The Dodge City High basketball teams are being played a trick by with Mother Nature and it could be the death knell of the hopes of seedings because tonight's contests at Liberal might not be played.
All of the roads late Thursday night between Dodge City and Liberal were completely snowpacked/iced according to the Kansas Department of Transportation website and school has already been postponed at the high school.
Winter Storm Q officially dumped 11.1 inches at the National Weather Service offices at Dodge City Regional Airport, eight inches in west Dodge City and up to 12.4 inches reported five miles north of town. Liberal had four inches of snow. Temperatures were supposed to fall to near zero Friday morning.
"The main issue is that with the temperatures going down so far (Friday morning), all the moisture that had turned to liquid would be solid, making things much slicker," said Tim Burke, a forecaster for the National Weather Service.
The Kansas State High School Activities Association ruled that the Class 5A and 6A seedings would take place Saturday morning, so it was important to get the game with the Redskins played as originally scheduled.
"We're going to try anything and any way possible to get the game played," said DCHS athletic director Jay Gifford. "We want to play the game, but safety is also a big issue that has to be addressed. If we can't play the game Friday night, there really isn't any reason to play the game."
The Red Demons (12-7) are currently third in the seedings in the Class 6A Maize sub-state, a half-game behind Garden City (13-7). A win by Dodge City over the Redskins would move the team into a tie and because the Demons have beaten the Buffaloes twice this season, would get the second seed.
That is important because the No. 2 seed would host one of the sub-state finals instead of playing both sub-state finals at Maize as had been in the past. So if the Red Demons and Buffaloes win their first round game, the second game would either be at the DCHS Fieldhouse or the New Garden.
"We want this game because of that. If we get third, we want to earn that by getting beat by Liberal," Hamilton said. "If the association doesn't understand the kind of storm we had out here and they don't allow teams to re-seed after Saturday night, then I don't think they have the kids' best interests.
"I know that's pretty harsh, but that's how I feel. We're going to get this game in one way or another. I've heard there are other teams playing Saturday and if we get bumped to third because of that, then it's very unfortunate."
Although the Lady Demons are not playing for a home game, they are playing for something very important. Dodge City are battling for the fifth-seed spot; with Hutchinson currently a game ahead of the Lady Demons and Campus.
However, Dodge City has already beaten their opponent while Hutchinson and Campus have much tougher competition. Dodge City is likely going to be in a coin flip, but they would rather be on for fifth with that team playing Wichita Northwest and Garden City nor Maize, two teams ranked in Class 6A with much better records.
"We really look forward to playing Liberal again and moving up in the sub-state for momentum purposes, but if we don't get it played, then we're just going to have to play with whoever we draw," said DCHS girls basketball head coach Kelley Snodgrass.
The Red Demons just completed their fourth straight run to the Western Athletic Conference title. Dodge City beat Liberal 51-38 last month at the Fieldhouse, with the Red Demons opening the game with a 14-4 run and were never challenged building a 26-12 lead at halft. Jace Larson scored 15 points and had 15 rebounds to lead Dodge City in the first meeting.
Hamilton said the Red Demons understand what's at stake and cannot afford to take the Redskins (4-15, 1-6) lightly.
"We're playing good basketball and to go in there and lay an egg would be disappointing to their coach and to the players themselves," Hamilton said.
The Lady Demons ended an eight-game losing streak when they beat Liberal 48-28 in the first meeting of the season, perhaps the best game of the season overall for Dodge City. The Lady Demons scored 19 points off of 15 Liberal turnovers and led 23-10 at halftime. Ciera Lampe scored 17 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead Dodge City in the first meeting.
"It will be a tough test at their place," Snodgrass said. "Hopefully,we can execute well on offense and defensively, hold them below our goal of 35 points. That will definitely help in getting the momentum going into sub-state."