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Playoffs are here for KHS... sort of

February 15, 2023 - 00:00
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While this week marks the second round (regional) of basketball playoffs for the state’s two smallest classes, the teams in Classes 2A, 3A and 4A are just about to begin their treks to The Big House.

Well, most of them anyway.

Kingfisher won’t be taking part in the district championship excitement this weekend because the Lady Jackets’ and Yellowjackets’ first-round fate has already been decided.

ASTEC Charter dropped out of the Class 4A playoffs after the pairings were announced by the OSSAA.

ASTEC Charter just happened to be Kingfisher’s opponent for the district championships this weekend.

That means both KHS teams received a bye into the regional winners’ bracket next week.

The APB will be the site of the first round of that regional on Thursday, Feb. 23. The KHS squads will host the winners of this week’s Bridge Creek and John Marshall district matchups.

With at least one of Thursday’s home games in doubt (see story above left), the Kingfisher teams will go - at least - a week without a game.

The Lady Jackets potentially could have 10 days between contests.

But waiting won’t change the Kingfisher teams’ goals.

The Lady Jackets are looking to make a return trip to the Class 4A state tournament. Prior to last year’s magical run, they hadn’t reached that point since 2009.

After Monday night’s home win over Class 5A contender El Reno, KHS sported an 18-4 record and was ranked fourth in the class.

They’ll be the top-seeded team in Area IV with No. 7 Anadarko being the other top-eight team.

After serving as the regional sub-site host, KHS will play the remainder of its regional at Cleveland.

The area tournament, originally scheduled for Shawnee High School, has since been moved to Noble High School the weekend of March 2-4.

Meanwhile, the Kingfi sher boys aim to keep their spot atop the Class 4A mountain.

The Jackets won state titles in 2017, 2019, 2021 and last season. They were state runners-up in 2018.

This year’s core group of seniors have spent more weeks at No. 1 during their careers than not.

They enter the playoffs at that very spot...No. 1.

With their own win over El Reno on Monday, KHS was 19-3 on the season.

North Rock Creek ranked eighth - is the other top-eight team in Kingfisher’s area.

The Jackets will take the same road as the girls - home, Cleveland and Noble - for the regional and area tournaments.

Kingfisher’s boys have reached the state tournament each of the last six seasons.

The only time they haven’t reached the state championship game during that stretch was 2020 when the state tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.