By DUSTIN ARMBRUSTER
The Hays High Indians were guaranteed two more games in 2020. But those two games never occurred after the Kansas State High School Activities Association elected to cancel the final two days of the state basketball tournaments due to concerns of COVID-19.
Hays High ended the season on an eight-game winning streak after dropping four of five in the middle of the season.
During that final eight-game winning stretch, Hays played four state-ranked teams beating the No. 7 team in 4A twice and the No. 6 and No. 5 teams in 5A. The unranked Indians were set to play their third-straight ranked 5A team — No. 3 Basehor-Linwood — when the season was cut short.
Over the final eight games, Hays scored 51 points per game while allowing just 41 points and holding two opponents in the 20s.
The Indians shared the Western Athletic Conference title with Great Bend, both with a 7-1 mark. Hays beat the Panthers in the rubber match in Great Bend to earn a berth in the 5A state tournament.
The 17-6 Indians had six players average six or more points per game with T.J. nunnery at 10.3 per contest. Dayln Schwarz ended just under double figures at 9.8 points per game. Dylan Ruder led the way on the boards with 6.5 per contest. Carson Kieffer likely would have become the 19th player in Hays High history to collect 100 or more assists in a single season, but ended the year with 95.
Ruder and Schwarz were named to the Western Athletic Conference first team, Nunnery second team and Kieffer honorable mention. All four were also name to the 5A All-State team by Sports in Kansas. Ruder and Schwarz to the second team and Nunnery and Kieffer received Honorable Mention. Ruder was also named to the KBCA Academic All-State team.
In his first year, Coach Alex Hutchins was a finalist for Sports in Kansas 5A Coach of the Year.
Both seniors on the team will continue their athletic careers. The 6’10” Dylan Ruder will play basketball at Kansas Wesleyan. Brock Lummus will play baseball at Butler County Community College.