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Volume 2 • 2013

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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Inside Features: • McPherson is all about Basketball • Salina’s Shaelyn Martin • Hays’ Brady Werth • Ellsworth’s Halle Connally • Ellis’ Alexcia Deutscher • Plainville’s Hadley Gillum • Hoxie’s Kade Spresser • St. John’s Dean Wade Upper Deck unveils KU se t Read the st • Wilson’s Shania Steinike ory on page 60 • And previews for more than 100 Kansas high schools


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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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ecades ago, when newspapers switched from typewriters to computers, my employer, the Salina Journal, wasn’t sure technology was here to stay. So, our publisher — being a thrifty fellow — approved the purchase of computers, but only enough to produce the Journal’s daily edition by sharing with other reporters and editors. My partners in technology were the sports writers, which meant the two departments most under deadline pressure were fighting over access to computers. One especially hectic morning, I made the mistake of trying to bump Harold Bechard from his chair. “Harold, there’s been a murder in Phillipsburg and I have to get the story written for first edition. I need a computer.” Harold didn’t blink. “You may have a murder, but I have the sports section to get out,” he said in his calmest, get-out-of-my-face voice. It was a lesson I never forgot — sports are always a priority for sports writers. Harold went on to serve as sports editor of the Salina Journal and the Hutchinson News. I’m proud to say he also writes for Kansas Hardwood. His story on the McPherson basketball program starts on Page 5 and is a must-read, even for those who don’t normally follow basketball. Actually, that’s true of many of the stories in this year’s Kansas Hardwood. Our second edition is loaded with stories from throughout Kansas, including Rod Haxton’s profile of the remarkable O’Neil family. Father Glenn, as head coach at Scott City, has led his Beavers to three consecutive state titles. His players include sons Brett and Trey. Our goal every year is to make Kansas Hardwood bigger and better than the year before. For the 2012-13 season, we targeted north-central and northwest Kansas teams. We have expanded into southwest Kansas for the 2013-14 season and — at some point — intend to take Kansas Hardwood statewide, perhaps in another few years. The hardest part of a publication such as Kansas Hardwood is to convince coaches they have enough time to tell us about their teams. In some of the smaller schools, coaches move from athletic director to football to basketball. The school year is a blur of responsibilities. My favorite this year was the girls’ coach from Colby who missed several e-mails and telephone calls because he was in Alaska. We’re going to assume he makes it back in time for the start of basketball season. Seriously, we depend on the support of coaches, players, their families and fans, including advertisers who generously sponsored many of the teams in this magazine. We hope you enjoy reading about the young basketball players who help create a sense of community in their towns. The talents and accomplishments of these students go far beyond basketball. Linda Mowery-Denning Co-publisher Kansas Hardwood kshardwoodmag@gmail.com

On the Cover Glenn O’Neil, head basketball coach at Scott City Community High School, is shown with his sons, trey and brett, in front of monument Rock, a western Kansas landmark. The photo was taken by Mark McCOY, staff photographer and sports editor of the Ellsworth County Independent-Reporter.

K ANS A S

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RDWOO

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Kansas Hardwood — Bigger and Better

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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 Sponsorship Sales: John Baetz, Tyler Gier Contributing Writers: Harold Bechard, Matthew Denning, Conor Nicholl, Sandra Stenzel and Mark McCoy Staff Photographer Mark McCoy Copy Editors John Baetz and Juanita Kepka Mail questions and comments to: kshardwoodmag@gmail.com or to: Kansas Hardwood PO Box 186 Lincoln, KS 67455 (785) 472-5085


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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

What’s Inside

Pages 5-7 — McPherson has winning ways

Page 8 — Salina’s Shaelyn Martin sets high standards for herself Page 9 — Brady Werth of Hays looks to state and beyond Classes 4A, 5A and 6A — Harold Bechard offers a preview of the upcoming season Pages 12-18 — Team snapshots Page 19 — Ellsworth’s Halle Connally works to be her best Page 20 — Conor Nicholl looks at this season’s 3A prospects Pages 21-25 — Team snapshots Page 26 — Ellis’ Alexcia Deutscher is a quick study Page 27 — Plainville’s Hadley Gillum delivers Page 28 — Conor Nicholl previews Class 2A Pages 29-31, Pages 34-39 — Team snapshots Pages 32-33 — Scott City repeats — twice Page 40 — Kade Spresser leads talented Hoxie team


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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Classes 6A, 5A and 4A

Mac is Always Back

Courtesy Photo The McPherson girls display the trophy they received for being sub-state champions.

Courtesy Photo The McPherson Bullpups celebrate their first place finish this past season in the McPherson Invitational.


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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Classes 4A, 5A and 6A

Basketball is King

McPherson’s hoop tradition spans generations

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here’s no truth to the rumor that new-born babies in McPherson are acquainted with a basketball nearly as quickly as they are with their mothers. It just seems that way at times. Indeed, basketball success has been seen as a birthright for the boys and girls at McPherson High for the past halfcentury or so. “There’s always been a myth that when a child is born in McPherson, a basketball is put in their crib,” said long-time McPherson Sentinel sports editor Steve Sell, who now writes for Mid-Kansas Online. “You can’t go down a street in McPherson without seeing basketball goals in the driveways.” McPherson and basketball go hand in hand. There are just a handful of high schools in the state who are identified with a specific sport — Collegiate and tennis, Kapaun Mt. Carmel and golf, Smith Center and football, Bishop Miege and volleyball, to name a few. And then there’s McPherson and basketball. The boys have won 11 state titles and finished second 10 times. During a 10-year period from 1990-99, they won the 5A title six times. The girls have claimed eight championships and placed second four times. It’s a tradition in the round ball sport that actually goes much further back than the days in the 1960s when the Bullpups challenged Wyandotte for basketball supremacy in the state. In the 1930s, the McPherson Globe Refiners won an AAU national championship and made up half of the goldmedal winning 1936 U.S. Olympic basketball team in Berlin, the first time basketball was part of the official program. But, sports historian Carol Swenson of McPherson said the hiring of Jay Frazier as the high school basketball coach prior to 1957-58 is what “marked the beginning of McPherson’s move into the role

By Harold Berchard as a major player on the Kansas prep basketball scene.” Swenson said Frazier’s simple philosophy and enthusiasm for the game raised the bar to new heights in McPherson. He was followed by Mike Henson and Kurt Kinnamon, the only three head coaches the boys’ program has had in the past 55-plus seasons. The girls’ program, which was formed in the early 1970s, has had seven head coaches, but only two in the last 20 years — Scott Schaefer and Chris Strathman. “To this day, it continues to be the dream of almost every kid growing up in McPherson, boy and girl alike, to someday wear the red and white uniform of McPherson High and to experience the thrill of running out the tunnel onto the Roundhouse floor as a Bullpup,” Swenson said. “McPherson kids start going to the games by the time they’re 5 years old and they want to grow up and be Bullpups,” Sell said. “They start playing for the Junior Pups as soon as the third grade. This year, a seventh-grade middle school team was added to get the ball rolling a year earlier.” Kinnamon grew up in St. John and was one of the state’s top players in high school. He played at McPherson College from 1984-86 and quickly became aware of the basketball program at MHS. He played with former McPherson great Brad Underwood in the KBCA All-Star Game and heard about this court they called The Roundhouse. Kinnamon was an assistant coach at Lyons under Phil Anderson in 1987-88. Anderson was a graduate of McPherson High and very proud of that fact, according to Kinnamon, who moved to McPherson for the 1988-89 school year and was the freshman coach under Mike Henson for five years. He spent two years as the head coach at Canton-Galva before taking over at McPherson when

Henson moved to Germany to teach and coach. Kinnamon said he doesn’t feel as much pressure to keep the tradition going as he does to make sure that his team plays the “McPherson Way.” “We want to really pressure the ball defensively and share the ball offensively. That is the thing I may be most proud of and that is when people tell me that we play the ‘right way,’” he said. “As a coach, I would be naïve’ if I didn’t recognize that the tradition, and kids wanting to be Bullpups has helped produce a tremendous run of basketball players. It has been great players that have inspired young people to want to be a part of our tradition.” The Bullpups have had a lot of great ones, headed by the likes of Steve Henson, Josh Alexander, Christian Ulsaker and Ryan Herrs. And who could forget the names of Jordan Fithian, Brian Henson, Vic Chandler, Jeff Kline, George Czaplinski, Brad Underwood, Dave Leach and Andy Berlin, just to name a few. Steve Henson, who later starred at Kansas State, is considered the best allaround athlete in school history. Josh Alexander finished his career in 1996 and is still in the top four in scoring, rebounding and assists. Ulsaker is the school’s all-time leading scorer and Herrs totaled over 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and helped the Bullpups win three state titles. Kline was part of three state title teams in the 1970s and Chandler was an all-state football and basketball player in the early ‘70s. Brad Underwood holds the career scoring average of 24.2 points per game, Berlin set a single-season rebound record and Czaplinski and Leach were part of three consecutive one-loss teams in the early 1960s that challenged Wyandotte. See McPHERSON, Page 7


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Bullpups continue tradition Continued from Page 6 Sell and Swenson respectfully disagree on who they feel is the best boys’ team in school history. Sell goes with the 1991 state champions of Brian Henson, Ryan Herrs, Jonathan Coachman, Bryan Vincent and Jason Totman, a team that averaged a 5A-record 80.3 points per game in the tournament. Swenson favors the 1994 Bullpups of Josh Alexander, Tim Herrs, Brian Grant, Eric Schultz and Erik Vogel. Then there were the great Frazier teams of the 1960s that were measured against mighty Wyandotte and the three straight state titles won in 72-73-74. And, of course, the great state titles teams coached by Kinnamon. The two agree on the best-ever girls’ team — the 1999 unbeaten champions. Led by seniors’ Kristina Barrow, Candace James and Chaunzey Rierson, and junior Stacey Becker, it won a third straight 5A title with an unbeaten season. Sell and Swenson also agree on the next two ­— the 2005 unbeaten team of Ashley Sweat, Marlies Gipson and Brett Ulsaker, and the 1981 team led by Julie McMurray and Debbie Flood, which was coached by John Hoffman and captured the school’s first girls’ state championship. Strathman learned of the McPherson tradition while at Tabor College. One of his teammates was Vincent, a key player on Mac’s 1990 and ‘91 boys’ title teams. “He brought me over to attend numerous games during our college years, which gave me a real appreciation for McPherson basketball and the Roundhouse,” Strathman said. Strathman also took a summer job at the McPherson YMCA and said the place was “swarmed with high school boys playing noon-ball with and against older men.” He said many of the girls were regulars in the gym as well once the men finished their noon-time battles. Strathman started at McPherson High right out of college in 1995 and has been with the girls’ basketball program ever since. He was the sophomore coach for two years, the junior varsity coach for eight and will begin

Courtesy Photo McPherson’s Peter Horton dribbles around a defender during a game this past season in the Roundhouse.

his ninth season as the head coach in 2013-14. As an assistant under Schaefer, he was part of four state titles and two runner-up finishes. As the head coach, he has been part of two state championships and one second-place finish. “It has been a great and fun stretch ... lots of great kids and coaches to work with over the years,” said Strathman, who took over the program after Schaefer took a position at Gardner-Edgerton. “There is pressure to attempt to maintain the standards that were established before I became the head coach,” he said. “We still do a lot of the same things, though we have also changed quite a bit in how we approach some areas. Schaefer was a tremendous mentor to me and continues to be a great friend and someone I can always count on. “Ultimately I do feel it is my responsibility to keep things going, but I know we couldn’t do it at a high level without the help of so many people, including our high school assistants, middle school coaches, and our volunteer youth program coaches that give so much of their time.”

