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Preview - The Ellsworth County Independent Reporter
Volume 4 • 2015-16
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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW
Inside Features:
• McPherson’s Drew Pyle continues the family tradition.
• Cooper Holmes steps into leadership role
at Concordia.
• Hugoton girls go the distance after a spectacular
turn around.
• Minneapolis’ Lindsay Shupe is unstoppable.
• Many more features.
• And previews from more
than 100 Kansas
high schools.
Page 2
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
John Webb
Kelli Webb
Jordan Webb
Prou d Su pportersofth e
Salina Sou th
C ou gars
Sacred H eart
Knigh ts
SALINA C ENT RAL
M U STANG S
600 S. Santa Fe, Suite C, Salina, KS 67401
785.820.8161 or 1.888.756.6670 fax: 785.820.8123
[email protected]
www.webbandassociatesfinancial.com
Securities offered through OFG Financial Services, Inc., Topeka, KS
Member FINRA/SIPC
On the Cover
In the top photo by Shirley Cox Schroeder,
starters and seniors on this season’s Beloit and
Beloit St. John’s/Tipton high schools’ basketball teams are back row, from left: Anthony
Nunez, Davis Dubbert, Colson Riemann,
Chloe Miller, Logan Mong, Parker Gates,
Hunter Budke, Brenna Eilert and Colson
Reames.
Middle row, from left: Isaac Meyer, Bailey
Shellito, Alana Budke, Gabbie Smith, Luke
Hesting, Elizabeth Walter and Maeve Spangler.
Front row, from left: Sami Hollerich, Alexis
Budke, Megan Bates and Remi Behrends.
See Pages 23-24 for story.
In the bottom photo, Sacred Heart-Salina High
School head basketball coach Pat Martin is
flanked by seniors Lucas Comfort, left, and Jerod
Toogood.
See Page 32 for story.
Mark McCoy/Kansas Hardwood
Stockton’s Haven Hamilton pulls down a rebound
against the Lady Monarchs of Thomas Moore PrepMarian during the 2014-15 basketball season.
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
W
hat attributes are found in a successful coach, the likes of Kurt Kinnamon
at McPherson, his brother, Clint at St. John-Hudson, Shelly Hoyt at Hoxie
or the dozens of others we could name across Kansas?
Betsy Lafferty, a former basketball player who now coaches junior high school girls at
Little River, says it’s all about trust.
“Trust that your coach did the right thing. Trust in your team because that’s truly
what it’s all about. Trust that your coach cares more about the team than about themselves. If you don’t believe those things, even if you’re great, it’s not going to happen.”
Lafferty spoke one Thursday night in early Spring as part of a panel discussion on
sports at the Rice County Historical Society’s Coronado Quivira Museum at Lyons. The
backdrop was a 600-square-foot exhibit featuring Rice County sports teams starting in
the 1920s.
Hardwood attended the one-hour discussion because the event was reflective of the
magazine’s goals: to recognize the skills, hard work and character of the high school basketball coaches and players across the western two-thirds of Kansas.
The purpose of the Lyons panel was to celebrate sports, and also to examine the way
in which basketball and other games build and unite communities. The topic idea came
from Charlene Akers, the museum’s executive director, who — as she researched the
local exhibit — was amazed at the influence sports has on communities.
“I saw people coming together and thought, ‘Isn’t this exciting.’ Hometown teams
bring their communities together,” Akers said.
And create a sense of pride.
The panel and its interaction with the dozen or so in the audience re-enforced her
observations. Almost everyone had a story involving someone on the panel and their
years on the sidelines.
In addition to Lafferty, panel members were Junior Soeken, a Lyons High School graduate who has managed the Lyons Recreation Commission for years; Bud Kelly, a 1951
graduate of Sterling College who coached at Alden for 15 years before moving on to
Western Kansas; and Shane Cordell, the long-time football and basketball coach at Little
River who recently retired. Lafferty is his daughter.
The moderator was Doug Boardman, a Sterling College history professor who
coached football at what is now Triplains/Brewster. He was at Triplains when National
Geographic sent a photographer and writer to report on “Eight-Man Football Under the
Lights.”
He also was at Chase when the high school went four years without winning a basketball game.
“The community still supported them. They never gave up and that is what life’s all
about,” Boardman said.
Panelists also talked about the lessons learned from being active in sports — hard
work, life skills.
“It’s just a huge step toward becoming an adult,” Cordell said.
At the same time, speakers stressed the need for players to be realistic.
Lafferty said her dream was to become a big-time coach and then she became a wife
and mother.
“I hope they enjoy sports, but I don’t want them to be defined by sports,” she said of
the students she coaches.
“God, family, education, sports,” Cordell said in listing his priorities.
Cordell and the other retired coaches said running into their former players “means a
lot.” Just as looking up into the bleachers and seeing most of the community there, cheering on the hometown team, whether they had a player on the floor or not, meant so
much during their coaching days.
It’s a story without end. We hope you enjoy this year’s edition of Kansas Hardwood.
Linda Mowery-Denning
Kansas Hardwood
K ANS A S
HA
RDWOO
D
Basketball strengthens
community bonds
Page 3
John Baetz
Publisher
Co-owner of Sixteen 60 Publishing Co.,
publishers of Kansas Pregame Football
Magazine and Kansas Mat Preview, and The
Lincoln Sentinel-Republican and Chapman
News-Times weekly newspapers.
Bree McReynolds-Baetz
Publisher
Co-owner of Sixteen 60 Publishing Co.,
publishers of Kansas Pregame Football
Magazine and Kansas Mat Preview.
Linda Mowery-Denning
Publisher
Publisher and Co-owner with Morris
Multimedia, Savannah, Ga., of the
Ellsworth County Independent-Reporter and
the Marquette Tribune.
Layout and Design:
Linda Mowery-Denning,
Bill Beckmeyer and Kayla Kvacik
Sales:
John Baetz, Tyler Gier and
Amber Potter.
Contributing Writers: Brent Maycock,
Mark McCoy, Matthew Denning, Randy
Gonzales, Linda Mowery-Denning,
Harold Bechard, Kyle McCaskey, Lisa
Miller Kijowski and John Giffin.
Staff Photographers
Shirley Cox Schroeder and
Mark McCoy
Editors
John Baetz and
Linda Mowery-Denning
Mail questions and comments to:
[email protected]
or to:
Kansas Hardwood
P.O. Box 186
Lincoln, KS 67455
Page 4
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
What’s Inside
Page 6 — Drew Pyle continues the family tradition at McPherson.
Page 8 — Buhler’s Jessica Steffen prepares for Yale.
Page 8 — Cooper Holmes takes the lead at Concordia.
Page 9 — Isaiah Nunnery of Hays steps up.
Page 10-11 — It’s a new program — and State title — for Hugoton.
Pages 12 — Talented seniors lead Abilene girls.
Pages 13-14 — Harold Bechard previews Classes 6A, 5A and 4A.
Pages 15-21 — Big school snapshots.
Pages 22-23 — Beloit is home to two basketball powerhouses.
Page 24 — Lindsay Shupe of Minneapolis can’t be stopped.
Pages 25-31 — 3A preview and team snapshots.
Page 32 — Salina’s Sacred Heart is all about momentum.
Page 33 — Is this a breakout year for the Meade Buffaloes?
Page 34 — Mark McCoy previews Class 2A.
Pages 35-44 — Team snapshots.
Page 45 — Hanover’s Will Bruna plays beyond his years.
Pages 46 — Kirsten Burger is Thunder Ridge’s utility player.
Pages 47-53 — 1A preview and team snapshots.
Page 54 — Kelsi Mueller is Moscow’s floor general.
Pages 55-59 — More 1A team snapshots.
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 5
Winter Kickoff
December 5-6, 2015 in Wichita/Newton, KS
3rd & 4th Grade Shootout
February 27-28, 2016 in Wichita/Newton, KS
Winter Finale
April 2-3, 2016 in Wichita/Newton, KS
Summer Kickoff
June 10-12, 2016 in Wichita Metro
1A-2A Championships
June 17-19, 2016 in Maize/Wichita, KS
“Academy Sports + Outdoors”
MAYB National Championships
August 4-7, 2016
Boys in Wichita Metro and Girls in OKC, OK Metro
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We offer the opportunity to
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316-284-0354 for more information!
Page 6
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Drew Pyle continues the tradition
By Kyle McCaskey
their brothers and uncles, all those guys that
have come through kind of have an idea of
how special McPherson basketball is.”
For Kansas Hardwood
M
cPherson, rich in basketball lore,
has its brand names that endlessly
rotate onto the roster, an everchurning lottery hopper that always comes
up with a winning combination. Just skimming the surface, the latest stars included the
Ulsakers, the Kinnamons, the Hortons and
the Pyles.
The cyclical nature of the names writes the
next chapter this season. Kyler Kinnamon —
son of McPherson coach Kurt Kinnamon —
finally exhausted his high school eligibility,
much to the joy of the Bullpups’ opponents.
Kinnamon moves on to Fort Hays State
University after guiding McPherson to backto-back 4A-Division 1 championships.
McPherson is 48-1 over the past two years.
Imagine a pick-up game at the Pyle residence.
“We play a lot of basketball in the driveway. Just mess around,” Drew said.
“Sometimes it gets pretty serious.”
Drew is next to step up to the crown. It
was only a handful of years ago that Jack
Pyle, Drew’s cousin, was scoring in bunches
for McPherson before moving on to play at
Hutchinson Community College and
Newman University.
Drew watched his cousin with intent,
examining his style so he could mash it into
his own.
“I noticed a lot that he got to the foul line
a lot,” Drew said. “That’s something I’ve been
trying to do, is get some easy points from the
free-throw.”
Cue the next name. Enter Drew Pyle.
“You always need a leader on the court
that kind of knows what everybody’s position is, and where everybody is supposed to
be,” said Kurt Kinnamon. “Traditionally,
we’ve had that from the point position, but I
think, really, anybody can do that.
“Whether it is knowing where everyone
needs to line up for an inbounds play, or
where they’re going to be defensively for a
press or whatever, I can see Drew morphing
into that role, of kind of being a director out
on the floor.”
Allow a moment to reset Pyle’s rise into
floor general. Pyle is not being thrown to a
pack of starved wolves — if Kyler Kinnamon
and the also-departed Payton Stephens were
possibly the Option A and B a year ago, Pyle
was, at worst, the C in a three-pronged
offense that gave opponents free tutorials in
seamless point production.
Pyle piled up 15.1 points, 3.2 rebounds,
2.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game as a junior.
The Pyle pipeline will not run dry when
Drew finishes up his senior campaign this year.
Courtesy Photo
McPherson’s Drew Pyle comes from
a long line of basketball players.
“(Kyler’s) a lot to replace. He’s a really
good player, good athlete,” Pyle said. “We
should be able to replace most of what he
brought to the table with other guys. I’ll try
to do everything I can to replace that.”
Basketball aficionados around the state
likely recognize Drew’s last name, as well
they should. It is a legacy moniker for
McPherson basketball.
“They have a long history, back to dads
and uncles and grandparents, starting clear
back to when grandpa was playing at Iowa
State,” Kurt Kinnamon said. “Certainly with
Drew’s young brother, Ben, was a key contributor for the Bullpups a year ago as a
freshman. Following them are two younger
brothers — one in eighth grade, another in
third — and a sister in seventh grade. Quite
the pile of Pyles awaits the Bullpup programs.
For all those driveway one-on-ones, Drew
readily confesses his optimism that one or all
of his siblings will end up as the better players.
“I always try to help them as much as I
can,” Drew said. “I hope they become better
than me someday, so I want to try to help
them out as much as I can.”
It is a little stunning in the me-driven 21st
See PYLE, Page 7
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McPherson, Kansas | (620) 241-2460
68 Years Serving Kansas Communities'
Commercial Building Needs
Proud supporter of Bullpup basketball!
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 7
Steffen prepares for Yale
By RANDY GONZALES
For Kansas Hardwood
B
uhler coach Jon McLean is going to be
counting on senior guard Jessica
Steffen this season.
A lot.
Steffen is just one of two returning starters
off last year’s team that finished fourth at the
Class 4A Division I State tournament.
“She’s pretty competitive,” McLean said.
“She’s going to have to do a little bit of everything for us this year.”
The 5’8” Steffen averaged 19 points per
game for last year’s 19-6 squad. She came up
big in the sub-State title game against rival
McPherson in a matchup of state-ranked
teams. She scored a game-high 25 points,
including a pair of late free throws to send
the Crusaders to state.
“It was super exciting,” Steffen said. “I
think it was really great for the school, for
the team, the community ... That was a great
time. That will go down as one of my favorite high school memories.”
But the only returning starters from that
squad are Steffen and senior forward Morgan
Rohr.
“I know we have a bunch of great incoming players,” Steffen said. “We’re going to
Pyle
Continued from Page 6
century to hear an athlete offer an unabashed
opinion that they want to see someone else surpass their skills, even if it is a sibling. Yet Drew
said this is vital.
“I try to be the best out on the court, but my
family, my brothers, I love them and
I want the best for them,” Drew said.
“If my brother does beat me in oneon-one, I’m going to be a little upset,
but I’m glad he’s getting better and
he hopefully uses that to impact his
life so he can go on further.”
It becomes clearer when Drew
explains his influences.
Off the court, Drew spends
Wednesdays and Sundays at church.
He helps lead the Fellowship of
Christian Athletes at McPherson, an
organization he has been a part of
all four years.
“It’s important to keep faith in
athletics,” Drew said. “Pretty much,
have some changes, but I don’t think there’s
going to be a huge letdown.”
“We’re going to be a little bit different
team this year,” McLean said.
Starting over is what excites McLean.
“I’m really looking forward to it, because
that’s the beauty of high school basketball,”
he said. “Every year, you get a hand dealt to
you.
“I’m anxious to see if we’ve got some girls
who have improved from a year ago,” he
added. “My thought is we might struggle a
little early. As the season goes on we will
continue to get better.”
Steffen, who hopes to be an orthopedic
surgeon, has already committed to playing
basketball at Yale next year. She originally
looked at other programs, but decided an Ivy
League school fit her best for what she wanted to do academically.
“I realized because I take academics so
seriously, and I want to be a medical doctor, I
realized I could use basketball to do something way cooler than what I think most
people do,” said Steffen, who has never
received a “B” in a class. “I can use it to get
into the best university in the nation.”
Randy Gonzales is a long-time sports
writer in northwest Kansas.
no matter what, if it’s going good for you or
going bad, our lord will be right there with you,
and he’ll help you with it if you ask. He’ll never
leave you.”
Drew fell in love with basketball with the help
of his father, who he calls his “coach-slash-shooting partner since fourth grade.” They work
together on all of Drew’s skills, from dribbling to
defense.
It also is driving Drew’s desire to fill
McPherson’s leadership vacancies. Drew has two
state championships in three seasons. He will
Mark McCoy/Kansas Hardwood
Buhler’s Jessica Steffen considers
her options during a 2014-15 game.
pursue a third this season, a feat his dad missed.
“My dad has actually won two, and he lost
two,” Drew said. “He said he would give up those
two just to win one his last year. That’s motivated me, that this is my last chance, and not to
leave anything out there and feel like I regretted
anything.”
Drew worked on ball handing and mid-range
jumpers in the off-season, but realistically, there
are few skills at which he is not adept. Kurt said
Drew is a scorer from the post all the way back to
the 3-point line. He has the awareness and length
to defend well. He passes efficiently.
Drew is an ideal two-guard, though
he has played some point in the past
and is savvy enough to bang around in
the post.
All the physical traits are present.
Now Drew just has to lead the show.
He is the next man up in McPherson.
“It’s probably in the back of Drew’s
mind, of how cool it would be to be a
three-time state champion,” Kinnamon
said. “There aren’t many guys who can
say that, and say they started for three
years for a state championship.”
Kyle McCaskey writes for the
Hutchinson News.
Page 8
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Leadership is Holmes’ new comfort zone
By Brent Maycock
and be more of a leader, not just vocal but by
my actions as well. Every night, I tried to
come out and bring my best and hope that
rubbed off on the others.”
For Kansas Hardwood
I
n many ways, Cooper Holmes made
things look easy last year.
Starting with a 25-point outing in
Concordia’s season-opener, the Panther basketball standout put together a junior season
for the record books. Holmes wound up
leading the state in scoring, averaging 30.2
points per game on his way to Class 4A
Division II player of the year honors.
But in some ways, the 2014-15 season was
Holmes’ roughest. For pretty much the first
time since he picked up a basketball, he
wasn’t sharing a court with his older brother,
Grant.
“It was a different year,” Holmes said.
“Growing up I did always play up with my
brother. When he left and also a couple other
kids in his class who played with us growing
up, it was different. It was a big transition for
me and the team.”
The biggest transition for Holmes was the
move from being a complementary player to
Grant and his classmates — a darn good one
at that — into the Panthers’ leader.
Self-described as a “pretty laid-back, quiet kid,”
Holmes had to somewhat re-invent himself. It
Concordia coach Michael Roe saw the transformation in his star player. As good of a teammate as Holmes was before his junior season,
Roe said he was even better last year taking on
the new role as the Panthers’ team leader.
Courtesy Photo
Cooper Holmes prepares for his
senior year.
was time to exit the comfort zone he’d found
himself in for most of his career.
“I had a bigger role not only on the court,
but also a leadership role,” Holmes said. “It
took a little while to get used to and now I’m
really comfortable with it. We only had two
seniors so coach really wanted me to step up
“His maturity level, once he hit that junior
year, he kind of developed what I call your
man strings,” Roe said. “That’s what you
could see out on the floor. He was no longer
a young player, he’d grown up. He’s much
more of a presence on the floor. Sometimes
when a game’s easy for you and not as easy
for everyone else, those kids can get discouraged. But he was always in their ear keeping
them up and dwelling on the positive things.
He’s every coach’s dream to have.”
Of course, what coach wouldn’t love having a player with Holmes’ abilities? The 6’4”
guard had an immediate impact for the
Panthers, becoming the first freshman to lead
the North Central Kansas League in scoring,
See HOLMES, Page 9
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 9
Nunnery steps up
By RANDY GONZALES
For Kansas Hardwood
S
ometimes, Isaiah Nunnery is too
unselfish for his own good.
With all-state center Brady Werth lost
to graduation, Nunnery will need to take on
an even bigger role for the Hays High boys’
basketball team this winter.
“He’s such a team guy,” Hays High coach
Rick Keltner said of his 6’3” senior point guard.
“We had some games where Brady was out of
the game, and Isaiah got more [playing time].
He’s got to score more for us this year.”
Nunnery knows he needs to do more.
Morgan Klaus/Hays High School Student Publications
Isaiah Nunnery goes for the basket.
“Losing Brady definitely is huge, because
he did so much for our team,” Nunnery said.
“I think with him gone I’m going to have to
step up, be more of a leader of this team.”
Last season, Nunnery averaged 14 points,
seven rebounds and six assists for the
Indians, who finished 14-8 after losing in the
Class 4A Division I sub-state title game to
eventual state champion McPherson.
“I might have to score a little bit more this
year, but I like to get the whole team
involved,” Nunnery said.
It was a season where Nunnery would often
shine, but also times where more was needed.
“He wasn’t consistent enough last year,”
Keltner said. “He’s got to get more aggressive.
He’s too unselfish sometimes.”
See HAYS, Page 19
Holmes
range game has really improved,
it’s probably the best part of my
game right now, to be honest. I
just have tried to keep getting
more athletic.”
Continued from Page 8
averaging 19 points per game
while shooting 43.3 percent from
3-point range and grabbing 6.3
rebounds per contest.
As a sophomore, he was even
better, upping his scoring average
to 24 points per game and his
rebounding average to 8.7
rebounds per game. Concordia
finished fourth in Class 4A
Division II that year with Holmes
averaging 26.3 points per game at
the State tournament.
Last season saw Concordia slip
to just 11-9, missing out on a
return to the State tourney with a
loss in the sub-state finals. But
Holmes’ stats were off the charts as he averaged 30.2 points per game — the highest in
league history — and 9.5 rebounds a contest.
“The toughest part was dealing with losses
— our team was a lot better than our record
showed,” Holmes said. “My freshman and
sophomore years, I was used to winning
because we had really good teams. I never
really thought we had chemistry problems
because all those guys, we’re really close off
the court, all best of friends.”
Heading into his senior season, Holmes
has basically made the Concordia record book
his own. He ranks No. 1 in every scoring category, including career points with 1,622. He
also is No. 2 in career steals with 153, just
two out of first, and No. 7 in career rebounds
And here’s the deal: Holmes
could be a better player and
Concordia a better team if Holmes’
numbers don’t match his junior output.
with 547, 97 away from the top spot.
“I never though I’d accomplish as much as I
have,” Holmes said. “I have my teammates to
thank for that, and my coaches as well. They’ve
taught me a lot and through it all I’ve tried to
keep my focus on the team and not about me.”
With an eye on playing at the college level
— he’s being recruited by several small
Division I and top Division II schools and
hopes to make a decision in October —
Holmes has spent the summer honing his
game to be even better as a senior.
“I just tried to stay in the gym and weight
room as much as possible, getting stronger
and working on my shot,” he said. “My mid-
“I definitely agree,” Roe said “I
think he’ll have some big games,
but his average might be around
20, 25. But we’ll be a much better
team if we lose some of his points
and his assists go up. That’s really
the one thing I’m looking forward
to seeing because we now have more talent
around him this year than last year. He’s
going to have games where he’s outrageous
because that’s just the kind of player he is.”
Holmes is excited to see what his senior
season holds. And not just for himself, but
the Panthers.
“I’m pumped,” he said. “We have basically
everyone back. A lot of kids played more over
the summer and have improved quite a bit.
Last year, was really our first year playing
together so this year we’ll be used to each
other from the start and I think we have a
really good shot at being good.”
Brent Maycock writes for the Topeka
Capital-Journal.
Page 10
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Head coach Andy
Gillen, far right, is shown
with his Hugoton Lady Eagles
after they won the 4A, Division
II title in 2014-15 at Hartman Arena in Wichita. The
trophy capped three years of
hard work and dedication by
the players, parents and coaches to turn around the Hugoton
program.
Courtesy Photo
Going the Distance
Hugoton turn around delivers first State title to girls
John Giffin
For Kansas Hardwood
T
he 2014-15 basketball season ended
with girls 4A Division II Coach of
the Year, Hugoton’s Andy Gillen, and
his Eagles hoisting the state trophy at
Hartman Arena in Wichita — the first in
program history.
What a difference a year makes. Just one
year before, Gillen was suffering through
what he described as the worst experience of
his life.
Reinstated to the head of the girls’ basketball program after facing an accusation of
possessing marijuana on school property,
Gillen returned to coach the Eagles to an
opening round loss in the 2013-14 4A
Division II state playoffs. No. 3 seed
Hugoton (19-3) ended the season with a
53-41 loss to No. 6 seed Holton (15-7). That
is the only coaching career state playoff loss
for Gillen.
Last season, the Eagles finished the season
22-2, 10-0 in the Great West Activities
Conference and 4A Division II state champs.
He had previously led Montezuma-South
Gray to a girls class 1A state title in 2010 —
the last season 1A was one division.
As a result of the 2013-14 incident Gillen
was initially indicated in, two other teachers
were asked to submit letters of resignation after
a Board of Education meeting March 31, 2014.
Gillen was reinstated from suspension in early
March, two days after being questioned by law
enforcement and suspended with pay. He was
lifted off suspension before the playoff game,
retained his coaching position, and was never
charged with a crime.
Gillen also submitted a sample for unrinalysis, which tested clean.
“I was questioned about it,” Gillen said.
“About two days after being questioned
about it I was reinstated and there was a letter written from the prosecuting attorney
that there was going to be no charges filed,
nor was there any evidence that would have
given them any reason to file charges.”
Because of the accusations, Gillen was
unable to coach the Eagles in the 2013-14 substate championship game in Goodland.
Without any contact from their coach, the
Hugoton girls gutted out a sub-State championship.
“The night before their sub-State championship game, they find out their coach is not
going to be at the game, and it’s possibly for
being involved with drugs,” Gillen said.
“That’s quite a shock for a group of kids to
hear and to know what’s not going on
because I wasn’t able to address the team. So,
they basically drove all the way up to
Goodland and won a sub-State championship game with all that crap going on.”
The sub-State title was the second state
playoff berth in Hugoton girls’ basketball history.
“What bothered me the most was that I
felt to a certain extent responsible for this
huge distraction for these kids,” Gillen said.
“All the work these kids put in and it’s supposed to be about the kids and now all of a
sudden we have this crap going on. I felt like
that took something away from that team.”
Gillen’s suspension from coaching lasted
two days. A special education teacher as well,
Gillen was not suspended from that position.
When media caught wind of the suspensions,
Gillen was named in articles and television
news stories. When he was found to not be
in violation of any laws, there were no stories
clearing his name. The incident even caught
the attention of Fox news, which posted a
story to its website.
The Hugoton head coach was disappointed in
the lack of follow up coverage after he had been
cleared.
That disappointment hasn’t stopped Gillen
from using his experience as a teaching tool for
students and players going through adversity.
“It’s a great life lesson that I can talk to the
kids about. We talk a lot about handling
adversity and getting through adversity and
bouncing back,” Gillen said.
4A Division II state champs
Last season, Gillen coached the Eagles to a
22-2 record and a state title with a convincing 68-54 win over No. 2 seeded Baldwin
(21-3). After the first round, five-point win
over No. 8 seed Jefferson West (11-11), the
See HUGOTON, Page 11
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 11
Hugoton
Continued from Page 10
Eagles rolled No. 5 seed Clay
Center Community (18-5) 55-36
in the state semifinal.
Against Baldwin, Hugoton faced
a bigger opponent that liked to
pressure ballhandlers with a full
court press.
“Basically it was polar opposites,”
Gillen said about the State title
match up. “Last year we had one
post on the roster and the rest of
our girls were guards. So, we were
very guard oriented. I think in
some ways it played into our hands
a little bit. Baldwin, they kind of
ran that run and jump press. They
put pressure on you man to man.
They liked to push the ball. They
are almost like a big team that can
run in a track meet.”
That uptempo style was the pace
Hugoton was hoping for.
“We hope teams press us,” Gillen
said. “We want teams to press us.
We want teams to play our style
and get up and down and run up
and down the court because we
think it gives us an advantage.
They got a couple girls in foul
trouble and we shot the ball
extremely well.”
Hugoton ended it’s sub-State
final against Pratt with a 13-5 run
for a 50-47 victory and Hugoton’s
third state title berth.
“This will be my ninth year as a
head coach and that was probably
the best game I’ve coached in,”
Gillen said. “Just two very equally
matched teams. We could have
changed uniforms and people not
have known. It was almost an identical match up.”
Building the Hugoton program
Before Gillen arrived at
Hugoton, the girls’ basketball program was in shambles. Hugoton
had suffered a long losing streak.
Five years later, a State title. The
turnaround of the program has
come from dedication and the
efforts of the student athletes and
their families, Gillen said.
“It basically takes a complete
and total culture change,” Gillen
said. “With what you’re doing in
the summer and what you expect
from the kids. The things that you
are holding them accountable for.
It takes a commitment by the girls.”
Earning the trust of the student
athletes is the key factor in building
a program from the ground floor.
“They have to believe in you and
buy into what you are wanting
them to buy into,” Gillen said. “Put
in a lot of work.”
The summer schedule includes
several camps and a season of
games. This summer Hugoton had
12 to 15 practices, attended three
camps and played 24 games.
“When we go on our team
camps we have to do some team
building activities,” Gillen said.
“This year we took a bus trip up to
Denver, Colo. Just some different
things to try and bring our team
together to build some relationships and get that trust.”
title without four seniors from last
years’ squad, but a big bulk of the
scoring returns for the Eagles this
season.
Three starters will return.
Juniors Amy Scott and Katy Heger
have two years of state playoff
experience and are entering their
third year as starters for the
Eagles. Sophomore Dallie
Hokinson will start for the second
straight season at the point. Last
year’s sixth man Melisa Fabela will
move into a starting role.
“We bring back about 95 percent
of our scoring,” Gillen said.
“They’ve been starters for us since
they were freshman. We’ll lean on
them.”
Last season, Hugoton’s two losses came in the preseason and midseason tournaments. The Eagles
fell to a team from Texas in the
Blue and Red Classic in Hugoton
and to Lyons at the mid-season
Sterling Tournament. Hugoton
will return this season to both
tournaments.
The State champs swept the
Great West Activities Conference
with a 10-0 record last season but
this year the league is not to be
taken lightly, Gillen said.
“It’s so hard in our league
because you play everybody twice
every year,” Gillen said. “You just
really get familiar with each other.
Every game is a possibly in the
league that you could get beat, just
because they do know you so well.”
The biggest league challenge for
Hugoton in Gillen’s eyes is Goodland.
“They were a good team last
year and I thought that they had
some decent showings,” Gillen
said.
After a roller coaster past two
seasons, Hugoton and Gillen are
ready to move forward and focus
on basketball.
John Giffin is a lifelong lover of basketball and long-time Kansas sports
writer.
The season ahead
Hugoton will have to defend its
Proud to support
the Hugoton
Lady Eagles
basketball team!
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Page 12
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Talented seniors lead Abilene Cowgirls
By LISA Miller Kijowski
For Kansas Hardwood
D
uring the 2014-15 season, the
Abilene Cowgirls clenched the North
Central Kansas League title in an
exciting game against Clay Center on the
Cowgirls’ home court.
Abilene went on to sub-State but fell to
Topeka-Hayden in the finals. Topeka eventually finished third in 4A State. The Cowgirls
ended the season with a 16-6 record.
Will they do better this year?
“We had a young team last year but this
year we have experience and will be returning
the whole squad. We look to be pretty solid,”
coach Steve Riedy said.
Leading the Cowgirls are two seniors —
point guard Cara Donley and post Belle
Barbieri. Cara and Belle received several
awards in 2015, including 1st team all-league
and Varsity Kansas Honorable mention AllState. They rounded out the 2015 year with
an average of 15 and 12.5 points per game
respectively.
The other member of this year’s senior
class is Ashley Colette, 5’11” forward.
Coach Riedy is excited about the upcoming
Barbieri
Colette
season.
“We have good guard play and some size
up front. Cara is very competitive and when
it gets tough she goes into another gear. Her
play makes others around her play better.
Belle has great mobility at post and runs the
floor well. This enables her to get balls others
don’t and easy lay-ups. She also has become
an outstanding defensive player. We have
really good younger players coming up. These
girls have good team chemistry.”
Looking at Cara Donley, you’ll see an
excellent ball handler with great court awareness. Her leadership and communication
skills make her an asset on both ends of the
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court. Cara, who
played for Salina’s
Sacred Heart High
School before transferring to Abilene her
junior year, also is considered an effective
floor manager. Cara
averaged 17 points per
game during the 201415 season.
Donley
She is excited about
her senior year.
“I think it will be a fun year being a senior
and I look forward to it. Clay Center and
Chapman will probably be our toughest
league games. I feel we will be successful as
we work well together as a team,” she said.
Belle Barbieri, the team’s 6’1” post/forward, has great ability to post up but is also
quick and effective on the move and off the
cut. She is also aggressive on the boards.
Belle averaged 14 points per game this past
season and 9 rebounds.
“It’s senior year and we have all the girls
returning. It should be a good year for us,”
See ABILENE, Page 18
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 13
Overview of Girls 6A, 5A and 4A
Wichita South may be team to beat
By Harold bechard
For Kansas Hardwood
W
ichita South has had a
remarkable run of success since Antwain
Scales took over as the program’s
head coach prior to the 2010-11
season.
After posting a 14-8 record in
his first season, Scales and the
Titans have been nearly perfect
since, winning 71 of 75 games and
an unprecedented three consecutive Class 6A state championships.
Two players who have been
involved in all three of those state
titles — Kendrian Elliott and
Ericka Mattingly — are back for
their senior year and looking for a
fourth straight championship.
They are joined by returning
starter Kyla Collins, making the
Titans the favorite to hoist another first-place trophy next March in
Wichita’s Koch Arena.
And, there’s more help on the
way. The junior varsity team at
South is 67-3 during the last four
seasons, while the C-team is 80-0.
The Titans will need that extra
help to fend off the likes of Olathe
South, Shawnee Mission
Northwest, Manhattan and
Shawnee Mission West, just to
name a few of the contenders in
Class 6A.
“Team depth and chemistry will
play an important role for this
season to be successful,” said
Scales, who is 85-13 in four seasons at South High.
It all starts with Elliott and
Mattingly, two of the most decorated girls’ basketball players in
State tournament history. Elliott,
a 6’2” center who has committed
to Kansas State, averaged 16
points and 8 rebounds a game last
year.
Mattingly, a 5’7” guard who
came up big in the State tournament last year, originally committed to Wichita State, but has now
thrown the recruiting doors wide
open again. She averaged 9 points
and 8 rebounds a game and is the
team’s top all-around player.
Collins, a 5’9” junior, averaged 9
points and 6 boards a game.
Lettermen such as Narla Hall,
"Team depth and chemistry will play an important role
for this season to be successful.”
Antwain Scales
Wichita South coach
Alexis Beard and Sydney Flecher
will vie for starting positions and
the Titans also have a loaded
freshman class entering the program, which is 23-2, 24-1 and
24-1 over the last three years.
South played rugged defense as
well, allowing a paltry 25.4 points
a game last year.
Manhattan will look to reach
the State tournament again after
losing in the first round to
Shawnee Mission Northwest. The
Indians return one starter from
that 18-5 team — 5’11” junior
Gigi McAtee — and will also look
to 5’10” senior Madison Mittie for
leadership. Mittie played behind
five senior guards last year.
“We lost six seniors who all
played key minutes and had the
best four-year record of any senior
group at MHS,” said head coach
Scott Mall, who has led the
Indians to 75 wins over the last
four years. “We were a balanced
scoring team last year. This year,
we will rely on early on the scoring of McAtee and Mittie while
the less experienced players develop.”
