because they’re my Fridays and … it’s player of the week time!

I did this by conference last week, but this time I’m going to switch it up and try by sport. FYI, Bethel and Ottawa cleaned up in the KCAC awards, ESU volleyball player Ting Liu is a stud, and the Friends University Web Site definitely needs to throw some mug shots on there.

Here it goes:

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Welcome to Sunflower Slate

Welcome to Sunflower Slate, The Wichita Eagle’s blog for state college and junior college sports.

To break it down, here’s what this pertains to — anything and everything to do with the KCAC, MIAA, Heart of America, and Jayhawk Conference.

Please consider this a fluid concept, too. And it’s not just for football and basketball, either, although that will definitely play a big part in it.

I’ve got a pretty good grasp of what’s going on in the state right now in this arena — but there’s always somebody or some team somewhere that’s doing something great and flying under the radar, and that’s what I’m looking for.

Here’s my e-mail: tadame@wichitaeagle.com, and here’s my office phone:316-268-6284. Feel free to call anytime.

Let’s do this!

-Tony Adame