The girls have had their share of great players as well, with the likes of Ashley Sweat, Katelyn Loecker, Kristina Barrow, Julie McMurray, Marlies Gipson, Tami Johnson and Stacey Becker gracing the floor of the Roundhouse. Sweat played on four teams that finished in the top three in 5A, including one state title. Loecker is the school’s all-time scoring leader. Barrow was part of three state championship teams. Gipson was one of the more athletic players in school history and later starred at Kansas State. Tami Johnson played in the 1970s and still holds the career scoring record. McMurray was the first 1,000-point scorer for the girls and Becker played on two state title teams and in four state tournaments. “When I took the job, I felt charged with trying to maintain the standard of excellence the program had achieved under 13 years with Scott (Schaefer),” Strathman said. “We have done our absolute best to do that. To me, that isn’t just measured by wins and losses, though that is what is most visible to the public. Have we been able to get as much out of the girls as we could as a staff? I would say yes, and that includes a rebuilding season of 11-10 in 2009. “So, looking back, that is what I can say I am the most proud of at this time — just believing that we have maximized our talent each and every year. In the end, that is really how each season should be evaluated, whether we get to hang a state championship banner or not.” The Bullpups have hung a bunch of them and they are prominently displayed in the McPherson Roundhouse, one of the more unique and historic gymnasiums in Kansas. The building opened prior to the 1963-64 season and has played an important role in building and maintaining the success of the high school programs. The Bullpups have won nearly 85 percent of their games in the arena where only state championship banners hang from the rafters. See McPHERSON, Page 18


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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Class 5A

Salina’s Shaelyn Martin

Setting high standards in both academics and athletics

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haelyn Martin, the 6’ 1” senior guard/post of the Salina Central Lady Mustangs basketball team, believes that academics are as important as athletics in her high school experience. “I’m taking several AP (advanced placement) classes this year, including calculus and stats,” Martin said. “I’ve taken AP history classes; I’m in an advanced English class getting six college hours and I have above a 4.0 grade point average. “It’s really hard, but as a student athlete, I believe that academics come first, because if you don’t have the grades, you don’t get to play. Academics have always been a strong suit for me. I have to put in more time, because the classes I take are more difficult, but I have high standards for my academics as well as athletics.” To top off her grueling academic demands, Martin is also in the Salina Central’s gifted program. All that adds up to a smart, talented basketball player that verbally agreed to play for Kansas State University in her sophomore season. Martin has been a starter for the Lady Mustangs all four years of high school and also excels in volleyball and track, competing in the 300 meter hurdles where she placed fourth at the State track meet in 2013. “She is probably the most coachable person that I’ve been around,” said head Lady Mustang coach Geoff Andrews. “She always asks, ‘What can I do to help the team?’ She comes to us with problems — not just with the problem that she sees, but a solution to the problem. “Which is kind of nice as a coach, because whether it’s parents or players that see something is wrong, she will have the solution to that as well. A lot of time as a coach, you will hope that your 6’ 1” guard will be the solution to a lot of our problems, but she is very team oriented. She will notice that if she is double-teamed, that we have an opening on the other side. “I don’t know if I will ever have another like her again, I guess we are kind of lucky to have her here at Central.” Martin’s seasonal statistics are impres-

Story and Photo by Mark McCoy

sive, considering she plays in the tough Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail league which includes McPherson, Newton and other top-flight basketball schools in Central Kansas. The Lady Mustangs were defeated in the first round of the 2012-13 5A State tournament by Shawnee-Mill Valley, which took home the runner-up trophy. Martin averaged 8.95 points per game, 3.24 assists and 7.81 rebounds her freshman season, 11.65 points, 3.35 assists and 9.35 rebounds her sophomore season and 11.38 points, 3.52 assists and 9.62 rebounds her junior season in 2012-13. Martin says her inspiration in basketball is her mother. “You would probably think I watched other people while I was growing up playing,” Martin said. “But it’s really a family thing. My brother has played basketball; my grandpa has coached all his life, my mother has played at multiple levels. At a young age, she could tell that I had potential and she knew that if she could push me a little bit further, I could become something. I am so grateful for that. “I’m willing to put in extra effort to get

to the top of my game.” Martin, like all top athletes in their sport, knows that talent only goes so far and that hard work is the key to success. She practices basketball all year long, often shooting over 500 shots an hour during a practice session, hitting the court following practice in the other sports in the off-season. She spends at least an hour each Sunday working on her shots. She said that she made 1,000 shots in a day once, but had to ice her arm after that particular practice session. Salina Central has a computerized practice machine, called the Gun, that will tell a player or coach a shooter’s shot percentage, number of shots, etc. Each player has his or her own code for the machine. “Anytime somebody asks me ‘Hey what are you doing?’ most likely I’m in the gym,” she said. “Any chance that I have to get on the Gun, get in the gym and get the ball, I’m going to jump on that opportunity.” Winning and being team-oriented is another important part of Martin’s basketball philosophy. “Anytime I step on the court, I want to win,” she said. “I’m a very competitive person. But one of the biggest compliments that I can receive is that I’ve made other people on the court look good.” Although she is keeping the WNBA or European professional basketball as an option after college, Martin is also an equestrian, and wants to combine her love of horses with her career choice of occupational therapy, managing a therapeutic riding center for underprivileged children. Raised and living on a farm, Martin often ends her day by a bareback horse ride, which she says is the antithesis to an action-packed day. “I love kids and I love horses, so it’s a chance to work with both, rehabilitating horses that have been abused and working with kids on their fine motor skills. Some of those kids have had a rough life, not having the best opportunities and I really think that horses and kids can create a bond. That can help the kids’ progress in life and it can help the horses learn trust.”


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Class 5A

Hays’ Brady Werth His eyes are on the basket — and State

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By Conor Nicholl

wo years ago, Brady Werth started the majority of the season as a freshman forward on a Hays High School team that had no seniors. Werth averaged seven points, five rebounds and two blocks for a 6-15 squad. Following the high school season, a Hesston summer basketball coach contacted Werth. Werth played for the Mid Kansas team, became a leading player and earned all-tournament honors at the Mr. Basketball Invitational in Kearney, Neb. That stretch helped Werth realize he had talent. He set a goal to play Division I. “Without a doubt, summer basketball has given some kids a chance to get exposure that they might not get,” longtime HHS coach Rick Keltner said. In 2012-13, Werth collected Class 5A allstate honors and earned WAC Player of the Year honors after he averaged 14 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per contest. The 6-foot-6 ½ inch, 215-pound Werth (Werth made certain to include the half inch) helped the Indians go 14-8 and reach the state tournament where they lost to Lansing in the first round. “We have had some good post players over the years,” Keltner said. “I think that if a kid uses his body well and does the things that we want to work with them, I think that they are going to keep getting better. “The thing that makes Brady special is that he has got such long arms and a good frame and a great attitude,” he added. “From day 1, he has been capable of using either hand. I have high expectations for him.” It marked the fifth time in Keltner’s 28 years Hays High made the state tournament. The school hasn’t won a boys’ basketball crown since 1944. “Going to state felt great,” Werth said. “Hopefully we can do it again this year, and I want to go farther. Hopefully get a state title. Hasn’t happened in a long time. That would be a big accomplishment. I think, if anything, we are going to do better than we were last year.” In the summer, Werth again played for the Hesston Mid Kansas team that included

players from Hesston, Manhattan, Topeka, St. John and Salina. He traveled to multiple major cities — a part he greatly enjoyed — including Las Vegas, Dallas, Minnesota, Kansas City, St. Louis and Wichita. In Dallas, his team lost to a squad that had four players ranked in the top 100 nationally among juniors. At one point, Werth’s team traveled four straight July weekends. “It was cool, just getting to play against them and see what they are like,” Werth said. Werth’s ultimate desire is to play for the Jayhawks, but the forward said he would be fine with any Division I school in Kansas or a surrounding state. Fort Hays State, consistently a top-25 Division II school, and mid-major Division Is such as Northern Arizona, Colgate and LaSalle have already been in contact. Werth has gotten bigger and stronger for his junior season with the Indians. Werth knows he could play either a small or power forward in college, positions that require more dribbling and jump shooting than the post. “Need to work on ball handling and get better outside shooting,” Werth said. Werth had multiple big games as a sophomore. Early on, he finished with 15 points and nine rebounds in a 59-42 victory against Kearney, Neb. in the Hays City Shoot-Out championship. He had 20 points and 10 rebounds against Liberal and 24 points and 14 rebounds against Wichita West. In a sixgame stretch, Werth averaged 22 points a contest. The Indians graduated five seniors, including two starters in guard Derek Bixenman and forward Adam Deterding. Werth, WaKeeney-Trego transfer senior forward Clayton Riedel and guards Lane Clark, Kyler Niernberger, Kade Parker and Isaiah Nunnery form a strong core. “I want to be the scorer this year,” Werth said. “Not to be braggy or anything, I want to be the main guy out there.” Keltner has long had high expectations for his elite post players. In 2000, 6-foot-10 Sean Finn averaged 22.7 points per game. During games, Keltner thought Finn missed shots he should make. Then, when Keltner saw the

Courtesy Photo stats after the game, Finn would have three misses and 24 points. Finn shot more than 70 percent from inside the arc. A couple of years ago, Zack Gaughan, now the Fort Hays starting tight end, averaged 16 points and nine rebounds. Keltner often expected more out of Gaughan. “I expect them to be good,” Keltner said. “By the same token, they do the best they can. It’s just an honor to coach kids.” Keltner would like to see Werth become more dominating and not hesitate when he gets the ball down low. “Don’t look for Shaq,” Werth said. “He is not out there.” An improved Werth could yield another big season – and further looks from colleges. “He has the potential to have some dominating games,” Keltner said. “He has had some, but I think he will have more. He got a lot of attention last year, toward the end especially. People will gang up on him. This year, as our team develops, too, we will be more balanced. I think when you have got a threat on the block, everything else can get better.”