Dodge City will look to take the
next step this season, returning all
five starters from a 15-7 team that
lost in the sub-state finals.
Jessie Harshberger, a 5’11”
senior, averaged 12.1 points and
6.7 rebounds a game and was
named the WAC’s MVP. Tia
Bradshaw, a 5’9” junior, was firstteam all-WAC selection last year
as well. Seniors Brianna
Bradshaw (5’9”), Bailey Shelow
(5’10”) and Taylor Nichols (5’11”)
are the other returning starters.
“We’re very aggressively defensively and take pride in our
rebounding,” coach Kelly
Snodgrass said. “We have great
leadership and a lot of varsity
experience returning. We were
plagued with injuries last season,
but hope to keep everyone healthy
this year.”
The Keiryn Swenson-Daley
Handy era is over at Maize High
School and with it a record of
87-13 over the last four seasons,
which included two runner-up finishes and two other Top 4 finishes
in the Class 6A State tournament.
Prior to this magazine’s publication date, the Eagles weren’t sure
if they would be 5A and 6A this
season.
The Eagles return one starter
from last year — 5’9” junior guard
Taylor Holmes, who averaged 7.3
points a game. They will also be
banking on 5’5” junior guard
7420 Northwind (33rd & Ridge Road) • Wichita, KS 67205
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Brianna Johnson, who has gone
down with knee injuries in the last
two post-seasons. Johnson could
be one of the most athletic players
in the AVCTL-I when she is
healthy. Halee Roland and Jacey
Handy are also key returnees as
well as 6’0” junior Brecken Roe.
“We have a very talented group
of juniors to go along with Halee,
who started several games for us
last year,” coach Jerrod Handy
said. “We may have lost some very
talented players from last season,
but I feel really good about this
year’s team.”
Class 5A
In Class 5A, Salina Central will
try to keep things going after a
strong regular season ended in
disappointing fashion with a loss
in the sub-state finals to Emporia.
The Mustangs return one starter
and she’s a good one in 5’10”
junior Casey Knoth, who averaged
13.3 points and 7.7 rebounds a
game.
The Mustangs will miss the
presence of 6’0” senior Keisha
Hamilton, who suffered a knee
injury during the summer and will
miss the season. Hamilton averaged nearly 9 points and 9
rebounds a game. Emma Cain,
who averaged nearly 6 points a
game off the bench last year, is
expected to have a big year.
“Our biggest strength will be
our guard play and depth,” said
head coach Geoff Andrews. “We
have a number of players who can
contribute this season. We may
look young on a roster, but many
of these girls have played hundreds of games over the past few
seasons.”
Kapaun Mt. Carmel is another
team that lost heavily through
graduation, but will look to
See GIRLS, Page 21
Page 14
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Overview of Boys 6A, 5A and 4A
Wichita schools in hunt
for another Class 6A title
By HAROLD BECHARD
For Kansas Hardwood
T
aged 13.5 points and 5.5 assists per game last
year. Jeremiah Hudspeth and T.J. Turner also
return, along with three lettermen. Gunter,
Hudspeth and Turner have been on varsity
since their freshman year.
“They have been battle tested and I will
depend on them a lot for leadership this year,”
South coach Chuck Gunter said. “I think we
can have one of the more athletic teams in
terms of quickness in the City League this
year.”
Wichita Southeast features one of the state’s
top returning scorers in 6’1” senior Jerrick
Harding, who averaged 27 points a game as a
junior and the Golden Buffaloes are expected
to improve greatly on last year’s nine-win season with several additions to the program.
Brycen Cobbins, a 6’0” senior, is also a
returning starter. Head coach Melvin Herring
The Indians should be strong again with three
starters returning — 6’0” senior Gabe Aubrey
(14.8 ppg), 5’9” junior Trevor Hudgins (9.2)
and 6’2” senior Grant Munsen (3.7) — plus
four more lettermen.
The Indians will face a tough schedule with
just six home games and trips to tournaments
in Hays and Dodge City.
The Maize Eagles return three starters from
last year’s 14-9 team that reached the 6A State
tournament before losing to eventual State
champion East. Seniors Jared Ledbetter and
Jacob Schultz return, as does junior Grant
Bugbee, along with two other lettermen.
he Wichita City League has long been
known as the top boys’ basketball
league in the state and one of the best
in the Midwest. The league certainly didn’t
tarnish that reputation last season as Wichita
East and Heights brought home two more
State championships.
East claimed the State title in Class 6A and
Heights, which won four straight championships from 2009-12, dropped down to Class
5A and brought home the title. The two teams
split during the regular season.
Class 5A
“It’s difficult to be a consistent winner in
In Class 5A, Wichita Heights will try to
the City League,” said Heights coach Joe Auer.
stay on top and continue a decade of excel“Anyone can be defeated on any given night.”
lence that is second to none. Since the start of
The Blue Aces of East High will be looking
the 2007-08
to reload after
season, the
last year’s 24-1
"I might be prejudiced, but I believe Nyjee Wright will be the best
Falcons have
season and 6A
been the seven
State title. East
point guard in the state this year.”
Final Fours,
returns one fullBrett Flory
won five State
time starter and
Derby High School coach
titles and put
he is a good one.
together a
Xavier Kelley, a
62-game win6’6”, 250-pound
ning streak.
center, averaged
“Many
14.2 points and
thought we would take a step back, but our
8.8 rebounds a game. Kelly, who will play foot- also welcomes back point guard D’Andre
Franklin, who missed last year with a knee
kids take a lot of pride in being a part of the
ball at Clemson next year, scored 22 points
injury. Israel Barnes and Brednen Jantzen (6’7”, Heights Falcon tradition,” Heights coach Joe
and pulled down 11 rebounds in the State
220) are also back in the program and will vie
Auer said.
finals against Lawrence.
for starting spots.
There are big shoes to fill, but the Falcons
East also returns 6’4” senior Mark Hartley,
“We have a lot of new faces this year to
return four of their top seven players, including
who started five games last season and aver6’7” senior Davon Gill, who averaged 12 points
aged 4.2 points and 4.5 rebounds a game. Four build with Jerrick and Brycen that we’re really
excited about,” Herring said.
and 6 rebounds last year. Davis Bahner, a 6’4”
other lettermen return from last year’s seniorDerby reached the State tournament last
senior, averaged 5 points and 6 boards, while
laden team, including 6’2” senior Raymond
returning letterman Aaron Williams, a 6’3”
O’Day, who has recovered from an ACL injury year and returns two starters from an 18-5
team — 5’11” junior Nyjee Wright (10) and
senior, scored six a game.
and is ready to contribute.
6’5” senior Trevor Hall who is expected to
“A couple of additional players from the JV
“Establishing an inside presence will be cruimprove on his 6 scoring average.
will make this one of the biggest teams we have
cial for us this season,” East coach Joe Jackson
“I might be prejudiced, but I believe Nyjee
had,” Auer said.
said. “We graduated six seniors who played a
Wright will be the best point guard in the state
Bishop Carroll and Kapaun Mt. Carmel both
lot of minutes for us. The good side of that is
this year,” head coach Brett Flory said. “He had
lost several outstanding seniors to graduation,
we will have many juniors and seniors hungry
outstanding freshman and sophomore seasons
but they are two teams each year that seem to
to prove themselves at the varsity level.”
and has worked extremely hard to be ready to
peak at postseason time.
Wichita South will be one of the teams
take over this season as an upperclassmen. This
Bishop Carroll returns three starters from
looking to challenge East and Heights for
team has some nice pieces and great potential.”
a 17-8 team that finished fourth in the
supremacy in the City League. The Titans
The Manhattan Indians saw a very good reg- Class 5A state tournament. Patrick Carney,
qualified for the State tournament last year,
ular season (18-2) end in disappointing fashion
a 6’0” senior, scored nearly 11 points a game,
finished 15-8 overall, and return three starters
with a one-point upset loss to Washburn Rural
while 6’5” senior Eric Scharping (7 ppg) and
from that team.
in the first round of the sub-state tournament.
Dawson Gunter, a 5’10” senior guard, aver-
See BOYS, Page 61
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Manhattan
Indians
Page 15
Ag, Your Business - Our Business - Partners
I
n coach Benji George’s second season, he expects to
build on a team that surprised a lot of people last year,
going 18-3 after losing arguably
its best player to a transfer and
later the Indians’ head coach.
The Indians responded by
winning their first league title.
This season they return four
starters and seven lettermen.
Their expectations are rightfully
high. Despite an incredible season, the Indians lost in the first
round of sub-State, and getting
tournament experience is something George has high on his list
of priorities.
“A big key to success will be playing well in tournaments,” George
said. “We play in the Hays
Shootout, and the Dodge
Tournament of Champions.
Handling road environments will be
key too, as we only have six home
games next season.”
Manhattan’s guard play should
carry it this season, as the
Indians like to play fast, and finished second in school history
last year from beyond the arch.
Returning starters are: seniors
Gabe Awbrey, 6’0” guard, Grant
Munsen, 6’2” forward, Robbie
Ostermann, 6’2” guard, and
Trevor Hudgins, 5’9” guard.
Girls
The Lady Indians return
Gabrielle McAtee, a 5’11” junior
who led her team in scoring as a
sophomore during the 2014-15
season.
She will be joined by several
returning players, including 5’10”
senior Madison Mittie, who is
expected to provide leadership to
the young team following the loss
of six seniors to graduation.
The Lady Indians finished the
2014-15 season with an 18-5
record, including a first round loss
at sub-State to Shawnee Mission
Northwest High School, 39-26.
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Garden City Buffaloes
T
he Buffaloes’ lone returning starter, Jared Koster, is expected
to lead his team this year. The 6’0” senior point guard averaged 12.8 points per game in 2014-15, when Garden City
ended its season with a 13-9 record.
Other players expected to be key include seniors Jesus Reyes, 6’2”,
Erwin Leal, 5’10”, Edgar Aguilar, 6’1”, and Jose Acosta, 5’11”. Also
joining the Buffaloes is Scott Schmidt, a 6’3” senior who transferred
from Holcomb, and head coach Jacy Holloway considers “a very good
player.”
Holloway said his team’s strengths will be “speed, athleticism, team
cohesiveness and perimeter play. We will have a lot of guards playing
at the same time. We will have the ability to create mismatches with
almost all of our guys on the perimeter. We should be able to shoot
the ball more consistently from the perimeter and be able to force
more action with our defense.”
Weaknesses will be size, post play and depth.
“We will probably be out-sized every game this year as this will be
the smallest team we have had in my six years as head coach,”
Holloway said. “We don’t have a lot of upperclassmen post players so
we might have a lack of production in that area. Overall depth, as
well as depth with size, could be a factor.”
Girls
Coach David Upton led his Garden City girls to a 13-9 season in 201415. Several seniors were lost to graduation, leaving the Lady Buffaloes with
three returning starters, junior Abbie Dart, 5’8” guard; and seniors Joslyn
Munoz, 5’4” guard, and Jessica Carrillo, 5’10” center.
Upton, who starts his ninth season, considers this a rebuilding year.
“[We] need to get game time experience and cohesiveness,” he said.
“Keys to success will be to see how our team builds chemistry, how our
youth fill their roles and how our senior group brings leadership. Also need
to shoot the ball well.”
erek Petty has his work
cut out for him in his
first year as head coach
of the Lady Blue Jays.
Junction City finished the
2014-15 season with a 4-17
record, including a loss the first
round of sub-State.
This all brings Petty, a veteran
coach of 20 years, to his season’s
goal — “To play hard and continue to set the foundation to
get things turned around.”
Returning starters are: Kealee
Rains, 5’8” senior guard; A’Kia
Fain, 5’6” senior guard; and
Alana Kramer, 5’9” sophomore
forward.
His team’s strengths, Petty
said, will be its defensive skills,
its speed and the athleticism of
its players.
The Lady Blue Jays’ keys to
success for the 2015-16 season
will be continued improvement
on defense, rebounding and limiting turnovers, Petty said.
Boys
Junction City finished the season
with a 6-14 record, its final game
with Derby in post season play.
The final score was 41-63.
Page 16
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Joel Benson, CPA
Mary Benson, CPA
4101 W. 10th
2006 N. Main St.
Specializing in small businesses
Great Bend
1929 S. Ohio
Office: (785)827-3157
Salina, KS 67401
Fax: (785)827-3159
[email protected]
Central
Mustangs
S
alina Central returns its
leading scorer and
rebounder from a team
that lost in double overtime to
Emporia this past season in the
sub-State finals. Getting over the
hump this season won’t be easy,
but certainly not unattainable.
Head coach Geoff Andrews
has improved his team considerably since his first two years at
Central, with his past four seasons ending either in the subState finals or in the State playoffs, with one runner-up finish
in 2014.
“There’s lots of excitement
among our players heading into
the season,” he said. “We return
our top scorer, Casey Knoth, and
leading rebounder, Keisha
Hamilton. We also saw considerable success with our freshman
and JV teams from a year ago.”
Knoth is a junior; this will be
Hamilton’s senior year.
Boys
Junior Brayden Neuschaffer,
5’8” guard, returns this year
after producing solid numbers
from his freshmen year, when
he averaged 6.7 points per game.
Doug Finch, who starts his
12th season as head coach, lost
three key players to graduation
from a 2014-15 season that
produced a record of 18-4.
In addition to Neuschaffer,
the roster contains several other
members of this season’s senior
class, Adrian Castelli, 5’10”
guard; J.D. McHenry, 6’3” forward; and Garrett Campion,
5’10” guard.
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Great
Bend
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A
nother season, another
opportunity for the
Panthers to get further
away from a year they’d probably
rather forget.
Great Bend posted a 2-19
record in 2014-15, with neither
of those two wins in the
Western Athletic Conference.
That follows a season when
Chris Battin’s team finished
7-14, finding a little rhythm
midway through the season,
when they won six of seven
games during one stretch.
Battin starts his seventh year
as head coach.
The Hutchinson News had
this to say about Great Bend’s
2014-15 season, “A rugged
schedule will test a team that
lost three seniors but is returning four starters. Great Bend will
look to their vast number of
guards to create havoc and take
pressure off the inside.”
Four of Great Bend’s top players were lost to graduation, leaving returning starters 5’11” Trey
Ibarra and 6’4” Kody Crosby to
step into senior leadership roles
this season.
South
Cougars
T
he Lady Cougars enter
the 2015-16 season with
one returning starter,
Teryn Holloway, 5’4” senior
point guard.
But team youth doesn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Ryan
Stuart, who enters his third year
as head coach.
“Although we will be young, I
am excited for the upcoming season,” he said. “I felt we had a
great summer, and I am looking
forward to girls stepping up into
their new roles.”
South will need to find consistent scorers on offense, he said.
“We have been strong defensively over the past two seasons,
but have really struggled to
score,” Stuart said.
Strengths will be team defense
and limited turnovers.
Boys
South returns several seniors
with extensive varsity experience
as Jason Hooper, in his third year
as head coach of the Cougars,
works to improve the 2014-15 season record of 10-11.
Seniors Jacob Marcotte and
Trace Kochevar were returning
starters this past season. The 6’7”
Kochevar gives South experience
in the post.
Marcotte contributed varsity
Girls
minutes as a freshman and then
It was a better year for the Great
saw his role increase considerably
Bend Lady Panthers as they finhis sophomore year. He took over
ished the season 7-15 overall and
as point guard this past season.
2-7 in league play.
Both players were named to the
Great Bend lost five seniors to
second team of the Ark Valleygraduation, but Lauren Welsch
Chisholm Trail All-League team.
returns.
Joining him as honorable mention
The hope is the team can come
all-league players were seniors Jacob
closer to its 2013-14 season, when
Foster and Jacob Yarochowicz.
it posted a 21-4 record overall.
Dylan Becker, a 6’2” guard, is the
other returning starter.
“This is a very experienced
Joel Benson, CPA
team,” Hooper said. “With five
Mary Benson, CPA
returning starters back and others
Specializing in small businesses that contributed, this team looks
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of size and athleticism.”
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Supporting Area Youth
Hays
Indians
T
he goal of coach Rick
Keltner is to “win the day”
every day in practice and
games.
“The team works to make the
dream work,” said Keltner, who
starts his 31st year at Hays. “We
will work hard to represent Hays
High, our community and families
well. If we play with passion, play
together, play hard and smart —
we will have a lot of fun.”
Hays finished the 2014-15 season with a 14-8 record, including
sub-State runner up. Several talented seniors were lost to graduation,
including Brady Werth, the school’s
all time leading scorer and
rebounder who signed with Fort
Hays State University.
Returning this season will be
senior Isaiah Nunnery, 6’3” point
and shooting guard, and Keith
Dryden, 6’3” guard, who had two
26-point games this past season
against Junction City and Colby.
“Keith is the key to our fast
break as he is quick down the floor
and is an excellent shooter and
dunker,” Keltner said.
Girls
The Lady Indians definitely
experienced improvement this past
season, finishing 0-21 in 2013-14
to ending the 2014-15 season with
a 6-15 record, including two wins
in the Western Athletic
Conference.
Head coach Kirk Maska lost six
seniors from this past season’s roster, leaving several juniors to step
into leadership roles as seniors this
year. Included are: Brandy Pfeifer,
Haley George, Nicole Dinkel,
Audra Schmeidler and Taylor
Groen-Younger.
K ANS A S
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Benson Accounting
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Abilene
Cowboys
W
ith four returning
starters from a team
that won the North
Central Kansas League title last
season, expectations for Abilene
are exactly what you would
think — repeat.
“We feel we have all the pieces
to be a very good 4A team,” head
coach Terry Taylor said.
“Our confidence is very high,
and our players expect to win
each night they play. We must
continue to build on the success
we had last season. If our players
continue to work hard to
improve, we will be a very exciting team to watch play.”
The Cowboys lost in the
2014-15 sub-State championship game by 14 points. If the
Cowboys can get through subState — and there is no reason
to think they can’t — they could
make a serious run in 4A State.
Returning starters are: seniors
Eric Harms, 6’8” post, Harley
Hazlett, 6’4” forward, and
Andrew Schwarting, 6’1” guard;
and junior Ryan Wilson, 6’2”
guard.
Girls
The Cowgirls expect to be a
legitimate state contender as
they return all of their starters
from a team that won the North
Central Kansas League title last
State, finishing as runner-up.
Abilene has good size, and is
returning senior point guard
Cara Donley, who scored 17
points per game with four assists
and four steals per game. The
toughest battle may come in
sub-state, as the Cowgirls will
have to find their way out of a
group that features two powerhouse teams in Hayden and
McPherson.
Returning starts are: seniors
Belle Barbieri, 6’0”, and Ashley
Collette, 5’11”; and 5’7” juniors
Olivia Gassman and Mckenzie
Funston.
Andale
Indians
T
he Indians don’t have a
lot of experience, but
with the return of two
starters from the 2014-15 team,
they won’t lack for leadership.
Returning are: Clint Walstad,
6’2” senior who averaged 6
points per game; and Jeff Ast, a
6’6” senior who averaged 9.7
points per game and 5.8
rebounds.
Pete Carney, a 6’0” senior letterman, also returns.
“Clint and Jeffery will provide
great leadership for a group of
players with very little varsity
experience,” head coach Jeff
Buchanan said.
“Despite that lack of experience, we have a lot of faith in the
players that will be stepping up
and filling the rolls left by last
year’s seniors. We saw great
improvement and a competitiveness that makes us excited for
the upcoming year.”
Andale finished this past season with a 19-4 record overall
and a perfect 10-0 record in
league.
Girls
The Lady Indians lost seven
seniors to graduation. Five of them
were starters. But that doesn’t mean
first-year head coach Ted Anderson
won’t have a good foundation on
which to build. This is the school
that has won its league for the past
four years.
“We had a productive June and
July in the gym,” Anderson said.
Buhler
Crusaders
B
uhler went 19-6 this past
season with a 4th place finish at State.
The Lady Crusaders lose a lot
from that team, however, and will
look for other players to adjust to
new roles.
Buhler will look for leadership
from their only two returning
players, who will anchor the team
from guard and forward positions
and hope to provide leadership to
an inexperienced squad.
“We lost four seniors,” head
coach Jon McLean said. “We will
have a lot to replace, but we
should get better as the season
goes.”
Returning starters are: seniors
Jessica Steffen, 5’8” guard, and
Morgan Rohr 5’8” forward.
Boys
Buehler returns two players with
plenty of experience — seniors Jace
Williams, 6’6” forward, and Noah
Webster, 6’1” guard.
“We return a lot of experience, a
long as we stay healthy, I expect us
to compete for a league and substate championship,” said Ryan
Swanson, who is in his first year at
Buhler after coaching at Hutchinson
and Garden City community colleges.
He said adjusting to a new coach
and system and finding their roles
will keys to the Crusaders success.
“We have a core of talented
returners. Jace Williams and Noah
Webster will be two of the best athletes in 4A. We should have good
depth,” Swanson said.
RE H A B ILITA TIO N &
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5 11 N E 10th St•A bilen e,K S
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Abilene
785-263-7777
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Clay
Center
Tigers
eff Edwards doesn’t have any
starters returning from his
2014-15 team; however, he
still expects this season’s Lady
Tigers “to establish their own
identity and continue with the
successes that we had last season.”
Clay Center finished this past
year with a 19-6 record. The
Tigers took home a sub-State
title and ended in third place at
State.
Edwards, who starts his second year at Clay Center after
coaching for 15, said this year’s
team must play to its strengths.
Solid defense and aggressive
offense are keys to the Tigers’
success.
“We should be very athletic
this year, and we should not
have to do as much learning of
the offense/defense/expectations
as we did last year,” Edwards
said. “Our strength will be our
quickness and athleticism. The
main weakness may be our size
— with our tallest player at
5’10”.
Boys
Kelly Williams enters his second season as head coach after
debuting with a 3-18 season.
Williams is confident of the
direction he has his program
going.
“We need to improve on a
solid foundation we laid in the
2014-2015 season,” he said. “We
have a team that has learned a
lot about the game over the last
calendar year. I feel we’ll be a
pretty heady team and make
many good decisions throughout
the season. We’ll be athletic and
fast, but we’ll lack size.”
With the Tiger’s lack of size,
Williams wants to the tempo as
much as he can.
Returning starts are: seniors
Lane Liby, 6’2” forward, and
Ethan Rozean, 6’4” forward.
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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
GOOD LUCK
TO ALL
AREA
ATHLETES!
301 E. 3RD ST.
CHAPMAN, KANSAS 67431
785.922.6505
Chapman
Irish
N
ick Evans thinks his Lady
Irish could have a “pretty
good” season.
“We have to continue to build
on the good summer we had. I
like the talent and effort we have
on this team,” said Evans, who is
in his second year as head coach.
Chapman finished the 201415 season with a 10-12 record
and a loss in the sub-State
championship game.
Returning starters are: seniors
Macey Langvardt, 5’8” point
guard; Daryan Weis, 5’8” guard;
and Jessie Heiman, 5’10” center.
Evans said his team must
focus on limiting turnovers, winning rebounds and getting to the
foul line and making its shots.
“We have a strong defense,”
Evans said. “We are getting more
disciplined the more time we
have together. We also can score,
but it is inconsistent.”
Boys
In his second year as head coach,
James Bell plans to work at improving his team at both ends of the
court. He wants his Irish to become
a better defensive and offensive
team and get comfortable on
offense.
“I think our team strength is our
chemistry,” said Bell, who took his
team to a 5-17 finish in 2014-15.
“These varsity guys all get along
and have been playing together for
awhile. Our weakness is our ability
to score at times. We have to
become better shooters.”
Returning starters are senior
Nathan Sutter, 6’2” guard; and
juniors Brennan Harris, 6’5” guard/
post; and Tanner Hettenbach, 6’3”
post.
K ANS A S
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5 11 N E 10th St•A bilen e,K S
785 -263-6664
M E M O RIA L H E A LTH SYSTE M
Proud to serve the communities
that make up USD #473.
GO IRISH!
CHAPMAN, KS
www.chapmanks.com
• USD 473 Chapman Schools (4A) are Award Winning
• Indian Hills Golf Course & Clubhouse
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• Local Police & Fire Department
• Public Library
• Local Businesses & Restaurants
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• Senior Assisted Living & Continued Care
• Churches of Several Denominations
• Annual Labor Day Celebration
Abilene
Continued from Page 12
Belle said. “We’ll have a tough
league and sub-state, but we
want to make it to Salina.”
Salina is where the state tourney will be played and to get
there, they will most likely face
one or the other of the best girls
programs in the state —
McPherson and Topeka Hayden
— at sub-State.
“Our goal is to get to Salina
and not only get there but to do
well. We’ve got a good schedule
this year as we did last year.
We’ll need to work hard and
become good enough to get
See ABILENE, Page 20
980 S. Range Ave
Colby
785-462-8206
Dine-in, Carryout, & Delivery
Colby
Eagles
T
he news is mixed this
season for the Lady
Eagles.
Colby went 9-12 in 2014-15,
ending its season in the final
game at sub-State. The Eagles
return one full-time starter,
Brenly Terrell, 5’8” senior guard
who averaged 13 points per
game, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
Part-time starters Allie Friesen,
5’10” senior post, and Bailey
Foss, 5’6” junior guard, also
return.
“We have 15 players who
could see the floor and contribute this season at the varsity
level,” said Ryan Becker, who is
starting his third year as head
coach. “After a great summer of
workouts and games, the younger players gained invaluable
experience as we look to replace
the loss of five seniors who started or saw big minutes from last
year.”
The challenge could come
from Colby’s schedule.
“Almost half of our schedule
will be against schools with a
higher classification than ours.
We will also face the state
champs from 4AII (twice) and
IAII (once),” Becker said. “Our
schedule will provide the needed
competition for us to prepare for
a sub-state run.”
Boys
First year coach Brad Wildeman
will work to rebuild the Eagles after
they posted a 0-20 season.
He said the goal of his team will
be “to improve in all aspects of the
game of basketball” on a “game-bygame” basis.
K ANS A S
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Page 18
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
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Ph: 785-364-4434
GOOD LUCK WILDCATS!
Concordia Holcomb
Holton Hays
Panthers Longhorns Wildcats
Continued from Page 9
T
here is good news and
bad news for the
Panthers. With three
returning starters, the team has a
“solid core that is very experienced,” said head coach Michael
Roe. It also has a thin bench.
“I expect our team to compete
for a league title and hopefully,
give ourselves a shot at going to
State,” Roe said.
Returning for their senior year
are Cooper Holmes, 6’4” forward, and Ethan Bechard, 6’1”
guard. Junior Ian Nordell,
another 6’4” forward, also
returns.
Concordia ended the 2014-15
season with an 11-9 record and a
loss in sub-State finals.
This year, Roe said his players
must focus on improving team
defense and staying healthy.
Girls
After a 14-9 record, and a
fourth-place finish at State, the
Lady Panthers have a lot of
ground to make up with the loss
of their point guard, Tristen
Leiszler to graduation, and
another starting guard, Maggie
Lambert, moving to Lindsborg
and Smoky Valley.
Despite those losses,
Concordia returns two starters.
With the lack of overall experience, coach Michael Wahlmeier
wants to focus on post play and
defense as the foundation for his
team’s success.
“Rebounding and post play
are going to be an even larger
role on our team this year,” said
Wahlmeier. “Team defense will
have to be a focus as well.”
If the Lady Panthers can move
their less experienced players into
starting roles, they can expect to
be competitive in sub-State.
Returning starters are: junior
Jordan Eshbaugh 5’10” forward;
and sophomore Cydney
Bergmann, 5’8” guard.
H
olcomb returns
three starters from a
team that only lost
one game during the 2014-15
season, and grabbed some
hardware for the trophy case
as the Longhorns won the 4A
Division II State championship.
With a core of starters
from that team returning, the
Longhorns should expect to
have the leadership to build
younger players into starting
roles, and have another successful season.
Holcomb has the size and
speed to play its game against
opponents, though playing
fast is what head coach Chad
Novak prefers to do.
“Our strengths are our
experience, depth, and speed,”
Novak said.
Expectations are high this
year at Holcomb, and rightfully so.
Returning starters are:
juniors Connor Vancleave
6’6” forward, and Brandon
Stegman, 5’11” guard; and
senior Christian Merz, 6’0”
guard.
Girls
Head coach Nathan Novack will
try to improve on his young team’s
record of 11-10 during the 201415 season.
Returning players include 5’11”
senior Jordan Jarnagin, who was
named Player of the Game several
times this past season.
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T
his could be an exciting
season for the Wildcats,
as they return two starters and a handful of lettermen
from a 15-7 season in 2014-15.
Holton has depth, and solid
athleticism to be effective on
both ends of the floor.
“We will have some size
inside, and be very athletic from
top to bottom,” head coach
Ryan Noel said.
“This upcoming group will
have the ability to stretch the
floor offensively, and cover a
lot of area on the defensive
end. Post play will be important, as well as working on
creating baskets in transition.”
Returning starters are: senior
Will Wright, 5’10” guard; and
junior Bryson Patch, 6’0 guard.
Girls
The Lady Wildcats may be
young, but that doesn’t mean they
aren’t experienced.
Holton finished the 2014-15
season with a 13-9 overall record
and 11-5 in league play.
Leading this year’s squad is
Courtney Boswell, 5’7” point
guard/guard, who was named to
the Topeka Capital Journal’s AllArea Team. Boswell is a junior.
She will be joined on the court
by fellow classmate Ashlyn Weilert,
5’4” guard.
Jon Holliday is head coach of the
Lady Wildcats.
The Indians will look to be
perimeter-oriented this year, led
by their point guard. But the
Indians also have back a couple
more senior guards in Keith
Dryden and Drew Young, who
both can fill it up from beyond
the 3-point line,
just like
Nunnery. Even
the Indians’
burly big man,
6’3” junior
Shane Berens,
can shoot it
from deep.
Nunnery
“We’re definitely more
perimeter-oriented this year
than last year,” Nunnery said.
“We basically got all five guys
who can step out, hit the 3-ball.
It will be fun to watch, for sure.”
“I really think we’re going to be
a dangerous team,” Keltner said.
“I think our guys are mobile.”
Keltner said Nunnery has
what it takes to play big-time
college basketball.
“I think he can play (NCAA)
Division I — I know he can,”
Keltner said. “He looks like a
Division I player.”
Nunnery will put off thinking
about his college choice until
after the season.
“I definitely want to play at
the next level,” he said. “Get
focused on the team first, before
I think about anything for
myself.”
Randy Gonzales is a former sports
writer for the Hays Daily News.
2112 S. Lincoln
Concordia
785-243-2400
Dine-in, Carryout, & Delivery
Page 20
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Dine-in or Carryout
620-241-5588
2215 E. Kansas
Delivery or Carryout
620-241-7200
700 N. Main St.
McPherson, KS
T
McPherson
Bullpups
he Lady Pups missed State this past season for only the second
time in 20 years, losing in their sub-State final.
McPherson loses three starters, but returns a deep bench
behind senior 5’8” forward Ashtyn Schieferecke, who has started since
she was a sophomore. Emma Ellet and Morgan Howard will also be
back after missing their sophomore years because of injuries.
McPherson’s depth will allow for various styles of defense, as well as
being able to be effective against any defensive style.
“We are very excited for this season,” said coach Chris Strathman.
“The girls are hungry, and will do everything they can to get back to
state.”
Others with significant playing time are: junior Emma Yowell, 5’5”
guard; and sophomore Taylor Robertson, 5’9” guard.
Boys
McPherson returns two starters and six more lettermen from an
undefeated, State championship team in 2014-15.
McPherson is on a 40-game winning streak and will look to beat the
all-time win streak of 59 this season. The Bullpups have the pieces they
need to do that, and return to State to defend their title. McPherson’s
experience in two straight state championships and its team’s overall I.Q.
is also vital to the foundation of their team. Seven of the eight returning
lettermen this season are seniors with undeniable experience.
McPherson will have a versatile group of guards and forwards that will
be able to stretch the floor and shoot well from the perimeter.
Returning starters are: 6’3” seniors Drew Pyle and Spenser Wine.
Abilene
Continued from Page 18
there.” Riedy said.
The Cowgirls will face tough
league competition and some 5A
and 6A challengers in a seasonal
tourney in Salina. It may be a
rough go to get through
unscathed but the level of a team
is not always rated by statistics.
“We look really good on
paper.” Riedy said.
The Cowgirls will rely on his
30-plus years of coaching and
the good group of girls that
return to play basketball this
year to accomplish their goals.
Lisa Miller Kijowski is a former Ellsworth business owner
and freelance writer who now
lives in Abilene. She is working
on her second book.
“The best defense is a good offense.”
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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
803 N. Main
Pratt, KS 67124
620-672-9444
www.homelumberpratt.com
Pratt
Greenbacks
T
he Pratt girls return two
starters from this past season’s team, which ended
with a 16-6 record.
“I expect for us to work hard
defensively,” said Emmanuel
Adigun, who has three years as
Pratt head coach. “I feel like our
older players understand the value
of great defensive efforts.
Offensively, we will struggle early
with the hope of progressing
throughout the season.”
Returning seniors are: Bre
Becker, 5’4” guard, Destani Garten,
5’8” forward, Kelsey Potter, 5’7”
guard, and Bailey Batman, 5’6” forward. They will be joined by junior
Hannan Coates, 6’0” post.
Adigun considers his team’s
strengths its returning players and
good senior leadership. Depth and
experience will be the challenges.
Keys to success, he said, will be
offensive and defensive discipline,
offensive execution and patience.
Boys
The Fightin’ Frogs lost four
seniors to graduation; however, the
team’s impressive depth allowed for
quite a few players knocking on the
door for varsity spots, when Pratt
went 10-10 overall and 8-3 in the
Central Kansas League. That
placed it third behind powerhouse
Hesston and Larned.
