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FHSU tennis tops Kansas Wesleyan -9/18/2014, 10:30 AM

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Monarchs face first road test, Redmen -9/18/2014, 10:14 AM

Big game for 'Cats -9/18/2014, 10:13 AM

Hays High gets Liberal for home opener -9/18/2014, 10:14 AM

Royals fall to Chicago -9/17/2014, 10:59 AM

Tigers' Herman named MIAA Golfer of the Week -9/17/2014, 10:58 AM

Tuesday prep volleyball scores -9/17/2014, 10:52 AM

KVA volleyball rankings, Sept. 17 -9/17/2014, 10:50 AM

TMP suffers second loss to Garden City -9/17/2014, 10:46 AM

Hays High volleyball moves to 10-0 -9/17/2014, 10:47 AM

Tiger volleyball takes No. 4 UNK to five sets -9/17/2014, 10:53 AM

Tigers ride momentum of first win -9/17/2014, 10:45 AM

O'Brien earns MIAA weekly honor -9/16/2014, 10:24 AM

Tigers' Bradley named MIAA Specialist of the Week -9/16/2014, 10:24 AM

Hype continues to grow for K-State, Auburn -9/16/2014, 10:24 AM

HHS soccer plays to draw -9/16/2014, 10:24 AM

Parkey's FG lifts Philadelphia in Indianapolis -9/16/2014, 10:24 AM

Royals walk off with win -9/16/2014, 10:13 AM

Peterson to play Sunday -9/16/2014, 10:13 AM

Royals slammed by Red Sox -9/15/2014, 4:42 PM

Keselowski wins at Chicagoland -9/15/2014, 4:42 PM

KSU defense ready for test -9/15/2014, 4:42 PM

Broncos escape Chiefs -9/15/2014, 4:42 PM

Tigers roll at NSU -9/14/2014, 10:23 AM

FHSU volleyball goes 2-2 in S. Dakota -9/14/2014, 7:53 PM

TMP boys second, girls third at Wamego -9/14/2014, 7:53 PM

Hays High thrashes Great Bend -9/13/2014, 1:03 PM

Area prep scores, Sept. 12 -9/12/2014, 10:24 PM

Ellis holds on for first win, beats TMP -9/12/2014, 7:54 PM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

Click To View All


myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
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Game looms large for Tiger men

Published on -12/20/2013, 10:23 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Last season, Fort Hays State University men's basketball coach Mark Johnson called the home game against Northwest Missouri State University on Feb. 6 the "biggest game of the year." The Tigers collected a 59-58 last-second victory, a win that eventually propelled FHSU to a conference championship.

This winter, the Tigers play host to Northwest Missouri State University in a 4 p.m. start Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum. FHSU is receiving votes in the NCAA Division II poll at 8-2, 0-2 MIAA. Northwest Missouri, ranked No. 2 in the preseason MIAA poll behind the Tigers, stands at 7-4, 2-0 MIAA.

"This game is about as big a game as we are going to have all season," Johnson said.

Fort Hays opened the conference slate with back-to-back overtime losses at University of Central Missouri and Missouri Western State University. Northwest Missouri has five seniors, including speedy point guard DeShaun Cooper and a big front line. Senior Dillon Starzl leads five scorers in double figures with 17.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.

Fort Hays last opened 0-2 in the MIAA in 2008-09 and eventually started 2-5 in conference play before it finished 20-9 and narrowly missed the NCAA tournament.

"It's going to be a bigger game than the last two games that we played, because they are a big, strong, physical team, and we are going to need everyone for that game," senior forward Dwayne Brunson said.

Starzl stands at 6-foot-8, 250 pounds, while senior Kyle Schlake is 6-10, 250 and junior Grant Cozad is 6-8, 205 and averages 11.6 points a contest.

Cooper missed a 22-point loss to Southwest Minnesota State University on Nov. 10, but Northwest's other three losses have come by a combined 13 points.

"They have got some really good guards, but I think Starzl is probably the best back-to-basket post player that we have in our conference," Johnson said. "Cozad up front, too. They have got a very good, physical, big, strong front line. I think size and physicalness has given us problems all year, and we are really going to be challenged. Our big guys really need to be at their best."

FHSU has suffered several injuries among its forwards. Senior Andrew Victoria, the team's biggest player at 6-8, 230 pounds, has longtime knee issues. Sophomore Jake Stoppel (6-5, 210) is coming back from ankle and knee injuries, while Brunson has battled a knee problem. Brunson leads the Tigers with 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds.

"It can get worse, if I don't treat it or take care of it, but I am doing all that," Brunson said. "Right now, it's just a little slight ouch in it still. But I will be back by (Saturday). It's just ice, stretching and treatment."

Victoria has averaged 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds this winter and is expected to play key minutes against Starzl and the big forwards. Early on, Victoria's knee was really bothering him and there was uncertainty whether the forward could continue.

"We have done a better job, I think, of monitoring his practice to alleviate some of that pain issue on his knee," Johnson said. "I think he has done well."

Stoppel has tallied 29 and 18 minutes the last two games, his most in back-to-back contests this season.

Senior Marty Wendel (6-6, 210) didn't play in the first half of the last contest against Central Christian College on Dec. 14, but finished with a career-high 10 points in 12 minutes. Johnson wanted to give Wendel, who averages nearly nine minutes a game, plenty of playing time to prepare for Saturday.

"It's a good chance that we are going to need him (Saturday) with the front line that Northwest Missouri has," Johnson said.

"They are big, physical guys and Marty is a pretty good athlete. He is a little more bigger body guy than we have, and plus, he is one of the few, healthy big guys that we have."

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