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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Classes 4A, 5A and 6A

Salina Central eyes state title By Harold Bechard Kansas Hardwood

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ormally when a team wins 14 of 21 games, the year is considered a success, but the 2012-13 season ended in disappointment for the Salina Central Lady Mustangs. A year after the Mustangs won 19 games and reached the state tournament for the first time in 26 years, head coach Geoff Andrews’ team struggled at times with the high expectations. The rugged competition in Division I of the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League didn’t help matters, either, with the likes of Maize, Newton, Salina South and Derby joining Central in the loaded league. The Mustangs, featuring a deep and experienced team, are ready to make another run at the Class 5A state tournament and possible state championship during the 2013-14 season. They return all five starters and four other lettermen

from a 14-7 team that placed second in the league race. “We have a great mix of seniors and a nice handful of underclassmen who will all contribute,” said Andrews, who is 55-31 in four seasons at Central. Central features two of the top players in 5A – 6’-1” senior guard-forward Shaelyn Martin and 5’-5” senior point guard Emily Wood. Martin, who averaged 11.4 points and 9.6 rebounds a game, committed to Kansas State before her sophomore year and signed with the Wildcats during the early signing period in November. Wood was invited to walk-on at Nebraska. She averaged 11.2 points a game a year ago. Both she and Martin will be four-year starters for the Mustangs. “Those two have been leaders since the day they stepped into our program,” Andrews said. “They will have plenty of help from the rest of our senior class.” Three other seniors started a year ago — 5’-7” guard Mackenzie Morris, 5-4

guard Brooke Peters and 5’-9” forward Hailey Mayfield. Mayfield averaged 7.6 points and 5.3 rebounds a game, while Peters scored 5.9 a game and Morris 5.1. The Mustangs, who open the season on Dec. 6 at McPherson in the Roundhouse, will have some size coming off the bench in 6’-0” sophomore Keisha Hamilton, 5’-11” junior Bailey Driver and 5’-10” senior Madi Carlgren. “Our biggest strength is our experience and depth,” Andrews said. “With six seniors on the roster, our younger players will have some great people to look up to. An area of concern for the season will be our rebounding.” The Mustangs’ schedule is loaded. In addition to McPherson, which is expected once again to be one of the top teams in Class 4A, they play tough games against Andover Central, Newton and Maize South before wrapping up the pre-holiday schedule with Salina South. A new era begins at Salina South with See GIRLS, Page 11

Concordia has opponents seeing double By Harold Bechard Kansas Hardwood

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his could be quite a year for the Concordia Panthers. The Panthers are members of the new Division II of Class 4A. They were 15-7 last year under first-year coach Michael Roe and feature a talented brother combination of Grant and Cooper Holmes, which makes them one of the teams to beat during the 2013-12 season. Grant, a 6’-4” senior, averaged 15.7 points and 6.5 rebounds a game, while Cooper, a 6’-4” sophomore, had a big freshman year, averaging 19.0 points and 6.3 rebounds. “The Holmes’ brothers will be very tough to guard,” Roe said. “Both live for the game and should carry the team. They both have the ability to go inside and out, which is a huge benefit for our

team.” The Panthers also return 5-8 senior Kaleb Pounds, who averaged 5.0 points off the bench last year. “We return some experienced players and will be blessed with good leadership in our seniors,” Roe said. “We also have good team speed, but must find and develop some depth.” McPherson will be in 4A’s Division I class. The Bullpups of head coach Kurt Kinnamon were 19-3 overall a year ago, but lost to Abilene in the semifinals of the loaded Abilene sub-state. The Bullpups return three starters from last year, including 5-10 junior guard Kyler Kinnamon, a KBCA firstteam all-state player in 4A. Kinnamon, the coach’s son, averaged 14.3 points, 6.8 assists and 3.8 steals per game as a sophomore and was named MVP of the AVCTL-II and the McPherson Invitational. Also returning for McPherson is 6-5

senior Peter Horton (9.7 ppg.) and 6-5 senior Ryan Horton (6.0 ppg.). Nathan Nutter, a 6-1 junior, and 6-2 sophomore Drew Pyle also expected to round out the starting five. Keshawn Sewell, a 6’-2” senior, is coming off an injury and big things are expected from him as well. “This is a team that is going to be very quick and long,” Kinnamon said. “We should be able to pressure the ball out on the floor and be very disruptive.” After back-to-back 19-win seasons and one trip to the 4A state tournament, last year was a down year for the Buhler Crusaders. But, coach Dennis Wahlgren’s team did win four of its final six games and returns two starters from that 5-15 team — 6’-4” sophomore Jace Williams and 5’-11” senior Quentin Henricks. Williams, potentially one of 4A’s top athletes, averaged 7.5 points and 5.6 See BOYS, Page 61


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Girls

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Pedersen is a two-year starter. Also back is 6’-0” forward Janae Barnes. The Bullpups have eight lettermen returning, Ryan Stuart taking over as the head but it wasn’t known at press time if 5-7 coach of the Cougars. Stuart was an guard Moira Pyle would play her senior assistant coach last year for Jason year. Hooper, who moved over to the boys’ “We enter the season with the big task program at South. of trying to replace one of the best playIt looks to be a rebuilding year for the ers and leaders we have ever had in Cougars, who return just one starter and Katelyn Loecker,” head coach Chris two lettermen from a 16-6 team that Strathman said. “We do anticipate our qualified for the 5A state tournament. seniors to step up and provide leadership That one starter is 5’-7” junior Emilee and stability, and for our juniors and Holloway, who averaged 5.4 points a sophomores to be ready to step up and game last year. The two lettermen are be ready to play at the varsity level. 5’-9” junior Bayli Huffman (0.9 ppg.) “There are some nice pieces to work and 5’-4” junior Bre Hogan (1.1 ppg.). with and getting the puzzle to work “After losing five seniors, we’ll be looktogether is the challenge with this group ing to rebuild this season,” Stuart said. as so many of them are interchangeable.” “There will likely be zero seniors on the Pratt also reached the 4A state tournateam this year, so obviously, inexperience ment last year and finished 14-10. Head will be the number one weakness. coach Dean Rausch is gone. The However, we have very capable underGreenbacks will classmen who are be led by 5-10 ready for their turn. "We enter the season with the big task of trying to replace senior Jenson It starts with Maydew, who Holloway. one of the best players and leaders we have ever had averaged 10 points “Emilee has been in Katelyn Loecker. We do anticipate our seniors to step and 6 rebounds a playing varsity basgame as a junior. ketball since her up and provide leadership and stability, for our juniors Colby and freshman year,” and sophomores to be ready to step up and be ready Hugoton were Stuart said. both 16-6 last “However, during to play at the varsity level.” year. Haileigh her first two seasons Chris Strathman Shull, a senior, she was able to rely McPherson coach was honorable on experienced mention all-state upperclassmen. She for Colby. will see her role Garden City had dramatically change “After losing the leadership and experi- a very good 17-3 regular season before this season. She will be the clear leader being upset by Dodge City in the first ence from last year’s senior class, we are of this team.” round of the 6A sub-state. The Buffaloes looking for the younger players to step Manhattan fell one game short of the state tournament last year in 6A and fin- up and take the lead,” Rothfuss said. “We have a pair of honorable mention allstate players returning in senior Taryn will have pretty good depth and balance ished with a solid 15-7 record under as far as scoring is concerned, along with Temple and junior Jaymie Bernbeck. head coach Scott Mall. The Indians Newton returns nine of the 12 players return three starters and three other let- good team speed. We expect our players from last year’s third-place state tournato show up with good attitudes and the termen from that team. ment team in Class 5A, but the three willingness to learn and improve each Darby Price, a 5’-11” senior, and who are not back were starters for the day.” Caroline Ballard, a 5’-11” junior, aver20-5 team. The two starters returning McPherson graduated one of its allaged 11.8 points and 10.2 points per are 5’-8” junior Taylor Stahly, who game, respectively, and both pulled down time great players in 6-0 center Katelyn scored 10 points a game, and 5’-10” Loecker, who is now at Oklahoma State over eight rebounds a contest. Pat Hannah Carlgren, who averaged 8 after being named the Gatorade Player McNair, a 5’-7” senior, added 4.9 points points. a game. Savannah Thaemert (5-9 junior), of the Year twice. The Bullpups finished Great Bend was 14-7 last year and lost second to Wamego in the Class 4A state Savannah Roberts (5-10 junior) and to Salina South in the sub-state finals. tournament a year ago with a 22-4 Amara Ehie (5’-8” junior) all played sigThe Panthers feature senior Morgan record. nificant varsity minutes last year as well. Harwood, who was honorable mention Junior guard Abby Pedersen returns “We’re not big inside by 6A standards, all-state last year. after averaging over 13 points a game. but Price is a strong inside player with Continued from Page 10

the capability of scoring outside as well,” Mall said. “Our main weakness last year was our outside shooting. That will be a major focus of improvement this season.” The Indians have been consistent under Mall, who is 268-165 in 19 seasons. The Indians have won between 13 and 20 games for the past five seasons. Last year’s 18-4 record for Clay Center was one of the best in a long time for the Tigers. Unfortunately, Mike Rothfuss’ team was also in the loaded Abilene substate that featured three teams with 16 or more wins. The Tigers return two starters and three lettermen from last year. Macey Dieckmann, a 6’-0” junior, and Macy Franson, a 5’-11” junior, are the returning starters. The returning lettermen are 5’-9” junior MacKenzie Edmundson, 5’-9” junior Emily Ebert and 5’-4” junior Lorren Williams.


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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Dodge City Garden City Junction City Red Demons Buffaloes Bluejays

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ennis Hamilton, in his 27th year with Dodge City, earned WAC Coach of the Year honors after the Red Demon boys won the conference. Dodge City defeated Garden City twice in the regular season and then lost to the Buffs in the sub-state championship game. Dodge City graduated all-league honorable mention senior forward Matt Goedeken, but returned junior guard Jace Larson, who was a first team all-league selection. Hamilton has reached 10 state tournaments, including a runnerup showing to Olathe South in 2004. He is 366-189 in his career. The Red Demons went 13-8 last season. In the four years before that, Dodge City went 12-9, 20-4, 18-4 and 12-9. Girls Justin Briggs, in his 10th season, had a rare off season last winter with a 6-15 record. Dodge City had been 12-9, 15-6 and 20-5 the previous three years. Briggs has 109 victories with the girls’ team after he was formerly Hamilton’s assistant coach. The 20-win season is the most ever in Dodge City girls’ history and also resulted in the first ever state tournament victory. He is the all-time winningest coach on the girls’ side and has won three league titles. The Red Demons graduated five seniors, including honorable mention all-league players Ciera Lampe and Alexis Sanchez.

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he Garden City girls finished with the best record in school history last season at 17-4. Coach David Upton earned WAC Coach of the Year honors and Taryn Tempel was conference player of the year. Tempel, and junior Jaymie Bernbeck, a first team all-league player, are the Buffs’ key players this season. The 5’7” Tempel averaged 15.2 points per contest, while the 5’11” Bernbeck tacked on 13 points per game for a team that finished 8-0 in conference play for the program’s first WAC title. Boys The Garden City boys went 15-8 and advanced to the Class 6A state tournament. It marked the first time the boys’ team had won a sub-state game since 2007. Senior forward Bo Banner graduated after he was a first team allleague player, but senior Tristan Nanninga, an honorable mention all-league selection, returns for fifth-year coach Jacy Holloway.