This year’s senior class includes
Hayden Schrag, 6’0” guard; and
Ben Wiltshire, 6’0” forward.
The Frogs also are loaded with
younger players, including the talented pair of Samson Kohman, a
6’4” junior who averaged 16 points
as a freshman, and Traik Peltier,
6’6” junior.
Smoky
Valley Lindsborg
Vikings
J
ohn Bellah moves from middle school girls’ basketball to
varsity with a “great group of
kids” to coach.
“They will do what I ask. We
need to find ways to score. Good
depth,” he said in listing the
strengths and weaknesses of his
Lady Vikings.
Four starters return, in addition to two senior transfers —
Maggie Lambert, 5’8” forward
from Concordia, and Katie
Adam, 5’3” guard from EllSaline. They will join fellow
seniors: Allison Rose, 5’9” forward, Shea Cook, 5’5” guard;
Kelsie Anderson, 5’10” forward,
Baily Bolden, 5’10” post, and
Lauren Hubele, 5’6” guard.
Boys
The Vikings return two honorable mention All-League players in
senior Trey Schneider, 6’2” forward,
and sophomore Nick Reinert, 5’11”
guard. They are joined by seniors
Trapper Bellah, 5’10” guard, Jarold
Meier, 6’0” forward, and Caden
Byers, 5’11” forward.
Lindsborg had a 6-15 season in
2014-15.
“Our goal last season was to
improve over a difficult 2013-14
season where we won only one
game,” said head coach Doug
Schneider. “ Our goal this season is
to continue to build on the successes we had last year. We have a number of players who are very experienced in our system that we are
looking to have step up and play
significant roles. We also have a
number of young players waiting in
the wings for their opportunity.”
Schneider said his team’s biggest
strength will be its “savvy.”
“There are many players on this
year’s squad who have played a lot
of basketball. We will need to capitalize on that understanding of the
game to play the type of ball we
want to play. We also will need to
play with a lot of heart and energy
on both sides of the floor. Our
energy will have to be one constant
that we must bring night in and
night out.”
Page 21
450 N. Harrison St.
D on
Ben gtson
Lindsborg
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785 -227-2009
785-227-3395
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Girls
Continued from Page 13
reload after a 20-5 season that saw them finish third in the 5A state
tournament. Brenna Monty, a 5’7” sophomore, averaged 10 points a
game as a freshman last year.
KMC head coach Billy Graf also will have a pair of 6’0” lettermen
returning in Megan Lickteig and Anna Roulston. Lickteig was a
part-time starter last year and Graf expects Roulston to contribute
with a big year.
“Anna is one of the hardest working girls I’ve known,” Graf said.
“She loves to be in the gym or the weight room making herself better. She is tall and plays with physicality.”
The slate has been wiped clean for Andover head coach Max
Hambin. No starters or lettermen return from an 18-4 team that
lost in the sub-state finals.
“We are starting from scratch,” Hambin said. “We do have some
good young players that will make us competitive. “
Bishop Carroll (16-7) must replace its do-everything player from
last year — Shelby Lopez — but returns many players who saw
action in the state tournament last year, including Abby Sauber,
Brynn Maul and Ashley Carrollio, among others.
Newton (14-9) lost its leading scorer to graduation —Taylor
Stahly — and will look to get a big senior season from 6’0” center
Payton Roberts.
Andover Central (18-4) graduated three double-figure scorers, but
returns 5’9” forward Amanda Kakoulias, who scored nearly 15 points
a game last year and averaged over 5 rebounds.
Class 4A
In Class 4A, some of the top teams didn’t know until early
October if they would be in Division I or II, most notably Hayden,
Wamego and Andale. The Buhler Crusaders did, however, and will
look to make another run at the Division I state tournament in
Salina.
Buhler returns two starters from a 19-6 team that finished fourth
in the state tourney — 5’8” senior Jessica Steffen and 5’8” senior
Morgan Rohr. Steffen, one of 4A’s top all-around athletes (State tennis champ), averaged 19 points a game last season, while Rohr had
six points and 3.5 rebounds.
“Jessica and Morgan will both need to have good years for us,”
head coach Job McLean said. “Once you get past those two, we are
really inexperienced.”
The Abilene Cowgirls could be the dark horse in 4A-I this season
with all five starters returning from a 16-6 team that lost to Hayden
in the sub-state finals. Abilene is deep and has size as well.
Belle Barbieri and Cara Donley provide one of the best 1-2 scoring
punches in 4A. Barbieri averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds last year,
while Donley scored 17 points a game. McKenzie Funston, a 5-7
junior, averaged nine points a contest.
“We went from being very young last year to experienced (this
season),” said coach Steve Riedy. “We played a grueling schedule last
year that has us prepared for this season. We expect to be very good
this year, but need to keep our main players healthy.”
The McPherson Bullpups are anxious to bounce back. Normally, a
See GIRLS, Page 26
Page 22
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Members of this season’s four Beloit high school basketball teams are, back row from left: St. John’s/Tipton’s
Justin Brummer, Mason Eilert, Davis Dubbert, Parker Gates, Eddie Koenigsman, Aaron Henke, Drake Kee,
Adam Bates, Ryan Gengler, Dylan Hollerich, Ty Brummer, Ben Hake, Isaac Meyer, Gabbie Smith, Elizabeth
Walter, Megan Bates, Bailey Shellito, Sami Hollerich, Chloe Miller, Ivy Miller, Brenna Eilert, Avery Gates,
Kylie Eitzmann, Claire Pastrovich, Sarah Katsiyiannis, Logan Eilert. From Beloit High, front row, from left:
Josie Wilson, Taryn Post, Alana Budke, Maeve Spangler, Carly Budke, Karissa Winkel, Sydney Johnson, Alexis
Budke, Remi Behrends, Luke Hesting, Colson Reames, Taylor Travis, Trayton Post, Caydren Cox, Ryan Jackson, Anthony Nunez, Colson Riemann, Hunter Budke, Logan Mong, and Brendon Mason.
Beloit: A tale of basketball excellence
By LINDA MOWERY-DENNING
Kansas Hardwood
D
riving into Beloit from the slightly roller coaster countryside of
Kansas Highway 14 to the south,
the town’s more prominent landmarks
include the twin towers of the St. John
the Baptist Catholic Church. The towers
rise above the canopy of trees that hide
the small, private high school and other
associated buildings in the church’s shadow.
On the other side of town, just to the
south of U.S. 24, stands the community’s
second — or first, depending upon your allegiance — high school, one that typically has
more than 230 students and is ranked in
Class 3A by the Kansas High School
Activities Association.
The south side school has fewer than 50
students, which places it in Class 1A, with
the state’s smaller schools.
Both Beloit schools are promoted on a
stone sign — the shape of an open book —
at the entrance to the town’s Sonic restaurant
down the highway from Beloit High School.
One side has St. John’s Blujays; the other
advertises the Beloit Trojans.
By almost any standard, this town of about
3,850 is special when it comes to sports.
Most communities are fortunate to have a
single school and one team to cheer for on
Friday nights. Beloit has two — and both are
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in Lincoln, Mitchell,
Ottawa, Jewell,
Republic, Clay, Cloud,
Washington, Riley,
and surrounding
counties since 1911
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powerhouses on the basketball court.
This past season, the Blujays came close to
a sweep of Class 1A. The girls, led by coach
Keith Kresin, took their first ever State title
after a 45-35 win over Moscow. They finished the season 23-2.
The boys, under head coach Lance
Bergmann, ended the 2014-15 season with a
24-2 record and a second place finish at
State, falling to Sharon Springs-Wallace
County by a score of 72-61. This followed a
year in which the Blujays won their first title
in school history.
On the other side of town, the Beloit boys
and their coach, Ryan Eilert, ended the sea-
See BELOIT, Page 23
Congratulations Area Athletes!
Good luck on your
2015/16 Seasons!
888-738-8000
www.guarantystate.com
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 23
Beloit
Continued from Page 22
son with a record of 19-3, falling one game
short of a State playoff berth in their class.
The Lady Trojans, under head coach
Dallas Cox, went one game further — with a
State run that fell short in the first round.
When he’s not coaching, Bergmann enjoys
going to Clint Horinek’s 12:11 Crossfit fitness center on the edge of town and listening
to parents and students from both schools
talk about their teams. Just about everyone
in town follows one or the other.
Bergmann said the parents can get competitive at times; however, that seldom spills
over onto the students.
“All the kids like each other and cheer for
each other. It’s a good relationship,” he said.
Beloit High School
The Trojans have a proud basketball tradition.
Beloit gave legendary college coach Gene Keady
his first job. He was here from 1959 to 1965
before moving on and eventually landing the
head coaching job at Indiana’s Purdue University.
At Purdue, Keady was responsible for six Big
Ten regular season championships and 18
NCAA Tournament bids, including five trips to
the Sweet Sixteen and two to the Elite Eight.
Banker Bob Lampert played for Keady at
Beloit in the early 1960s and still keeps in touch
with him.
“He was intense on the sideline,” Lampert
said.
The Trojans also have had their share of outstanding players. Among them is Bill Hougland,
who competed in the 1952 and 1956 Summer
Olympics as a member of the American basketball team, which won gold medals both years.
The 6’4” point guard, who went on to play professionally, also was a member of the Kansas
Jayhawks 1952 NCAA Men’s Basketball
National Championship team.
More recently, Beloit produced Austin Budke,
who earlier this year joined the Kansas State
University men’s basketball team as a walk-on
after two outstanding years at Hutchinson
Community College. He finished his four years
at Beloit as a member of the Kansas Basketball
Coaches Association First Team Class 3A AllState team, among others.
Despite the talents of its players and coaches
over the years, Beloit has never brought home a
state title. In 2014, for instance, the boys almost
made it all the way, only to be edged out by
Hesston in a heartbreaking 59-54 loss.
Beloit
(785) 738-3558
“I don’t think there is any other school in the
state that has had such good teams and never
won a State title,” Lampert said. “They always
run into someone who may not be better, but
they were better that night.”
St. John’s-Tipton
Clara Lackey enjoys telling her children about
the time she was picked up by the police on her
way to a game at St. John’s, about two blocks
away from the home she and her husband, John,
built in 1971. In fact, her ride was provided by
Coach Bergmann, whose day job is with the
Mitchell County Sheriff ’s Department.
The Lackeys are super fans, especially when
the game is basketball. Their son, Greg, who
played for St. John’s, coached basketball at the
university level and now serves as the color commentator for University of Denver home games.
“They’ll bury him with a basketball in his
hands,” John Lackey said.
Another son is a basketball official who sometimes referees at Beloit High games. You can
count on the Lackeys making the trip across
town when their son visits — or when St. John’s
has an away game and the weather is bad.
See BELOIT, Page 60
Smith Center
(785) 686-3558
Osborne
(785) 346-2488
www
w.fo
outsin
nsu
uran
nce
e.c
com
Page 24
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Lindsay Shupe
can’t be stopped
BY Mark mccoy
Kansas Hardwood
G
irls basketball teams in north-central Kansas have a common
mantra when facing the Lady Lions of Minneapolis — stop
senior point guard Lindsay Shupe.
Shupe, at 5’ 7”, is the spark plug for the Lady Lions squad and is
comfortable either driving the lane for a bucket or dropping the
3-ball.
She averaged 18.8 points per game in the 2014-15 season, scoring
30-plus points in four games and 20-plus points in more than half of
her games.
Another defining asset is her willingness to share the ball, racking
up 3.7 assists per game. Shupe is normally double-teamed in every
game, but somehow can find an open teammate for a score.
Perhaps her greatest skill is the ability to find the seam in a team’s
defense and exploit it quickly, racking up several points with either
shots or assists before the opposing coach has to call a time out and
refigure his or her defensive strategy.
Shupe is a defensive terror under the rim, posting 2.6 rebounds
per game and sees the floor well as play progresses. Her quick hands
and feet account for a lot of steals at mid-court.
The combination of all these skills led the Lady Lions to a successful 15-8 season and the sub-State runner-up plaque in the 2014-15
season, losing to North Central Activities Association champions, the
Lady Trojans of Beloit, in the championship match.
The Lady Lions play in the rough and tumble NCAA league which
includes basketball powerhouses Beloit, Southeast of Saline and 2A
Republic County. The Lady Lions play a good out-of-league schedule
and meet a lot of quality basketball clubs during the regular season,
including Ell-Saline and Hoisington.
Shupe was placed on several All-State honorable mentions from
different publications following last season. She has been placed on
the NCAA’s all-league first teams in both 2014 and 2015.
An all-around athlete, Shupe is also a track star for the Lady Lions,
making trips to the State track meet all three years of her high school
career. She placed fifth in the 100-meter dash; fourth in the 200meter dash; and was the anchor for the 3A State champion 4X400meter relay in 2013.
At the 2014 State track meet, she placed second in both the 100
and 200-meter dashes while posting the fourth fastest time in the
state in the 200-meter.
Last season she had a false start in the finals of the 100-meter
dash, but won the 200-meter pulling away from the pack.
Shupe also provides plenty of headaches for a lot of head volleyball
coaches in the NCAA. She has an incredible vertical leap resulting in
booming spikes and she often makes out-of-bound saves due to her
quick feet.
“I’m always out for the win. The win is always in my mind, of
course,” Shupe said when asked about her overall philosophy of basketball. “But I’m also trying to help my teammates get ready, doing
whatever we have to do on offense or defense. We try to play together as a team — anything to help us win by the end of the night.”
Like many top-flight athletes, Shupe is also a scholar, maintaining
a 3.8 grade point average. She plans to attend college after high
school, but is unsure of a major field of study.
“I’d like to play basketball somewhere if I get the opportunity,”
Shupe said.
In the photo, Lindsay Shupe runs past a defender
during a game this past season with Ellsworth.
By Mark McCoy/Kansas Hardwood
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 25
3A — Season of fierce competition
BY Mark mccoy
Kansas Hardwood
T
hink
about the
3A boys’
basketball
season and eventual
playoffs and the
defending champion
Scott Community Beavers almost always are
among the first to come to mind.
Although the Beavers lost a string of good
players — including head coach Glenn
O’Neil’s son Trey to graduation — O’Neil
has the ability to rebuild after another successful run at the State title. The Beavers
have been at the Big Dance in Hutchinson
for five consecutive years and 2016 will, in all
probability, see Scott City among the contenders.
But there are plenty of others determined
to stop Scott City’s annual march to State.
From south-central Kansas are the
Spartans of Wichita Collegiate. The Spartans
only lost two players to graduation and
improved on the hardwood for the past few
seasons. Conway Springs is always a contender, and Douglass looks to be tough again
this season.
Beloit, the north-central Kansas basketball
powerhouse, lost two top seniors to graduation with 6’ 4” post R.J. Jackson and allround athlete Brady Budke. However, the
Trojans return a host of talented players,
despite the loss of one of the state’s top point
guards, who moved to the Manhattan area.
Thomas Moore Prep of Hays and
Ellsworth also came on strong toward the
end of the 2014-15 season.
TMP, which dropped from Class A4 to A3
this year, reached the state tournament this
past year, but lost to Wichita Trinity in the
T
graduation,
her sister
Cami will
return with
a host of
quality
players to
compete
for the
crown.
The Lady Eagles of Silver Lake are almost
always a fixture at the Big Dance and powerful Beloit will make another good run at the
title. This could be the breakout year for
Southeast of Saline and Minneapolis, a couple of teams that have emerged as dangerous
clubs.
The Lady Lions of Minneapolis are led by
senior Lindsay Shupe who is one of the top
point guards in 3A. Southeast of Saline will
be led by Erica Montgomery, a 5’ 10” senior
that can do it all on the court.
Good things are expected in Hays as the
TMP-Marian Monarchs return all five starters from a 17-4 season, including three who
averaged in double figures — 5’9” senior
Melissa Pfeifer (10.0), 5’6” junior Megan
Koenigsman (14.0) and 5’7” junior Madyson
Koerner (10.0).
“For the past two seasons, we have only
had one senior each year,” coach Rose
McFarland said. “This year, we have a lot of
depth and experienced players.”
Sabetha only lost two senior players from a
team that won its sub-State championship
and Whitewater-Remington also appears to
be returning a lot of basketball talent. Haven
has showed strength in the past couple of
seasons and the sub-state runners-up to
Hesston are hungry for the title.
"For the past two seasons, we have only had one senior each year.
This year, we have a lot of depth and experienced players.”
he Lady Blue Jays’ only loss of the
2014-15 season came in the 3A State
tournament, when they lost 54-40 in
the next-to-last round to eventual winner
Hesston. Cimarron finished the season with
a 25-1 record.
Cimarron returns a strong set of upper
classmen, but only one was a starter this past
year.
“Our strength is the toughness on the
defensive end, and our ability to share the
ball offensively,” said head coach David
Rose McFarland
TMP-Hays coach
first round. The Monarchs will be led by
6’5” senior Jared Vitzum, who averaged nearly 15 points a game last year. Four other
players return who played in the state tournament, including 6’2” senior Peyton
Hoffman.
Southeast of Saline, Hoisington, Lyons,
Sacred Heart and Hesston always play a
tough brand of basketball so fans in North
Central Kansas should expect another stellar
season of competition.
Southeast of Saline was on the cusp of
making it to Hutch last season, but were
denied by NCAA rival Sacred Heart in the
semi-final match. The Trojans will return
Easton Montgomery, a quality 6’ 4” senior
post that has plenty of basketball savvy.
Montgomery rolled up 21 points per game
last season and averaged 7 rebounds per
game.
In Northeast Kansas, perennial powerhouse Silver Lake will reload and both
Rossville and Rock Creek — the new home
court of Beloit’s former point guard Bailey
Vetter — should be formidable teams. Osage
City clawed its way into the championship
game with eventual sub-state champion
Wellsville to an exciting 41-38 finish so the
Indians could also be a contender. Sabetha is
another team that will re-load this season.
On the girls’ side, the defending 3A champion Lady Swathers of Hesston are determined
to claim a third straight State title. Although
the Lady Swathers lost Caylee Richardson to
Cimarron Bluejays
Ediger. “An area to watch for improvement is
rebounding. We won’t be very big so we will
need to be very disciplined blocking out.”
The shortcomings the team has as it enters
the 2015-16 season will be offset in part by
the tradition and culture Ediger has built
over the last decade with Cimarron’s program.
“Our girls know how to win. Our experience that we do return should allow us to
have another great season,” he said.
The team’s returning starter is: senior
Mark McCoy is sports editor of the
Ellsworth County Independent-Reporter and
a frequent contributor to Kansas Hardwood.
Korina Bailon, 5’8” forward.
Boys
The Bluejays head into the 2015-16 season
with a new — for them — coach who has
many years of experience to his credit.
Tim Brooks most recently finished 10 years
at Manhattan High School, where he compiled an overall record of 115-92. However, he
is no stranger to southwest Kansas. Brooks
was assistant coach at Dodge City for 16 seasons.
Page 26
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
GOOD LUCK
15 N Union St
BELOIT
Council
Grove
TROJAN
BASKETBALL
T
he Lady Trojans had an
impressive 20-4 season
last year, with a State run
that fell short in the first round.
Beloit returns one starter from
that team — senior Remi
Behrends, 5’7” guard — and will
look for help from players with
not much experience.
“It will be an interesting year
because of the girls that graduated, but we still expect to compete as the girls gain experience,”
said head coach Dallas Cox.
“Our girls lack varsity experience
and need to step up and blend
with the girls who do have varsity experience.”
Cox has an outstanding record
in his 14 years at Beloit, averaging more than 16 wins a season.
Boys
After a 19-3 start to the season, the Trojans fell a game
short of a State playoff berth,
losing in the sub-State championship last season. With three
returning starters the Trojans
look to get over that hump this
year and make it back to Hutch
for the state playoffs.
“We have high expectations
for this year,” said coach Ryan
Eilert. “We have a good group of
upperclassmen returning that
have been playing together since
grade school. Our kids were disappointed with not making the
State tournament last year and
have been working really hard to
make it back to state.”
Beloit will look to its ability to
get up and down the court and
keep the game at a fast pace as a
blueprint for success.
“For us to have success we
need to push the ball. Our
guards and shooting ability are
our strengths,” Eilert said.
Returning starters are: seniors
Colson Reames, 5’11” guard,
and Colson Riemann, 6’1” forward; and junior Hunter Budke,
6’3” forward.
Dine-in or Carryout
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785 -73 8-25 5 1
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AM1190KVSV The Mix Every Tuesday & Friday
Night. Hear the games on line at kvsvradio.com
Garden Plain
Owls
T
he Lady Owls return three
starters from a team that
only lost two games this
past season. The second loss came
in the sub-State championship game
against undefeated, and eventual
state runner-up, Cimarron.
Garden Plain’s defense and athleticism will be its strength going into
the new season.
“We should compete for the
Central Plains League,” said head
coach, Kody Kasselman. With his
three returning starters being
seniors from a year that went deep
in sub-State, that is a realistic
expectation.
Returning starters are: seniors
Madi Schmelzer, 5’6” guard,
Daylynn Doyle, 5’7” guard, and
Mackenzie Thimesch, 5’7” guard.
K ANS A S
HA
RDWOO
D
Beloit
Trojans
620-767-5000
Council
Grove Braves
W
ith 11 returning
lettermen, head
coach Bruce Hula
expects his Council Grove Braves
to be more aggressive on both
ends of the floor this season.
“This year’s squad has more
varsity experience than a year
ago,” said Hula, who is in his
11th year as coach. “There is
plenty of opportunity for players
to show what they can do and
battle to earn varsity playing
time.
“We should have more depth
to our team this year and a number of players have the ability to
come in and be major contributors.
“Look for the Braves to put up
a good fight throughout the season.”
Returning starters are: seniors
Evan Cunningham, forward, and
Kyle Hayes, power forward; and
junior Blake Buchman, point
guard.
Other lettermen are: seniors
Daniel Bachura, Hunter Cowdin,
and Peyton Lerner amd juniors
Logan Bieling, Brett Frye, Kobe
Hula, Braden Reddick and
Chandler White.
Girls
In some ways, the 2014-15 season was a heartbreaker for the
Council Grove girls. The Lady
Braves started the season slowly
before building an impressive winning streak, only to be end with a
55-53 loss in double overtime in
sub-State to Silver Lake.
Council Grove ended the season
16-7 and tied with Chase County,
6-1, for first place in the Flint Hills
League.
That’s a good foundation for this
season.
The Lady Braves are anchored by
senior Erica Auchard, 5’8” shooting
guard. Also in the senior class is
Maddy Tischhauser, 5’9” power forward.
Jason Shelangouski is head
coach.
110 W Main • Beloit, KS • 785-534-1111
www.cunninghamtelephoneandcable.com
Girls
Continued from Page 21
17-5 record would be something
to celebrate, but the expectations are different at McPherson
where the Bullpups missed the
State tournament for just the
second time in 20 years.
McPherson returns two fulltime starters, one part-time
starter and a sophomore who
came off the bench and was the
team’s second-leading scorer last
year.
Taylor Robertson, a 5’9”
sophomore, averaged 15 points
a game as a starter last year,
scored 41 in one game and is
one of the state’s top sophomores. Ashtyn Schieferecke, a
5’8” senior, is also a returning
starter. Mandi Cooks, a 6’0”
sophomore, came on strong over
the second half of the season
and was the team’s second leading scorer while hitting nearly
70 percent from the field.
“This will be a deeper and
more versatile group than we
had last year,” said head coach
Chris Strathman. “We are excited for this season and many of
our players had a great summer
of basketball.”
The Andale Indians will have
to reload after losing seven
seniors and 88 percent of its
scoring from a 19-4 team that
qualified for the state tournament.
Rose Hill is another school
looking to make a big improvement. The Rockets qualified for
the state tournament despite a
7-15 record and will return
three players — 5’9” forward
Anna Van Driel (13.6), 5’5”
guard Mackenzie Herman
(10.8) and 5’6” guard Kayna
Simoneau (7.1) — who started
as sophomores and scored 35 of
their team’s 44 points against
Paola at State.
In Class 4A, Division II, the
Hugoton Eagles claimed the
State championship and finished with a 22-2 record. With
all the firepower head coach
Andy Gillen has returning, the
Eagles will be strong favorites
once again.
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 27
512 Kunkle Dr.
Ellsworth
785-472-3134
Ellsworth
Bearcats
T
o make up for their lack
of size, coach Trevor
Kuhlman says his
Bearcats must be able to play
fast and take and make the
3-pointers.
“We will rely on guard play to
carry us while we develop our
inside presence,” he said. “Our
schedule will test us, but will
help us prepare for the post season.”
Returning starters are senior
Nick Flynn, 5’10” point guard;
and junior Kaden Davis, 6’0”
forward.
This is Kuhlman’s third year
as head coach after posting a second season record of 10-11.
“We must have young kids
step up and reach their potential,” he said. “We have to make
our shots and play solid defense.”
Girls
Ken Cravens enters his 15th season as a head coach with a young
team.
“This year will require contributions from all the underclassmen,
and a sharp, but steady learning
curve,” Cravens said.
Ellsworth will return three starters from a team that went 6-15 last
year, but replacing scorers will be
the Lady Bearcats’ biggest challenge.
“Scoring will be important for
our team this year, as most of it has
graduated the past two seasons,”
Cravens said. “We will have to
quickly identify key roles for the
team to be successful.”
Returning starters are: juniors
Amy Westerman, 5’10” forward,
and Emma Klein, 5’6” guard/forward; and sophomore, Kolby Davis
5’9” guard/forward.
Dine-in or Carryout
Goodland
Cowboys
D
avid Losey has five years
of coaching experience,
but this will be his first
season as head coach at
Goodland.
His expectations are to have
his team “play solid defense and
disciplined offense.”
The Cowboys finished the
2014-15 season with a 4-17
record, losing in the first round
of sub-State.
Returning starters are junior
Nolan Deeds, 5’8”, and 6’2”
sophomores Levi Archer and
Wence Hendrich.
Girls
In his first year as head coach of
the Cowgirls, one of Ron Wolf ’s
goals for his team is to “maintain a
disciplined fast-pace game.”
He also wants to make sure his
team takes care of the basketball
and out rebounds opponents.
“We have great leaders in our
upper classes and have worked hard
this summer,” Wolf said. “We play a
tough league schedule, but that
should make us better at the end of
the year.”
The Cowgirls return four starters: seniors Faith Bierman, 5’7”
guard, and Kaitlynn Raile, 5’6” forward; and juniors Margaux
Thompson, 5’5” guard, and Katilyn
Daise, 5’6” post.
“[Out plan is] to get better each
week and compete at a high level
for 32 minutes,” Wolf said. “We
never want to be out worked on the
floor.”
1803 Cherry St.
Goodland
785-899-3661
Ag Power
Equipment Co.
your
COMBINE HEADQUARTERS
Goodland • (785) 899-3432
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Hoisington
Cardinals
T
he Cardinals are loaded
with experience this season. The team that finished the 2014-15 season with
an 8-13 record returns four
starters and four others with significant varsity time. They are:
Seniors Steffan Dolechek, 6’1”
guard/point guard, and Chris
Wright, 6’3” forward; and
juniors Corbin Crawford, 5’10”
point guard/guard, Grant
Dolechek, 6’0” guard/forward,
and Cameron Davis, 6’1” guard/
forward. They are joined by
senior Ryan Broeder, 6’2” guard/
forward; and juniors Tyler
Specht, 5’11” guard/forward,
and Brenner Donovan, 6’1”
guard.
Head coach is Kyle Haxton,
who has been at Hoisington
seven years.
Girls
The Lady Cardinals return four
starters: seniors Rylie Koester, 5’8
guard who averaged 16.1 points per
game and 5.4 rebounds, Marisa
Jonas, 5’7” forward, and Karisa
Schremmer, 5’’5” guard; and junior
Emma Harmon, 5’3” guard, who
averaged 8.4 points.
“We are still undersized inside
but will look for some girls to step
up their level of play and contribute
with valuable minutes,” said head
coach Mandy Mason.
“The Cardinals are guard oriented and have the ability to create
shots from the perimeter ... We will
have to play more physical than in
the past to keep opponents off the
offensive boards. We are excited
about the start of the new season.”
Hoisington finished this past
season with a 7-17 overall record.
West Hwy 4
Hoisington
620-653-4976
Dine-in or Carryout
Larned
Indians
C
oach Don Zimmerman,
who is in his fourth season, returns several talented seniors this season.
Leading the squad are Isiah
Perez, a 5’10” point guard, who
was named to the all-league second team in 2014-15 and has
started in the backcourt for the
Indians since he was a sophomore. Trevor Meyer, 6’3” power
forward, received an honorable
mention.
The recognition came in a year
when Larned ended the season
with a 14-7 record and a 9-3
record in the Central Kansas
League behind mighty Hesston,
which posted a perfect record.
It also came in a year when
Larned lost six seniors and their
more than 43 points to graduation.
Other seniors on the Larned
roster include Evan Skelton, 5’8”
point guard, and Jordan
Zimmerman, 6’0” guard.
Girls
The Lady Indians were a younger, faster team this past season than
they were the year before.
They still have room for
improvement, after 2014-15 when
they headed into the season with
almost every starting position open.
Larned finished the year with
records of 3-17 overall and 2-12 in
league play.
Returning players include
Allyson Aldrich, 5’5” guard; and
Haley Skelton, 5’6” forward.
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Page 28
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
1128 P o ny Express Hwy
M arysville, K ansas
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1020 W. Main
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Lions!
Lyons
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T
Lyons
Lions
his is a rebuilding year
for Brian Friess’ Lyons
Lions.
“We will be inexperienced and
will return only 13 points from
our team that averaged over 40
points last year,” said Friess, who
is in his 17th year as head coach.
“I expect us to struggle offensively, but to work hard and play
good defense.”
Returning starters are Jesse
Hursey, 6’3” senior; and Tyler
Edwards, 6’1” junior.
The Lions finished this past
season with an 8-13 record.
Positives for this year’s players
include a strong work ethic,
defense and their ability to play
hard. Negatives include a lack of
scoring experience, which in
2014-15 translated into a 32
percent field goal percentage.
“We must shoot the ball better,” Friess said.
Girls
The Lady Lions are short of
experience this year; however, coach
Leanne Hollinger has girls ready to
step up.
“We have some big spots to
fill but we have girls ready to go
and they are eager to step back
on the court and work hard to
get those victories,” said
Hollinger, who is in her sixth
year as head coach. “It will all
depend on how hard we work
each and every day in practice.”
Lyons’ lone returning starter is
senior Laura Pineda, a 5’6”
guard. In 2014-15, the Lady
Lions finished the season 19-4
and finished second in sub-State.
“We will be shorter, but we
will have some speed,” Hollinger
said.
J
Marion
Warriors
eff McMillin expects his
Warriors to be a “much more
experienced team that
can compete with any team
we can play.”
Marion was a young team in
2014-15, when it finished 4-17.
And youth continues to be a factor.
However, “nothing like last year,”
said McMillin, who starts his
eighth year as head coach.
“Strengths will include our overall
athleticism.”
Returning starters are: senior
Nicholas Stuchlik, 6’3” post; and
juniors Mason Pederson, 6’0”
guard, and Peyton Heidebrecht,
5’8” guard.
McMillin said keys to success
this season will be “everyone fitting
into their roles” and “playing with
energy and toughness.”
Girls
The Lady Warriors return four
starters and head coach Kelly Robson
hopes that translates into an
improved record over 2014-15, when
the team went 6-15.
“We will need to play good defense
and rebound the ball well,” Robson
said. “We shoot the ball well enough,
but our defense will be the biggest
key to any success we have.”
Returning starters are seniors
Kirsten Hansen, 5’4” point guard,
Bailey Robson and Erika Hess, both
5’7” guards, and Marshelle Mermis,
5’8” forward.
“We aren’t a very tall team, so we
will need to make good use of team
speed,” Robson said. “Defensively, we
can speed teams up and force turnovers ... We should have a good rotation of players, so fatigue shouldn’t
become an issue.”
Marysville
Bulldogs
I
n Scott Brown’s second year
as head coach of the
Bulldogs, he plans to continue building the foundation for a
successful program after a 6-15
season in 2014-15.
“Our keys to success will be
how much time and effort we
put in before the first practice,”
Brown said.
“Weights, workouts, summer
league, and most importantly
everything they do is making
them do it, influencing them to
do it, or is watching them do it.
We expect to play very hard, we
expect to all be very skilled
offensively, every player, and we
expect to win every 50/50 ball.
Our efforts must be consistent.”
Returning starters are: senior
Chase Green, guard; and juniors
Adam Lindhorst, forward, and
Jayton Haggard, guard.
Girls
To be competitive, play full court
and be aggressive defensively —
those are Amy Renyer’s goals for
her Lady Bulldogs.
They also need to improve on
offense. Renyer said Marysville
struggled with scoring during the
2014-15 season, which ended with
a 7-15 record.
Strengths will be speed and
“hopefully, defense.”
Returning starters are: seniors
Claire Cudney, 5’10” post/forward,
and Ally Kort, 5’7” guard; and
sophomore Sydney Pacha, 5’7” forward.
Renyer said height could be
another issue for her team.
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Specializing in small businesses
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T
he Lions return players
who coach John Darrow
says “have played basketball at a high level with exceptional basketball role models from
years past and that will be a major
strength.”
This past season ended with a
record of 16-6 for Minneapolis.
Returning starters are: seniors
Brandon Wolfe, 5’7” guard, and
Gavin Rothenberger, 5’11” post.
Junior Jace McKinney, 6’2” post,
also returns.
Darrow, a veteran head coach
who is in his first year as leader of
the Lions, said learning a different
system and playing with new
teammates will be two of his
team’s biggest challenges.
“We want to be more consistent
throughout the season. That starts
with practicing with a purpose and
continuing that focus throughout
the games,” Darrow said.
Girls
Head coach Bryan Weatherman
returns six of his top seven players
from this past season. Minneapolis
has finished in the sub-State final
the last two seasons, and are looking to break that threshold and
push their way into State.
