Through the Uprights: Mike Lavieri 9/4

Mike Lavieri

By Mike Lavieri PrepsKC columnist
Posted: September 4, 2018 - 8:14 AM

Separated by nine miles, Basehor-Linwood and Tonganoxie renewed a rivalry, but this time outside of the Kaw Valley League.

As the KVL no longer exists, its member schools split ways. Basehor-Linwood went to the newly created United Kansas Conference along with old KVL foes Lansing and Turner. They joined Shawnee Heights, Leavenworth and last year’s Frontier League champion De Soto.

Tonganoxie went to the Frontier League with Bonner Springs and Piper and Bishop Ward went to the Crossroads Conference, which is a mix of Kansas and Missouri schools.

While the split is certainly justified and aligns the schools more closely together in terms of size and competition, it takes away from rivalries such as Basehor-Linwood and Bonner Springs or Basehor-Linwood and Tonganoxie.

My hope is that these schools continue to play each other as the years go by.

What Basehor-Linwood loses in Bonner Springs, Piper and Tonganoxie, it gains in playing larger schools with more athletes to pull in the way of Shawnee Heights and Leavenworth.

While the Bobcats will be smaller than their Class 5A opponents, it will benefit Rod Stallbaumer’s team once they face the likes of Bishop Miege – a team that week in and week out is facing Class 5A and 6A opponents in the daunting Eastern Kansas League.

However, because it’s a six-team conference, finding quality opponents outside of the five-game conference schedule is difficult. Heading into the playoffs, the Bobcats will face Atchison and Schlagle.

Glass half-empty: Not the quality of opponents you want to face heading into the weeks that mean the most.

Glass half-full: Basehor-Linwood should be able to jump out and command an early and sustainable lead, which will lead to the second and third string players getting reps. It will, in turn, allow the Bobcats to essentially rest for two weeks and not be as banged up.

For Tonganoxie, it moves to a league that is more than half of the Class 4A east portion of the bracket. It will give them the ability to have their own tape on half those teams in a given year.

The Kaw Valley League made so much sense geographically, but the new league homes for these teams makes sense. Lansing now has an in-town rivalry with Leavenworth. De Soto was like Mill Valley in the KVL – too big. If the enrollment in De Soto grows, the UCK could be a temporary home as the EKL is an odd-numbered league and district officials could push for De Soto and Mill Valley being in the same league.

It appears Shawnee-Heights is a head scratcher when you look at it geographically, but competition wise it makes sense. That was the way I felt about Leavenworth in the Sunflower League, but it just couldn’t compete in addition to being geographically off.

Finally, league realignment makes sense (I’m looking at you NCAA). And if this doesn’t work, maybe Kansas can follow what Missouri has done and make a super conference like the Suburban League - but that's a column for a later date.