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unction City still has scoring firepower, despite losing four seniors to graduation. The Bluejays will be led by 6’3” senior Semaj Johnson. He will be joined in the front court by varsity newcomer Jordan Lawrence, a 6’6” junior. In the back court, the Bluejays will be led by returning starter Tanner Lueker, a 5’10” point guard. Danny Thornton, 6’0” senior letterman, will be the go-to player for perimeter shooting. “The rest of the lineup will feature a variety of players that played junior varsity last year and will be asked to step into the holes,” said head coach Pat Battle, who has been at Junction City for three years. The team finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 6-15. Girls The Lady Bluejays will have a new head coach — but someone they’re familiar with — this year after finishing recent seasons below the .500 mark. Nate Parks will take charge of the team after serving as an assistant the past four seasons. Parks said he is like most coaches and has high expectations for his team, specifically a league title and trip to state. As part of that effort, he plans to change up Junction City’s style of offense and defense. Returning starters are: Kori Kamm, the team’s leading scorer with about 10 points a game and second leading rebounder with five or six; Akaria Fain and Kealee Rains.

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Manhattan Indians

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he Lady Indians return three starters from the 2012-13 team that finished the season with a record of 15-7. Three-year starter Darby Price, a 5’11” senior forward, made the second five, All Centennial League team and honorable mention on the All-6A team last year. She averaged 11.8 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. Other returning starters are Par McNair, 5’7” senior guard, and Caroline Ballard, 5’11” junior forward, who averaged 10.2 points and 8.4 rebounds. They will be joined by junior letter winners Savannah Thaemert, 5’9” guard; Savannah Roberts, 5’10” guard; and Amara Ehie, 5’8” forward. “We are not big inside by 6A standards, but Price is a strong inside player with the capability of scoring outside also,” said Scott Mall, who is in his 20th year at Manhattan. “Our main weakness from last year was our outside shooting, as our best outside shooter was injured throughout the season. That will be a major focus of improvement this season.” Boys The Indians return four starters from their 12-10 team of last season — 6’3” junior Payton Stephens; 6’3” senior Darian Taylor; 6’2” senior Winston Dimel; and 6’2” senior Alex Stitt. Stephens, who averaged 9 points a game last season, is expected to be the team leader. Manhattan finished third in the Centennial League last year. “We will be a good rebounding team that will be able to play a variety of styles defensively,” said head coach Tim Brooks.


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Page 13

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Central Mustangs

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alina Central is likely to be a top team in Division 1 of the Ark Valley Chisolm Trail League in 2013-14. The Lady Mustangs return six seniors, five of whom are returning starters from last year’s sub-state runner-up team that finished 14-7. Three seniors have been playing varsity basketball for Salina Central since their freshman year, Shaelyn Martin, Emily Wood, and Hailey Mayfield. If Salina Central can improve its transition game the Mustangs will undoubtedly be one of the best teams in 5A. “We think we have the pieces to increase the tempo, and pressure our opponents,” said head coach Geoff Andrews. “Our biggest strength this season is our experience and depth. With six seniors on the roster, our younger players will have some great people to look up to.” Returning starters: Shaelyn Martin, G/F, 6’1, Sr.; Emily Wood, PG, 5’5”, Sr.; Mackenzie Morris, G, 5’7”, Sr.; Brooke Peters, G, 5’4”, Sr.; Hailey Mayfield, F, 5’9”, Sr. Boys Central fields two starters from its 2012-13 team that ended the season with a 14-7 record — 6’4” senior Treyton Hines, a four-year starter and one of the better outside shooters in Class 5A, and 6’0” senior Max Kuhn. Tanner Roble (6’-4” senior), Karmen Kossow (6’-0” senior) and RaShun Allen (6’-0” junior) are the other returning lettermen. “This team has a chance to be very good; we had a great summer and made tons of progress,” said coach Doug Finch, who is in his 10th year at Central.

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Great Bend Panthers

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reat Bend reversed course last season and posted a 12-7 record under Carrie Minton, also the softball coach, who took over for Jason Tatkenhorst. Tatkenhorst went 228-128 and won eight league championships, but went 6-13, 9-11 and 2-17 in the last three seasons before he went to BasehorLinwood. Tatkenhorst led Great Bend to three state tournaments, including a runner-up showing. Morgan Harwood was first team all-league last season and Tarynn Stueder was an honorable mention selection. Both players will be seniors. Boys Great Bend boys finished 4-14, but went 5-16 and 10-10 the previous two seasons. The Panthers have had declining win totals the last four years. The Panthers return one starter, senior Bryce Beck, a 5’10” guard. Head coach Chris Battin returns for his fifth year on the Great Bend sideline. His goals this year are to improve on last season’s record and compete in league. In order to accomplish those, Battin said his team will have to “take care of the ball” and “play hard as a team.”

Member NCUA

Hays Indians

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ix of the Indians’ top eight scorers are underclassmen, which bodes well for the future — and perhaps even this season. Hays finished the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 6-15. The Indians finished second in their league with a 5-3 record. “We keep working hard and are improving,” said Rick Keltner, who has been head coach at Hays for 28 years. “We look forward to another chance to play together.” Returning starters: Kyler Niernberger, 5’4,” PG, Jr.; Lane Clark, 6’0”, G, Jr.; Kade Parker, 6’2” Jr.; and Brady Werth, 6’6” Jr. Werth averaged 14.6 points per game last season. Clark was the team’s second highest scorer with 7.3 points per game. Girls The Hays High girls will be virtually starting over after they went from 17-5 two years ago to 9-11 last season. Coach Kirk Maska graduated his top seven players, including allstate forward Katelyn Schumacher, who averaged 13 points and seven rebounds a game and is now playing softball at Kansas. Hays High also graduated guard Janae Gagnon, a four-year starter, and Taylor Herman, an all-around forward who averaged six points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks per game. Maska, in his fourth year as coach of the Lady Indians, has won nine, 17 and nine games the last three seasons.

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Liberal Redskins

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he Redskins finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 6-14 under coach Drew Gruver. Based on this past season’s roster, Liberal lost six seniors to graduation earlier this year. Another five will be playing this season as seniors: Elmer Quintana, Blake Stout, Trenton Hammond, Jose Paz and Britton Abbott. Girls The Lady Redskins finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 4-14 under coach Bill Baird.


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South Cougars

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here are plenty of hurdles for the Lady Cougars to overcome this season. Ryan Stuart is entering his first year as head coach with a roster void of seniors. Only one starter from last year’s 5A state qualifying team returns, 5’7” junior Emilee Holloway, along with two other letter winners, juniors Bayli Huffman, and Bre Hogan. Salina South is going to have to rely heavily on Holloway as the Cougars will inevitably be going through a rebuilding season. “During her first two seasons Holloway was able to rely on experienced upperclassmen,” Stuart said. “Emilee will see her role dramatically change this season, as she will be the clear leader of this year’s team ... “However, we have very capable underlassmen that are ready for their turn. We have a quick, guardoriented group of girls, so hopefuly we will be able to push the tempo and score from the perimeter.” Boys Jason Hooper starts his first year as head boys’ basketball coach with a “tremendous amount of experience and talent.” The Cougars, who went 9-13 last season, return seniors Justin Stonebraker, 5’11”, who scored 14.5 points per game; 6’0” Ryan Fox, who averaged 6.1 points a game; and 6’3” Ethan Mitchell, who hopes to be back after suffering a season-ending football injury. Mitchell averaged 8.9 points and 6.5 rebounds a game as a sophomore in 2011-12. “They are hungry for a breakout season,” said Hooper, who comes to his new job after coaching the Lady Cougars for seven years. “They are excited to turn things around and prove they can be a winner.”

Abilene Cowboys

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anelle Geist, who is in her eighth year as Cowgirl coach, thinks her team will be competitive — but she also knows the other schools in Abilene’s league stand ready to prove her wrong. The Cowgirls graduated four seniors, leaving them with players who started proving themselves in the 2012-13 season. Included on that list is Belle Barbieri, a 5’11” sophomore who was recognized for her play at a tournament in Salina and several times helped lead her team to victory. Others coach Geist expects to develop further as players are: Courtney Geist, a 5’6” senior point guard; senior Taylor Thompson; and senior Nichole Taylor, a 5’10” senior. In a game last season against Clay Center, Barbieri contributed 16 points while Taylor pitched in 12 for the Cowgirls. Clay Center still managed to win the game, 54-46.

Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Andale Indians

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he Indians return several players from a team that ended the 2012-13 season with an impressive 22-3 record, including a perfect 9-0 finish in district play. Andale is a member of the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail Division IV League. Returning for their senior year will be Conner Blasci, 6’0”; Nathan Bergkamp, 6’3”; and Kaleb Konda, 5’1”. Jeff Buchanan is in his sixth year as head coach. Girls Mark Kerschen also returns for his sixth season. The Lady Indians lost three seniors to graduation, leaving them with two juniors to move up to senior status this season — Jordan Walstad, 5’6”; and Emily Rowland, 5’3”. Rowland served as a captain last season, along with Rachel Eck and Josie Eck, who were lost to graduation. The Lady Indians went 17-4 for the season and 9-0 in district.

Boys The Cowboys went 20-7 this past season after losing three of its leading scorers to graduation. They are in a similar situation this season as Terry Taylor begins his seventh year as head coach. Graduates include Andy Wilson, a 6’3” guard and regular on the league’s first team. He averaged 17.4 points a game for the Cowboys. Keil Kelly, a 6’3” junior guard returns. A starter, Kelly received allleague honorable mention his sophomore year.

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Buhler Crusaders

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s a freshman, Jace Williams was named to the Wichita Eagle’s Class 4A Honorable Mention AllState team. Head coach Dennis Wahlgren expects even more of Williams as a sophomore. The 6’4” sophomore, who averaged 7.5 points a game, will be joined as a returning starter by Quentin Henricks, a 5’11” senior. Other returning lettermen are Luke Berblinger, 6’1” senior, and Shawn Davis, 6’1” junior. The Crusaders compiled an overall record of 5-15 last season and a league record of 3-6. Wahlgren looks for continued improvement this year. “Through improvement by the end of the year, we were playing solid basketball and did win four our of our last six games,” Wahlgren said.

Girls Buhler lost forward Josie Williams to graduation, but the Lady Crusaders still have 5’11” forward Taryn Torgerson in the front court. The senior provides a perimeter game with the potential to present matchup problems for the opposition. Torgerson, who will have to adjust to a court without Williams, will be joined by veterans Alex Keller, Hannah Balding, and Kaley Dick, all 5’5” juniors. Point guard Jessica Steffen, 5’6”, made her mark as a freshman and continues to dominate play. Buhler finished the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 10-10 and 6-3 in district. Brennan Torgerson is in his sixth year as head coach of the Lady Crusaders.


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Chapman Irish

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ast season was a difficult year for the Lady Irish, but coach Sara Cook thinks her players are stronger for it. “We had a lot of girls gain quite a bit of experience at the varsity level last year so this year expectations are higher,” she said. “Last year, we made small goals and by the end of the season we saw improvement in every aspect of the game.” Chapman returns eight lettermen, including Lindsey Hurford, a junior guard/post who received an honorable mention on the All NCKL Team. She averaged 9.5 points a game and 3.7 rebounds. Returning seniors are guards Morgan Beemer and Vanessa Lovett. “One key to our success this season is going to be our defensive intensity,” said Cook, who is in her seventh year at Chapman. “If we can be tough and aggressive defensively and not give up second chance opportunities, we will have a successful season.” Boys Senior leadership was crucial to the Chapman boys this past season as they finished 6-15 and 3-17 in district. Those seniors are now gone and the Fighting Irish must look to a new crop of upperclassmen. This year’s class of seniors include: Bryce Winters, 5’10” guard; Josh Haynes, 6’2” post; Logan Lexow, 6’1” post; and Gavin Canaday, 6’2” forward. Tony Ingram is in his fourth years as head coach.