Developing consistent scorers
will be crucial to their success.
“We really need to develop some
kids who are more of a threat to
score,” Weatherman said. All four
starters returning are seniors. Using
that leadership to build confident
scorers can be a major asset for
Minneapolis.
Returning starters are: seniors
Lindsay Shupe, 5’7” guard, Shay
Allison, 5’11” forward, Jaidra Lott,
5’8” forward, and Nicole Forte, 5’7”
guard.
717 Laurel St.
Marion
Dine-in or Carryout
Minneapolis
Lions
Minneapolis
1503 Sandstone
620-382-3939
Scott Ausherman Agency
308 W 2nd St • Minneapolis, KS 67467
(785) 392-3111 • [email protected]
785-392-3511
Marysville (785) 562-2186
Dine-in or Carryout
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 29
MAPES & MILLER LLP
W. US Hwy 36
Norton
785-877-3359
Dine-in, Carryout, & Delivery
Norton
Blue Jays
G
eorge Rossi, who is in
his fourth year at
Norton as head coach,
expects his Lady Blue Jays to
improve on their 10-12 record of
2014-15.
“I feel we are fairly quick and
have experience,” he said.
“Scoring is our weakness, along
with rebounding.”
Returning starters are: Casey
Ambrasier, 5’10” senior; and
juniors Miah Melvin, 5’6”,
Caitlyn Cox, 5’10”, and Baylee
Miller, 5’7”.
“We need to be able to score
more consistently,” Rossi said.
“We must be tougher on defense
and be aggressive without silly
fouls.”
Boys
Developing depth and consistent
scoring will be the challenges this
season for Doug Reusink’s Blue
Jays.
Norton finished the 2014-15
season with an impressive 18-4
record. Veteran coach Reusink
expects his team to show improvement throughout this coming season and be competitive in league
competition.
Norton returns two starters,
Landon Porter, 5’11” junior guard,
and Tyus Henson, 6’0” junior point
guard. Also on the floor for Norton
will be Quinton Porter, 6’1” senior
guard who was sidelined with a
knee injury during the 2014-15
season.
“I feel we have some athletic kids
who will compete hard, but we lack
overall size and depth,” Reusink
said.
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Falcons
W
ith four starters returning from the 2014-15
season, the Lady
Falcons start this basketball year
with more positives than negatives.
“Our strengths will be experience, athleticism and team chemistry,” said Harold Oliver, who is in
his 27th year as head coach.
“Weakness will be size and
depth.”
The Lady Falcons finished this
past season with a 12-10 record.
Returning from that team are:
seniors Alyssa Kulp, 5’9”, and
Jordan Clouse, 5’8”; junior
Bethany Crubel, 5’8”; and sophomore Tory Thomson, 5’4”.
“With a solid nucleus back from
last year, our kids have high expectations for the upcoming season,”
Oliver said. “We feel like we
should be a very competitive basketball team.”
He said the season’s keys to success will be to remain healthy,
develop depth and continue to
improve individual and team skills.
Boys
The Falcons return Jackson
Wagner, a 5’10” senior point
guard who was named to the allleague first team in the 2014-15
season.
Two other first team players
— Trace Nelson and Brice
Brummett — were lost to graduation.
The Falcons ended this past
season with a record of 15-7
under head coach Steve Fritz,
the former Kansas State
University assistant track and
field coach who is in his third
season at Riley County.
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Phillipsburg
Panthers
W
ith two returning
starters, coach
Rachel Miller isn’t
worried about her Lady
Panthers having the leadership they need to compete
successfully this season. Her
concern is inside depth.
“If we can get bench production and quality minutes
from the new starters, we
should compete well,” said
Miller, who is in her third
year as head coach.
Returning starters are:
Katelyn Swanson, 5’6” senior
point guard, and Tatum
Bartels, 5’11” junior forward.
Also returning are: junior
Hannah Hoover, 5’5” guard,
and senior Alex Babcock, 6’0”
senior.
The Lady Panthers finished
the 2014-15 season with a
12-10 record, playing their
final game in the semifinals of
sub-State.
“We must defend well in
the half court and out
rebound our opponents,”
Miller said. “Taking care of
the ball and getting quality
possessions is a must.”
Boys
The Panthers are tilted
toward freshmen and sophomores this year.
The only returning starter
from this past season’s 5-16
team is senior Kameron Tweedy,
6’6” post, and he “must return
from knee surgery at the first of
the year and be a force inside,”
said Keith Sides, who is starting
his 20th year at Phillipsburg,
the past 14 as head coach.
The Panthers’ strength will be
their youth guard play, specifically sophomore Trey
Thompson, and athleticism.
Russell
Broncos
E
xperience could spell success
for the Broncos this season.
Russell returns four starters, seniors Reshean Holloway,
6’2” guard/forward, and Mason
Beagley, 6’6” post; and juniors
Colton Fritschen, 5’6” guard, and
Travis Ochs, 6’5” post.
“We had a good summer in the
gym and on the court,” said Eric
Swanson, who is in his third year at
Russell. “Most of our players will be
upperclassmen and have been playing varsity for several years; therefore, our squad will be more experienced.”
He said the Broncos will need to
score more to be successful.
“We need to find a point guard
that will take leadership of the
team on the floor,” Swanson said.
“With less teaching to do of our
offensive and defensive systems, we
can spend practice time in training
and refining the system. We haven’t
shot the ball effectively or efficiently
over the past two years, so getting
good shots and making them will
be a big key for us. We won’t be
very deep, so playing smart and
staying our of foul trouble will be
key.”
Girls
Russell went .500 this past season, finishing 11-11, but after a
productive summer and all five
starters returning with a year of
varsity experience under their belts,
the Lady Broncos have high expectations for the 2015-16 season.
“We were a very young team last
year,” said coach Frank Schulte. “We
will be strong inside. Three-point
shooting could be a strength as
well.”
Russell has good size inside, with
6’0” post Kyleigh Kasper returning
for her senior year, as well as a
proven scorer, 5’6” Megan
Boxberger at guard.
“We need to develop a few more
scorers to compliment Kasper and
Boxberger,” Schulte said. “We’ll
need our other starters to be more
consistent scoring, as well as continuing to improve on defense.”
Page 30
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Joel Benson, CPA
Mary Benson, CPA
Terry,Jon
& N ick
B erning
620-872-5503
Scott City, KS
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7793 E. K-4 Hwy • Gypsum, KS 67448
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Serving the Ag Industry Since 1949
Scott City
Beavers
S
cott City is coming off a
3A State championship,
but will only return two
starters from the 2014-15 season.
Despite the lack of varsity
experience the Beavers bring into
2015-16, a talented group of
junior varsity players will step
into varsity roles, and — as the
season progresses — Scott City
should get better and be able to
make a push in sub-State at the
by the end of the season.
The Beavers will also not have
a go-to scorer for the first time
in a long time, so balancing out
their offense will be a key to
finding consistency as a team.
Returning starters are: senior
Dylan Hutchins, 5’10”, and
junior Bo Hess, 6’3”.
Girls
Having a “winner’s mentality.”
That’s the goal of first year head
coach Sarah McCormick for her
Lady Beavers.
“Our team’s strengths are that we
are an experienced team. Our
weakness is being able to fight
through adversity,” McCormick
said.
“My expectations are for them to
be competitive in every game and to
work hard every day not only for
themselves, but for their teammates
as well.”
Scott City finished the 2014-15
season with a record of 3-18.
Returning starters are: Madison
Orr, Kiana Yager, Taylor Goodman,
Paige Winderlin and Bailey Latta.
McCormick has coached for 13
years, five of them as head coach at
Garden Plain High School.
Fairleigh Feedyard
Scott City,
Kansas
Perry Nowak, Manager
620-872-2111
T
Specializing in small businesses
Benson Accounting
1929 S. Ohio
Office: (785)827-3157
Salina, KS 67401
Fax: (785)827-3159
[email protected]
Southeast
of Saline Gypsum
Trojans
he Lady Trojans have high expectations
for the upcoming season with the return
of four starters: seniors Erica
Montgomery, 5’10” forward; Kylee Poague, 5’5”
guard; Delani White, 5’4” guard; and Allison
Stutterheim, 5’6” guard. Part-time starter, junior
Kylee Thaxton, 5’9” forward, also is on the roster.
SES posted a 16-6 season in 2014-15.
“They are very good competitors and will
work hard to achieve success,” said Wayne Sager,
who is starting his 21st year at SES.
“My expectation is that we play the game
hard, play with character and have fun while
doing it.”
Sager said keys to success will be depth and
the desire of his players to practice defense.
“We like to play the game fast so it will be
important to develop some depth. We must take
pride in our defense and work to get transition
opportunities,” he said.
At the same time, the coach considers the
team’s speed to be a strength, along with the
experience of its four seniors.
“We will need to develop another inside presence as many teams will double up on Erica,”
Sager said. “We made good progress with that
last year and hopefully that will continue.”
Boys
The Trojans return seven of their top 11
players from last year, when they ended the
season with a 14-9 record, losing in sub-State
to Hesston. Included is Easton Montgomery,
6’4” senior forward, who averged 21.2 points
per game and 7.2 rebounds.
The Trojans have a lot of depth, and will be
able to score from all areas of the floor.
Southeast is a well-rounded team that has the
size to play inside, and the capability to shoot
from outside. If the Trojans can play consistently, they will be a dangerous team with the
ability to frustrate their opponents on a possession-by-possession basis.
Improving on defense will be one of the
main focuses for head coach Jeff Wells. The
Trojans should have every expectation of
being competitive this year.
Other returning seniors are: Tanner
Thaxton, 6’0” forward, and Kannen Haist,
6’5” center.
Sterling Black
Bears
S
terling returns a core group of seniors,
led by all-state 1st team selection, Kylah
Comley. Comley averaged more than 15
points per game this past season. While
Sterling is in a tough league, the Lady Black
Bears should be as competitive as any team in
3A.
“We will be led with quality senior leadership,” said head coach, Jill Rowland.
“Kylah Comley gets credit for making our
motor run from the point position, but the
number of players with varsity experience will
continue to be our strength. We have good size
and continue to believe in pushing the ball up
the floor when we can.”
Sterling went 17-5 this past season, before
falling to Lyons in sub-state.
Expectations this season are to expand on
that record, and compete for state this season.
“We always set our sights high,” Rowland
said. “We believe that we can compete at a state
level.”
Other returning seniors are Emma Lambert,
Sarah Stallings and Sydney Wilson.
Boys
Sterling is a young team loaded with talent.
The Black Bears lost their 6’6” center Jordan
Proffitt to graduation; however, they return
several talented players, including senior Steven
Hinshaw, 5’10” guard; junior Kyler Comley,
5’11” guard; and sophomore Kenan Comley,
5’8” guard who averaged 18 points a game
through the first half of the 2014-15 season.
Both the Comleys earned spots on their allleague teams — Kenan on first, Kyler on second.
Coach Derek Schneider’s team finished this
past year with a record of 13-8, which was a
significant improvement over the year before
when Sterling recorded only four wins.
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Girls
Trevor Siebert, who starts his third year as head coach, expects his Lady
Trojans to be “very competitive” this season.
“We are returning some varsity experience and also have girls that are ready
to step into vacant roles,” he said. “We had a successful season last year and hope
to build on that for this season.”
Returning from a 2014-15 team that ended the season with a 13-9 record
are: seniors Cassie Overturf, 5’10”, Kennedy Smith, 6’1”, and Reilly Erskin, 5’2”.
“I expect our team to be very strong defensively and rebounding,” Siebert said.
“We may struggle at times on the offensive side ... To be successful we have to
limit the number of turnovers we commit.”
Time for a
ion
T
he Trojans expect to build on the 2014-15 season, which ended
with a 9-12 record.
“We are looking to make large strides in the win column over
the previous year and make a run for the league title and also sub-State
title,” said Mike Doll, who is in his second year as head coach. He also
coached at Golden Plains High School for two years.
“Our keys to success will rely on getting off to a good start to the season. We will be very young and it will be key to get off to a good start and
build chemistry from the beginning of the year. Another key will be to
limit turnovers and win the rebounding battle in every game.”
The Trojans return to starters, seniors Keifer Puyear, 6’5” post, and
sophomore Alexis Molina, 5’11” point guard.
“Our biggest strength this year will be our shooting and our inside post
play,” Doll said. “I feel confident that we can put points up on the board
this year if we can execute and limit our turnovers. Our biggest weakness
will be our inexperience.”
ke
Stanton County Trojans
Page 31
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Page 32
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Sacred Heart head coach Pat
Martin is flanked by senior players
Lucas Comfort and Jerod Toogood.
Sacred
Heart
Can experience
turn into title?
By LINDA MOWERY-DENNING
Kansas Hardwood
H
ow much does Lucas Comfort like
basketball?
“He sleeps with a basketball
under his pillow,” said his coach, Pat Martin,
half in jest, half seriously.
The senior at Sacred Heart-Salina doesn’t
argue with the assessment. Basketball is definitely his sport of choice.
“It’s the process of getting better with basketball,” Comfort said. “It’s addictive. You
keep coming back to it.”
This day, Comfort and his long-time friend
and fellow Knight Jerod Toogood have
donned their home basketball uniforms for a
pre-season photograph with Martin.
The two are both seniors and, in many
ways, the heart of a team that Martin said is
always on the hunt for a state title.
“They feed off of each other,” he said of his
two veteran players. “We get a lot of pick and
roll off of these two.”
Comfort and Toogood are part of a tradition that has put Sacred Heart basketball in
the state’s top tier of programs.
Martin, who starts his ninth year this season as head coach, is a huge basketball fan.
Growing up, he and his 11 siblings played
basketball three or four hours every day on
the court his father built inside the family
barn. He works to pass on that appreciation
of the sport to his players — while delivering
a few lessons about team building at the
same time.
During the Christmas season, for instance,
members of the basketball team adopt a family and purchase, wrap and deliver gifts. They
also mentor young players through a Little
Knights Club.
Summers include basketball camp at the
University of Kansas.
Through it all, Martin tells his players to
be humble.
“Stay humble and great things will happen,” he said.
Which is why Comfort will only say, “I
think we’re going to do well,” when asked
about the 2015-16 season.
This past season’s statistics are impressive.
Comfort, a 6’3” guard, is the team’s leading
scorer with an average of 13 points per
game, 3.6 rebounds, 2 steals and 4.7 assists.
Toogood, a 6’6” forward, averaged 11
points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.5 blocks.
The other member of Sacred Heart’s
senior trio is Jack Skidmore, a 6’4” forward,
who averaged 10 points per game, 6
rebounds and 1 block.
The Knights lost their 2014-15 leader,
Brooks Brown, to graduation; however, his
brother, Stratton, a 5’9” junior guard/forward, returns. He averaged 6.1 points per
game and 3 assists.
Other players expected to be key are
juniors Quinn Riordan, 6’2 guard/forward,
and Zach Gaskill, 6’4” forward; and sophomore Caleb Jordan, 5’10” guard.
Martin said the trick will be finding someone to replace the quiet leadership provided
by Brooks Brown. Comfort and Toogood are
at the top of his list.
The two have played basketball together
since they started at the YMCA. Skidmore
also is a long-time teammate. They have
made a point of taking the younger players
into their circle.
“We are able to poke fun at each other
without anybody getting mad,” Comfort said.
His goal as a senior is to win every game.
Sacred Heart also has something to prove
this season.
The Knights have appeared at State five
out of the past eight years. Martin doesn’t
teach; he owns an environmental business,
which allows him to coach.
“We’ve had a lot of experience at State. We
just haven’t won it,” Martin said.
This past season was especially difficult.
Sacred Heart took the title in a league that is
notoriously competitive with every expectation of success at State.
After all, when an injury benched Toogood
for the game against arch rival Beloit,
Skidmore stepped up, pouring in 25 points
and grabbing 17 rebounds.
“Somebody goes down; somebody else
steps up,” Martin said. “We totally go by a
team concept here.”
But it was not to be. Sacred Heart was
upset by Bennington with the Class 2A
championship eventually going to St. JohnHudson.
“We gave Bennington 59 points. That’s not
going to happen again,” Martin said. “Our
goal is to keep teams to less than 40 points.”
Comfort thinks the Knights lost their
focus — or intensity, as he describes it
— in the game against Bennington.
“Basketball is definitely a game of
momentum,” he said. “You’ve got to be
able to turn that switch back on. You
can’t overlook any team. That’s what last
season taught us.”
Linda Mowery-Denning is publisher of
the Ellsworth County Independent-Reporter
and the Marquette Tribune.
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 33
Basketball spells tradition at Meade
By LINDA MOWERY-DENNING
Kansas Hardwood
T
his summer it wasn’t unusual for
Austin Lewis to answer a knock
on his door at home and find
several of his basketball players asking
for entry into the high school gymnasium to practice
“They just wanted to be in the gym
that bad,” said Lewis, who starts his
fourth year this season as head coach of
the Meade Buffaloes.
It’s that attitude — that love of the
game — that makes Lewis think this
could be a special year. Last season, the
Buffaloes went 13-8, losing in the second
round of sub-State to South Gray, which
eventually advanced to State.
“I think our guys have set the bar pretty high for themselves,” Lewis said. “By
most standards we didn’t have a bad year
last year, going 13-8 and winning our
league in the regular season.
“But these seniors have seen and been
Meade’s Kash Larrabee returns this season as one of Meade’s best ball handlers.
a part of Meade being a regular at the
state tournament. I don’t think last season was a major letdown, but I know
they’re hungry for more.”
Lewis naturally wants his team to do
well, but the desire for success may be a
little stronger this year. These seniors
have been with him since he started at
See MEADE, Page 44
MEADE HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Buffalo Tradition!
MEADE
Athletic Excellence:
FALL • WINTER • SPRING
Brought to you by the Meade Booster Club
BUFFALOES
Page 34
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Central Plains, St. John continue runs
BY Mark mccoy
return seniors Kash
Larrabee who had 3.6
assists as a point guard
and 6’8” Tristan Lewis,
he 2A basketball
who averaged 17.6
division is one of the
points per game and
best in the state,
11 rebounds last sealoaded with quality teams,
son.
players and coaches. The top
Olpe is almost
tier teams in the division can
always
a contender in
(and have) beaten much
the
Big
Dance and
larger schools — all the way
Washington
County
up to the 6A level.
should
return.
Once again, the boys’ 2A
On the girls’ side,
basketball division will be
the
two-time State
dominated by two stellar
champion Lady
clubs — the defending
Oilers of Central
champion Tigers of St.
Plains will once again
John-Hudson and the
be the team to knock
mighty Central Plains
off as they will
Oilers of Claflin, who
attempt to capture a
brought home the secondthird State title. The
place 2014-15 trophy.
Lady O’s will return
Both teams were considthe scoring duo of
ered to be two of the top
seniors Reagan
teams in the state last seaPhelan and Taylor
son, with St. John putting
Rolfs, who either
together a perfect 26-0 seaindividually or in tanson and its third straight
dem can run up a
title. The Oilers lost only
10-point lead in less
four games — two to the
than two minutes.
Mark McCoy/Kansas Hardwood Janae Ryan is a preTigers in Central Prairie
Lauren Harrington of Valley Falls drives to the basket against Hill City at the
mier 3-ball shooter
League action; one to the
and with Cassidy
Tigers in the championship 2014-15 2A girls’ State basketball tournament in Manhattan.
Crites and Kylee
State match and a game to
known for their great team effort and
Kassleman know how to score and play
then fourth-ranked 6A Derby at Dodge
outstanding 3-ball shooting.
great defense. Like the Central Plains
City’s annual Tournament of Champions
The Oilers will return plenty of qualiboys’ team, the Lady O’s knocked off 6A
in the championship match.
ty seniors from last season. Point guard
Dodge City (ranked 10th at the time) by
Each team lost an all-State player to
Michael Ryan, who at 6’ 1” is one of the
a large score during their regular season.
graduation. The Tigers lost Dean Wade,
best in 2A. He sees the floor and is an
Like Central Plains, Meade has a better
who will play for Kansas State
unselfish player much like Kinnamon.
than
average chance of returning to
University. Layne Bieberle, of Central
Ryan is the top 3-ball shooter for the
Manhattan.
The Lady Buffaloes are wellPlains, is playing football for the Fort
Oilers, who averaged 15 points per game coached and lost only two seniors. Junior
Hays State University Tigers.
and 4.5 assists last season. He can also
Jaylin Stapleton ended the season averagHowever, both teams will return a
drive the ball into the paint and score.
ing 13.4 points per game and 3.1 steals.
slew of excellent basketball players in the Braedan Crites, a 6’2”, 200-pound senior
Moundridge, who finished second at
2015-16 season and once gain the depth stepped up in the State tournament last
State last season and Ellinwood will be
of each team’s bench is far above average. season and his rebounding skills were an teams to watch. Hill City will return a
St. John will return Cole Kinnamon— assist to the Oilers all year. Jake
team that only lost one senior to graduason of head coach Clint Kinnamon — a
Warnken, at 5’11”, might be the most
tion. Spearville was young last season, but
6’0” junior point guard, who last season
underestimated basketball player on the
has a host of tall, quality athletes that
averaged 13.3 points and 4.1 assists per
team, if not the division. Hunter Ingham know how to win.
game. Kinnamon is widely regarded as
Valley Falls, Washington County,
also stepped up in post-season play as
one of the top point guards in Kansas.
Jefferson County North and St. Mary’s
Ryan and Bieberle were carefully guardAt 6’3” and 255 pounds, senior Jacob
Colgan are all top-flight programs that
ed and was a big contributor to Central
Milton looks more like a heavyweight
could return to State in March.
Plains’ title shot.
grappler than a top basketball post, but
From southwest Kansas, Meade will
has deceivingly quick feet, rebounding
Mark McCoy is sports editor of the
have an excellent shot at getting to
and shooting skills. The Tigers are
Manhattan next March. The Buffaloes will Ellsworth County Independent-Reporter.
Kansas Hardwood
T
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 35
Joel Benson, CPA
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T
he Lady Chargers return
three starters from their
2014-15 season, which
ended with a record of 15-9 and
the first trip to state in 30 years.
They are: seniors Alli
Terrapin, who averaged 11
points per game as a center, 5
rebounds and 3 blocks, and forward Taylor Nikkel; and sophomore Karsen Schultz, who averaged 11.5 points per game and
2.4 steals as the team’s point
guard. They will be joined by
top newcomer, Abby Oliver,
5’10” freshman.
“We accomplished our goals
last year of making it to the
State tournament,” said Shanna
Perine, who is in her second year
as head coach. “Now we need to
build on the experience and continue to get better.
“A solid group of girls return.
I’m looking forward to a successful year with a great group of
kids.”
Boys
Few gave the Chargers much
chance of success this past season
because of their youth. Instead,
they finished with an overall record
of 7-14 and tied for fourth in their
league with a 4-6 record.
Skyler Suther, who is in his second year as head coach, said his
team came close to winning another four games.
He can’t wait to see how his
team performs this year.
Returning starters are: senior
center Bryce Kelley, forward
Mitchell Wertzberger, point guard
Cooper Imthurn and small forward
Kameron Wurtz.
Also returning is shooting guard
Reed Murphy, who started several
games for the Chargers this past
season.
Everyone except Kelley will be
eligible to pay the 2016-17 season.
Specializing in small businesses
Benson Accounting
1929 S. Ohio
Office: (785)827-3157
Salina, KS 67401
Fax: (785)827-3159
[email protected]
Benson Accounting
Waterville (785) 363-2521
Bennington Blue Rapids
Bulldogs
Valley Heights
T
he strength of the Lady
Bulldogs for the 2015-16
season will be in its senior
leadership and experienced guards.
That’s the word from T.J.
Trout, who starts his first year
as head coach after serving for
eight years as assistant boys’
coach.
“Younger players will need to
step up in the interior and keep
our focus on,” he said.
Bennington lost key players
Jenna Gantenbein and Kayla
Schlachter to graduation.
Returning starters are: point
guard Jayme Sloan, guard
Delaney Ellis and guard/forward
Tacey Kaiser. They will be joined
by Stalee Diehl, guard/forward,
and a newcomer, center Alexis
Watson.
Sloan is an all-league player.
“Each day our goal is to build
our integrity, character and have
a positive influence on the people around us on and off the
court,” Trout said.
The Lady Bulldogs ended the
2014-15 season with an overall
record of 12-10 and seventh
place in the Heart of America
League.
Boys
After serving as girls’ head coach,
Curtis Pickering takes over the
boys’ team following a season when
the Bulldogs went 18-5. No starters return from that sub-State runnerup team.
“First year coach, new coaching
staff, and loss of most of last year’s
production. We will develop expectations as we go,” Pickering said.
He expects his team to be small,
but fast. Pickering said keys to success this season will be “having
underclassmen step up and produce
and working hard to overcome lack
of size.”
W
ith three starters and
two part-time starters returning from
the Lady Mustangs’ 2014-15
season, expectations are high for
a league title and then some.
“Our strength will be team
speed and defense,” said Jenny
Yungeberg, who is in her third
year as head coach. “We have
great quickness and will utilize
that with our defense.”
Blue Rapids finished this past
season with a 16-7 record,
including a second place finish at
sub-state.
Returning starters are: seniors
Jo Roepke, 5’11” guard, and
Taylor Doner, 5’6” guard; and
sophomore Kayla Smith, 5’10”
guard/forward. Two other players, sophomores Shea Manley,
5’7” guard, and DeAndra
Woodyard, 5’10” forward, also
have significant playing time.
Boys
The Mustangs return four
starters, including Tyler Geiman,
a 6’0” junior who averages 12.7
points a game and is being
recruited by numerous universities. Joining him are: Cade Green
and Gus Gomez, both 5’11”
juniors; and seniors Alex Debey,
6’6”, and Ritter Braithwait, 6’5”.
“I feel like this is the year,”
said Dwight Williams, who
starts his third year as head
coach. “I feel like with the experience we have returning and
after the summer we had, we
should have a successful season.
We have a very unselfish team
that puts everyone else first
before themselves and it showed
this summer.”
The back court will be the
Mustangs’ strength, Williams
said.
“We finally have strength with
experience. I feel we have a
toughness and positive mindset
that we didn’t have last year. Due
to the experience of our seniors
and juniors, we now have that.”
1929 S. Ohio
Office: (785)827-3157
Salina, KS 67401
Fax: (785)827-3159
[email protected]
Brookville
Ell-Saline
Cardinals
J
eff Vogt looks for his Lady
Cardinals to show
improvement this season after finishing 2014-15
with a 5-15 record.
“We played a handful of
underclassmen last year and
weren’t able to put very many
complete games together,” said
Vogt, who starts his third year as
Brookville’s head coach.
“The team made some big
strides this summer. We will
need to continue to improve and
if we do, we should have a very
competitive team.”
Returning starters are: senior
Morgan Kindlesparger, 5’4”
guard; and juniors Kadi Relph,
5’9” forward, and Sydney Omli,
5’4” guard.
He said lack of height will be
an issue, but the Lady Cardinals
“will be hungry to compete and
prove themselves.”
“We need to cut down on
turnovers, be more aggressive on
defense and rebound better. We
also need to be able to put some
points on the board,” Vogt said.
Boys
Ell-Saline lost all-league player
Brandon Clark and all-league
honorable mention player Cody
Walters to graduation; however,
head coach Drew Sprague
returns two starters — Koby
Ingalsbe and Noah Bradley —
from his 2014-15 team, which
ended the season with a league
record of 3-6. He also returns
several other key players: Koby
Ingalsbe, Noah Bradley, Tyler
Weems, Spencer Kochanowski,
Riley Drees, Braden Cox and
Devin Bowers.
“Our coaching staff is looking
forward to getting the season
started and we are excited to see
the progress our kids have
made,” Sprague said. “This is a
great bunch of kids and should
be a very fun and competitive
year.”
Page 36
T
Canton-Galva Eagles
his is the Lady Eagles final year in the Heart of America
League and they want to retire in style. It will help that the
team lost only one starter from this past season, which ended
with a loss to Ellinwood in the second round of sub-State and an
11-11 record.
“Our biggest strength is going to be our familiarity with our system,” said third year Canton-Galva head coach Kelly Unruh.
“Our biggest weakness is our ball control. We turned the ball over
at least 20 times per game.”
Returning starters include: seniors Cassidy Enns, 6’1” post, and
Zoe Unruh, 5’7” forward; and junior Kelli Nightingale, 5’5” guard.
“Our keys to success definitely start on the defensive end. We need
to continue to improve in our intensity on the defensive end. The
other area is our shooting percentage. We shot the ball almost 10 percent better last year, but still need to improve,” coach Unruh said.
Boys
One of the Eagles’ bigger challenges this season will be to adapt to new
offensive and defensive systems after three of the team’s top four scorers
were lost to graduation.
Returning are: seniors Zach Snow, 6’4” center, and Travis Unruh, 6’0”
guard, who will be relied on for leadership and varsity experience.
“Our strengths will be our length,” said Shane Duncan, who starts his
fourth year as head coach. “We could put a line-up on the floor with four
players that are 6’3” or taller ... We only have two players returning with
extensive varsity experience. We will also need to find some scoring on the
perimeter.”
Canton-Galva ended the 2024-15 season with a record of 9-12.
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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Central
Plains
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ing season for the Lady
Oilers. The back-to-back
2A State Champions return
seven players with enough varsity experience to take Central
Plains all the way — again.
They are: seniors Reagan
Phelan, 5’6” point guard; Taylor
Rolfs, 5’10” guard; and Kendi
he Timberwolves plan to
Maxwell, 5’7” guard; and juniors
continue their forward
Janae Ryan, 5’7” guard; and
march this season.
Cassidy Criter, 5’10” guard.
In his second year as head
Kylee Kasselmann, 5’9” forward; coach, Brandt Rogers hopes to
and Kaycee Steiner, 5’5” guard,
build on the 17-5 record of
also are expected to be key play- 2014-15. Coldwater finished
third in its league and for the
ers.
season, losing in the semi-finals
“Success will depend on us
of sub-State to Berean Academy.
continuing to play the Oiler
“Hopefully, we can pick up
Way: playing hard, and playing
where we left off,” Rogers said.
together by making the extra
“The boys did a great job of
pass and sharing the ball, which
learning a new system and putwe have done so well in the
ting it into action. I expect the
past,” said Pat Stiles, a head
team to keep developing as a
coach for 10 years, four of them
unit.”
at Claflin.
Returning are nine lettermen,
“We will need our talented
including senior starters Taylon
seniors to step up and take on
Harris, 5’10” point guard, Tanner
leadership roles.”
Kay, 6’3” shooting guard, and
Cole Lohrding and Alec
Boys
Konrade, 6’3” forwards.
The Oilers have high expectaRogers said the Timberwolves’
tions coming into this season after keys to success will be “staying
a 2A State runner-up finish in
healthy and having a core of
2014-15. The Oilers will have to
players working for the same
goal.”
fill in at a couple spots, but they
return three senior starters as a
Girls
solid foundation.
The Lady Timberwolves return
“We will need to establish
senior sharpshooter Reagan Bayne,
everyone’s identity early on to
5’5” guard/forward, who contributfigure out what role each will
ed 19 points in a late-season 50-28
carry with several less experiwin over St. John. She will be
enced players coming into the
joined in this season’s senior class
mix,” said head coach Brett
by veterans Micaela Jellison, 5’8”
Rolfs.
forward, and Haley Unruh, 5’10”
“We hope to work on much of center.
this throughout the summer as
The team’s other two starters —
well as the first part of the seasophomores Rylee Alexander and
son. Senior leadership will play a Taylor Bayne, both 5’8” guards, also
big role in this growth process.”
return.
Guard play and controlling
Under veteran head coach Tim
possessions should be the Oiler’s Rietzke, the Lady Timberwolves
strengths, as are their returning
ended the 2014-15 season with a
starters, including their senior
17-6 record.
point guard, 6’1” Michael Ryan.
“We should be very competitive
— just need to be more consistent,”
He will be joined by seniors
Rietzke said.
Braedan Crites, 6’2” forward, and
“We are long and athletic, which
Jacob Warken, 5’11” guard.
allows us to run the floor well on
Editor’s Note — See Page 62 for offense and cut off passing lanes on
defense, but we aren’t extremely
a Hardwood Extra on on the
quick.”
Oilers’ Taylor Rolfs.
ColdwaterSouth Central
Timberwolves
T
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 37
Serving the Ellinw ood a rea
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Hwy 36
Oberlin
785-475-3638
Dine-in or Carryout
Decatur
Community
Red Devils
T
he Lady Red Devils will
have to work hard this
season to overcome their
lack of experience. However,
Brandon Gehring has confidence
in his young team.
“My expectations are for my
young team to work hard in
practice every day, keep a positive attitude and learn how to
not settle for losing,” he said.
Gehring is in his seventh year
as head coach and third year at
Decatur Community. His team
went 10-12 in 2014-15, losing to
Ellis in the sub-State semifinals.
He said this season’s keys to
success will be playing solid
defense, controlling the basketball and being physical. Gehring
thinks speed will be his team’s
strength.
Boys
The Red Devils lost two of their
top scorers — Regent Erickson and
Kelden Breth — to graduation this
past season. That leaves this year’s
crop of seniors to fill the gap.
Included in that class is 6’0”
Noah Nelson, who has plenty of
varsity experience under head coach
Tim Berth. Other seniors on the
Decatur Community roster are
5’11” Kelly Brown, 6’1” Keagen
Blau, and 6’0” Andrew Wade.
The Oberlin boys finished the
2014-15 season 11-11 with a 3-4
record in the Northwest Kansas
League.
RYA N W IR TZ
620 -564 -20 35 H om e •620 -786-0 84 4 Cell
Ellinwood
Eagles
T
he Eagles return three starters this season and two other
players with heavy varsity
experience.
