Cowley, Coffeyville seek Region VI Tournament title

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette

The Region VI tournaments get underway Monday night at their respective higher seeds gymnasiums and due to COVID, it'll be that way for the first two rounds and then they move to Friends University for the semifinals and the championships for the men's and women's Division I brackets.

Here is a quick break down of the tournament and who to watch for:

Favorite: Coffeyville (19-2)

Sure, Cowley won the "conference," but if we're going to be honest, this is a Coffeyville world and we're just living in it. Jay Herkelman has done it again and the Red Ravens are poised at a national championship run. They are most likely into the national tournament as long as they get out of the second round. 

Cowley should pressure Coffeyville, but I've always been one to wonder how their system runs when you get to the games that matter, in the playoffs. Last year, they faltered toward the end of the season. This season, they've beaten some solid teams, including Coffeyville. I'm giving the nod to the Red Ravens.

Dark horse: Dodge City (13-8)

When you have arguably the best point guard in college basketball in Walyn Napper, you give yourself an opportunity to win every game. 

That said, the Conqs have seen some issues as of late with a head-scratching loss to Pratt and one to Garden City earlier this year. 

For the Conqs to pull some upsets and get to the national tournament, it'll be on the back of Napper. The conference's leading scorer will have to do that all tournament long. 

Longshot: Colby (6-9)

Weird transition for the Trojans, who were the No. 1 seed last year. However, COVID has bitten them hard, as they only played two games in a month. They are trying to form some sort of chemistry and momentum on the court and it doesn't appear to be working so far. 

Since coming back from quarantine, the Trojans are only 2-6, with wins over Northwest Tech and Garden City. 

The Trojans are balanced as they have six players averaging at least 9.4 points per game. However, they're a below-average shooting team and rebounding is average at best. Going up against Coffeyville in the first round, a team who beat them by 39 once this season, will be tough.

Players to watch

Here are five players to keep an eye on in the tournament

Walyn Napper, Dodge City Community College

The sophomore transfer really blew up earlier in the season, including scoring 39 in a loss to Hutch and 37 in a win over Pratt, he's been on a different path as of late. He's been more of a facilitator as of late. He had 15 assists in the loss to Pratt on March 29.

Napper's 20.9 points per game is tops in the league and 13th nationally. He's also fourth nationally with 8.1 assists per game.

Dalen Ridgnal, Cowley College

This man can do it all for the Tigers — and he has. He is second in the conference with 20.6 points (16th nationally) and his 13.2 rebounds per game are a league-high and are the second most nationally.

What Ridgnal really does is dictate the flow of his opponents. He's so long and athletic, teams are afraid to attack. Unlike last season, he stayed out of trouble and has remained on the court. During Cowley's current 9-game winning streak, he's only been in foul trouble (more than three fouls) once. in both conference losses, he was saddled with foul trouble.

Matt Mayers, Hutchinson Community College

Mayers, the sophomore had a streak earlier this season of nine games where had 10 or more rebounds for the Blue Dragons and they were 8-1 during that stretch. It's not surprising when you look at his rebounding totals Hutch is only 5-4 when he has at least 10 rebounds. They are 10-1 when he has 10 or more rebounds. 

He's averaging 18.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. The rebounds rank him 13th nationally. His points have him fifth in the conference and 40th nationally.

Justin Harmon, Barton Community College

Harmon, much like Napper is a do-it-all for Barton. Unfortunately missed some games this year but is a game-changer when he's on the floor. He can shoot the three or attack the rim and create contact, where he's a dead-eye at the line, 82.4 percent. 

Harmon is a top 10 scorer in the league (16.5 points per game). He can rebound (4.3 rebounds per game) and dish out assists (3.6). He also shoots the three at almost 36 percent per game. 

Tylor Perry, Coffeyville Community College

If there ever was a player who maybe didn't get the attention they deserve from how well they've played this season, it may be Tylor Perry. He's the engine that makes Coffeyville go and does it with dead-eye precision from all over the court.

He's His 52.4 percent from beyond the three-point line ranks him sixth nationally and the best with anyone over five attempts per game.

Region VI Schedule

First Round schedule

No. 9 Seward County (8-12) at No. 8 Independence (12-9), 7 p.m.

No. 12 Allen County (6-16) at No. 5 Dodge City (13-8), 7 p.m.

No. 13 Colby (6-9) at No. 4 Coffeyville (20-2), 7:30 p.m.

No. 11 Garden City (8-12) at No. 6 Butler (16-6), 7 p.m.

No. 14 Cloud County (6-16) at No. 3 Barton (14-8), 7:30 p.m.

No. 10 Neosho County (8-13) at No. 7 Pratt (9-11), 7 p.m.

Men's

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.