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Clay Center Tigers

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he Lady Tigers finished the 2012-13 season with an 18-4 record — their best in some time.

The Tigers return two starters and three lettermen from last year. Juniors Macey Dieckmann, 6’0”, and Macy Franson, 5’11”, are the starters. Letterman are juniors MacKenzie Edmundson and Emily Ebert, both 5’9”; and Lorren Williams, 5’4”.

Mike Rothfuss, in his seventh year as head coach, predicts his team has the potential to be “very competitive.” “Our expectations are to follow up and build on last year’s success,” he said. “We will have to develop team chemistry. We will also need to be consistent on offense. We will need some girls to step up and provide the leadership we need.” Boys This could be another rebuilding year for third-year head coach Zac Malcolm. The Tigers finished the 2012-13 season 3-18 overall and 1-9 in district. Malcolm lost four starters from that team to graduation. However, his bench is filled with younger players, including several seniors, who will be expected to step up and make the most of their time on the court this year. Seniors, based on last year’s roster, are: guards Kody Gregory and Kyle Cox, forward Cody Moon, forward Konnor Hamel and forward and center Ranson Ford.

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Colby Eagles

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he Lady Eagles finished the 2012-13 season with record of 16-6, ending with a loss in sub-state semifinals. The even better news for Colby is that Haileigh Shull, a 5’10” senior, returns after receiving honorable mention all-state. Four other starters were lost to graduation but Ryan Becker, a 16-year coaching veteran who is in his first season at Colby, will have three returning players with time on the floor — Hailey Schindler, 5’10” senior; and Brenly Terrell and Lara Stephens, both 5’8” sophomores. Becker described his team as “young with a lot of speed and quickness.” He said his Lady Eagles also have a deep bench, another plus. “I believe for us to be successful this season there are two things we have to do. We have to respect the process of building this team and be unselfish during that process. This is a great group of student/athletes who know if they work hard this season they can be successful,” he said. Boys The Colby boys also have a new coach this year, Kevin Brown. He takes over a team that went 7-15 during the 2012-13 season and 4-5 in league. Players who return this year as seniors, based on last season’s roster, are: Luke Cox, 5’10” point guard; Connor Schwanke, 5’11” power forward; Adam Giersch, 5’5” point guard; and Marc Bremenkamp, 6’1” power forward.

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Concordia Panthers

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wo brothers are expected to dominate the basketball season at Concordia. In his second year as head coach, Michael Roe will have the talents of Grant and Cooper Holmes to rely on. Grant, a 6’4” senior, averaged 15.7 points a game. Cooper, a 6’4” sophomore, was a powerhouse his freshman year, averaging 19 points and 6.3 rebounds a game. “The Holmes brothers will be very tough to guard,” Roe said. “Both live for the game and should carry the team. They both have the ability to go inside and out, which is a huge benefit for our team.” The brothers will be joined by veteran player Kaleb Pounds, a 5’8” senior. The Panthers finished the 201213 season with a win-loss record of 15-7. Girls The rebuilding continues for the Lady Panthers, who went from a 2-19 record in 2011-12 to a 3-18 finish this past season. The focus continues to be on dayto-day improvement for Michael Wahlmeier, who is in his third year as head coach. Juniors Molly Adams and Tristen Leiszler return as do seniors Megan James, Chelsea Martin, Jordynn Gumm and MaKayla Nelson. James was Lady Panthers’ co-captain this past season.

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Hesston Swathers

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n coach Greg Raleigh’s third season at Hesston, he led his team to an impressive 20-3 record. The Swathers lost in the sub-state finals to Abilene. This year Hesston returns four starters, and its sixth man from last year to take over the fifth spot in the lineup. Hesston’s team is young, but Raleigh expects quality. “A lot can happen between now and then, but we do expect to be good again this year,” he said. “Keys to this season will include staying healthy, putting in a good off-season of work, and working hard to improve ourselves athletically in the off-season.” Returning starters: Grant Raleigh, PG, 6’1”, Jr.; Wyatt McKinney, F, 6’6”, Sr.; Ryan Schadler, G, 5’11”, Sr.; Tyler McCartney, G, 6’1”, Jr. Girls Despite a great 2012-13 year Hesston fell to McPherson in substate for the second year in a row. McPherson went on to finish 2nd in 4A. Before losing in sub-state the Lady Swathers had a 20-2 record. Hesston looks to have another solid season, as six starters from last year’s team will return, and two more with varsity experience. “Depth should be a point of strength as our many youngsters got quality time last year,” said coach Matt Richardson. “Our senior leadership will be huge this year with their defensive prowess and ability for any of them to score if needed will strengthen our already experienced team.” Hesston will have a tough conference schedule, with three teams last year making their respective state tournaments. Out of the 10 teams in the Central Kansas League, as far down as the 6th ranked team qualified for state. Returning starters: Megan Voth, Ali Jost, Hannah Schmitt, Caylee Richardson, Kelsey Unruh, Cami Richardson.

Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Hugoton Eagles

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he Lady Eagles finished the 2012-13 season with a 17-6 overall record and a 7-3 finish in league. Hugoton lost four players from last season’s roster to graduation. There were no juniors listed on Andy Gillen’s team, which means any experience his young players receive this year will only make the Lady Eagles a better team. Sophomores — now juniors — from the 2012-13 roster are: Estefani Armendariz, Taylor Fiss, Sofia Jimenez, Ana Pena and Riley Sosa. Boys The Eagles finished the 201213 season with an overall record of 3-17 and 1-9 in district. Juniors, now seniors, on last year’s roster are: Logan Frederick, 5’10” guard; Yates Sutton, 6’0” guard; Henry Vela, 5’7” guard; Ross Davis, 6’1” forward; Reid Davis, 6’2” post; and Jeison Rodriguez, 6’0” post.

Larned Indians

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n 2012-13 the Indians finished with a 6-15 record under first year head coach Don Zimmerman. Seniors Brayden Smith, Grant Unruh, Easton Palmer, Michael Reece, and Cameron Bryant, starters for that team, all return this season. With such a wealth of senior leadership and experience, Zimmerman has simple — yet specific — goals. “Compete every day. Get better. Win league. Win sub-state. Win state.” Returning starters: Brayden Smith, PG, 6’, Sr.; Grant Unruh, G, 5’8”, Sr.; Easton Palmer, G, 5’11”, Sr.; Michael Reece, F, 6’2”, Sr.; Cameron Bryant, F, 6’, Sr. Girls The Lady Indians have youth on their side — and some experience. Larned finished the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 4-15-2, which includes a league finish of 1-32. The end came when No. 7 seed Larned was defeated by No. 2 seed Colby at the Class 4A sub-state at Pratt. Only three Lady Indians scored in the game. Sophomore Shay Shepherd hit two threes for six points. Sophomore Maci Perez added four points and junior Jessie Johnson added another point. Tiara Diaz, now a junior, grabbed five rebounds. All return this year, along with Corrine Quick and Jansyn VanHorn, junior guards. Mike Heater coaches the Lady Indians.

McPherson Bullpups

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cPherson looks to defend its 2012-13 league title. Head coach Kurt Kinnamon has won 12 league titles in his 19 years at McPherson, including last year’s 19-3 team. “This is a team that is going to be very quick and long,” said Kinnamon. “We should be able to pressure the ball out on the floor, and be very disruptive. At times we will play a lineup of five players that will be able to spread the floor for penetration and open up threepoint shots. A potential weakness would be the lack of a true inside presence.” The Bullpups fell just short of the state tournament with a loss to Abilene in the substate. Returning starters: Peter Horton, 6’5”, Sr.; Ryan Horton, 6’5” Sr.; Kyler Kinnamon, 5’10”, Jr. Girls Nothing lasts forever, as the Lady Bullpups discovered this year when they lost one of their all-time great players, center Katelyn Loecker, to graduation. The Bullpups finished second to Wamego in the Class 4A state tournament a year ago with a 22-4 record. Still, McPherson has a lot to be pleased about. Returning is Abby Pedersen, who averaged more than 13 points a game last season, and 6’0” forward Janae Barnes. The Bullpups have eight lettermen in all returning. Coach Chris Strathman said seniors will be asked to step up and provide leadership and stability this season.


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Page 17

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Pratt

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oach David Swank has a simple philosophy when it comes to his Pratt Greenbacks, also known as the Fightin’ Frogs. “Be the best we can be — every play, every practice, every game,” he said. The attitude has paid off. Last season, Pratt ended the year with a 7-15 win-loss record after starting the season 0-7. Swank, who had been at Pratt for five years, said the goal this season will be to “improve each and every day” and minimize turnovers. Returning is one starter, Liam Kahmeyer, a 6’1” senior forward. Girls The Lady Greenbacks return two seniors from last season’s 14-10 team. They are Amy Olsen, a 5’6” guard and Jenson Maydew, a 5’10” forward/ post. They will serve as the foundation for Emmanuel Adigun, who is in his first year as head coach after being an assistant for five years. Adigun said his team is young, but the players have experience. “Our goal is always to compete for the league title,” he said. “We just need to make sure we continue to get better.” He said the utilization of play off the bench will be key to this season’s success. Adigun also looks for his players to make “consistent contributions” to the effort.

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Russell Broncos

n his first year as head coach of the Broncos, Eric Swanson returns four starters from a team that struggled through the 2012-13 season and finished with a 1-20 win-loss record. They are: seniors Brandon Bachar, 5’11” guard; Eric Rourke, 6’4” post; and Austin Donovan, 6’5” post. Others who have seen playing time are: sophomore guards Reshean Holloway, 6’1”, and Noah Gfeller, 5’11”; junior guard Keifer Craig, 5’9”; Keltonn Norris, 5’11” senior post; and Mat Pfannenstiel, 6’3” junior post. Additions to the team will be: Gage Nichols, 6’4” senior post; and Jordan Swanson, 5’11” junior guard. This is Swanson’s ninth year as a coach. He has five years at Lebo High School and three seasons at Southeast of Saline. “As a new coach coming to a program that has lost 56 of the last 58 games, we need to learn how to first — compete night in and night out and second — learn how to win,” he said. “We had some success this summer and worked hard so we hope to see it carry over into the season. “We need to get back to fundamentals early in the season. Our skill level isn’t where it needs to be at the high school level. If we can use our athletism and work hard on the basics, then we can start to experience some success.” Girls After taking fourth in Class 3A this past season, coach Frank Schulte hopes to see continued improvement in the program he helped turn around. His daughter, senior forward/center Janna Schulte, is expected to lead the Lady Broncos.