Leading the way will be seniors
Kaleb Schartz, 6’0” guard/forward,
and Cody Wondra, 6’4” center; and
junior Tyson Martinez, 5’11” point
guard. They will be joined by senior
Theron Sjogren, 6’0” guard, and
sophomore Nathan Monday, 6’2”
forward/guard.
Ellinwood finished the 2014-15
season with a 14-9 record.
“We hope to build consistency of
success stemming from last season’s
second half run. We want to continue finishing in the top third of the
league,” said head coach Derek Joiner.
“Player development and role
development from a year ago will be
extremely important for success.
Some guys who gave us good games
here and there last season need to
give us those type of efforts night in
and night out this year.
“This group plays well together,
and they know what each man can
do well. They now understand what
kind of effort and skill it takes to be
successful. We lack some size and
athleticism on the boards and in the
paint.”
Girls
The Lady Eagles have some major
roles to fill following a 21-2 season
and the loss of several key seniors,
including Rachel Doll, who was
named most valuable player after she
dropped 26 points in the Central
Kansas All-Star Classic sponsored
by Barton County College. Doll
signed with Fort Hays State
University.
However, Ellinwood returns
Allison Panning, a junior who is considered a top notch rebounder and
defender. She sank 15 points and
grabbed 13 rebounds during a 2014H ill C ity • O ak ley • W aK een ey 15 game against Attica.
Scott C ity • H erin gton
Ellinwood also was the team that
snapped the 44-game winning streak
of the Central Plains Oilers during
the final game of the season.
Andrew Cherry is in his first season as head coach, replacing Kyle
Kreigh.
W. Hwy 24
Hill City
785-421-3691
Dine-in or Carryout
Herington
Railers
T
he Lady Railers return a
number of players with
varsity experience after
finishing the 2014-15 season
with a 2-19 record.
“I expect our girls to have a
competitive season,” said Brooke
Gursky, who is starting her third
year as Herington head coach.
Returning starters are: seniors
Falon Kickhaefer, 5’6” guard,
Sarah Lietz, 6’0” post, and
Chelsea Conart, 5’9” post; and
juniors Jordyn Schrader, 5’7”
guard, and Ashley Hird, 5’4”
point guard.
“We also have an athletic
group of girls. The key will be
figuring out each player’s role,”
Gursky said.
Boys
The Railers started the 2014-15
season with a win and then struggled.
Head coach Gregg Hackerott hopes
for an improved team this year.
555 US Hwy 77
Herington
785-258-2256
Delivery available 5-9pm
Dine-in, Carryout, & Delivery
RE H A B ILITA TIO N &
SPO RTS M E D IC IN E
5 11 N E 10th St•A bilen e,K S
785 -263-6664
M E M O RIA L H E A LTH
SYSTE M
Ellis Railers
W
ith a good balance of
outside and inside
scoring, the Railers
expect to return to State after a
an 18-6 season in 2014-15.
Returning are: Brendon
Brenner, 6’5” point guard; junior
Easton Smit, 6’3” guard; and
sophomore Ryan Herl, 6’3” center.
This also is all-state forward
Alexcia Deutscher’s senior year
as a Lady Railer.
H ill C ity • O ak ley • W aK een ey
Scott C ity • H erin gton
Hill City
Ringnecks
T
he Lady Ringnecks
return five starters from
the 2014-15 season,
which ended with a 19-5 record
and a loss in the first round of
State to Valley Falls.
“We always expect our teams
to be successful,” said Linda
Nighswonger, who starts her
10th year as head coach. “We are
returning a great deal of varsity
experience.”
Returning starters are seniors
Lexie McDowell, 5’10” guard/
forward; Adrianna Nickelson,
5’9” forward; Kayla Bell, 5’7” forward; and Amanda Conway, 5’7”
guard; and sophomore Conner
Keith, 5’3” point guard.
Nighswonger said her team’s
strengths will be depth and experience. Its weakness is size.
Keys to success this season
will be for everyone to stay
healthy, work hard at improvement and “be great teammates,”
she said.
Boys
The Ringnecks need a defensive
center and must overcome a lack of
depth. Defense also is a question
mark. Strengths are the team’s
quickness and skill on the fast
break.
“The second half of the season
we should be a pretty good ball
club, but lack of depth is going to
be a big problem,” said Keith Riley,
who has been head coach for 47
years.
The Ringnecks finished 2014-15
with a record of 16-7, ending the
season in the finals of sub-State.
Returning players are: seniors
Tate Buckholz, 5’10” guard, and
Mekhai Bates, 6’0” forward; and
juniors Claiborne Kyles, 6’3” center,
Zech Wilson, 5’10” point guard,
and Everett Brandyberry, 5’9”
guard.
Page 38
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
903 East D St.
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C
oach Nathan Hiebert hopes the
experience gained by his Lady
Trojans this past season will
translate into confidence when the
2015-16 season starts.
“We bring back a large number of
underclassmen from last year,” said
Hiebert, who is starting his ninth year
as head coach.
“We were very young last year and
that allowed several girls to gain experience.”
Returning starters are: seniors Alex
Ratzlaff, 5’10” guard, and Marah Franz,
5’5” guard.
“We have to create more easy opportunities,” Hiebert said. “We will also
need to have more balanced scoring as a
team to be more successful within our
league. We hope to use our length to
create turnovers and gain some easier
opportunities to score.”
The Lady Trojans finished this past
season with an 8-13 record.
Boys
As the Trojans’ only senior and returning starter, All-League honorable mention
player Austin Cross is expected to pace his
team. Cross, a 6’6” post, averaged 6.75
points per game and 6 rebounds this past
season, which finished with an overall
record of 9-12.
He will be joined by juniors Preston
Loewen, 5’11” guard, who averaged 6.7
points per game, and Braden Vogt, 6’0”
forward; and sophomore Elias Werth, 5’9”
guard.
“Much of our success will depend on
developing depth to go along with the
returners that we have,” said Darrel Knoll,
who starts his 28th year as head coach.
“With only one senior on the roster, we
will be young and somewhat inexperienced, but we should be very competitive
this year.”
LINCOLN GROCERY
123 S. 4th • Lincoln, KS
785-524-4401
208 W Lincoln • Lincoln, KS 67455
785-524-5244
801 E. 3rd Suite A • Ellsworth, KS 67439
785-472-3272
800-794-6832 • www.havilandcoop.com
Hillsboro
Trojans
We wish all area athletes a safe
and successful season!
Dr. Gwinner, Optometrist
Kiowa County Lincoln Leopards
Greensburg
Mavericks
L
T
he Lady Mavericks were
forced to put players with little experience into starting
roles last season.
Despite that, Kiowa still won a
respectable eight games, and now
returns all five of its starters from
last year.
“Our strengths will be our athleticism, and our basketball IQ,” said
head coach Thomas Derstein. “The
girls’ confidence grew a lot last season, and I think they realize their
potential, and will to work hard this
off-season. We will also have depth. I
will be able to play eight to ten girls
every night.”
With the Lady Mavericks improving their offensive skills last season
— as well as building confidence
among their starters — the Lady
Mavericks should expect to finish
above .500 and be competitive in the
post season. With their depth, and
overall youth, the future for Derstein
and his team seems bright.
Returning starters are: senior
McKenzie Heft, 5’7” forward; junior
Nicole Ballard, 5’3” guard; junior
Morgan Powell, 5’3” guard; junior
Janessa Zenger, 5’8” guard; and sophomore Sierra Lingafetter, 5’4” point
guard.
Boys
Landon Davis, a 6’0” senior forward,
and brothers Henry and Frank Cuevas,
5’8” junior guards, return this year to
anchor the Mavericks. Zach White’s
team ended the 2014-15 season with a
7-13 overall record and 6-5 in league.
“I’m not going to say we’ll finish first
in our league, but we’d better finish in
the top half,” said White, who is in his
third season as head coach.
Metz Law Firm, Chtd.
Girls
Lincoln has a promising season to look
forward to in 2015-16. The Lady Leopards
were two games over .500 last year in a
tough league, but bring back five starters, all
seniors.
“We have a lot of experience coming back,
so our expectations are high,” said head
coach Steve Crist. “However, our league has
a lot of experience coming back so it will be
tough.”
Lincoln is a tall, athletic team and success
will hinge on controlling possessions to get
quality looks inside. Stretching the defense
out with better shooting from the perimeter
to free up those post players will be also be
something Lincoln will have to improve on
this season to be successful.
Returning senior starters are: Brittni
Harlow, 5’5” guard; Grace Walford, 6’0” post;
Ashley Wollesen, 5’11” forward; Maggie
Foulke, 5’6” guard; and Lindsay Crist, 5’8”
forward.
PROUD TO SUPPORT
116 South Fourth • P.O. Box 36 • Lincoln, Kansas 67455
LINCOLN COUNTY
Ph (785) 524-4466 • Fax (785) 524-5191
Email: [email protected]
Proud to support our
area sports teams!
incoln returns six starters from last
season, and their expectations from
a 12-11 season are much higher.
“The coaches have much higher expectations as we do have some experience,
and the players know the coaches’ ways
of doing things much better,” said head
coach Dalen Rathbun.
Continuing to improve on defense and
capitalize in transition off steals will be
keys for the Leopards this year, as one of
their deficits is overall size.
Returning players are: seniors Zac
Walter, 6’0” forward, Tyrece Simms, 5’7”
guard, Gabe Gulledge, 6’0” forward,
Skyler Edmundson, 5’11” guard, Matt
Davied, 6’2” post, Christian Emmert, 6’1”
guard, and
Braden Luck
6’1” forward,
who suffered a
knee injury
before the season.
O’HARE
LAW, LLC
SCHOOLS!
Jennifer R. O’Hare, Attorney at Law
108 West Lincoln Ave. - Lincoln, KS 67455
(785)524-4300 Fax: (785)524-4302
Email: [email protected]
1026 N. 6th
Lincoln
785-524-4462
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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
PO Box 336 • Little River, KS
(620) 897-6218
Toll-Free 1-800-656-2313
HA
RDWOO
Little River Macksville
Redskins Mustangs
W
ith a new coach
and a new system,
head coach Trey
Look is looking forward to seeing how his team will perform
this season.
Little River went 1-19 in
2014-15; however, three starters
return and “I’m excited to see
what these girls can do this year.
Most of them hadn’t played
much varsity before last season
so they gained a lot of experience,” Look said.
Returning are: senior Kristin
Ekholm, 5’9” forward; junior
Allie Peters, 5’9” guard; and
sophomore Melanie Renken, 5’9”
forward.
“I think we have several girls
that will step up and be leaders,”
Look said. “I’m expecting our
girls to come out and compete
every game. I think if we do that
and give 100 percent effort, then
winning games will follow.”
Boys
This is a rebuilding year for
the Redskins as head coach
Chad Lafferty works to overcome a lack of experience in his
young team.
“The keys this year will be
getting players to mesh as a unit
and step up their play as many
of them lack varsity experience,”
he said.
“I believe we have many kids
that could be very good off the
dribble with the ability to get to
the rim. We also have many kids
that can get down and play really
good defense if they will make
the commitment to do so. We
will obviously go through some
growing pains early on, but
hopefully that will make them
better for the second half of the
season.”
Returning seniors include
Damien Martinez, 6’3” forward.
L
ast season’s sophomores
and juniors are this year’s
juniors and seniors — and
they return to the court with a
lot of experience.
“We hope that game experience pays off,” said Jeff
Kuckelman, who starts his 13th
year as Mustang head coach.
“Being that young, we also got
some weaknesses exposed and
we hope we learn from that and
have improved. We have some
kids that can really shoot the
ball, but we have to be able to do
things to get our shots off. We
have to be able to attack the basket better and that will open
more shots.”
Projected starters are seniors
Alan Ibarra, 5’8” point guard,
and Lane Sebes, 6’2” forward;
juniors Brigdon Russell, 5’10”
guard, and Diego Delgadillo,
5’11” forward; and sophomore
Kreed Parr, 5’7” guard.
All but Parr were 2014-15
starters, when the Mustangs finished with a record of 8-15.
“We will have to be able to
guard better as well,” Kuckelman
said.
“Some of those weaknesses
that were exposed were directly
related to our lack of strength
and toughness. Hopefully, a
summer in the weight room
along with kids enrolled in
weight classes, will pay off. We
also hope another year of maturity can benefit us in the
strength and toughness department.”
K ANS A S
HA
RDWOO
D
w w w. l yo n s s t a t e b a n k . c o m
K ANS A S
D
Little River State Bank
Page 39
Meade
Buffaloes
E
xperience and size could
help the Buffaloes meet their
goals this season. Meade
returns three senior starters: Tristin
Lewis, who is 6’8” and averaged
17.6 points per game and 11
rebounds; Landon Bird, who is 6’2”
and averaged 10.7 points and 4.8
rebounds; and Kash Larrabee, who
is 6’3” and averaged 9.9 points and
3.6 assists.
Meade ended its 2014-15 season
during the second round of substate to South Gray, which
advanced to the 2A State tournament.
“By most standards we didn’t
have a bad year last year, going 13-8
and winning our league in the regular season,” said Austin Lewis, who
is in his eighth year as head coach.
“But these seniors have seen the
been a part of Meade being a regular at the State tournament.
“I don’t think last season was a
major letdown, but I know they’re
hungry for more. And I think we’ve
got the talent to do some neat
things if we stay healthy, keep perspective and take care of our business.
“We will have some pretty
decent size again. Also, we’ll have
more returning experience at the
guard position and have some new
faces in our program that may help
provide even more depth.
“[Depth] is a great thing as long
as everyone can handle their role
and keep our team goals as their
number one priority. If we are able
to have some success early, the key
will be staying motivated to continue getting better.”
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Medicine
Lodge
Indians
M
edicine Lodge went
5-16 last year and
lost in the first
round of sub-State.
With three returning starters,
the Indians should be competitive during the 2015-16 season,
and build around that experience. In fact, given the competitiveness of their league, it should
not be a stretch for the Indians
to compete for a league title.
If Medicine Lodge is successful at the league level,
their momentum could position them for a run in subState.
However, improving on
their record from this past
season is the first step.
Returning starters are: seniors
Gage Axline, 5’11” forward,
Ethan Hargett, 6’3” forward, and
Micah Richert, 5’11” guard.
Girls
As a freshmen, Emily Hrencher
was chosen as a member of the allCentral Plains League’s second
team.
This season, Hrencher returns
for her junior year. She will be
joined by Alex Leis, who that same
year received an honorable mention.
She returns for her senior year.
The Lady Indians are coached by
Lowell Dohrmann.
Page 40
T
Ness City Eagles
he Eagles have some big shoes to fill going into the 2015-16
season. Four starters were lost to graduation, leaving one
returning starter, Chandler Stiawalt, 6’3” junior guard.
“I feel like we had a great summer and made some big improvements. I am excited about this upcoming team and understand there
could be some growing pains, but hope to improve as the season progresses,” said Matt Overlease, who starts his sixth year as head coach.
Ness City finished this past season with a 14-9 record. Other
returning players are: seniors Dylan Hamilton, 6’0”, and Luis
Rodriguez, 5’10” and juniors Payton Fellhoelter, 5’10”, and Devin
Brown, 6’3”.
“We will only have a couple seniors on this year’s team, so we will
look for some young guys to step up and have an immediate impact.
To be successful we will have to be disciplined defensively and play
unselfish basketball,” Overlease said.
“From what I saw this summer, the guys are eager to learn and are
willing to put in the time and effort it takes to be successful.”
Girls
Head coach Cory Bixler will enter his first season as Ness City’s
coach.
Four starters will be back for the Lady Eagles, as he builds on the
foundation that has been in place with those athletes. Developing a
point guard will be key this season. The Eagles do not have a true ball
handler, but they make up for it to an extent with overall athleticism
and size.
Returning starters are: senior Machen Fritts, 5’9” power forward;
juniors Jaycie Richardson, 5’8” guard, and Alexis Clarke, 5’8” guard;
and sophomore Baylee Holecek, 5’6” guard.
O
Oakley Plainsmen
akley did not win a game this past season, but all starters return
from that team, whose oldest member was a sophomore. The
Lady Plainsmen should expect to see progress, as it is only head
coach Ty Pfannenstiel’s second season working with players.
“We expect to continue to improve each day we step on the court,”
Pfannenstiel said. “Our defense did some good things last year, but we
have to find more ways to score.”
Changing the culture to start laying another solid foundation for a program is never a rapid process, but Oakley is young enough and will have a
breadth of experience in years to come to make measurable strides, and
put an 0-21 season well behind. Oakey had outstanding teams not that
long ago and looks for a repeat of its past success.
Returning starters are: juniors Jenna Zimmerman, 5’9”, Taylor Van
Eaton, 5’10”, and Myka Kuhlman, 5’6”; and sophomores Elise Corbett,
5’5”, and Nicole Scheetz, 5’11”.
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
223 S. Iowa Ave. • Ness City, KS, 67560
(785) 798-3322
G & L Health Mart Pharmacy
207 S Penn Avenue, Ness City, KS 67560 • (785) 798-2897
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Boys
Craig Wamsley returns for his second year as head coach at Oakley
after going 5-16. Wamsley returns three starters from last season,
accompanied by another four players with extensive varsity experience. The Plainsmen will look to expand from last year and be better
handling defensive pressure and taking care of the ball. Oakley is
deep, but lacks size.
Returning starters are: senior Trace Engel, junior Kameren Gabel
and sophomore Jace Engel.
514 S. Freeman Ave.
Oakley
785-672-3108
Dine-in or Carryout
H ill C ity • O ak ley • W aK een ey
Scott C ity • H erin gton
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 41
C
N
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611 S. Washington
Plainville
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Oxford
Wildcats
O
xford will look to
rebuild this year as
the Wildcats lost 98
percent of their scoring on a
team that went 10-11 and
lost in the first round of subState.
“We will be a young team,”
head coach Kyle Green said.
“Player development is key
this summer with our summer program. We return a
very athletic sophomore class,
but they lack experience.”
If the Wildcats can get
leadership from their upperclassmen — though still inexperienced — Oxford could
develop a young, athletic core
and look to make major
strides this season and in the
years ahead.
The Wildcats have no
returning starters.
Girls
The Lady Wildcats hope this
season ends as well as the 201415 season started. The team
won three games before being
plagued by injuries.
Oxford returns this year with
four seniors and a number of
freshman who appear ready to
help out on the court.
The senior class is headed by
5’11” post Bethany Metz. Also
returning for their senior year
are Kelsey Metz, Kellcie Norris
and Lakin Cook.
Ricky Totten is in his second
year as head coach.
K ANS A S
T
he Lady Cardinals return
four players with experience — Shania Werner,
Amy Casey, Lyric Dewey and
Maeson Dewey.
They will be coached by Kate
Lehman, who is in her first year
as a head coach. She hopes to
improve on this past season’s
9-13 record. Success will come
from “a tough defense and an
effective offense.”
“I think that we should have a
very quick team. I also look for
defensive being one of our strong
points,” Lehman said. “We are
returning several players that
saw varsity minutes last year.
That should be very helpful. A
weakness will probably be learning a new offense and getting the
new girls integrated into the program.”
Boys
Chris Dees enters his third season as head coach of the Cardinals
after finishing last season 10-12,
and losing in the sub-State semi
finals to Central Plains. Plainville
will look to gain experience and
maturity this season, as it relies
heavily on a group of younger, athletic players. The Cardinals enter
the 2015-16 season without any
senior leadership.
Returning starters 5’10” point
guard Hayden Friend, and 6’3” forward Justin Reif, both juniors, will
lead the team.
Replacing the Cardinals’ primary
scorers from this past season will
be a priority as well. The Cardinals
will look to play fast, and rely on
defense due to their lack of size.
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Buffaloes
T
he Lady Buffs went 4-17
this past season, but everyone returns — and with a
year of experience to their credit.
“I expect us to be ready to
compete whenever we step on
the floor. If we do this we have a
chance to have a good season,”
said Brad Pfortmiller, who is in
his first year as head coach.
“We will have to be good on
defense and develop some shooters and ball handlers. We need
our younger girls to be able to
step in and provide some depth.”
Returning are: seniors
Mandilyn Horinek and Jaelynn
Sis; juniors Gracie Higley,
Lauren Terry and Kurstann
Horinek; and sophomore
Natalie Hawkins.
Boys
The Buffaloes went without a
win during the 2014-15 season, but
they’re back this year — older and
with more experience.
“My expectation is to win, obviously, and surprise some people,”
said Jeff Lankas, who starts his
eighth year as head coach.
Atwood returns all of its starters
from this past season after 201314, when it lost all five of its top
players to graduation.
On the court for the Buffaloes
are: senior Drew Lankas, 6’3” post;
sophomores Braden Leitner, point
guard, Nick Withington, post, and
Jerry Oelschlager, forward; and
junior Wyatt Britt, forward.
501 Main St.
Atwood
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Buffs!
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Scott Ausherman Agency, Inc.
Brett Thumann, CSR
1205 18th St. Ste 3 • Belleville, KS 66935
(785) 527-2994 • [email protected]
BellevilleRepublic Co.
Buffaloes
T
he Lady Buffs finished two
games over .500 this past
season with a third-place
finish in the NCAA League.
Republic County improved
throughout the season, and
expects to build on that success
this season with three starters and
an additional four lettermen
returning. The Lady Buffs will be
able to gauge their progress in the
Hillsboro Trojan Classic, where
they will have the opportunity to
be matched against perennial 3A
powerhouse programs: Hillsboro,
Riley County, Holcomb, and
Hesston.
Returning starters are: Ashley
Pachta, 5’9”; junior Madison
Scott, 5’3” guard; and Kendsey
Johnson, 5’4” guard.
Boys
The Buffaloes had a disappointing 6-15 season in 2014-15, mostly the result of limited experience.
This season, however, Republic
County returns more than five
starters, as their starting line up
was in constant rotation last season, and they will look to build on
the experience they gained.
“We play in an extremely tough
league and it will only be better
next year,” said head coach Clay
Mettlen. “We expect to be much
improved with the amount of
experience we bring back. We will
be competitive in every game we
play, and we’ll surprise a lot of
people this year.”
Returning players include:
seniors Kale Johnson, 6’0” point
guard, Tucker Allen, 5’11” point
guard, Lane Shoemaker, 5’11”
guard, Tyler Popelka, 6’0” forward, Derek Vanous, 6’1” for-
ward, and Cameron Wilber,
6’0 guard; and juniors Trey
Kuhlman, 6’1” forward, and
Justyn Stindt, 6’2” forward.
Page 42
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Joel Benson, CPA
Mary Benson, CPA
Specializing in small businesses
Smith Center
Benson Accounting
1929 S. Ohio
Office: (785)827-3157
Salina, KS 67401
Fax: (785)827-3159
[email protected]
Sacred Heart
Knights
H
eight. Talent. Ability.
The Sacred Heart
Knights have it all.
“We are a well balanced team
with lots of experience and capable of having a great season,” said
Pat Martin, who is starting his
ninth year as head coach.
“With all but one returning
starter back, we hope to be as
successful as we were last year.”
The Knights ended the 201415 season with a record of 20-2,
losing in the sub-State semifinals to Bennington in an upset.
Brooks Brown, a 6’2” guard/
forward, was lost to graduation.
Returning starters are: junior
Stratten Brown, 5’9” guard/forward; and seniors Lucas
Comfort, 6’3” guard, Jerod
Toogood, 6’6” forward, and Jack
Skidmore, 6’4” forward.
Other key players will be
juniors Quinn Riordan, 6’2”
guard/forward, and Zach
Gaskill, 6’4” forward; and sophomore Caleb Jordan, 5’10” guard.
Girls
What the Lady Knights lack in
height, they make up for in experience.
Returning players include seniors
Sara Vandervoort, 5’2” guard,
MaKenzie Kack, 5’7” forward/center, Karli Alvarez, 5’4” guard, and
Jacey Goetz, 5’3” guard.
Sacred Heart finished the 201415 season with a disappointing
2-17 and no league wins.
The team’s new coach, Arnold
Schmidtburger, will try to improve
on that record.
785-282-3571
Dine-in or Carryout
Sedan
Blue Devils
T
his could be the year of
the Blue Devils.
Sedan returns five
starters: seniors Noah Chee,
5’10” guard and 2nd team AllState, and Johnny Smilko, 5’11”
guard; sophomores Kylar
Walker, 6’1” guard, and Kiefer
Brewer, 6’5” forward; and junior
Jaden Uhls, 6’3” forward.
A year ago, these players
ended their season with a 15-8
record and a spot in sub-State
finals.
This season, the Blue Devils
add two other talented players to
their roster, Alex Perez from
Lakin and Alex Burger from
Colorado.
“They will strongly compete
for important roles,” said Lance
Jeffers, who coaches both boys’
and girls’ basketball.
“Without any seniors on the
team last year and making it to
sub-state finals, our expectations
are very high.”
Jeffers said the biggest challenge will be developing a solid
post off the bench.
Girls
The Lady Blue Devils return
three starters: seniors Jessica
Roggow, 5’5” point guard, and
Braylee Unruh, 5’6” guard; and
junior Aly Hurt, 5’7” forward.
Sedan’s fast-paced team went
18-5 in 2014-15 and finished as
sub-State runner-up.
“Once again our weakness is
height and scoring in a slower
paced game. Our strength is our
program and team have built a tradition where winning is an expectation,” Coach Jeffers said.
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1929 S. Ohio
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Salina, KS 67401
Fax: (785)827-3159
[email protected]
Smith Center
Redmen
T
ough pressure defense.
That sums up the goal of
the Redmen this year as
they work to improve their 6-14
record from the 2014-15 season.
“I feel we will be athletic and
quick,” said Joe Burgardt, in his
third year as head coach. “We
need to defend and rebound better.”
Smith Center returns two
starters, Blake Hackerott, 5’11”
senior; and Thayne Benoit, 5’11”
junior. They will be joined by
seniors Gavin Overmiller, 5’10”
and Austin Gooder, 6’2”; and
sophomores Jesse Staples, 5’11”
and Brett Meyer, 6’3”.
Girls
Smith Center has holes to fill
along the perimeter as this season’s team lacks depth at its two
and three spots.
Looking for new contributors
at those positions will be key to
the Lady Reds new season.
Smith Center returns two
starters with experience at forward and post, and can look for
leadership in those roles. If
nothing else, this season should
be an opportunity to develop
those positions as head coach
Nick Linn and his Lady Reds
move forward.
Returning starters are: junior
Sara Mann, 5’11” forward; junior
Rebecca McDowell, 5’5” guard;
and senior Sierra Kuhn, 5’7”
post.
5 11 N E 10th St•A bilen e,K S
785 -263-6664
M E M O RIA L H E A LTH
SYSTE M
Solomon
Gorillas
T
he Gorillas ended the
2013-14 season with a
16-5 overall record and a
perfect first-place finish of 7-0 in
the Wheat State League.
Nick Perez, who is in his third
year at Solomon, hopes to build
on his team’s success.
Solomon returns a number of
players with varsity experience,
including Cain Fowles, 6’2” senior
guard; and Andrew Meagher, 6’3”
senior forward.
Other key players are: Kord
Hilbert, 5’8” senior guard; Zach
Neilson, 6’3” junior forward; and
Cade Fiske, 5’8” junior guard.
Girls
Justin Coup, who starts his second
year as head coach, lost two key players, Jordain Ballue and Morgan Clark,
to graduation. However, the Lady
Gorillas return players who have the
capacity to score on any given night.
Brooke Homman, for instance,
contributed 19 points to Solomon’s
56-44 win this past season over
Wakefield. Homman is a 5’11” junior
center.
Other players expected to contribute are: Lauren Cross, 5’7” senior
guard; Maggie Aylward, 5’7” senior
forward; Sarah Arnett, 5’10” senior
forward; and Carley Rohleder, 5’6”
junior guard.
Solomon finished 2014-15 with an
overall record of 7-12 and 4-5 in
Wheat State League play.
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
K ANS A S
St. Francis
Indians
T
he St. Francis girls return
three starters: seniors Kylie
Sherlock, 5’8” post, and
Journey Lee, 5’5” guard; and sophomore Hanna Bracelin, 5’7” guard.
“Our strength is our speed and our
weakness is our experience, having
three seniors and no juniors,” said
Shaylinn Kaus, who starts her first
year as head coach.
The Lady Indians went 7-14 in
2014-15.
Kaus has three rules for her team
this season: never get outworked,
attention to rebounding and aggressive, smart defense.
“I expect our team to work hard in
the gym and the classroom,” Kaus
said. “We will continue focusing on
fundamentals and being aggressive on
both offense and defense. I expect us
to work together and get better every
day so we can perform to the best of
our ability as one.”
Boys
First-year head coach Cory Busse
has good things to say about his
Indians, which went 10-12 this past
season.
“This team consists of a group of
very hard-working, unselfish kids,” he
said. “The kids are athletic but we
struggle with a lot of the game’s fundamentals. My expectation is that we
will not get out-hustled nor outworked ever, but we have a lot of
room for improvement when it comes
to the finer points of the game.
“I think as the season goes along we
will see a lot of improvement. I think
we can be competitive in every game.”
St. Francis returns four starters,
senior Jude Faulkender, 6’1” forward;
juniors Taylor Rogers, 5’9” guard, and
Quinton Cravens, 6’1” forward; and
sophomore Tate Busse, 5’10” guard.
Jeremiah Neitzel, 6’3” junior forward,
also has considerable floor experience.
“I don’t worry about the kids’ effort
or willingness to work but in order for
us to be successful with respect to wins
and losses, we are going to have to gain
fundamental skills during the season,”
Busse said. “We will have to work very
hard to cut down on silly turnovers.
I
RDWOO
St. JohnHudson
Tigers
t won’t be the same without
6’9” Dean Wade at the rim,
but you have to think the
Tigers — state 2A champions for
the past three years — will still be
just fine. Coach Clint Kinnamon
returns 10 letter winners and
senior Nathan Ward, who missed
last season with a shoulder injury
from football.
Returning starters include
juniors Jorge Calleros, who averaged 6 points a game and ended
the season with 43 percent from
3-point land, and Cole Kinnamon,
who averaged 14 points per game
and 41 percent. Both players are
6’0”. The third returning starter is
Jacob Milton, a 6’3” senior.
Coach Kinnamon predicts his
Tigers will finish first in the
Central Prairie League.
“We have a team full of guys
that really like each other and will
share the ball,” he said.
Another strength is expected to
be perimeter shooting.
“We had a pretty good team
3-point field goal percentage last
year that should be just as good or
potentially even better this season,”
Kinnamon said.
His team will have to watch for
mistakes.
“We will have to be a very solid
defensively, because Dean could
cover up a lot of mistakes on
defense last year,” Kinnamon said.
K ANS A S
HA
RDWOO
324 S. 1st St.
WaKeeney
H ill C ity • O ak ley • W aK een ey
Scott C ity • H erin gton
Trego
Community
Golden
Eagles
D
espite going 5-17 last
season, the Golden
Eagles have much loftier
expectations for this season, and
rightfully so.
Trego returns all five starters
from last season. Coach Jeff
Rhoden is confident his team’s
experience, and continuity will
keep the Eagles competitive this
year.
“I think we will be much
improved over last season,” he
said. “We are returning all five
starters and have a core group
with great attitudes, and a strong
work ethic. I expect us to be
highly competitive in all contests, and look to push for 15
wins.”
Returning starters are: seniors
Cedrick Flax, 5’11” forward,
Aaron Satran, 6’0” center, and
Cole Gillman, 5’9” center; and
juniors Emmit Owens, 5’9”
guard, and Alex Haxton, 5’8”
guard.
Girls
Jerod Brown, who enters his
third year as head coach, has
already selected a motto for this
season, “Expect Success.”
“Most of the fun of this season
will be to see how it plays out,” he
said. “I expect this group of young
women to want to be successful,
and I know they will work as hard
as they can to make that happen.
“There is a lot of potential on
this team, and I am excited to
watch it come out.”
Returning starters are: seniors
Teghan Sells, 5’6” guard, and
Mariah Brungardt, 5’5” forward.
“We will have to play fast and
aggressive. Being physically and
mentally tough will be a huge key,”
Brown said. “Our defense will have
to ignite our offense.”
785-743-2383
Dine-in, Carryout, & Delivery
Wakefield
Bombers
T
he Bombers lost three
key players to graduation
this past spring; however,
they return three experienced
players and field others who are
expected to be key to the team’s
success this season.
Gone are Keenan Westerman,
Trey Adams and John Yenni.
Returning are Dylan Murphy,
5’11” senior; Hayden Bruner,
6’7” senior; and Trey Laffery,
6’4” senior.
Key newcomers are Preston
McCollum, 6’1” senior; and
Jacob Judy, 6’3” junior.
The goal, said head coach,
Rich Steppe, is to build on the
past season’s success.
“I’m excited for the coming
season,” said Steppe, who is
starting his third year. “We lost
our top three scorers, but I think
there will be some guys who are
anxious to step up and fill whatever roles will be needed.
“Strengths will be familiarity
with our system and defense,
which I feel we have a good idea
of what we want to do. We will
have to be better at consistently
knocking down open shots and
scoring in the paint when the
opportunity presents itself.”
Girls
The bulk of the Lady Bombers’
games ended in the loss column
during the 2014-15 season.
However, Wakefield returns
Autumn Adams for her senior year.
Adams, an all-league first team
pick, averaged 16.8 points a game
and more than 9 rebounds.
Adam Keating coaches the Lady
Bombers.
K ANS A S
HA
RDWOO
D
Dine-in or Carryout
HA
D
785-332-2601
D
W. Hwy 36
St. Francis
Page 43
Page 44
C
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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
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GOOD LUCK, TIGERS
Washington County Tigers
T
he Tigers have made it to
State the last two years in
a row, losing to powerServing North Central Kansas for over 100 years
house St. John-Hudson both
Locations in Washington, Mankato and Clay Center
times.
This season they expect to
to allarea athletes!
make it back to State, and compete again for the title.