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Scott City Beavers

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igh school basketball fans — no matter their favorite team — will no doubt have their eyes on coach Glenn O’Neil’s Beavers. This past season, the Beavers did what no Kansas team has ever done before. They won their third straight state title. Is it possible for the defending state champions to dominate Class 3A again this season? Probably, but the bad news — or good news for Scott City, depending on your perspective — is the school was booted up to 4A this year. It will be one of the smaller schools in its class. The Beavers lost a lot of bucket power to graduation, including one of the two O’Neil brothers — Brett, and Drew Kite, now college freshmen. Brett O’Neil averaged 11.4 points a game this past season while Kite was named to the Wichita Eagle’s All Area team. Scott City will rebuild behind the other O’Neil brother, Trey, who averaged 10.7 points a game. In the words of Coach O’Neil, “Just one game at a time.” Girls The year didn’t go as well for the Lady Beavers as it did for their counterparts on the boys’ side. They finished the season 3-18 overall and 2-8 in district. Scott City lost four players from last year’s roster to graduation, leaving seven juniors to step up as seniors this season. They are: Holly Wilcoxson, Riley Hawker, Megan Thornburg, Aubrey Davis, Kelly Wycoff, Bailey Nickel and Marissa Morris. Lori Oestreicher coaches the Lady Beavers.

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Smoky Valley Vikings

I

t’s a rebuilding year for the Vikings. Doug Schneider, who is entering his third year as head coach, took his team to a 5-16 season last year. He loses two starters who were over 6’4” and averaged double digits in scoring, leaving his returning lettermen to step up and fill the gaps. Returning are seniors Alec Schneider, 6’2” shooting guard or small forward; Christian Hansen, 5’9” point guard, and Cole Noberg, 6’3” forward. Schneider expects his team to play above its experience as younger players will have to learn their roles early in the season. “We’re building for the future so we’ll rely on our younger players to develop quickly,” he said. Keys to success will be “fewer turnovers and great defense. We were not a high scoring team last year and probably won’t be this year either, so we need to get stops and rebounds and have our defense set the table for us. We need to improve scoring but it’s our defense that will win games.” Girls Bill Nelson starts his second year as head coach of the Lady Vikings after a first-year record of 2-19. “Obviously we are going to be rebuilding this year and looking to improve on that record,” he said. “And,” he added, “I do think we will improve. We have some very athletic kids in the younger grades and they’ll be called on early and often to step up.” Returning are seniors Emily Deterding, 5’8” post, and Hannah McBride, an all-league 5’4” point guard who averaged 10 points and 3 assists per game last year. They will be joined by returning letter winners Hannah Morrical, a 5’7” junior wing/small forward, and Kelsie Anderson, a 5’10” sophomore post.


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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

McPherson Continued from Page 7

Ulysses Tigers

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he Lady Tigers hope to improve on last season’s record of 5-16. Ulysses will return three starters, junior Carolina Gallegos, 5’5” point guard; and seniors Morgan Price, 5’7” forward, and Chisholm Branscum, 5’5” guard. Their coach is Tim Hofferber, who is in his second year are Ulysses after being in Guymon, Okla., for six years. His career record is 72-94. He expects his team to show significant improvement over a year ago. “One of the keys to success for the Lady Tigers is to improve their shooting percentages,” he said. Boys The Tigers lost four players from its 2012-13 roster, leaving seven juniors, now seniors, to step up into leadership roles. They are: Garrett Walters and Kyler Barlow, both 5’10”; Levi Degollado, 5’11”; Avery Nichols, 5’11”; and Austin Cantrell and Nathan Medina, both 6’2”. The Tigers finished last season with an overall record of 11-11, including a 4-5 finish at the league level. Nathan Novack is the Tigers coach.

“The Roundhouse is just a special place,” Kinnamon said. “It plays a huge role in our success. For one thing, it is a different shooting background than most teams are used to. When you walk into the Roundhouse and you see the banners and recognize that the only thing worthy of a banner in McPherson is a state championship, and that is a pretty powerful thing. And then the whole gym is ringed by those banners. “I still get goose bumps every time I come down the tunnel that leads to the court … same song every time, great tradition.” “Our players that have come up through the program can’t wait to put that McPherson uniform on and play in the Roundhouse,” Strathman said. “They know we have a very unique and special situation when we play at home. Our players should never take it for granted.” In addition to regular-season games, the Roundhouse is also the venue to two of the best regular-season tournaments in the state — the McPherson Invitation for the boys and the Mid-America Classic for the girls. “The Roundhouse is unique,” Swenson

said. “I’ve never been able to determine how many points the atmosphere is worth, but it has contributed to many wins over the years.” In addition to the state championship banners, pictures of the teams and allstate athletes adorn the walls. It is inspiring to the McPherson athletes running out of the tunnel and onto the court, and can also be just as intimidating to an opponent walking in for the first time. It’s special to the coaches as well. “There are a lot of basketball-crazy towns with great teams and tradition, fans, etc.,” Strathman said, “But, when you throw in all the variables of McPherson and what makes this place special, especially when it comes to true basketball tradition, it would be hard to top this place.” “This is the best place to coach basketball because people really care,” Kinnamon said. “Our fans are knowledgeable and appreciative of good basketball.” There’s been plenty of that at Mac High. Harold Berchard is a long-time Kansas sports writer and editor who has worked at the Salina Journal and the Hutchinson News. He is editor of Vype, a high school sports magazine.

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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Page 19

Class 3A

Halle Connally of Ellsworth Reaching to be her best Story and Photo by Mark McCoy

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llsworth’s Halle Connally, a senior, was a big part of the Ellsworth Lady Bearcats’ success story in 2012, as the Lady ‘Cats racked up a 14-9 record and the runner-up trophy in the Norton 3A sub-state basketball tournament. Ellsworth — or the Lady ‘Cats as they are known in the tough North Central Activities Association — plays in a league which, on the girls’ side, has about as much parity as one can get from a basketball league. Any of the seven teams, on any given day, has the talent to leave the court with a win, and a lot of savvy basketball observers have noted that the top four teams in the league would probably dominate any of the surrounding 3A leagues if they weren’t playing each other. At 5’ 9”, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Connally is not a particularly tall talent, but she is quick, strong and wellconditioned when she hits the hardwood. She has good vertical leap and both inside and outside shots in her bag of tricks. She plays a guard or forward position for the Lady ‘Cats. Connally was influenced by Kansas State’s Kendra Wecker. “I was always a big fan of hers. As a kid I would get her autograph and as a kid I loved watching her play,” Connally said. “So I decided to watch her and learn.” Although Connally likes to battle in the paint, she can pop up with a jump shot and drain the 3-ball if it is open. She is also adept at moving the ball into play, when she is sometimes used as a point guard. “I think that basketball is about being physical — it’s a part of the game. I like to play hard on defense and hustle. On offense, I like driving. I think that it is a strong part of my game rather than shooting. When I drive, if I don’t score I try to find an See Connally, Page 20

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Page 20

Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Class 3A

It’s a whole new ballgame By Conor Nicholl Kansas Hardwood

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rom a team and player perspective, Class 3A will have a completely new slate this season. The classification is already assured that there won’t be a repeat champion on either of the boys or girls’ side. As well, the classification doesn’t return a single first or second team all-state player on the boys’ side. For the girls, St. Marys’ Clare Thomas is the only first teamer back. She averaged 22.6 points and 3.2 assists per contest as a sophomore for a 12-8 squad. Part of the reason is the classification changes from KSHSAA. Scott City became the first team in state history to win three consecutive 3A boys’ championships. However, the Beavers bumped up to Class 4A. Scott City had been a 4A team several times in recent years and even won the 4A crown in 2006. Burlington girls went 26-0 and won the 3A girls’ championship last winter. Russell, last season’s surprise team, was never ranked during the season, but took fourth at state on the girls’ side. Russell also moved to 4A. Russell is the state’s smallest 4A school with 251 students in grades 10 through 12. Burlington is second-smallest at 254 and Scott City is third smallest at 257.

On the all-state team, the five first team boys were all seniors. The second team had four seniors and Scott City’s Trey O’Neil, who will be a junior in 4A. The girls’ side returned three second team players in Hillsboro senior Addie Lackey, Riley County senior MaKayla Vargo and Cimarron junior Morgan Ediger. The question, though, is which teams will rise up in what should be a wide-open classification? The girls’ side has several contenders, including Riley County, a longtime power under coach Harold Oliver. Riley County won state championships in 1999, 2005 and ’08. Hillsboro graduated first team all-state player Tena Loewen, but has consistently been a Final Four team. Hillsboro has won 21, 23 and 23 games the last three years under coach Nathan Hiebert. The Trojans have made the Class 3A state tournament five of the last six years. Lackey led Hillsboro with 14.2 points per contest. Cimarron went 22-1 and averaged 65.4 points per contest, but lost 60-49 to Holcomb in sub-state. The Bluejays return its top four scorers, including three that averaged at least 11.8 points per contest. Senior Ashtynn Burns averaged 18.6 points per game, Ediger tacked on 16.3 points per contest and junior Eva Koopman tacked on 12 points per game. Ediger averaged 4.4 assists a contest, Burns

had 3.9 steals and Koopman had seven rebounds a game for the team-high. Cimarron has won at least 19 games in four of the last six seasons. Holcomb went 19-5, including an 11-0 record at home, the fourth straight season of at least 16 victories. Holcomb has beaten Cimarron the last two seasons in sub-state. The Beloit girls, under longtime coach Dallas Cox, went 8-13 last season, but had no seniors. Kaley Broeckelman led the team with 13.7 points per game as a sophomore. On the boys’ side, Beloit went 21-3 and lost to Silver Lake in the first round of the playoffs. The Trojans averaged 59 points per contest and graduated three of its top four scorers, including Austin Budke, who had a Trojan-best 23 points per contest. Payton Vetter returns after he was second with 14.9 points per game. He shot 41 percent from 3-point range. Beloit defeated a 19-win Phillipsburg team in sub-state, but the Panthers graduated almost all of its top players, including all-state forward Sean Newlan and guards Seth Derr and Justin Juenemann. Sacred Heart is normally strong on both sides, especially the boys’ team. The Knights went 15-9, but lost 41-37 to Humboldt in the first round of the state tournament.

that I’ve loved,” Connally said. “I’ve played it since I was a little kid and I think that the game is exciting. I just want to have the ball in my hands. Basketball is something that I love and spend a lot of time on.” Connally, like a lot of serious prep basketball players, plays in summer league with the Lady ‘Cat team and with a MYOB basketball team. She works on her game all year long, even during volleyball and softball seasons and believes that teamwork on the court is the road to success. She also credits Lady Bearcat head coach Ken Cravens as a big influence in her roundball career. “I love coach Cravens,” she said. “He has always been there for me,

whether it’s basketball or just life. He has taught me a lot of life-lessons through basketball. He’s always available to help, or stay after practice to help me work on stuff. He knows what he is talking about — regardless of what people say. I appreciate what he has taught me both on and off the court.” Cravens had high praise for Connally both on and off the court. “Halle has been an outstanding player for me,” Cravens said. “She has continued to grow every year. She is a great studentathlete for us and is highly coachable.” Cravens emphasized the word “student”

Connally Continued from Page 19 open teammate, it works out well,” she said. Connally led the Lady ‘Cats in scoring in the 2012 season, with 246 points and averaging 11.7 points per game and a shooting average of 38 percent for two-point field goals. She sank 13 of 50 shots from beyond the arc for a 26 percent average and was 62 percent from the charity stripe, making 95 of 153 free throws. On the defensive side of the ball, Connally scored 135 rebounds averaging 6.5 per game, made 42 steals, 71 assists and seven blocked shots for the season. “Basketball has always been something

See CONNALLY, Page 21


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 1

Page 21

Dr. Gwinner, Optometrist

GOOD LUCK

BELOIT

TROJAN

BASKETBALL

Beloit Trojans

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ith only two starters from the 2012-13 season returning, this year’s Trojans could look different from last year’s team, which went 21-3 and lost in the first round of state play. “We lost a good core group from a year ago to graduation but return a good mix of kids that are ready to step up,” said Ryan Eilert, who is in his sixth year as head coach. “We will have to play a little different style, but I have high expectations for this group.” He said two keys to success will be developing depth and learning to play at a fast pace. Returning starters are: seniors Payton Vetter, 6’2” guard, and Sam Pahls, 6’4” post. Girls Dallas Cox celebrates a dozen years this season as head coach of the Lady Trojans. Last year, his team finished the season 8-13 without any seniors on the roster. This year, that team will yield a bench of players with floor time on their resumes, including junior Kaley Broeckelman, who led the Lady Trojans with 13.7 points per game. In the 2012 Kansas Hardwood, Cox said the foundation for his team’s success was “being able to achieve at a high level quickly. Being so young — staying positive and learning their roles will be key.” This season the building continues. North Central Kansas Cooperative - Grain, Agronomy, Energy Serving Clay, Cloud, Lincoln, Mitchell, Republic, Riley, and Washington counties as well as surrounding areas

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Conway Springs Cardinals

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he Cardinals return senior Ross Rasmussen, a 6’1” guard who averaged 16.5 points a game last season and was named to the first team of the Central Plains League. He will have plenty of help on the court. Also returning are guards Nick Oswald, 6’0” junior, and Dylan Murphy, 6’1” sophomore, who started 15 games as a freshman; and junior forwards — both at 6’2” — Travis Wood and J.J. Fisher. The Cardinals are coached by James O’Brien. “This team has a chance to be very good offensively,” he said. “We have guys who can create their own shots or shots for others. We will look to push the tempo and play a fast paced game. Defensively, we need to improve as a team and as individual defenders. Rebounding will also be an issue ... Rasmussen will be a consistent scorer, but we will need Oswald and Murphy to step up along with Wood.”

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Ellsworth Bearcats

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llsworth will have to replace and develop a new cast of scorers and leaders after some key departures from last season’s 14-9 team. “This year’s team will have to identify roles early on,” said coach Ken Cravens. “For us to be successful we have to stay healthy, develop multiple scorers, and continue to develop younger players.” The Lady Bearcats will return three starters that the team will look to for leadership. Seniors, Halle Connally and Kailee Landon will return to their starting roles along with junior Connor Davis. Returning starters: Halle Connally, SF, 5’10”, Sr.; Kailee Landon, PG, 5’4”, Sr.; Connor Davis, PF, 5’7”, Jr. Boys Coach Kevin Haxton hopes to build on the experiences of last season, which ended with a 3-18 record. The Bearcats return seven players with significant varsity experience. “My expectations will obviously be higher and I know that theirs will be as well,” Haxton said. “We competed well in the majority of our games last year but struggled to find a way to win.” Returning will be seniors Cody Soukup and Matthew Keener, both forwards, and Grant Glaser, guard; juniors Takota Anderson and Morgan Barkow, both guards; and sophomore Nick Flynn, guard. “Our keys for success this season are to continue to develop our skills and to continue to learn what it takes to gel as a team,” Haxton said. “The guys are constantly becoming more aware of each other’s assets, and the more they understand each other, the better we will become.”

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Connally Continued from Page 20 in the phrase “student-athlete.” “Her grade point average is outstanding and she is taking a curriculum with a lot of rigor. She’s an excellent student,” he said. Cravens said Connally’s tough physical play on the court is her biggest asset to the Lady ‘Cat team. “She’s very aggressive and goes to the basket really hard. She’s fearless and those things are invaluable to us. She is both mentally and physically tough — assets that are often difficult to bring out in players, but she has them inherently.” Although Connally is a well-rounded basketball player, she continues to seek improvement. “I could handle the ball better and shooting — I could shoot higher percentages. I can always work on defense,” she said. After high school, Connally wants to focus on her education, but would also like to move into the collegiate arena of basketball competition. She plans to pursue a career in medicine as a neo-natal nurse practitioner.

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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2 1803 Cherry St. Goodland 785-899-3661

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Goodland Cowboys

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oodland returns four starters, and 10 of 12 players from last season. The Cowboys will have a deep bench and solid starting core to help them improve on their first round exit from sub-state last season. When talking to coach Donald Raymer, it is quite apparent how optimistic he is for his team this season. He has nothing but good things to say about his four returning starters. “Gannon Ihrig is a very quick point guard with great handles. He developed a lot last year. Gage Ihrig is a great shooter and great leader. He had a three game stretch last season where he made 16 of 18 shots from behind the arc. The only two missed shots were at the end of quarters. Adam Simmerman is a good shooter and rebounds very well for his size. Taylen Smith is a tough inside player, and very quick for being 230 pounds. He shoots the ball well from 15-18 feet, and can step out and shoot 3’s. Taylen is a rebounding machine.” 2012-13 Record: 8-13 Returning starters: Gannon Ihrig, PG, 5’9”, Sr.; Gage Ihrig, SG, 5’11”, Sr.; Adam Simmerman, SG, 5’8”, Sr.; Taylen Smith, F, 6’3”, Sr. Girls The 2012-13 season saw improvement for the Cowgirls, who compiled an overall record of 3-15 and 1-7 in league under Andy Schoepner, who has coached basketball for more than a decade in northwest Kansas. This season will be his fifth year at Goodland. The Cowgirls posted a win-loss record of 0-21 the season before.

785-637-5481 Gorham, KS

Hillsboro Trojans

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he Lady Trojans will have to rely on the athleticism of their two senior guards, Addie Lackey, and Danae Bina. Lackey and Bina both started last year as their team went 23-3 and finished 3rd in 3A state. Both can play at any guard position, including point guard, and they are the sole starters back for the Trojans from last year’s team. Head coach Nathan Hiebert will most definitely get the most out of his returning starters. In six years he has compiled a 108-39 record in a talented and competitive league. “Our expectations are to finish in the top three of our league, and return to Hutchinson for 3A state,” Hiebert said. “We need to utilize our guard athleticism to gain easy transition offense and frustrate other teams’ offenses. We will also be relying on some new girls to step up and play important roles for our team.” Other players with varsity experience are senior guard, Maddi Duerksen, and sophomore guard/ forward, Alex Ratzlaft. Returning Starters: Addie Lackey, PG/G, 5’9”, Sr.; Danae Bina, PG/G, 5’8”, Sr. Boys Coach Darrel Knoll is a veteran presence with the Trojans and went 13-9 last season. It marked the fifth .500-plus season in the last six years. Senior point guard Brett Weinbrenner was a first team all-league selection who averaged 14 points, three assists and 1.8 steals a game. Hillsboro had three other all-league selections, but all three have graduated.

H olcom b ,KS •277-2073

Hoisington Cardinals

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eteran coach Mandy Mason’s Lady Cardinals finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 11-11. Returning starters are: senior Jordin Greer and sophomore Rylie Koester, both 5’7” guards; and senior Abi Rzina, 5’7” forward. “A few expectations I have for our team is to improve our record from last year, to compete for the championship at both tournaments [at Larned and Hoisington] and to win our league.” Value the basketball, defend every possession and rebound are the three keys Mason stresses to her players “every year and every game.”

Hoisington’s Trent Schremmer protects the ball from a Central Plains defender.

Holcomb Longhorns

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ast season the Longhorns had the misfortune of running into three-time defending champion Scott City. The three meetings ended up in losses for Holcomb, and the final meeting was in the sub-state finals. Despite a solid 18-5 season, the Longhorns came up one game short of the state playoffs. Coach Chad Novack expects a lot from his team this year. The Longhorns only return two starters, but also bring in a solid group of younger guys. It seems the key will be getting them assimilated into varsity roles. Novack is optimistic that will happen and his team will have another good season, and a deep run into the postseason. “We have a very solid group of kids coming up this year that have played a lot of basketball, but just not much varsity,” Novack said. “I expect us to be good, and make a deep run into the post-season.” “We are going to have a number of players step up and fill in some big shoes. We lost seven seniors from last year’s squad. We will not be a very big team, so speed and athleticism are going to have to carry us on both ends of the floor.” Novack has had a successful career. In 11 years he has compiled a 113-77 record, and in his three years at Holcomb he has gone 33-13. It should be expected that Novack will have his team poised for another winning season. Returning starters: Heath Tucker, G, 6’3”, Sr.; Blake Richmeier, G, 6’2”, Jr.


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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Lyons Lions

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he Lions of Lyons ended the 2012-13 season with a 10-11 record, losing in the first game of the 3A sub-state game to Hillsboro. That was a vast improvement from the year before when the Lions went 2-19. Brian Friess is in his seventh year as the head coach of the Lions. Lyons plays in the CKL and will return five starters from last season. The Lions will have 5’ 11” Ryan McClure and the quick and agile 5’ 8” Angel Holguin from the senior class. From the junior class, Rick Pray is the big man on the team at 6’ 2” and will be assisted by classmates Jake Buckman (5’8”)and Eddie Landerag (5’7”).

Girls Coach Leanne Hollinger, in her fourth year with the Lady Lions, led Lyons to a 13-9 season in 2012-13. Returning are Alexis Lasater, a 6’3” junior who anchors the post and scrappy senior guard Aubrey Hollinger, who has the potential to bedevil opponents outside and up and down the court. The third returning starter is junior Brenna McClure, a 5’6” point guard who has started since she was a freshman and was the team’s leading scorer last season. “It should be a good year,” coach Hollinger said. “We’ve got some improving to do, but they’ve got lots of experience.”

Cla y Center • M a rysv ille • W a shingto n w w w.brunaim plem entco .co m

Marion Warriors

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oach Kelly Robson is in his second year as head coach of the Lady Warriors and is looking to improve on last year’s 5-16 record. Having spent 16 years coaching at other schools, Robson has a lifetime coaching record of 128-98 and knows how to turn teams into winners. With four returning starters, all seniors, a turnaround in the team record will be based on experience. Returning starters are Katie Ehrlich, a 5’6” guard; Kelli Hess, a 5’6” guard; Megan Richmond, a 5’7” guard/forward; and Kaelyn Thierolf, a 5’9” forward/center. Robson expects a tough battle in the always competitive Heart of America league and believes his team must improve rebounding. That could be difficult given that “we’re not that tall and this is a transition year for us,” according to Robson. He added that the team must also improve its offense. “We don’t have a three point deadeye shooter so everyone is going to have to take their shots when they can.” He added that one of the team’s keys to success is that the girls play well together. “They play volleyball and summer ball and have kind of come up together so we’re going to rely a lot on teamwork and communication.” He’s also stressing a reduction in turnovers and improved ball handling, something Kirsten Hanson, a 5’4” sophomore point guard will be leading the offense. Probably their toughest game will be non-conference opponent Hillsboro, and Robson also expects competition from Moundridge, a team returning some fine players. “Remington is also always a solid team, so we’ll have to bring our best game every night.”