“We can’t be satisfied with what we’ve accomplished thus far,” head
coach Lyle Thompson said.
“Our expectations are to be one of the top 2A teams in state, and try
to return to Manhattan and finish what we started two years ago. Our
strength is that these kids are very unselfish. They have been playing
together since the 3rd grade, and they have always known how to win
against some of the best teams in Kansas, and Nebraska, too.
“I don’t know if we have a glaring weakness, but we still have to
work to get better in all phases of the game.”
Returning starters are: seniors Kyle McGatlin, 5’11” guard, Konnor
Penning, 6’1” post, and Cale Thompson, 6’1” point guard.
Kier’s
G ood lu ck
Girls
Diana Cecrle takes over as Washington’s head coach after 14 years as
an assistant. In her first year she will have three returning starters to
work with and four other letter winners from this past season, when
Washington went 21-2 before losing in the sub-State final.
The biggest loss Washington will have to account for is the departure of Erin Alexander, a 6’5” all-league, and honorable mention allstate player.
“We will need to make crashing the boards a priority, and should
give us a lot of options both scoring, and defensively,” Cecrle said.
With the experience Washington has returning there is no reason to
not expect the Lady Tigers to be competitive despite the holes they will
have to fill on their starting roster.
Returning starters are: seniors Mandi Allerheiligen, 5’10” post, and
Courtney Moore, 5’4” point guard; and junior Annie Otott, 5’6” guard.
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Meade
Continued from Page 33
Meade four years ago.
“This group is kind of special to me. They’ve been with
me the whole way,” he said.
Lewis, who coached at Smith Center before moving
here, took his teams to State his first two years at Meade.
During that same period, the Buffaloes lost 13 seniors to
graduation.
And still the tradition continues.
“We’ve had a lot of success, but Meade basketball had a
lot of success before I got here,”
Lewis said.
About 30 boys are out for basketball this year, in a high school
with a student population of 120
or better.
Several of this year’s seniors have
been together since they played
recreation ball as children. Among
them:
• Tristin Lewis is a 6’8” center
Landon Bird moves
who averaged 17.6 points per
game and 11 rebounds in 2014-15. toward the basket
He is not related to Coach Lewis. during a 20014-15 game.
• Landon Bird is considered the
team’s best shooter. He’s capable of playing post and then
stepping out and taking the 3-pointer. At 6’2”, he averaged
10.7 points per game and 4.8 rebounds.
• Kash Larrabee is a 6’3” point guard who averaged 9.9
points per game and 3.6 assists. Lewis said Larrabee, a
linebacker, will probably end up playing football after high
school; however, he’s also a good ball handler on the basketball court.
Lewis said consistency will be the key to the Buffaloes’
success.
“One thing we’re going to focus on this year is finishing,”
he continued. “We could beat anyone on any given night;
we could have lost to anyone on any given night. We were
inconsistent. We never knew which team was going to
show up.”
The Buffaloes already have added depth and experience
to their list of strengths.
“It’s almost like you have to go through those experiences and lose those close games to have that moxie to understand how to win those. I hope that’s what we gained from
last year,” Lewis said.
One of the joys of his job has been watching his players
grow as individuals and develop their skills at basketball
over the years.
“You try to coach them up as young men as much as the
basketball stuff,” Lewis said.
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Stepping Up
Page 45
Hanover’s Bruna is comfortable in leadership role
By Brent Maycock
U
nder different circumstances, Will
Bruna might have felt hesitant.
Maybe even a bit uncomfortable.
When a team is loaded with talented
seniors as Hanover was a year ago, it’s not
common for a sophomore to emerge
as the team’s best player. In more
cases than not, the younger player is
more likely to accept a complementary role, deferring to his elder
teammates.
Bruna understands the reasoning
behind such logic. He even admits
that could have easily been his situation.
“If I wasn’t already comfortable
with them, I might have been more
nervous or scared even to step up
with all those upperclassmen out
there,” Bruna said. “But I’d been
playing with that group of guys ever
since I was little. We’re all extremely
close. If someone can play and isn’t
afraid to step forward, they get the
respect of the others immediately.”
Bruna certainly had the respect of
his Wildcat teammates last year as a
sophomore. And rightfully so.
On Hanover’s senior-dominated
2014-15 team, Bruna was anything
but a passive role player. Instead, he
led the Wildcats in scoring on their
march to the Class 1A Division I
state title, a dominating run that
capped a 25-1 season.
After averaging a team-best 14.1
points per game during the regular
season, Bruna averaged 17.3 points
per game in the state tourney, taking
team-high honors in all three games,
including 20 in the 58-36 win over
Doniphan West in the championship
game.
“The kids around him were very comfortable with him and there was nothing
against an underclassman being one of the
leaders on the court because the kids all
had one goal in mind and it didn’t matter
who was doing the scoring or whatever,”
Hanover coach Kim Lohse said. “Will’s one
of those players who just hates to lose and
he’ll do anything he can to help the team
For Kansas Hardwood
win, whether that’s scoring, passing, playing defense, whatever. The whole team
realized the talent Will has, but more
importantly, they knew Will’s goal was the
same as everybody else, to win.”
For all of the Wildcats, the state title
was special. Not only was it the first crown
for the program since going back-to-back
in 2009 and 2010, but it also helped ease
the sting of coming up short during the
football season, a loss to Central Plains in
the championship game denying the
Wildcats a three-sport sweep (Hanover
went on to win the 1A state track title in
the spring).
But for Bruna, it also held a special
meaning, getting to share the title with
older brother Andrew, who was a senior
starter for the squad.
“I guess I was tremendously blessed,” he
said. “To be able to play with such a talented group and win a state championship
with my older brother meant a lot
to me.”
It also meant Will and Andrew
can hold their own when it comes
to family bragging rights. In the
Bruna family, that’s not an easy
thing to do.
You see, Will is the seventh of
eight brothers in the Bruna family. All of his older brothers —
Matt, Ben, Tyler, Anthony, Alex
and Andrew — have played on
Hanover teams that made it to
the State tournament.
Matt and Ben were both on
Hanover’s first State championship team back in 1998 and also
on the 1999 champion. Alex was
on the 2009 title team.
“I’ve got six older brothers and
every single one of them has
helped me at some point in my
life,” said Will, who will get his
turn as a mentor with his youngest brother, Carter, a freshman at
Hanover this year. “They’re always
giving me tips, showing me how
to do things and talking to me
about the good and the bad stuff
after the games. So there’s pressure, but we put it on ourselves. If
my older brothers won a state
championship and were successful, I want to be successful and
win state myself. I don’t want to
be the only one who hasn’t done that.”
That kind of family tradition has been
prevalent in building Hanover’s winning
tradition, one that now includes five state
basketball titles. Through the years, the
names may change — well the first names
- but the success carries on.
“We had five kids on last year’s team
whose brothers had won State championships,” Lohse said, referring to Andrew
See BRUNA, Page 49
Page 46
1335 East Ridge Road • Kensington, KS
SPECIALIZING IN:
BORING
TRENCHING
EXCAVATING
DIRT WORK
P LE A S E C A LL
RYA N AT
7 8 5 -4 7 6 -2 2 2 1
Julie Kuhlmann Photography, www.juliekuhlmannphotography.com
Thunder Ridge’s Kirsten Burger eyes a two-pointer.
Kirsten Burger
Doing what’s needed
By RANDY GONZALES
For Kansas Hardwood
K
irsten Burger does what’s needed for the KensingtonThunder Ridge girls’ basketball team.
“I like playing all the positions,” Burger said. “I just go
where my coach tells me I need to go.”
Longhorn coach Darren Grauerholz could call on the 5’10”
Burger to score one night, concentrate on rebounding the next and
play tough defense on the other team’s top player the next game.
“She’s one of those players where we could put her anywhere,”
Grauerholz said of his senior standout. “Last year, she was either
the two guard, or at times we had her at point guard. We’ve had her
(playing) all the way from (point guard) to (center). I would say her
true position at the high school level should be a (power forward).”
Burger averaged 17 points and nine rebounds for last year’s 19-4
team.
“She’s pretty well-rounded,” Grauerholz said. “She’s got a good
inside game, she has a good outside shot.”
The Longhorns return four seniors and all five starters from the
squad that made the Class 1A Division I state tournament.
“I’m hoping that we get back to state and get farther along in the
bracket than we did last year,” Burger said.
Grauerholz knows what he wants from his squad.
“I need to have at least eight girls that just want to fight tooth
and nail, regardless of whether we’re up 20 or down two,” he said.
They will be led by Burger, a player Grauerholz thinks will play
in college a year from now.
“I know she’s going to go somewhere and play ball,” Grauerholz
said. “She likes basketball too much not to.”
Burger said she would like to play at the next level.
“I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do yet,” she said. I’m just
kind of seeing what will be offered.”
Basketball is by far Burger’s favorite sport.
“It just gives me an adrenaline rush other sports don’t give me,”
she said.
Randy Gonzales is a long-time western Kansas sports writer.
(855) 494-8484
Mattson
Seed Farms
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1274 US 24, Colby, Kansas
[email protected]
785-586-2313
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 47
Overview of Boys and Girls 1A
Round up the usual suspects
By LINDA MOWERY-DENNING
and gain a State tournament berth. Last
year’s team got a good taste of how to win
and how to compete with top teams.”
Back on the boys’ side, Hanover ended
f you want to know which teams in
the season with a 25-1 record and a 1A,
1A have the potential to make it all
Division 1 title. Kim Lohse, 1A, Division
the way this year, check out last sea1 Coach of the Year, lost a bunch of talson’s State brackets.
ented seniors to graduation, but he
Can you say repeat?
returns Will Bruna, a junior and the
Two teams in particular stand out.
team’s top scorer in 2014-15.
On the boys’ side, the Sharon SpringsAlso be on the lookout for Attica.
Wallace County Wildcats appear poised
Coach Danton Hilton returns three senior
to have another good year. Veteran coach
starters, who will be joined by Norwich
Larry O’Connor returns three seniors and
transfer Jacob Norris.
a junior from the 2014-15 team that
Hilton, who starts his fourth year as
ended the season with a record of 24-2
head coach, thinks this could be the
and a State title.
Bulldogs’ year.
O’Connor’s expectations?
“We have some kids who can really
“Very simple. Repeat as State champishoot
the ball well,” he said. “We are very
ons,” he said.
deep in our back court. Very
But it won’t be without
athletic and fast. High bas"Our goal is to compete for the top spot
effort.
ketball IQ.”
“It’s going to be a nice
in our league and gain a State tournament
Others looking for a shot
little battle,” O’Connor
at
league — and perhaps —
said of the 1A classificaberth. Last year’s team got a good taste
even a State berth include
tion that includes players
the Rock Hills Grizzlies of
of how to win and how to compete
such as Beloit St. John’sMankato. The team has
Tipton High School’s
with top teams."
recorded nine consecutive
Davis Dubbert, a 6’3”
seasons of 14 or more wins.
Tyler Williams
sophomore. O’Connor
Southern Cloud head coach
Could this be a breakout
also sees Dighton and
year for the Grizzlies?
Caldwell as threats
Rock Hills has three
Wallace County defeatstarters returning.
ed Caldwell, 20-4, this
“We expect to be in the hunt for a NPL
“Guard play will be important. I think
past season at State before going on to
League
Championship. Lincoln, St. John’swe’ll
have
others
ready
by
late
February
overwhelm St. John’s, 72-61, in the chamTipton, Osborne and Rock Hills should
and March,” Hoyt said.
pionship game.
Other teams also hope to receive invita- lead the league with Wilson, Tescott,
On the girls’ side, the news doesn’t get
Natoma and Chase pushing hard for top
tions to State.
much better than it does at Beloit-St.
spots,” said Matt Hesting, who is in his
Southern Cloud returns with plenty of
John’s-Tipton. Coach of the Year Keith
ninth year as head coach.
experience and recognition. Junior Rayna
Kresin returns five starters and two top
“We want to play for a sub-State title!”
Schmidt, 5’5” point guard, was 2nd Team
reserves from his 2014-15 championship
Rexford-Golden Plains also has high
All-League in 2014-15. Junior Bailey
team. Included is Brenna Eilert, 5’9” forhopes
for a good showing during the regPrimeaux,
5’8”
power
forward,
was
Allward, who was named 1A Player of the
ular season and then at sub-State, enough
League Honorable Mention.
Year as a sophomore. She’s now a junior
Southern Cloud closed this past season to propel the team into a spot at State.
with a year’s more experience.
“We have the pieces in place to be very
with a 14-8 record and a loss in sub-state
“Having the 1A Player of the Year will
competitive,” head coach Travis Smith
semifinals to Wetmore.
fuel us as a team, with some good shootsaid. “We have depth at positions with
“I expect our girls to build off of last
ing guards and posts that play well as a
nine returning letter winners from last
team. Team defense is a big strength if we season’s experience,” said Tyler Williams,
who has been at Southern Cloud for three year’s team.”
build off last year,” Kresin said.
years. “My expected starters this season
Joining Eilert on the court will be
Linda Mowery-Denning is publisher of the
played plenty a year ago and improved all
seniors Chole Miller, 6’3” post, Gabbie
Ellsworth County Independent-Reporter and the
season and seeing them grow was evident
Smith, 5’6” guard, Samatha Holloway,
Marquette Tribune. She has written for many
as the season went on ... Our goal is to
5’7” forward, Megan Bates, 5’5” guard,
years about the people and places of Kansas.
compete for the top spot in our league
and Bailey Shellito, 5’8” forward.
Kansas Hardwood
I
“We plan on continuing to get better
each and every practice and game and
developing more depth and be better than
last year and make a run to the state tournament again,” Kresin said.
In 1A, Division I, Hoxie always has to
be considered a contender. St. John’s
Kresin shared 1A Coach of the Year honors with Hoxie’s Shelly Hoyt, who led her
team to a state record 95 consecutive victories over the past four seasons and four
State titles in a row. Her last loss was in
December of 2011.
The Lady Indians return to the court
this season after losing talented guard
Carly Heim to graduation; however, three
starters return, along with a bench loaded
with players looking to step into leadership roles.
Page 48
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
B and W Electric
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105 W. North St. • Hanover, KS 785-562-5304
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Country grain elevator, retail dealer of liquid and dry
fertilizers, agricultural chemicals, seed, and lime.
Good Luck to the Fairfield Falcons
Fairfield
Falcons
T
he Falcons have a new coach
this season, Mike
Schoenhoff, who follows
Luke Bauman into the head spot.
The goal is to have an improved
season, after 2014-15 when Fairfield
ended the year with a 5-16 record
and 2-9 in Heart of the Plains
League.
The Falcons will have to reach
their goal without the four seniors
the team lost to graduation.
Among those returning is 5’9”
senior guard Joel Lusk, who came
off the bench in a late-season game
against Macksville to contribute 7
points and 6 rebounds.
Other returning seniors are: Paul
Roeth, 5’10” guard/forward, Ethan
Williams, 6’5” forward/ center, Jesse
Dealy, 6’1” gtuard, Victor Hoarher,
6’3” forward, and Tristen Pike, 5’10”
guard/forward.
Girls
Head coach Chris Hewitt continues
to build “a winning culture” at Fairfield.
The Lady Falcons improved their
overall record from 9-13 in 2013-14 to
10-11 in 2014-15. They split their
league record, 4-5.
Fairfield lost several seniors to graduation, including 5’9” guard, forward
and center Paige Soellner.
This year’s senior class includes
Aresali Espinosa, 5’8” guard/forward;
Emma Schwertfeger, 5’10” forward; and
Jasmine Pankratz, 5’7” forward.
This will be Hewitt’s fifth year as
head coach.
K ANS A S
RDWOO
D
HA
785-337-2958
“Proud supporters of
Hanover athletics!”
Hanover
Wildcats
T
he Wildcats captured the
1A Division I state title this
past season, and — despite
losing six seniors from last year’s
team — head coach Kim Lohse has
built the foundation for another
successful year.
“We have some holes to fill from
last year, but we have a great bunch
of underclassmen that are ready to
step in. Our JV went undefeated
last season,” Lohse said.
“Our young post players will
really have to step up and play big
for us. We return five lettermen.
We will have to shoot well from the
outside again as well as our young
kids stepping in to fill those holes
lost by graduation.”
Returning starters are: Trey
Lohse, 6’1” senior; and Will Bruna,
6’0” junior.
Girls
The Lady Wildcats return six players who started eight or more games in
2014-15. They are: seniors Paige
Doebele, 5’8” shooting guard,
Morganne Zubokrtsky, 5’7” forward,
and Shelby Bruna, 5’7” guard; and
juniors Riley Doebele, 5’7” point
guard, and Ashton Jueneman, 5’9”
junior center. The Doebeles were
named to their league’s second team
and also received all-state honorable
mention.
“I expect a very good season out of
the girls,” said coach Ryan Doebele,
who is in his eighth year at Hanover.
“After a 5-8 start to last year, we won
night straight before losing to
Thunder Ridge in a game we led late.
We should be one of the top teams in
the league and should be a state caliber team.
“Our defense and depth will be our
strengths this year. We also have the
ability to shoot the 3 really well. Our
weakness will be our post depth. We
lack size and depth in the post.”
Cla y Center • M a rysv ille • W a shingto n
w w w.brunaim plem entco .co m
Hoxie
Indians
T
Hanover
he Indians will be a
small, young team this
year with no returning
starters over 6’0.
The Indians will look for their
defense to create offense, as their
biggest asset is speed. Head
coach Jake Moss expects his
young team to improve every day
throughout the season.
“We will be very young. I
expect to give 100 percent every
day whether it’s in practice or in
a game. I expect us to be a much
better team by the end of the
year.”
Returning starters are: senior
Peyton Taylor, 5’10” center; and
sophomores Easton Slipke, 5’8”
guard, and Letham Schwarz,
5’7” point guard.
(785) 377-2224
LaCrosse
Leopards
R
ichard Schmidt has
coached basketball for
35 years and this will
be his first year back at
LaCrosse.
Keys to success will be “inyour-face defense,” making
free throws and rebounding.
“I expect to be competitive
in every game,” Schmidt said.
Girls
It’s probably fair to say this
could be a rebuilding year for
the Lady Leopards.
The 2014-15 season produced an overall record of 17-6
and a league effort of 5-3.
Three starters — Alyssa
Oborny, Ashley Depperschmidt
and Marissa Wagner — were
lost to graduation.
That leaves two starters,
senior Morgan West, 5’10” forward; and junior Olivia Baus,
5’11” forward, with extensive
varsity experience.
As a sophomore, Baus
received an honorable mention
from the Topeka CapitalJournal on its All-State Team.
Other seniors on the roster
include 5’6” Tessa Pierce, 5’8”
Mary Lacy, 5’7” Brooklyn
Sherman, and 5’9” Michaela
Brunello.
Girls
What can you say about the
Hoxie girls? This is a team that finished the 2014-15 season with a
perfect 26-0 record and a State
title. Several of those players,
including talented guard Carly
Hein, were lost to graduation, but
the Lady Indians still have high
expectations.
“We lost a lot of talent, but we
expect other players to come on
strong,” said Shelly Hoyt, who is
starting her 15th year as head
coach. “Our guard play will be
S Sp o r t s P u b & G r u b
important, but I think we’ll have G R EG ’
others ready by late Feburary or
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Page 49
State Bank of
Downs
Proud supporters of Lakeside
students and athletes!
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220 W Main • Glen Elder, KS • 1.800.287.8495
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Bruna
Continued from Page 45
W
he Longhorns will have an opportunity to improve
on their 2014-15 season, which ended with an
overall record of 11-12 and a runner-up finish at
sub-State.
Trent Bright, who is in his seven year as head coach,
returns five starters: seniors Kyle Hayes, 6’4” post, and
Tayler James, 5’11” guard; juniors Carlson Cohoon, 6’0”
guard, and Bryce Harms, 6’1” post; and sophomore Jacob
Salmans, 5’11” guard.
Bright said three things will be key to the Longhorns’
success this season — limit mental mistakes, play together
and respect the process of getting prepared for the season.
“We have a good group returning off of last season’s
sub-State runner-up finish,” he said. “We will need some
leadership to be able to get back to that level.”
T
ith no returning starters from this
past season’s 10-12 team, it’s hard
to say where the Knights will be
this year, but head coach Drew Duskie goals
for his Knights.
“I would like to finish with a record above
.500, and be in the sub-state championship
with a chance to go to State,” Duskie said.
“Although we don’t return any starters
from last year’s team, we do return five guys
with a good amount of varsity experience.
We will, however, be low in numbers on the
varsity team. Hard work in the off-season
and commitment to the weight room in the
summer will drive our success. The boys will
have to buy into new offensive and defensive
system too.”
Girls
The Lady Longhorns have a new coach — at least in name.
Long-time assistant Richard Dansel steps into the top spot for
the 2014-15 season.
Girls
The Lady Knights will look to expand on a
11-12 season in 2014-15 with four returning
starters, as well as a deep bench and a talented freshman class coming.
“I have high expectations for the 2015-16
season with four returning starters, and a talented bench,” said coach Travis Ebesle.
The Lady Knights have a number of young
players, but many of them already have a year
of varsity experience. Ebesle will look to get
his young team out in transition quickly, and
use his team’s speed to run the floor as much
as possible.
Returning starters are: seniors MaKinlie
Hennes 5’11”, and Taylor Beckes, 5’8”; and
5’7” sophomores Rachel Milles and Beylee
Brummet.
T
Centre Cougars
he Lady Cougars have some big shoes to fill with the loss to
graduation of four-year point guard Shelby Makovec.
Alan Stahlecker, who is in his sixth season at Centre,
thinks his team is up to the challenge.
“After four straight appearances at the State tournament, the culture for Centre girls’ basketball expects to be successful and work
hard to continue with success.”
The Lady Cougars went 22-4 this past season, winning sub-State
and taking third at State. Returning this year are senior Ally
Basore, 5’10” post; and junior Shelby Pankratz, 5’7” guard.
and Will Bruna, Devin
Jueneman, Hunter
Nicholson and Austin
Diederich. “So you know
there was a little bit of
pressure at home too
from the older brothers
where it’s, ‘We got one,
now you have to get one.’
For those kids, the determination and the will to
get that done is great.”
This season, Will
Bruna will be one of
those upperclassmen,
looking to lead the next
wave of Wildcats to a
state title. In every way,
he will be Hanover’s team
leader.
“I think Will was a
floor general a bit last
year already,” Lohse said.
“We didn’t have a go-to
guy last year, but when
Will had the ball in his
hands, good things happened. When it was
crunch time and Will
knew he had to have the
ball in his hand, he was
very comfortable with it
and could take over a
game when he needed to.
Now that responsibility is
going to get a little bit
bigger”
It’s a challenge he’s
already looking forward
to.
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(785) 454-3425
Page 50
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Madison Bulldogs
M
adison has all five starters returning with a core group of
upperclassmen that went 13-8 last year, and won a share of
the Lyon County League title. Despite that accomplishment, the Lady Bulldogs lost in the first round of sub-state.
With Madison’s entire starting lineup returning, they should be set
to compete for another
league title, and a run at
sub-State.
650 Road 10 • Madison, KS
“We have to play hard,
620-437-2887
and play together,” said head
Proud Supporters of
coach Cody Ziegler. “If we
buy in early, and play for
Bulldog athletics!
each other we have a chance
to make a run for a league title. We’ve experienced what it takes to
get there, and the girls are excited, and looking forward to the challenge.”
Returning starters are seniors Allyson Bond, 5’5” guard, Tori
Melton, 5’7” guard, and Montana Thompson, 5’6” guard; junior
Emily Rayburn, 5’7” forward; and Calli Dannels, 5’6” guard.
785-378-3128
Fax: 785-378-3543
[email protected]
Gordon and Deanna Smith
Boys
The Bulldogs won one game in 2014-15 — a close contest early in the
season with Centre that ended 47-43.
Can Madison improve on its 1-21 record?
The Bulldogs lost 6’1” Owen Reed and 6’3” Gavin Beyer, both seniors,
to graduation.
This year’s crop of seniors include 6’6” Justin Rayburn, 6’2” Clayton
Moreno and Dylan Freund.
1-A
STATE RUNNER UP
FOOTBALL
1973
BOYS 1-A
STATE RUNNER UP
BASKETBALL
1974
Ph. 785-378-3183 Fax 785-378-3809
DARRELL E. MILLER
Attorney at Law
T
M a n k a t o P ro f e s s i o n a l
Pharmacy
P.O. Box 344
208 N. Commercial
Mankato, KS 66956
Lyle Dauner, R.P.
Mankato, KS
66956
PO Box 266
125 N. Commercial
Mankato Rock Hills
Grizzlies
he Grizzlies have three returning starters and three lettermen from
a team that lost in the sub-State semi-final in 2014-15.
Head coach Matt Hesting has led the Grizzlies to nine straight
seasons with 14 or more wins. With a core group returning for Rock Hills,
coach Hesting should expect to compete for a title in a competitive
Northern Plains League, as well as a possible sub-State championship.
Returning starters are: seniors Grant Davis, 5’11” forward, and Tucker
Johanek, 6’3” forward; and junior Drew Beam, 5’9” guard.
Girls
The Lady Grizzlies lost their head coach before the start of the season after
posting a record of 2-19 in 2014-15. Their league record was 0-13.
Despite the loss of four seniors to graduation, Rock Hills hopes for a better
season — and a new coach — in 2015-16.
Returning seniors include: 5’7” Lexi Jeffery, 5’5” Terri Slick, 5’4” Allison
Railsback and 5’7” Emily Cox.
BOYS 1-A
STATE CHAMPIONS
BASKETBALL
1976
1-A
STATE RUNNER UP
VOLLEYBALL
1977
2-A
STATE RUNNER UP
VOLLEYBALL
1978
2-A
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1980
1-A
STATE
SCHOLARS BOWL
CHAMPIONS
1993
8-MAN DIVISION 1
STATE CHAMPIONS
FOOTBALL
2O10
8-MAN DIVISION 1
STATE CHAMPIONS
FOOTBALL
2011
Good luck
BULLDOG
basketball teams!
Schankie Well Service
is proud to support
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1-A
STATE RUNNER UP
VOLLEYBALL
1984
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STATE CHAMPIONS
FOOTBALL
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1989
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Osborne
785-346-2006
785-346-5451
w w w.m id w a ycoop .com
Minneola
Wildcats
T
his is James
Temaat’s first year
as head coach of
the Wildcats. He hopes to
breach the .500 mark, and
make a run when it counts
in March.
With the core of his
team standing 6’5,” coach
Temaat’s goal for his team
will be to control the pace
of the game, and get good
looks inside on offense.
His team is not only tall,
but big, with three of his
players 6’3” and above
weighing in between 230260 lbs.
Coaching his team to
play within a specific style
basketball this season will
be one of coach Temaat’s
biggest keys to victory, if
not his biggest. The size of
the Wildcats have must be
used an asset for them to
be successful.
Returning starters are:
seniors Landon Walker,
6’5” forward, and Cody
Berger, 6’1” guard.
Dine-in or Carryout
Osborne
Bulldogs
T
racy Holloway moves up
to head coach this season
after being Brad
Roadhouse’s assistant for five
years. The Lady Dogs finished
this past season with a record of
4-17.
“We have to play ‘TEAM’ basketball and just take one game at
a time,” Holloway said. “Our
main key to success this year will
be finding a leader — someone
that can take control on and off
the court. We have to handle
pressure.”
Returning starters are: Jessica
Engler, 5’8” guard; Olivia Engler,
5’7” guard; and Allison Grabast,
5’9” forward.
Holloway said Osborne’s
strengths will be its varsity-level
experience.
The Lady Dogs “already [have]
seen plenty of playing time, but
we still struggle to score a lot of
points.”
Boys
The Bulldogs have their work
cut out for them this season.
Graduation cost them 30 points
per game and 13 rebounds from a
2014-15 season that ended with a
record of 17-5, including a finish at
sub-State as runner-up.
“We will have only one senior
out for basketball,” said Jamie
Wolters, who is in his fourth year
as head coach. “Experience will be a
weakness.”
Returning starters are: juniors
Cullen Grabast, 6’1” guard/forward, who averaged 7 points per
game, and Justin Burch, 5’11” who
averaged 5 points per game.
Juniors Pierce Wolters and
Tanner Conway are returning lettermen.
There’s “Hope” For Your Money!
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Page 51
GOOD LUCK
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
www.fnbks.com
785-427-2232
[email protected] 800-428-3033
South
Haven
Cardinals
T
he Lady Cardinals return
talent this year from a
team that finished the
2014-15 season with a 17-5
record. Included in those numbers are sub-State runner-up,
and regular season (9-0) and
league tournament champions.
“I expect to have a winning
season and compete for a league
championship this season,” said
Mike Heater, who is in his third
season as head coach.
Returning starters are seniors
Chloie Ralls, point guard and
All-League second team selection, and Paige Turek, shooting
guard and All-League first team
selection; and Mikayla Hawkins,
junior post.
Also returning are: Esther
Rebold, senior guard; Kendall
Ray, sophomore guard; DezaRay
Blaylock, senior point guard; and
Carolyn Culp, junior post.
“Besides the returning starters, we return several players
with varsity experience,” Heater
said. “We will be successful if
they can step into starting and
key reserve roles. We also need
to stay healthy. Many of our
upperclassmen had injuries over
the summer.”
Heater said his team’s strength
is its “defensive pressure and
ability to create turnovers that
lead to fast break points.”
At the same time, the Lady
Cardinals need to work on scoring more in the half-court and
improve their percentage on
three-point shots.
I
Southern
Cloud
Warriors
n coach Tyler William’s three years
at Southern Cloud, his Lady
Warriors have improved considerably from when he first arrived. With
this season’s seniors being with Coach
Williams from the start, his masterpiece appears ready to unveil.
Finishing 14-8 in 2014-15, the Lady
Warriors lost in the semi-finals of subState. Southern Cloud returns five
starters, including a point guard who
was second team all-league, and an
all-state honorable mention by the
Wichita Eagle and Topeka Capital
Journal.
With such strengths, the Lady
Warriors should be poised for a legitimate run at a league title, and a possible berth in the State playoffs.
“Last year’s team got a good taste of
how to win, and how to compete with
top teams,” Williams said.
Returning starters are: juniors Rayna
Schmidt, 5’5” point guard, and Bailey
Primeaux, 5’8” power forward; sophomore Jacey Fowler, 5’8” small forward;
senior Anne Pruitt, 5’5” guard; and
sophomore Sienna Gray, 5’8” forward.
Boys
Seniors Kyle Fowler, 6’1” guard/forward, and Connor Graham, 6’3” forward/
center, will anchor the Warriors this season as returning starters.
Roger Perkins, who is principal/superintendent and head boys’ coach the past
four years, said he expects his young team
to improve each day.
The Warriors went 6-16, losing in the
second round of sub-State in 2014-15.
“The key to our season will be how the
young players develop early in the season
at the varsity level,” Perkins said.
“I don’t know that we have any real
strengths. I guess is there is one strength it
is that I tried to play a lot of players last
season. We return both post players from
a year ago. We will have to wait and see
how our young players develop into
becoming varsity players. We will have to
develop more skills at the guard level.”
Page 52
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
MAPES & MILLER LLP
309 W. Main St.
United Ag Service
785-637-5481
Gorham, KS
Stockton
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Thomas B. Carpenter, CPA
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Dine-in or Carryout
Spearville Stockton
Royal Lancers
Tigers
S
pearville starts this season
with an impressive list of
players with varsity experi-
ence.
The Royal Lancers ended the
2014-15 season with a 19-4
record, including runner-up at
sub-State. Returning from that
team are: seniors Clinton Stein,
6’3”, and Nathan Stein, 6’3”, who
led Spearville in scoring and was
second in rebounding; and
juniors Luke Heskamp, 5’7”, who
was third in scoring and led in
assists, and Kyler Stein, 6’2”.
Other returning lettermen are:
Jordan Knight, 5’11” junior; and
Jory Lampe, 5’7” senior.
“We return a core group of
starters that have had valuable
playing experience at a high
level,” said Christopher Sohm,
who is starting his sixth year as
head coach.
“We will need some underclassmen step up and replace the
contributions of the seniors that
graduated. Our guys will need to
compete at a championship level
every day in practice so we can
achieve being the best the team
on the floor on any given night.”
With the loss of Kaden Stein
to graduation, Spearville will
need to work on rebounding,
Sohm said.
“We need to use our speed
and quickness to push/dictate
the tempo by running on offense
and pressing and trapping on
defense.”
K ANS A S
RDWOO
D
HA
B
ecause of the youth of the
Lady Tigers, success will
come from team chemistry and hard work, said Alexa
Rogers, who is in her third year
as head coach.
Defense also will be key.
“Our strengths will be having
several girls returning from last
year’s varsity team,” Rogers said.
“We have a big role to fill from
graduate Morgan Beougher, but
any of the girls are capable of
doing so.”
Returning starters are juniors
Emily Conyac, 5’10” forward,
and Cecelia Beck, 5’7” guard;
and sophomores Haven
Hamilton, 5’10” forward, and
Delayne Colburn, 5’7” guard.
Stockton finished this past
season with a 13-9 record. The
goal this year is to improve the
overall record and play in the
sub-State championship game.
The Lady Tigers also hope to be
in the top three teams in their
league.
Boys
The Tigers lost their top seven
players from the 2014-15 season to
graduation. And what a season it
was. Stockton ended the year with
a 19-7 record and third place in 1A.
This is the year the Tigers
rebuild.
“Our expectation is to improve
every month and be playing our
best when the post season rolls
around,” said Tom Stephens, who is
in his fourth year as head coach.
His team’s strengths will be execution, communication and good
chemistry. Weaknesses will be an
overall lack of varsity experience
and team numbers.
Stephens said goals for this season will be “staying healthy and
team improvement as well as individual improvement in all areas.”
Thunder Ridge
Kensington
T
he 2015-16 season will be
another year of rebuilding
for Thunder Ridge.
“We have some young players
who need to spend a lot of time
in the gym,” said John Boden,
who is in his fourth year at
Kensington. He has been a coach
for 14 years.
“Everyone must buy into the
program and spend a lot more
time in the off season playing
basketball,” Boden said.
Returning starters are: Kade
Van Eaton (5.9 ppg), 5’8” junior
guard, and Gavin Taylor (10.2
ppg), 5’8” senior guard.
Also returning are: Brayden
Hale (2.5 ppg-3.6 rpg), 5’10”
post; Michael Gibson (2 ppg),
5’9” guard; and Tyler Morrish (1
ppg), 5’6” junior guard.
“We are really inexperienced
and low on numbers. Some of
the kids had a good summer basketball league in the NPL-MCL
Challenge,” Boden said.
Girls
Kirsten Burger, who gained
attention as a freshman when
she was named an all-league
player, returns for her senior
year.
Under head coach Darren
Grauerholz, Thunder Ridge
ended the season with a 17-5
record and 10-1 in the Northern
Plains League behind State
champions Beloit St. John’sTipton.
K ANS A S
HA
RDWOO
D
“It’s Not What You Make...It’s What You Keep”
I
Victoria
Knights
n Dylan Drouberger’s first
year as Victoria’s head coach,
he led the Knights to a
respectable 13-8 record with the
team’s season ending in the substate semi-final.
The foundation for a successful 2014-2015 season has been
laid with three returning starters
— all juniors. Working younger
players into varsity roles will be
the key to Victoria’s overall success, but the Knights have a solid
group of seniors returning as
well that can provide the leadership the team needs to get those
younger players assimilated. The
Knights will compete for a CPL
title, and should expect to make
a run in sub-state, if not further.
Returning starters are juniors
Brady Dinkel, 5’9” guard, Joe
Dortland, 5’9” guard, and Eric
McAlonan, 6’0” forward.
Girls
The Lady Knights return four
starters, only one of whom is a
senior, 5’5” guard Kiley
Schmidtberger. She is joined by
junior Sara Schippers, 5’10” guard;
and sophomores Sam Leiker, 5’8”
guard/forward, and Hannah
Radke, 5’8” forward.
Anne Dinkel, who is starting her
fifth year as head coach, has several
goals for her team: continue to get
better and bring energy and effort
to every practice and every game.
She said Victoria’s keys to success for the 2015-16 season will be
teamwork, commitment, hustle and
quickness on defense.
“We need to work to push the
ball and improve [our] inside
game,” Dinkel said.
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
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Wallace Ashland
County Blue Jays
Wildcats T
t could be another outstanding
year for the Lady Wildcats.
This past season ended with
a 19-6 record and a trip to State,
where Wallace County lost in the
first round to Wheatland.
Head coach Alicia Collett
expects no less for the 2015-16
season.
“I expect great things for this
group,” she said. “We will be competitive in our league and subState. Our goal is to shoot for
another State berth.”
Returning starters are: juniors
Hannan Pletcher, 5’7” post, and
Stephani Noone, 5’8” forward/
guard.
“Communication and teamwork,” Collett said. “These girls
are capable of great things when
they unite as a team.”
Strengths, she said, will be
“experience, attitude and passion
for the game.”
On the other side, numbers are
a “little low” this year, Collett
added.
Hennick Lumber & Supply Co.
ARROW
FARMS
he Blue Jays return three
seniors and one junior to
a team that ended the
2014-15 season with a record of
17-7.
They are: seniors Kole
Konrade, Tayton Cunningham
and Nathan Reimer and junior
Kay Reece.
Kit Walker, who starts his seventh year as head coach, said his
expectations for the new season
are for his team “to be competitive in our league and push for
another trip to state.”
He predicts Ashland will be
“very athletic and fast.”
Success will depend on players
being consistent from game to
game, he added.
Girls
The goal of this year’s Lady Blue
Jays is to end the season with more
wins than losses.
This comes after a year when
Ashland finished 5-14.
Head coach Jannica Null said
teamwork will be the key to her
team’s success.
“Our strengths are good leadership, weakness is ballhandling,” she
said.
Returning starters are: seniors
Brooke Isenbart, 5’9” post, and
Maeghan Matson, 5’8” post; and
sophomore Jackie Endicott, 5’2”
guard.
Boys
It will be hard to top the 2014-15
season, when the Wildcats finished
24-2 and took the 1A Division II
title, but Wallace County returns four
players who contributed greatly to
that success.
“Our depth will be our strength,”
said Larry O’Connor, who is starting
FARMERS
his ninth year as head coach.
COOPERATIVE
Returning are: seniors Luke
COMPANY
Schemm, Eric Gfeller and Cade
Allan and junior Grady Hammer.
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O’Connor hopes his team can
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“Health and development of our
bench” will be keys to success, he
said.
H ow ell In su ra n ce
Editor’s Note — Senior Luke
A u to • H om e • Bu si
sin es
ess
s
Schemm, an outstanding athlete for
C rop • Life
Wallace County in track, football and
basketball, died at a Denver hospital
A shla
635-2297
shla n d 620620-635where he was taken after collapsing
Protection 620-622620-6224501
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Nov. 3 during a football game with
Otis-Bison at Sharon Springs.
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210 N Main. • Attica, KS
620-254-7540
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Attica Bulldogs
his could be a special year for Danton Hilton and his Attica
Bulldogs.
“We have a very good core of basketball players coming
back, along with some freshmen that can make an immediate impact
both scoring and rebounding,” he said. “We expect to be one of the
best teams in the state this year, and — if we work hard and get better each day — we can be very special.”
Attica finished the 2014-15 season with an 18-5 record. Returning
starters include: seniors Devon Newberry, 6’3” guard/forward, Alec
McDaniel, 5’9” point guard, and Tyler Deviney, 5’10” forward.
Joining that group will be senior Jacob Norris, 5’11” guard transfer
from Norwich.
“Offensively, we will want to push the ball and get out and run,” said
Hilton, who started his fourth season. “We will shoot a large number
of 3s and layups. Defensively, we will need to pressure other teams on
and off the ball while making sure we keep other teams off the glass.”
Girls
The Lady Bulldogs return three starters from a team that ended the
2014-15 season with a 15-7 record. They are: seniors Brooke Ricke, 5’6”
point guard, and Valentina Ramirez, 5’10” center; and junior Kierstin
Newberry, 5’6” guard.
Coach Bret Ricke, who starts his eighth year at Attica, expects to improve
on this past season’s record and compete for league and sub-State titles.
Ricke said Attica’s strengths will be its point guard and post play, plus the
team should have a decent bench. Weaknesses will include outside shooting.
“The keys to our success will be staying healthy and getting good minutes
and contributions from my freshman class,” he said.
Page 54
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Moscow’s Mueller eyes the crown
by John Giffin
were the No. 1 seed
at Dodge City’s
United Wireless
Arena, but in the
elsi Mueller, the
semifinal matchup
on-the-floor
against Wheatlandtechnician that
Grinnell played the
led Moscow to a
role of Cinderella
15-point comeback in
with a furious
the second half of the
15-point second
2014-15 Class 1A
half comeback that
Division II State semistarted at the 3:15
finals and a State runmark in the third
ner up finish as a
quarter.
junior, has one more
Mueller finished
season to capture the
that
game with 17
coveted crown.
points, seven
Engineering Moscow
rebounds, four
Coach Shawn
assists and four
Anderson’s “40
steals.
Minutes of Hell”-like
The comeback
style of play; the shy,
Courtesy Photo
was
executed with
soft spoken senior is
The Moscow girls celebrate their 23-3 season and a runner-up finish in 1A Division II.
Moscow playing
part of a group of girls
exactly how it likes
(along with fellow
“They’re typical girls, sometimes they
to play — in transition.
seniors Brianna Davidson and Madilyn fight, but on the court it doesn’t show.
“We want to play really fast,” Anderson
Fleming) that has built a new basketThat’s a pretty big deal. Especially in
said.
“We want to full court press, trap,
ball tradition in the town of 310 people girls sports because if you can’t get
do whatever we can. When we get the
halfway between Sublette and Hugoton along and be teammates and friends
ball, we really don’t want to run an
on U.S. Highway 56 in southwest
then your season is probably not going
offense. We want to get lay ups. It’s a
Kansas.
to end up very good. They’ve gotten
really fast style of basketball.”
A self described gym rat, Mueller’s
along pretty well as a group since the
With the changes in personnel on the
goals for her senior season are simple:
sixth grade.”
floor
this season, that constant uptempo
get better individually and as a team.
The centerpiece of Moscow’s offense,
Her senior season will be the fourth at
Mueller is an all around player on both style may have the brakes rode on it a little bit, but not pushed completely to the
the point for the Lady Wildcats. Quiet, sides of the ball. She plays a role simifloor. The Lady Wildcats are bigger than
yet confident, Mueller said contributlar to Chris Paul of the Los Angeles
in 2014-15, but not as quick.
ing as a freshman was really no big
Clippers.
“We’ll probably have to slow down a
deal.
“We want the ball in her hands,”
little bit this year,” Anderson said, “but
“I played with all these girls at my
Anderson said. “Let her create. Let
we still want to run as much as we can.
junior high, so when I came up I was
other girls hit shots at times. She has
pretty well used to it,” Mueller said.
the ball in her hands probably 90 to 95 We’ll still force the issue. We still want
to push.”
“When we came into play we just
percent of the time.”
After this season, Mueller has her
stayed the same.”
With the ability to hit the outside
sights
set on a collegiate hoops career.
Cool as a cucumber on the floor,
shot and put it on the floor and get to
She is wanting to capture the attention
Mueller suffers from pregame jitters
the basket, Mueller said she likes to
before every contest. So far, the westdrive and battle with the big girls down of junior college and DII coaches this
winter.
ern Kansas standout has been able to
low the most.
Experience has not curtailed the prechannel that nervous energy into on
Before 2014-15, Moscow had not
game
jitters for Mueller, which she will
the court success. In 2014-15 the
reached the state tournament — falling
continue to use to fuel her on court
Moscow Lady Wildcats finished 23-3
to Ingalls repeatedly in the 1A Divison
engine, which she hopes will help take
and second in the 1A Divison II state
II sub-State tournament. In 2014-15,
tournament. Mueller averaged about 22 Ingalls moved to 1A Division 1 and the her team back to Dodge City and a
chance at the State title.
points a game — just under half of the path to the State tournament opened
“It was cool to be able to play in the
team scoring average of just over 50.
up for the Lady Wildcats.
Mueller is part of a group that has
“For the last three or four years we’ve gym with everybody watching,” Mueller
said of the 2015 State tournament
played together since the sixth grade.
had a pretty good record,” Anderson
Anderson has coached the group since
said. “But we finally got over that hump experience. “It was cool being able to
experience that with your team.”
seventh. The attitudes towards basketof getting into the State tournament.
ball and each other is the No. 1 reason
We’ve always ran into Ingalls and that’s
the Lady Wildcats have had so much
kind of been our roadblock. We were
John Giffin is a lifelong lover of basketball
on court success, Anderson said.
able to get in this year and have some
and well traveled multi-media journalist.
“The main thing is they get along
good things happen.”
The father of two now writes for the
pretty well together,” Anderson said.
Mueller, Anderson and company
Emporia Gazette.
For Kansas Hardwood
K
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 55
110 W Main • Beloit, KS • 785-534-1111
www.cunninghamtelephoneandcable.com
BeloitSt. John’s
Blujays
C
Chase
Kats
oach Brent Clark considers
his Lady Kays a small team
with a lot of heart.
“We should be able to pressure the
he Blujays ended the
ball more this year with more depth,”
2014-15 season with a
said Clark, a 15-year coach who is in
24-2 record and State
his fifth year at Chase.
runner-up.
The Lady Kats, with a record of
The Beloit-Tipton team has
3-18 in 2014-15, return three startwork to do, but coach Lance
ers: Cheyenne Weatherman, 5’6”
Bergmann hopes to see his team senior who averaged 5.8 points per
go all the way this year.
game; Taytem Patton, 5’4” junior who
averaged 11.3 points; and Mackenzie
“We expect to be a highly
Oberle, 4’11” sophomore, who avercompetitive team that has a
aged 4.4 points.
chance to win our league,” he
Other returning lettermen and top
said. “We also believe if we work
prospects are: juniors Kyla Calhoun,
hard enough, we will make
another run at the State tourna- 5’3”; Katelyn Potter, 5’8”; and Andrea
Aguilera, 5’7”.
ment.”
“Our defense will decide how sucReturning players include:
cessful
we are,” Clark said. “Our
Parker Gates, a 6’0” senior
guard; and Davis Dubbert, a 6’3” strengths should be our guard play
and our weakness will be our overall
junior guard/forward.
size.”
“We will need several young
players to step up and play well
for us,” said Bergmann, who is
starting his seventh year at
Beloit. “We have four returning
varsity players ... and will need
some players to fill some roles.
We have to be a very sound
defensive team in order to have
continued success. We will be
focused on every rebound and
loose ball. We also need to be
aggressive on the offensive end.”
Girls
The 2014-15 1A Division II
State champions are poised to
make another run to the top. The
Lady Blujays return five starters
and two top reserves from a team
that ended this past season with a
24-2 record under veteran coach
Keith Kresin.
Boys
The Kats return four starters from
the 2014-15 team that ended the season with a 9-12 record and a semifinal loss at sub-state.
Returning are: 5’10” senior guards
Brendon Clark, Kyle Kizzar and
Conner Hill; and 5’7” junior Justin
Oberle.
Mitch Light, in his 10th year as
head coach, expects his team to finish
the season with a winning record and
compete for league and sub-State
titles.
“We will need someone or more
than one person to step up and score
for us,” he said. “If we can score well,
our defense will keep us in the ballgames.”
16 74 K a n sa s14 H w y,Beloit
785 -73 8-25 5 1
Dighton
Hornets
T
he Lady Hornets finished the 2014-15 season sub-State runnerups in 1A Division 1.
They have their sights set
higher this year.
“The expectation is to
improve on last year,” said head
coach Amy Felker. “And continue
to improve everyday, and accept
our role on the team.”
Returning starters are: senior
Kiara Budd, who averaged 8.1
points per game as a guard; and
juniors Sara Cramer, 11.2 points
per game as a guard; and forward Jordan Speer, 14.1 points
per game.
In order to meet expectations,
Felker said the Lady Hornets
must work on defense, stay
healthy and avoid foul trouble.
I
Frankfort
Wildcats
n Nick Anderson’s second season at Frankfort, he wants to
build on his team’s understanding of his system, and improve from
an 8-15 record.
Replacing his top three scorers
from the 2014-15 season will —
without doubt — be his biggest
challenge this season.
The Wildcats will return two
starters as well as two seniors, to a
team that still has a lot of players
who can contribute. Size will also be
a big factor in how successful the
Wildcats will be. They don’t have a
player taller than 6’1”.
Returning starts are: juniors
Adam Kenworth, 6’1” forward, and
Brenen Levi, 5’10” point guard.
Girls
The past two years have been difficult for the Lady Wildcats as they
compiled a 9-33 record.
Boys
This is the year head coach Bruce
After losing five of its most expeGunter hopes the experience pays
rienced players a year ago, the
off.
Hornets continue to aim for
“With our experience coming back,
improvement.
we have some talented players who
They finished the 2014-15 seatook their lumps last year,” he said.
son with a 12-9 overall record and
“Our seniors have been called upon to
5-4 in the Northwest Kansas
play at the varsity level from their
League, behind Wallace County,
sophomore year to the present.”
Hoxie and Quinter.
Returning starters include: seniors
Dighton has only one senior —
Kyla Hardwick and Maura Kennedy,
Wyatt Habiger, leaving a bench
filled with juniors and sophomores. both 5’7” forwards, and Marie
Wessel, 5’10” center.
Included is 6’4” junior Tyler
Gunter also expects major contriLingg, who was recognized in sevbutions from a talented group of
eral all-team lists, and sophomore
sophomores and freshmen.
Jordan Horn.
The downside for Frankfort is
Dean Cramer is head coach of
that this past season’s point guard
the Hornets.
and leading scorer, Abra Shirley, has
said she may not play basketball her
senior year.
K ANS A S
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Your voice for Beloit High School & St. John’s
Tipton Blujay basketball is KVSV FM105.5 and
AM1190KVSV The Mix Every Tuesday & Friday
Night. Hear the games on line at kvsvradio.com
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124 N. Kansas•Frankfort, KS
785-292-4433
www.fnbfrankfortks.com
Page 56
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Golden Plains Bulldogs
C
oach Parker Christensen isn’t shy about voicing his
goals for his Lady Bulldogs this season.
“Our goals will be to make it back to the state
tournament and compete for a state title!” he said.
Golden Plains finished the 2014-15 season with a record
of 16-7, ending its run in the sub-state finals with a loss to
Wheatland/Grinnell.
Returning starters
Dave’s Auto Supply
are: seniors Kami
Miller, 5’6” guard;
120 N. Williams
Kynndra Rush, 5’7”
Rexford, KS
guard/forward; and
Maddy Walz, 5’11” forward; and juniors Gabi
Schiltz, 5’9” guard/forward; and Amber Erwin, 5’10” center.
Christensen said his team is all about Experience.
Experience. Experience.
“We are going to have much better depth this season,” he
said. “We return 90 percent of our scoring. And we bring in
a couple of incoming freshman who were very successful in
junior high.”
To be successful, Christensen said his players must
improve their field goal and free throw percentages.
“The keys will be to stay healthy, play tough defense and
be a strong rebounding team and use our speed and athleticism to be a higher scoring team,” he said.
785-687-3235
Boys
Golden Plains returns three starters, seniors Koi Wessel, 6’5”
forward who averages 14.6 points per game and eight rebounds,
and Kade Wessel, 6’5” forward who averages 11.3 points and 6.5
rebounds, and junior Brett Gerbitz, 5’9” guard, who averages 7.5
points.
“Our expectations this year are to be very competitive and
make a run at a league title and a run in the sub-State tournament,” said Travis Smith, who is in his second season as head
coach. “After going 7-1 in our summer league, the young men
have gained confidence for this upcoming season.”
Height will be a strength; ballhanding could be a challenge.
“We need to take care of the ball in pressure situations,” Smith
said.
He thinks his players — which include nine returning letter
winners — can be “very competitive” this season, but they must
“buy into the team concept.”
I
Logan Trojans
n Mike Wilderman’s first year as head coach at
Logan, he will try to build on a team that went
12-9 last year, and returns four starters.
“I expect us to develop a stronger defensive presence,” coach Wilderman said, “and improve team play
by hard-work and good communication. Our key to
success will evolve around upperclassmen developing
strong leadership skills.”
Returning starters are: seniors Regan Kats, 6’3” forward, and Austin Tien, 5’10” point guard; and juniors
Josh VanLaeys, 6’3” forward, and Kelson Kats 6’0”
forward.
W
Greeley County
Jackrabbits
ith all five Lady Jackrabbit starters returning, it’s shaping up to be a good
season following a year that ended with a 3-18 record.
“We had quite a few games last season where we went into the locker
room at half time either ahead of with the score close, but we really struggled during
the second half,” said Sherri Elder, who starts
Serving 17 Communities Including:
her first year as head coach after two years as
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PO Box 309
423 Broadway Ave
“I want us to be able to come out after half
Tribune, KS 67879
and play a strong second half and finish games.”
620.376.4228
Returning are: seniors “Cassidy Hild, 5’9”
post, and Holly Myers, 5’7” post; juniors
Morgan Woelk, 5’2” guard, and Irelyn Elder,
5’3” guard; and sophomore Hahhan Brandl, 5’10” post.
“All of the starters have been playing varsity since they were freshmen and they play
well together as a team,” Elder said.
Boys
The graduation of the Jackrabbits’ 6’5” post Cody Harney left a hole in the team;
however, first-year head coach Dan Hild expects his guards to be strong.
Greeley County finished this past season with a 14-8 record, including seconds at
sub-State and at league tournament.
Returning starters are: Tycel Ibarra, 6’1” point guard; Levi Johnson, 5’10” shooting
guard; and Sergio Trejo, 6’0” small forward.
Hild said one job will be to develop a bench and keep players from injuries.
“We expect to be competitive in every game we play,” he said.
I
Palco Roosters
t’s Kyle Fox’s first year as a teacher and coach and his goal is for his Lady Roosters
to “make some noise” at sub-State.
That means Palco will need to show improvement as the season progresses.
The team went 8-13 a year ago. Returning starters are juniors Savannah
Desbien, guard, and Cameron Knipp, forward. They will be the team’s strength.
“Our weaknesses are losing three starters and lack of numbers and experience
will make it hard to simulate game experience,” Fox said.
As a result, younger players must step up, he said.
“Our keys to success for the 2015-16 season will be getting the players to buy
in and show commitment each day,” Fox added.
Boys
Despite a 4-16 record in 2014-15, Palco has high hopes of hitting the .500
mark this season, as they have all five starters returning.
“We also added two beneficial players with experience, and we’re all able to
play together,” said head coach Ethan Kosjer. “Our keys to success will be controlling possessions, converting on offense, and out rebounding the other team.”
Returning starters are: sophomores Garrett Handley, 5’11” point guard, and
David Thompson, 6’0” forward; and seniors Leo Hope, 5’10” guard, Dominic
Desaire, 5’9” guard, and Alex McLaughlin center.
Palco-Damar-Zurich
Recreation Commission
P.O. Box 53
Palco, Kansas
[email protected]
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Ru ssell
800.522.0172
N a tom a
888.483.4230
We Proudly Support the
NATOMA TIGERS!
w w w .sou thw in dba n k .n et
Natoma
Tigers
N
atoma returns a solid
group of players with
varsity experience, and a
full year in their second-year
head coach’s system. Coach
Nolan Smith has high expectations for his team after a 10-12
record in his first year.
“This year’s team strength will
be that we return a lot of players
with varsity experience,” Smith
said. “They are more familiar
with what I like to run, and are
also more comfortable running
it. Our quickness and defense
should be strengths.”
The Tigers main weakness will
be that they do not have a lot of
height. If Natoma can build on
its experience, and can get even
more comfortable with Smith’s
system, his team should be able
to peak late in the season, and
make a run at sub-state.
Returning starters are: seniors
Dean Masters 6’0” forward, and
Joey Raat 5’10” guard; and
junior Teyvian Frye 5’8” guard.
Girls
Natoma has four starters returning from a team that went 8-15 in
2014-15. This is also head coach
Cody Dunlap’s first year with the
Lady Tigers.
Dunlap’s team plays excellent
defense, and is solid on the boards.
Experience will be an asset for
Natoma, but the team lacks depth
from the bench. If Natoma can
develop a supporting cast around
its core group of starters, and progress as a cohesive unit throughout
the season, Dunlap thinks her
squad could be in position to be
very competitive in sub-state.
Returning starters are: senior
Regan Casey, 5’4” shooting guard;
junior Terran Homburg, 5’6” power
forward; and sophomores Peyton
Ostermeyer, 6’0” center, and
Hannah Chambay, 5’3” point
guard.
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Northern
Valley
Huskies
T
F
Norwich
Eagles
ollowing a league championship last year, the Eagles
went on to win sub-State
and finish third at State.
With four starters returning for
coach Mike Klaver, the Lady
Eagles expectations for the 201516 season are nothing short of
repeating as league champions
and making another run in State.
With the four starters returning all being upperclassmen, this
season will also be an opportunity
to develop, and provide experience to younger bench players.
Returning starters are: seniors
Macy Stephen, 5’8” guard, and
Derian Garrison, 5’5” guard; and
juniors Jayden Schroder, 5’10”
forward, and Megan Kelly, 5’9”
forward.
he Huskies finished with
a 14-8 record this past
season, and were runners-up in sub-state.
This season they return one
starter from that team, and will
have to have someone step up at
point guard to handle offense.
“We will not have much experience,” said head coach Chuck
Fessenden. “We don’t return
many scorers. We are going to
need some young kids to step up
and score for us. We will also
need to find someone to handle
the ball.”
Boys
The Huskies return two post
The Norwich Eagles are coached
players that will make reboundby Ron Roe.
ing one of their stronger points.
Returning starters include
senior Colten Bach, 6’1” forward.
Girls
The Lady Huskies expect to
compete for a league title this season, especially if they stay healthy.
Northern Valley ended the
2014-15 season with a 7-14 record.
Four starters from that team
return: seniors Shayna Vincent,
5’9”, Brooke Baird, 5’5”, and Elexsa
Anderson, 5’3”; and 5’5” sophomore Chaylee Lowry.
Logan Kats, in his fourth season
as head coach, said his team’s
strengths are quickness and shooting. Weaknesses will be rebounding
and depth.
Otis-Bison
Cougars
T
he Cougars must work
on offense this season to
develop their potential.
“We must shoot better, we
must be more efficient on
offense,” said Erin Patrick, who
starts his third season as head
coach.
Otis-Bison returns four starters: seniors Nick Higgason, 5’9”
forward, Brandon Keller, 5’6”
guard, and Hayden Maier, 6’2”
forward; and junior Kade Urban,
5’9” guard.
“We expect to have another
winning season and I expect to
be a competitive team,” Patrick
said. “We would like to believe
we can compete for a sub-state
championship.”
Patrick, who has a 27-18
record with the Cougars, said
this team’s strengths will be its
defense, rebounding and knowledge of the Otis-Bison system of
play.
Girls
Taylor Regan, who produced a
30-point game against State champions Central Plains during the
2014-15 season, returns for her
junior year.
She will be joined by seniors
Megan Tammen, Liza Wesseloh
and Haley Vondracek.
The Lady Cougars finished the
2014-15 season with an overall
record of 6-13 under head coach
Richard Schmidt, who left this season for a head coaching job at
LaCrosse.
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Western
Plains
Bobcats
HEAT
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
GOOD LUCK
Page 58
785-366-7225
800-747-2334
Rural Vista
Heat
T
he Heat returns seven players with varsity experience.
They also are quick; however, most are still young and
rebounding could be a problem,
espite a season that was said Joe Ross, who is in his first
year as head coach of the Rural
well below .500, the
Bobcats made a serious Vista boys.
“We will try to play uptempo,
push in sub-state and finished
press
and push the ball,” he said.
as runners-up.
Rural
Vista finished the 2014-15
With four starters coming
reason with an 8-13 record.
back, and a point guard who
Returning from that team are startmissed all of last season, the
ers: senior Brantley Floyd, 5’11”
Bobcats expect to improve on
their 8-15 record from 2014-15. forward, and juniors Trace
Hostetter, 5’9” guard, and Cade
“Our keys to success will be
improving defense, rebounding, Stilwell, 6’0” guard. They will be
joined by juniors Jaryth Barten, 5’5”
and our shooting percentage,”
guard, Kade Elliott, 6’1” forward,
said head coach Charles
and Mason Hinkle, 5’11” forward;
Packard.
and sophomore Dawson Worrell,
“We will also need to reduce
6’1” forward.
our turnovers with better ball
“We must play good defense,
handling, and decision making.
have
good shot selection and we
We return five players with a lot
of experience at the varsity level. need to create turnovers and score
We will need to find scorers and in transition,” Ross said.
rebounders to replace the
Girls
seniors we lost to graduation.”
Kane Hensley is in his first year
Returning starters are:
seniors Daniel Hair, 6’2” guard, as head coach for the Heat, and his
first team will be a young one.
Nick Jasper, 6’2” center, and
Building a foundation this season
Dustin Martin, 6’0” forward;
will be fundamental to his next few
and junior Jordan Sargent, 5’6”
seasons at Rural Vista.
guard.
“With 10 freshmen, two sophomores, and two juniors, our expecGirls
tations are to improve each game,
The Lady Bobcats are coached
and get better as the season proby Amy Flax.
gresses, as we gain experience,”
Hensley said.
The two upperclassmen Rural
Vista returns were starters this past
season, and that bodes well for
developing the leadership the team
will need to form a cohesive unit
moving forward.
“If we play well defensively, and
make some shots we will see success,” Hensley said.
Returning starters are: juniors
Hayley Weeks, 6’0” center, and
Madison Kahnt, 5’8” guard.
D
RE H A B ILITA TIO N &
SPO RTS M E D IC IN E
5 11 N E 10th St•A bilen e,K S
785 -263-6664
M E M O RIA L H E A LTH
SYSTE M
Tescott
Trojans
T
erry King thinks his biggest
challenge this season will
be to bring his freshmen up
to speed.
“Half our team will be freshmen,” said King, who is in his
sixth year as head coach of the
Lady Trojans.
The team’s success won’t be
entirely on their shoulders, however.
Tescott returns four players
from this past season’s team,
which ended the season with a
record of 3-17: seniors Kaitlynn
King, 5’9” point guard, and Kara
Reith, 5’9” forward; and juniors
Hailey Pittman, 5’7” guard, and
Wendy Griffin, 5’7” forward.
“Our two returning guards
will play a huge role in our success this year,” King said.
“Our upperclassmen [also]
will be a huge plus.”
Boys
The Trojans have to overcome a
lack of height and depth to improve
on their 2014-15 record of 4-16.
Seniors include: 5’7” Cole Perry,
5’5” Devon Lee and 5’9” Byron
Peterson.
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he Titans return four
starters, seniors Ryan
Gfeller, Coleton Rogge
and Justin Schmidt and junior
Tad Holm.
The goal is to exceed this
past season’s 12-8 record, which
ended in the second round of
sub-State with a loss to Greeley
County.
Michael Collett, who is in his
fourth year as head coach,
wants to see his players improve
their shooting skills.
“My expectations are to as
individuals and as a team
become better ball players and
to become a sound team,” he
said.
He said keys to success will
be the team’s “desire to execute
every game and develop into a
smart basketball team.”
Strengths will be the Titans’
defense and bench.
Girls
Coach Kent Gfeller has taken
the Lady Titans to three substate runner-up finishes in a
row. In his fourth season as
head coach, his team will need
to fill in for a core group of girls
lost to graduation.
“We need to replace 31 points
and 22 rebounds, but I have 12
solid players returning,” coach
Gfeller said.
“Out of that bunch we need a
few of them to step up and fill
our spots. The key will be our
ability to play as a team and
improve every day. Our inside
game with Kelly (senior center
Lamb) will be our strength. We
need better shooters. We definitely need to improve on that.”
Kelly Lamb will be joined as a
returning starter by sophomore
Maddie Lamb, 5’8” forward.
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he Mustangs have a new
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he is no stranger. Cody
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years before stepping into the head
spot.
The Mustangs are coming off a
season that ended with a 15-9
record and a loss in the sub-state
finals.
Flinn has no returning starters
from that team. Still, he sees his
team as young, but quick and
aggressive.
His goals will be the development of players, playing hard,
including at practice, and defensive
intensity.
“I expect us to play hard and
compete in every game we play,”
Flinn said.
“I expect us to play with a lot of
passion and play increasingly hard
on defense.”
Girls
The Lady Mustangs will take the
season game-by-game; however, head
coach Emily Carney makes no secret
about her team’s desire to win a
Northern Plains League title and
return to State.
Sylvan ended the 2014-15 season
with an overall league record of 9-3
and a first-round loss at State.
From that team returns all-state
players Courtney Batchman, first
team, and Bayleigh Broeckelman,
honorable mention.
They will join two other returning
starters, Greta Wehrman and
Cursstyn Jorgenson. Kerstin Decker
also is a key player.
Carney, who is in her second season as head coach, said her goal for
the Lady Mustangs is to have them
“improve and grow as a team.”
Another key to success will be to
“work hard to stay consistent
throughout the whole season,” she
said.
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Specifically, McKinney plans
to focus on improved ball handling, consistent scoring and better defense.
He has only two seniors —
McKenna Hale and Ashley
Kleinke — on his roster. He also
returns three juniors — Alivia
McKinney, Siera Seader and
Janelle Frazier. Rounding out the
squad are sophomore Kelly
Sowers and freshmen Janna See
and Briley Aldridge.
The Lady Coyotes ended the
2014-15 season with a record of
4-18.
Boys
The Coyotes are a young
team, but they return senior
Peter Cress, 6’2” center.
Bailey McQuillan, 5’10” sophomore, also returns.
The squad finished the 201415 season with an overall record
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uilding consistency will be the biggest job for the
Thunderhawks if they hope to have another successful year.
The 2014-15 season ended with a berth in State after sweeping through sub-state. Wheatland-Grinnell only returns two starters
after losing three seniors graduation.
The Thunderhawks will also have to improve on defense and
rebound even better than last year.
“We will be a very fast team this year,” said head coach Brendan
Ptacek, “but we are not very big and will not be deep so foul trouble
will hurt us.”
Returning starters are: seniors Clayton Schwarz, 5’10 guard, and
Kaleb Holaday, 6’2” forward.
Girls
Cheryl Martin is in her second year as head coach of the Lady ‘Hawks
and — if her first year is any indication — Wheatland fans can look forward to an enjoyable season.
The squad posted 19 wins in 2014-15 and lost one senior to graduation,
Monica Stephens, a good scorer and rebounder, to graduation.
However, among the returners is junior Bailey Bixenman, 5’5” guard and
the team’s top long-range shooter.
Seniors are Kristen Heier, 5’3” guard, and Faith Tuttle, 5’5” guard.
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Beloit
Continued from Page 23
They’re basketball fans. It’s that simple.
Clara, an unofficial, self-appointed score keeper, tracks game action with a pencil and paper
from her seat in the stands. John said other spectators often turn to Clara for scoring information.
“After the game, I’ll give my notes to the player
with the highest points,” she said.
Five years ago, Tipton joined the Blujays in
sports and now the school is known as Beloit St.
John’s-Tipton.
In its fourth year, the partnership allowed the
Blujays to win their first basketball title in school
history and make their first appearance at State
in 32 years. Tipton had never played at State.
Bergmann, who is in his seventh season as
head coach, said things were different when he
played for St. John’s in the late 1990s and early
2000s.
“It was a struggle at first. When I played,
Tipton and St. John’s were as big of rivals as you
could find. Now it’s all one school,” he said.
Clint Horinek, who started his fitness business in his garage with four clients, comes from
Brewster in far northwest Kansas. Basketball is
the town passtime.
“If you didn’t play basketball for at least three
hours a day, you were an outcast,” Horinek said.
He and his wife, Sarah, moved to Beloit three
years ago so their children could attend St.
John’s. Sarah is originally from the Chicago area
and played college basketball.
They feel at home in Beloit.
“She loves the small town feel of the sports
here,” Clint said. “Here everybody cares about
everybody else.”
Looking ahead
All four of Beloit’s high school basketball
coaches are from this area originally.
Ryan Eilert played basketball for Beloit High
and his dad was a St. John’s graduate. Three out
of four of Eilert’s assistant coaches are BHS
grads. Cox left for 20 years after going to State
his senior year. He coached at Marysville,
Solomon and in Nebraska before returning
home 15 years ago. Kresin also coaches football
and recently won his 100th game. Bergmann is
the third generation of his family to attend St.
John’s. His father competed for a State title in
the 1970s.
“It kind of runs in cycles,” said John Lackey. “I
can remember back in the 1970s. Beloit had
good teams. Then it goes down again ... right
now we’re in a good time.”
This summer, Ryan Eilert lost one of his top
players, Bailey Vetter, who transferred to Rock
Creek High School near Manhattan. However,
Beloit still returns three starters and another
player with considerable experience, seniors
Colson Reames, 5’11” guard who averaged 20
points per game this past season, Colson
Riemann, 6’1” senior forward who averaged 3
points, and Luke Hesting 5’10” guard who averaged 6.6 points; and junior Hunter Budke, 6’3”
junior forward, who averaged 10.5 points.
“We’ve got high expectations,” Eilert said. “We
have kids coming back and younger kids who are
ready to step up.”
Leading the Lady Trojans will be senior Remi
Behrends, 5’7” guard, the only returning starter
from Beloit’s 20-4 team from this past season.
“It will be an interesting year because of the
girls that graduated, but we still expect to be
competitive as the girls gain experience,” Coach
Cox said.
St. John’s-Tipton lost Trey Dubbert, the reign-
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Beloit
Continued from Page 60
ing Class 1A, Division Player of the Year, and
6’6” Michael Schmitt to graduation; however,
Dubbert’s brother, Davis, returns. The junior
guard/forward averaged 16.2 point per game
going into this past season’s State tournament.
Dubbert will be joined by senior Parker Gates,
6’0” guard.
This could be another milestone year for the
Lady Blujays. Basketball observers described
them as “young” in a year when St. John’s came
Boys
Continued from Page 14
6’4” senior Jake Allen (3) also return. All in
all, the Golden Eagles have 10 players back
who played in last year’s state tournament.
“We don’t have that one ‘big,’ but are longer
as a team than in recent seasons,” coach
Lonnie Lollar said. “And, I believe the potential is there to guard well as a team.”
Kapaun was 16-7 last year and also qualified for the State tournament. The Crusaders
have just one starter returning — 6’2” senior
Brock Monty — and will be looking to
reloading after graduating nine seniors.
“We’re moving forward with a younger
group of athletes,” coach John Cherne said.
“Our style of play will be energetic and entertaining for the basketball fans at Kapaun.”
Andover Central returns one of the best
1-2 scoring punches in the state in looking to
improve on last year’s 15-7 season that ended
in the sub-State finals. Darraja Parnell, a 6’2”
senior, poured in 21.5 points and grabbed
seven rebounds a game, while 6’0” junior Cole
Taylor averaged 14.3 points a contest.
“Darraja is one of the best scorers in the
state and Cole is a great shooter,” Central
coach Jesse Herrman said. “We should be able
to play fast offensively with good 3-point
shooting. But, rebounding will be a priority
for us.”
Maize South had its best season in school
history last year, reaching the State championship game before losing to Wichita
Heights. The Mavericks have just one starter
returning — 6’1” senior Payten Ricks (13.0
ppg.) — but five additional lettermen.
“We have a long way to go in regards to
finding our identity after having such a dominant team last season,” head coach Kip
Schultz said. “Payten Ricks proved himself
last season and I look for him to really grow
home with a State title. This season, the girls’
team returns with all of its starters and another
year of experience. On the roster are: seniors
Chloe Miller, Sami Hollerich and Gabbie Smith
and juniors Elizabeth Walter and Brenna Eilert,
who was was 1A Player of the Year as a sophomore.
Competition
Over the years, some Beloit residents have
suggested the two schools get together to play for
a city championship. Few support the idea
as a player who has to contribute on all levels.”
Salina Central is another team that has an
outstanding regular season, but was upset in
sub-State play. The Mustangs have two starters returning in 5’9” junior Brayden
Neuschafer (11.1 ppg) and 6’3” senior J.D.
McHenry (6.5) as well as five additional lettermen.
“We have great shooters, good team speed
and quickness,” head coach Doug Finch said.
“We’ll have to play small ball due to the lack
of height, but we’ll be very aggressive on
defense and in transition.”
Class 4A
In Class 4A, the central and western half of
the state is loaded with outstanding teams in
both Division I and II.
Leading the way, as usual, are the
McPherson Bullpups, who brought home the
school’s 13th State championship last year,
wrapping up a perfect 25-0 season with a
dominant performance against BasehorLinwood in the finals. The Bullpups will take
a 40-game winning streak into the season.
The Bullpups lost three talented starters in
Kyler Kinnamon, Payton Stephens and
Nathan Nutter, but will reload with two
starters and six lettermen returning. Drew
Pyle, a 6’3” senior, scored 15 points a game
last year, while 6’3” senior Spenser Wine
added eight a game.
“This team should be a very good outside
shooting team,” said coach Kurt Kinnamon,
who is 405-70 in 20 seasons at the school (six
state titles). “We have a team that knows
what it takes to be a championship contender
and they take pride in doing the little things
it takes.”
If there’s a dark horse in Class 4A Division
I this season, it may very well be the Abilene
because they’re afraid it could spark a competition that doesn’t exist now.
“I don’t know what good would come from
something like that,” Clint Horinek said.
John Lackey agreed. “Just keep it the way it is,”
he said.
Which — if all goes as planned — should be
another good year for Beloit basketball.
Linda Mowery-Denning is publisher of the
Ellsworth County Independent-Reporter and the
Marquette Tribune.
Cowboys. Four starters return from an 18-4
team that lost in the sub-State finals and
three of them averaged in double figures —
6’4” senior Harley Hazlett (11.5 ppg., 7.6
rpg.), 6’8” senior Eric Harms (12.4 ppg.) and
6’2” junior Ryan Wilson (11.5 ppg.). Andrew
Schwarting, a 6’1” senior, scored 6.4 a game.
“We feel we have all the pieces to be a very
good 4A team,” said Abilene coach Terry
Taylor. “Our confidence is very high and our
players expect to win each night we play. We
will be tested early with very strong opponents like McPherson, Rock Creek and
Concordia in December.”
The Hays High Indians were 14-8 last year
under veteran coach Rick Keltner, but ran
into the McPherson Bullpups in the subState finals. The Indians return two starters
from that team, including 6’3” senior Isaiah
Nunnery, who is expected to be one of the
top players in 4A. Nunnery averaged 14
points and seven rebounds a game, handed
out six assists per contest and nearly had
three triple-doubles last season.
Keith Dryden, a 6’3” senior, also returns,
along with seniors Drew Young (6’2”), Laken
Jacobs (5’10”) and Maddux winter (6’0”) and
6’4” junior Shane Berens.
“We graduated some fine seniors, but
return a lot of guys whop gained valuable
experience last year,” Keltner said.
The Andale Indians reached the 4A-I State
tournament last year and return two starters
— 6’6” senior Jeff Ast (9.7 ppg., 5.8 rpg.) and
6’2” senior Clint Walstad (6.0 ppg.) – from
that 19-4 team.
“Despite the lack of experience, we have a
lot of faith in the players who will be stepping up and filling the roles left by last year’s
seniors,” head coach Jeff Buchanan said.
See BOYS, Page 64
Page 62
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Rolfs part of ‘lethal, one-two punch’
BY Mark mccoy
Kansas Hardwood
C
entral Plains’ forward/point guard,
senior Taylor Rolfs, is one half of a
basketball-playing duo that head coach
Pat Stiles once called “a
lethal, one-two punch.”
“When Taylor and
Reagan (Phelan) are ‘on’,
they deliver points so fast
that it simply destroys the
momentum of the other
team,” he said following the
Lady Oiler’s second consecutive State title win last
March. “You just never
know when they are going
to click.”
As the Lady O’s point
guard Phelan approaches
the basket, usually double
or triple-teamed, Rolfs
moves swiftly into position and one short pass
later, the Lady O’s have
racked up points. And vice
versa. When the duo are
in their stride, a quick
10-14 point surge can be
established within two
minutes of play, such as in
the sub-State game against
Ellinwood.
Rolfs, at 5’ 11”, is by far
the quickest power-forward
in 2A play. In addition, if
Phelan needs a rare break
from the floor, Rolfs fills in
the point guard slot with
ease and the Lady O’s never
seem to miss a beat — or a
point.
The girls led the Lady O’s
to an undefeated 2A State
championship in 2013-14
and on to win 19 more
games for a 45-game winning
streak before dropping the last
game of the 2014-15 regular season to fourthranked 2A Ellinwood.
Central Plains dominated the sub-State
championship game against the Lady Eagles
with the outcome of the game decided by a
Rolfs-Phelan surge in the middle of the second quarter. The Lady O’s rolled on to repeat
as the 2015 2A State Champs.
Along the way, Central Plains pummeled
6A Dodge City, who were ranked 10th in the
State at the time of the late season basketball
game.
“Taylor — being so long — makes it tough
for teams to guard against,” Stiles said. “She
average and drained 37 treys. Rolfs also made
52 charity shots for the Lady O’s last season
and had a 32-point game against Ness City in
2014-15.
“I’m out there to have fun and play to win,”
said Rolfs about her basketball philosophy.
“It’s a fun thing to do and I’m kind of good at
it I guess.”
“We practice the press a lot,”
Rolfs said about the tandem scoring machine of Phelan-Rolfs. “So
we know what the other person is
going to do. Also, Regan and I
have been playing together since
third grade, so we kind of know
each other and what we are
doing.”
Central Plains High School was
created in the 2011-12 school year,
combining the former Quivira
Heights and Claflin school districts and under head coach Toby
Holmes, the Lady O’s fought to a
fourth-place State finish.
Prior to consolidation, there
was little love lost between the
two schools on the hardwood.
There were a lot of question
marks concerning how successful
consolation would translate on the
court.
A short four years later, both
the girls and boys programs are
considered to be at the top of 2A
play.
“That really hasn’t affected us
like some people though it would,”
Rolfs said about the consolidation.
“It really doesn’t affect our team at
all. We all get along and don’t
worry about that.”
Pat Stiles became the Lady
Oilers’ coach the following season.
“He is really great,” Rolfs said.
“He is laid-back and doesn’t make
it stressful. I like him; he is very
good.”
Mark McCoy/Kansas Hardwood An all-around athlete who has
received many volleyball accolades
and State track medals in her high school
accounts for plenty of points outside the key.
career, Rolfs has made a verbal commitment
Rolfs can perform under pressure. It was
to play for the Fort Hays State Lady Tigers
her clutch jump shot just within the arc with
basketball following high school.
1.4 seconds on the clock that sealed the 2014
“I’m really excited about that — to be able
State title against a seasoned and powerful
to play after high school,” she said.
Jefferson County North team.
And it was Rolfs who gave the Lady O’s
The Rolfs family lives north of Claflin on
their first lead of the 2015 championship
a farm and is sports-minded. Her father
game, with a bucket early in the third quarter
Trever is the athletic director at Barton
against a scrappy Moundridge club.
Community College; her mother Kim is the
Her stats are impressive. Rolfs led the Lady
head Lady O volleyball coach and assistant
O’s in scoring last season with a total of 430
Lady O basketball coach and her brother
points and a 17.2-point-per-game average. She Trey is a quality athlete at the junior high
made 132 2-point field goals for a 56 percent
level.
has range and the ball handling skills of a
guard in a 5’ 11” frame, making a tough
matchup for our opponents.”
Rolfs is comfortable either battling within
the paint or shooting 3-balls. She is a proficient free throw shooter and sees the floor
well. Rolfs also has a quick jump shot that
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
His own Path
Page 63
Sloan Baker takes baseball over hardwood
John Giffin
Kansas Hardwood
C
oming off a 3A State basketball title
and a runner-up finish in 3A state
football, Scott Community High
School graduate Sloan Baker chose to pursue
a baseball career at Butler Community
College.
A two-year starter for the Beaver basketball team, Baker was a key player for the
2015 3A state champs and the 2014 4A
Division II state runner-up team. Scott
Community defeated Wichita Collegiate
60-48 in the finals of the 2015 3A State
tournament at Hutch Sports Arena. The
title was the third in four years for the
Beavers.
“We were in a different gym my senior
year because we were 3A,” Baker said.
“Hutch Sports Arena is a little bigger than
Hartman Arena. We bring a lot of fans, so it
was great to get one my senior year.”
In 2014, Scott Community fell to 4A
Division II champ Eudora in the title game.
In 2015, Scott split with 4A Division II
champ Holcomb. Baker said Eudora was a
tough team, but overall he didn’t see a major
difference in the competition level between
3A and 4A Division II.
Baker was also a key component in for the
Scott Community football team that finished second in 3A State. A tight end and
outside linebacker, He was selected and competed in the Shrine Bowl for the East team.
“It was an eye opener,” Baker said. “It
showed how blessed we are to play this
sport. There’s kids out there that can’t play
sports that would really like to. They don’t
complain about having a missing leg. They
get up everyday just excited to play at least.”
A three sport athlete in high school, Baker
took time to work on all sports in the summertime.
“I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and
worked out for football at the weight room,”
Baker said. “Then I would go practice baseball in the evening in Garden City with my
summer team, then I’d get back and we’d
have open gym at night where we played
pick up for a little while. Then I’d start all
over the next morning.”
He considered a college football career
before he ultimately decided on baseball.
“I almost played college football at Butler
too,” Baker said. “I just think it’s a lot different in college then high school football.”
The son of his high school baseball coach
and brother of Wichita State basketball
player Ron Baker, Sloan never really considered playing collegiate hoops. His heart has
always beat for America’s Pasttime.
“I’ve always had a passion for baseball ever
since I was a little kid,”
Baker said. “My dad was
the baseball coach at a
small school when I was
real young, so I always
grew up playing baseball
and going out there and
messing around with the
high schoolers.”
After an over .500 season as a sophomore for
baseball Beavers, Baker’s
junior and senior years
were difficult due to a
lack of experience on the
team. Baker started at
shortsop his sophomore,
junior and senior seasons.
“My junior year we won
one game, my senior year
we won five games,” Baker
said. “We started seven
sophomores and two
seniors. Two juniors and
seven freshmen my junior
season. It helped me out
because I had to lead the
team. Helped me grow up
a little bit and become a leader.”
A right handed pitcher for the resurging
Butler Grizzy baseball squad, Baker chose to
move to El Dorado with designs on eventually signing with a Division 1 school.
“I came on a visit here and I really liked it,”
Baker said. “Last year they had a really good
year and I really liked Coach (BJ) McVay
and Coach (Ty) Reece. They’re known for
getting players to the next level and I really
like that.”
After college, Baker wants to earn a paycheck on the diamond.
“It’s everyone’s dream here to go as far as
they possibly can,” Baker said. “That’s definitely my goal. If it doesn’t work out, it
doesn’t work out and I’ll go on with life.”
John Giffin for Kansas Hardwood
Sloan Baker works out during a
practice at Butler Community
College’s Champions Training
Center during a Grizzly baseball
practice.
Page 64
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
KSU will have to rely on recruits
By MATTHEW DENNING
Tournament. The following season
Weber had a solid season and went into
the NCAA Tournament, losing to
Kentucky in the first round.
hat every Kansas State fan
Last year was a mash-up of odd lossworried about — or should
es, one worse than the “Pervis Pasco
have worried about —
Fiasco” of 2003, which I
before pushing Frank
thought was impossible,
Martin out as head coach
"It’s the first year they’re completely separated
and upsets that were
in 2012 has happened in
equally odd. In a season
2015.
from anything their predecessor did. The reverse
where Weber should be
Absolute team mutiny —
has happened to Bruce Weber."
poised to show what he
even worse than what was
has built, he is back at
rumored to have been in
square one, with his
the works with Martin.
program in slightly betPre-season first team Big
ter shape than KU’s football team.
are going to have to be ready to start.
XII player, Marcus Foster, along with
There are a lot of questions the
Contracts are normally given to new
Malek Harris, and Tre Harris were disWildcats will have answers to by the
coaches on five year trials. The fourth
missed from the team. Shortly after,
end of the season. Most of them don’t
year is the year coaches are expected to
point guards Jevon Thomas and Nigel
look like good answers though, and that
produce. It’s the first year they’re comJohnson bolted along with Jack
bodes poorly for Bruce Weber. There is
Karapetyan. Even Wesly Iwundu deleted pletely separated from anything their
no way to gauge what Kansas State will
a tweet saying “Yeah it’s over ... I’m gone.” predecessor did. The reverse has haplook like, based off the fact we haven’t
On the positive side, Kansas State has pened to Bruce Weber.
seen the majority of its roster play, and
In Weber’s first season with K-State,
an astonishing seven recruits coming in,
he won a Big XII championship, despite that’s not normally a good indication of
some so new they are still only verbal
things to come.
losing to a play-in team in the NCAA
commitments less than 100 days away
For Kansas Hardwood
W
from the start of the season.
To try to predict the 2015-16 season
for K-State with any optimism would
be unwise. The Wildcats did land the
state’s top recruit, Dean Wade. Wade,
along with six other first-year Wildcats
Boys
Continued from Page 61
Wellington made its first trip to the state
tournament in several years last March and
ended up losing to Basehor-Linwood in the
first round. The Crusaders (12-11) lost a
good one in Trevor Nance, but feature a pair
of talented sophomores in 6’1” A.J. Snipes
(9.8 ppg.) and 6’4” Ian King (7.9 ppg.).
The Circle Thunderbirds are looking for
another strong season after last year’s 16-6
record and sub-state runner-up finish. The
T-Birds return two double-figure scorers in
6’3” senior Brendon Horyna (10.0) and 5’9”
junior Cal Hartley (14.0).
“We have a good core group of younger
players returning, but they lack varsity experience,” head coach Bo Horyna said. “They are
very committed and have been working hard
since last season to improve their skills.”
In Class 4A Division II, Holcomb and Rock
Creek played for the state championship last
March and Holcomb came away with a 63-55
victory to finish 24-1, while Rock Creek
ended 23-2. Both teams are expected to be
strong again and both feature quality big men.
The Holcomb Longhorns return three
starters from their state title team, including
6’7” junior Conner VanCleave, who averaged
13.5 points and 9.9 rebounds a game.
Christian Merz, a 6’0” senior, scored 10 points
and game and 5’11” junior Brandon Stegman
is also a returning starter.
Holcomb’s only loss last year came against
3A State champ Scott City. The two teams
split during the regular season.
“Our team will be a very athletic and skilled
group,” said Holcomb coach Chad Nowak.
“We will need to find a few kids to fill in for
the great senior group we had last year.”
Rock Creek returns a talented big man of
its own in 6’6” junior Carson Becker, who
averaged 16 points and 8 rebounds a game.
Becker was a first-team all-state player last
year. Also returning is 6’4” senior Jared
Garcia, who scored 10 points a game. Caleb
Rogge is a 6’2” senior guard who came off
the bench last year and averaged seven a
game.
“Our kids are motivated to achieve greater
heights this year,” said coach Jim Johnston.
“We will be a better offensive team this year,
but will have to work to get our defense
where we want it.”
The Concordia Panthers feature the state’s
leading returning scorer in 6’4” senior Cooper
Holmes, who averaged 30.2 points and 9.5
rebounds a game last year while shooting 53.8
percent from the field. He is joined by
returning starters Ian Nordell, a 6’4” junior
who averaged 11 points and 7 rebounds a
game, and 6’1” senior Ethan Bechard, who
scored eight points a game.
“We have a very solid core returning from
last year,” head coach Michael Roe said. “They
have plenty of experience to help our younger
players come along quickly. They play well
together and are excited for the season to
start.”
Wichita Trinity finished third in the 4A-II
state tourney last year, but returns just one
starter in 6-4 senior Mitchell List. However,
the Knights should have a roster with at least
five players 6’3” or taller and could be a force
to be reckoned with once again.
Harold Bechard is a veteran Kansas sports writer
and editor of Vipe.
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 65
Another ‘monster’ year for KU
By MATT DENNING
to the All Big XII Team at the end of last
season, and finished the end of Big XII
play on the All Big XII Tournament
Team.
he Jayhawks roll into the 2015-16
It goes without saying that Perry Ellis
season after representing the
should expect to have a monster year. He
United States in the World
has been consistently solid for KU
University Games, along with SMU’s Nic
throughout his career, and has made meaMoore, where they won a gold medal in a
surable improvement from year to year.
double-overtime game with Germany.
Ellis is the kind of
Frank Mason had a phenomplayer that can, and
enal showing, Perry Ellis was as
"In a group of teams where there is not a clear
will, put a team on
solid as he has been throughout
separation at the top of the pile, this could be the year
his back if he has to,
his career at Kansas, and forKU gets back to the Final 4."
and grind through a
mer five-star recruit and once
close game. By the
predicted top-5 draft pick,
end of the season
Wayne Seldon Jr., played well
Ellis could squeeze
too. The three scored a cominto the Top 10 in
bined 59 points in the win over
scoring and rebounding, all time, at KU.
ranking.
Germany.
Despite his illustrious career at KU, Ellis
Because of their returning players and
With that foundation leading the
hasn’t been to a Final 4.
those
additions,
KU
is
ranked
in
the
top
Jayhawks into this season, it is not surIn a group of teams where there is not
5 of most preseason polls.
prising that KU will be the favorite to
a clear separation at the top of the pile,
As of early September, the only real
win the Big XII for the 12th straight year.
this could be the year KU gets back to
setback the Jayhawks may face is making
That kind of success is unprecedented in
the Final 4, and sends one of their best
sure Cheick Diallo is cleared to play by
the current state of college basketball.
players off with an exclamation mark on
the start of the season. The NCAA is
In a time when one-and-done college
his college resume.
currently waiting to make a decision on
players are the most sought after recruits
his academic eligibility.
coming out of high school, head coach
Look for Wayne Seldon Jr. to have a big
Matthew Denning is a freelance sports
Bill Self has found a way to keep projectyear. He was on the cusp of being named
writer who lives in Manhattan.
ed lottery picks in his program longer
For Kansas Hardwood
T
than most blue blood NCAA basketball
schools.
With the exception of Kelly Oubre and
Cliff Alexander, KU’s roster is almost
identical to last year, with the addition of
three Top 100 (ESPN) recruits, including
two top 5 power forwards in Cheick
Diallo and Carlton Bragg. and that has
them in the top-5 of a lot of preseason
This has to be Wichita State’s year
By MATT DENNING
For Kansas Hardwood
W
ichita State enters the 201516 season with arguably the
best backcourt in college basketball. Ron Baker and Fred Van Vleet
enter their senior year as pre-season All
Americans, and will look to make good
on what they started together four years
ago.
Van Vleet and Baker will be joined by
Kansas transfer, and Wichita native,
Conner Frankamp. Frankamp came out
of high school in 2013 as the 34th best
recruit in the nation as ranked by
Rivals, and the 7th best point guard in
his class. He was also an Olympian and
gold medalist representing the United
States his senior year, and scored a team
high, 22 points in the final win over
Australia.
Jabari Parker and Jahlil Okafor were
also in that game. Kansas was flush
with point guards Frankamp’s freshman
year, leading him to take his talents
back down to the 316. Frankamp is a
phenomenal shooter beyond the arch,
and his versatility to move to shooting
guard will allow Van Vleet to still thrive
at point, while also giving him the
option to come off the court more often
if needed. Van Vleet plays as fast as any
point guard in the country and he has
averaged over 31 minutes a game for the
last two seasons. Keeping him fresh will
help the Shockers enormously.
Top 100 ESPN recruit, Markis
McDuffie will also join the team at small
forward to head up decent 2015 recruiting class for Wichita State.
Over the last four seasons Gregg
Marshall has completely transformed
Wichita State basketball into a legiti-
mate powerhouse program, and arguably
the best program in the state over the
last three years, which is truly remarkable.
This season may be the last that
Marshall has in a few years to make a
deep tournament run. Van Vleet and
and Baker leaving after graduation at
the end of the year is going to be a huge
blow, but for this season, the Shockers
should have every expectation of winning the Missouri Valley Conference,
but they have to make sure to pile up as
many wins as they can. If the past season proved anything, it’s that it doesn’t
matter if you have one of the best seasons in NCAA history in the Missouri
Valley Conference. The selection committee will only give you a No. 1 seed
out of obligation, and the worst one.
The Shockers have to be undeniable
this season.
Page 66
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
MAYB is all about basketball
By Kyle McCaskey
For Kansas Hardwood
I
t began as a humble, singular tournament — the first Mid America Youth
Basketball tournament was the
‘Summer Kickoff,’ 23 years ago.
Even in the wildest of dreams more
than two decades ago, seeing MAYB
expand to its size and scope today would
have been difficult to fathom.
“It started with 50 teams the first year,”
said MAYB director of marketing Layne
Frick. “That tournament is upward in the
700s of teams currently. It’s grown, and
from that one tournament, we offer about
450 to 500 tournaments across the U.S.
each year.”
In its infancy, MAYB was bred from the
idea to produce more youth basketball
opportunities locally in Kansas. Founded
in Newton by Greg Raleigh — who is
also the Hesston boys’ basketball coach
— the first years offered a handful of
tournaments to a few dozen teams.
“He found other high school coaches,
just in the area, who saw that there was a
need for high school players to play outside of the season. He saw that there was
a need, and there weren’t any basketball
tournaments going on in this region,”
Frick said. “If you wanted to play, the only
option was to go East or West – and we’re
talking pretty much the coast to play
games.”
Growth did take time. The MAYB mission and brand needed to be established,
for one, and secondly, needed believers in
the product.
“Once these area tournaments were successful, I would say that was kind of the
catapult into the surrounding states and
around the region,” Frick said. “People saw
that he was doing it the right way. It
wasn’t a scam. It wasn’t him doing it for
the money. It was him providing an
opportunity for kids to play.”
Standing behind those principles has
been paramount for MAYB in its longevity.
Without question, there are options for
today’s youth basketball athlete. There are
local recreational teams, national outlets
with more razzle-dazzle and organizations wishing to copycat the MAYB pre-
scription for success.
But MAYB is the veteran point guard of
those choices. Offer a well-run tournament with even competition levels at a
reasonable entry fee, and it becomes a bargain.
“I would say it’s kind of the way MAYB
was started, with just keeping it as cost
effective as possible,” Frick said. “We don’t
get into memberships. We don’t do all
those other fees that other organizations
do.
“We keep is as simple as possible to
"Our market is the rec teams to
club teams that are average, where
the majority of kids play."
Layne Frick
Director of marketing
form a team, and then those teams, we
make it as cost effective as possible. There
aren’t any organizations like us who
match our prices. For the cost effectiveness, we are the best in the area.”
Some high-profile names have come
from the MAYB circuit. Frick noted players such as Wichita State’s Conner
Frankamp and former KU stars Brandon
Rush and Tyrel Reed, or women’s stars
such as Nebraska’s Emily Wood or former
Kansas State player Shalee Lehning.
Those gems can certainly be found in
the MAYB ranks, but they are not necessarily the target. The purpose of MAYB is
to paint opportunities with a broad
stroke, not fine lines. Teams are formed
with a wide range of skill levels.
“We do kind of pick up the spectrum of
competition level. For our younger divisions, the heart, or meat, of what we do is
those average teams,” Frick said.
While MAYB is best known for its
plentiful and well-oiled tournaments,
there is more to it than seemingly aroundthe-clock basketball games. Even as its
tentacles wiggle out to more and more
states, the organization’s heart and soul
remains The Sunflower State.
“We have programs throughout the different communities, where we try to help
communities form teams. We try to help
bring tournaments to those communities
as fundraisers to their programs,” Frick
said. “I feel like we’ve done a very good job
of keeping a vested interest into Kansas.”
As an example, in its home city of
Newton, MAYB offers the Junior Railers
program. MAYB helps with advertising
and encouraging involvement throughout
the community, striving to find a Junior
Railers team for kids wanting to try out.
Many of MAYB’s tournaments are directed by high school coaches.
“What they’ll do is they’ll run a tournament, and the proceeds of that tournament will go into the high school program, or a lot of coaches are involved in
youth programs in the community, and
they’ll give back to the community,” Frick
said.
In MAYB’s most recent season, nearly
10,000 teams played in at least one tournament. Put another way, the number of
teams participating was 200 times larger
than MAYB’s first campaign.
That is not where MAYB stalls its
growth. As it did in its quiet beginnings,
the organization is looking to the future,
trying to fill the interests and potential
vacancies that exist for athletes.
Soon, MAYB intends to expand into
high school exposure tournaments to give
its older players the prospect of being
viewed by college coaches.
“That’s something we haven’t done
before. That’s a different market than we
do now,” Frick said. “I kind of touched on
our niche. Our market is the rec teams to
club teams that are average, where the
majority of the kids play. We see that
there is a trend of teams going, or interested, in these exposure tournaments.
“We’re looking at that. That can look
very different and have many ideas in
what that looks like.”
MAYB will adapt — it has proven
undeniably capable of that over 23 years
— but its core will not be adjusted.
Athletes in the Midwest just need a
chance, and MAYB can supply it.
“It started here in Kansas,” Frick said. “I
guess that’s where our heart is, in offering
those kids an opportunity.”
Kyle McCaskey writes for the Topeka
Capital-Journal.
Kansas Hardwood, Volume 4
Page 67
Mascots reflect community character
By LINDA MOWERY-DENNING
Kansas Hardwood
A
s the B-17 Flying Fortress cruised above
Wakefield’s main street, the pilot banked a
wing of the World War II-era plane to avoid
the water tower at the top of the hill, across from
the schoolhouse.
A few minutes later, the plane returned, this
time headed down main street in the opposite
direction before leaving Wakefield to follow the
Republican River west and eventually back home,
to Schilling Air Force Base in Salina, 50 miles away.
It was early on a Sunday morning in 1940 or
1941 and aboard the B-17 was Bill Ritter, a graduate of Wakefield High School and crew navigator.
He had talked his fellow airmen into a flyover of
his hometown as part of their training activities.
The noise from the B-17 brought residents out
of their homes in pajamas and nightgowns to check
out the skies over Wakefield.
That was the day Wakefield High School found
its identity, apparently for the first time.
“Before 1941-42, we were just called Wakefield,
according to the papers I’ve seen. Then, after the
flyover, everybody started calling us the Bombers,”
said Ladd Braden, a life-time resident who teaches
woodworking at Wakefield and shares the story of
the school mascot almost every year during
Homecoming.
“You hear the stories and you try to keep them
alive,” he said.
And when it comes to Kansas mascots, there’s a
lot to keep alive. Just ask Jordan Poland, director of
the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita.
Since January, he has traveled the state for the
Kansas Humanities Council, giving talks about
Kansas mascots. Poland holds degrees in history
from Wichita State and Kansas State universities.
“Mascots are one of the features that distinguish
Kansas communities,” he said. “It’s not a coincidence that many mascots around the state are represented on their community’s water tower because
mascot are an important identifier of who we are
and where we come from.”
Many of the mascots are conventional. Poland,
who has compiled a data bank of Kansas mascots,
said the top 11 names represent 50 percent of the
mascots. It’s good to be an Eagle. Or a Bulldog. Or
a Wildcat.
Others, such as Wakefield, are more rooted in
local legend or character.
Consider Hill City High School — known as
the Ringnecks.
In the mid-1940s, two students suggested changing the school’s mascot from Tigers to Ringnecks.
“Morland was the Tigers. Stockton was the
Tigers. They wanted something more unique to
separate us from the Tiger herd,” said Lowell
Beecher, a retired teacher and member of the local
historical society.
Ringnecks, on the other hand, were unique —
not only in Kansas, but across the United States.
The mascot, a nod to the region’s reputation as a
pheasant hunter’s paradise, was adopted by a vote
of students.
“It’s a neat mascot,” Beecher said. “It’s colorful
and it has been real well received.” And it’s still the
only Ringneck in the land.”
At one time, two local sports enthusiasts painted
a Ringneck logo on a large white car with fins and
drove the 1960s-era tank in parades and other celebrations.
“They had a good time with it,” Beecher said.
Time is a barrier encountered by Poland and
others doing research on Kansas mascots. Those
who were around when many of the mascots were
chosen are long gone, taking the history with
them.
Wakefield’s Bill Ritter died about 20 years ago.
The town also produced at least three other airmen, including Russell Javins, who was shot down
during his third mission over France and smuggled
to safety through the French underground.
In the mid-1960s, the town was moved to make
way for Milford Reservoir.
“A lot of people don’t realize how much history
is right in front of them,” Poland said. “This is a
way to encourage people to start a conversation in
their families, in their communities.”
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Winter Kickoff
December 5-6, 2015 in Wichita/Newton, KS
3rd & 4th Grade Shootout
February 27-28, 2016 in Wichita/Newton, KS
Winter Finale
April 2-3, 2016 in Wichita/Newton, KS
Summer Kickoff
June 10-12, 2016 in Wichita Metro
1A-2A Championships
June 17-19, 2016 in Maize/Wichita, KS
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August 4-7, 2016
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SAVE THE DATES
Mid-America Youth Basketball
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