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Marysville Bulldogs

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he Bulldogs return four lettermen, including the team’s leading scorer and second leading rebounder — Tanner Wright, 5’10” point guard. He will be joined by Garrett Kort, 6’4” forward. Both are seniors. Also returning are seniors Kaleb Koerperich, 6’3” forward, and Brock Watts, 6’0” guard. “It’s going to start on the defensive end of the floor, being consistent on the boards and limiting our opponents shot attempts in the paint,” said Mike Melcher, who is in his sixth season as Marysville coach. “On the offensive end, we have to limit our turnovers and create good shots through solid offensive execution. An overall team understanding of consistency on both ends of the floor will determine how successful we will be this upcoming season.” Girls Coach Amy Renyer’s goal this past season was to better her team’s 201112 record of 11-11. It was a goal she accomplished. The Lady Bulldogs ended the 201213 season with a win-loss record of 14-8. Renyer is in her second year as head coach, but she is no stranger to the Marysville basketball program. She spent six years teaching and coaching in that town’s junior high program. A native of Sabetha, Renyer is all about family, returning to Kansas to be near her parents after spending 10 years coaching at Ursuline Academy in Dallas, Texas. “The girls and I are excited and looking forward,” Renyer said a year ago. The excitement is expected to continue this season.

Perry Owens

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n coach Bryan Weatherman’s sixth season with the Lady Lions, he looks to improve his team’s 9-12 record from last year, which featured a roster full of new starters — all of whom return this season. “We feel good about the prospects this year. After going through some growing pains, we feel like we could have a pretty good season,” he said. Weatherman is confident last year will serve as a stepping stone to a more successful record this year. The Lions offense and defense was where it needed to be last year as far as execution. Finishing shots and eliminating turnovers seemed to be what held the Lions’ back. “We need to make shots,” Weatherman said. “We felt our defense was pretty good last year, and we executed our offense, but we need to shoot better. Also cut down on turnovers.” Returning starters: Lindsay Shupe, G, 5’6”, Fr.; Mara Pounds, G, 5’5”, Sr.; Kate Steinbrock, G, 5’6”, Sr.; Kynedi Allison, F, 5’9”, Jr.; Jacee Owens, F, 5’8”, Sr. Boys The Lions ended the 2012-13 season with a 9-12 record, losing in the semi-final 3A sub-state game to Phillipsburg. Erik Shupe is in his seventh year as Minneapolis head coach in the rough and tumble North Central Activities Association. The Lions, considered to be one of the top basketball teams in their league, were in a rebuilding mode last season, after losing a lot of talented seniors to the 2012 graduating class. Minneapolis returns four solid basketball players with juniors Josh Macy, a 6’ 1” point guard and John Kelly, a 6’ 3” forward. From the senior class, the Lions are looking for big things from 6’ 1” Brandon Davis, a forward and 6’ 2” Alex Yoxall who also plays forward. “We return nine of our top 11 players who contributed almost all of our scoring,” Shupe said. “We will be a much improved team, but our league should prove to be very solid.”

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Page 24

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Norton Blue Jays

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eorge Rossi is in his second year as head coach of the Lady Blue Jays after gaining experience through 22 years of being an assistant coach. The team returns two starters from last year’s team which finished with a 12-10 record. The two starters, both seniors, are 5’10” Katelyn Engelbert, and 5’9” Bailey Abrosier. Rossi’s expectations for the team are to finish in the top three of the always tough Mid Continent League and to go “deep into the substate and state tournaments.” He says that will only be possible if the Lady Jays finds a replacement for their point guard who graduated last year as Norton’s leading scorer. He sees filling that scoring position as the key to the team’s success this year. He knows they will be facing some tough competition including defending state champion Hoxie, so “we need to get ready and play our best ball. I think that can happen if we improve our scoring threat.” Boys Seven of Doug Reusink’s Blue Jays from the 2012-13 team were lost to graduation after compiling an overall record of 7-14 and a district record of 2-6. Among them was Jacob Brooks, a 6’2” senior guard and the only returning starter from the year before. This year Reusink, who is in his 23rd year as the Norton boys’ head coach, will return three seniors, according to last year’s roster: Marc Miller, 5’11”; Drew Schrum. 5’10”; and Tanner Furbush, 6’0”.

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Phillipsburg Panthers

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ith the loss of four starters from the 2012-13 team, this could be the year of the bench for the Panthers. “I feel like our backups from last season got a lot of quality experience and are ready to fill the holes left,” said Keith Sides, who is in his 12th year as head coach. One of those holes was left by Seth Derr, the team’s point guard and leader for the past two years. “We must have guys step up and fill his role,” Sides said. We feel like we can have another great year. Leadership and finding their individual roles will be the keys to our success because ability and talent are there.” Phillipsburg’s only returning starter is Grant Wickham, a 6’3” senior who averaged nine points and six rebounds a game last season. Other seniors are: Trey Ellis and Tristan Ratzlaff, both 5’11” guards; Stephen Sage, 6’ guard; and Tanner Crist, 6’2” post. Juniors are Sam Sage, 6’1” guard; Ian Chestnut, 6’3” post; and Jaron Kellerman, 5’10” guard. Girls Rachel Miller has three returning starters — seniors Mattison Dusin, 5’9” forward; Madysen Frantz, 5:7” guard/forward; and Shania Wilkison, 5’5” guard — as she starts her first year as head coach following five years as an assistant. “I expect my team to work hard every day, improving individual skills and growing together as a team,” Miller said. “If we can do this, I think we can compete for a league title.” The Lady Panthers finished last season 9-11 and also have two players — guards Katelyn Swanson, sophomore, and Dakota Wilkison, junior — who sometimes started.

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Riley Co. Falcons

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his could be the year of the Lady Falcons with veteran coach Harold Oliver returning five starters from his 2012-13 team, which won substate before being beaten in the first round of state. Five starters, all seniors, return: Katelyn Thomson, twins Makayla and Madison Vargo, Taylor Oliver and Heidi Prockish. They will have backup from five or more players, including senior Bri Engle and sophomore Alyssa Kulp. “We have high expectations,” said Oliver, who is in his 25th year as coach. “The kids worked hard in the off season to get better. These kids have played a lot, but we have a challenging schedule.” Another challenge will be rebounding. The tallest players are 5’9’. “But we’re very athletic, too, so that should help,” Oliver said. Boys Steve Fritz, who has coached track and field for 21 years at Kansas State University, takes over this year as head basketball coach of the Falcons. He replaces Kelly Hammel, who coached the Falcons for 28 years. Fritz has one starter, 5’8” junior Trace Nelson, from the 2012-13 team, which compiled a 5-15 record. Nelson was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 6 points a game. Others with floor experience are: Tyler Jordan and Landin Griffith, both seniors, and junior Brice Brummett. “Our expectations would be to just grow and development and lay a foundation for a new coaching staff,” said Oliver, who also serves as athletic director.

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Sacred Heart Knights

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his is the year the Knights hope to capture a state title. “We’ve got the capability, ... great team chemistry with experience on the inside and outside game,” said coach Pat Martin. Returning starters are: seniors Tate Richards, 5’11” guard and Austin Palen, 6’5” post; and junior Brooks Brown, 6’1” point guard. Last season, the Knights reached state for the fifth time in the six years Martin has been their coach. Sacred Heart lost in the first round to the tournament’s eventual winner. “We have a brutal schedule playing lots of bigger schools,” Martin said. “If we can keep from injuries, it should be a fun year. Lots of depth, size and three-point shooters that will make us hard to defend.” Girls The Lady Knights finished the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 6-15 and a league record of 1-11 under Mark Ramsey, who is in his third year as head coach. “As a coaching staff and team, we are looking forward to the 2013-14 season with high expectations,” Ramsey said. “We have three seniors and three underclassmen returning with major playing time to their credit. We are hopeful the experience gained last season will result in more confidence, poise and greater execution on both ends of the court.” Returning are the Lady Knights primary ball handlers and leading scorers, Cara Donley and Tracie Thibault. Other players who are expected to contribute to this season’s success are: Megan Stein, Maggie Doll and Makensie Kack.

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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Page 25

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Southeast of Saline Gypsum Trojans

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he Lady Trojans return two starters, senior Calli Calahan, 5’5” guard and the only holdover from the 201213 team, and Linzy Kaniper, 5’6” guard. Under coach Wayne Sager, Southeast of Saline went 12-10 overall last year and 6-6 in league.

Stanton County Trojans

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he Trojans finished the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 17-5 and a record of 6-2 in district from a team loaded with senior talent. This year’s squad has two seniors — 5’7” Angle Molina and 5’10” Jacob Cron. Girls The Lady Trojans entered the 2012-13 season with a single senior, which means they lost only one player — 5’11” center Krisitna Gerard — to graduation. Stanton County finished last year with an overall record of 7-14 and 0-8 in league. This year’s team is loaded with sophomores and freshmen.

MARK McCOY/ KH

Calli Calahan takes off across the court. Boys The Trojans return two veteran starters, senior Ben Stuterheim, 6’0” guard; and Kendal Peterson, 6’3” forward. Senior Matt Helvey, 6’0” also was on the 2012-13 roster. The Trojans ended last season under second-year coach Chance Ptacek with a win-loss record of 13-9 overall. They were .500 in league with a 6-6 record.

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TMP-Marian Monarchs

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oth Monarch programs finished under .500 last season, but the TMP boys return many of its top players. TMP opened last season with losses by 39 and 26 points and started 1-5, but rebounded to finish 8-12. Senior forward Jordan Gottschalk, junior forward Cameron Fouts, junior guard Kameron Schmidt and senior forward Ryan Mayorga all return with starting experience. Fouts led the team with 10 points a game. Joe Hertel is in his 29th season with the Monarchs and is 390-239 overall. Girls The TMP girls finished 6-14 for its first losing season since 2008-09 and graduated all-state guard and leading scorer Heather Ruder and key players Allison Pfeifer, the leading rebounder, and Jenna Schuckman. Sophomore guard Melissa Pfeifer, junior guards Kaylor Gottschalk and Sam Younie return with starting and significant playing experience. Coach Rose McFarland is in her second year in her second stint with the Monarchs.


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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Class 2A

Ellis’ Alexcia Deutscher She’s quick, smart and likes to compete

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lexcia Deutscher remembers the exact moment when sports started to become natural for her. Around 9 years old, Deutscher was thrown out of Hays recreation soccer game because she accidentally kicked a girl by being “too aggressive” on a ball in the air. “But I think it’s because the other coaches saw potential in me, so they were helping me at a young age,” she said. “Ever since then, I have been competing in MAYB and then doing little track meets.” Years later, Deutscher was arguably already northwest Kansas’ top allaround athlete as a Ellis High School freshman last year. She helped the Railroader volleyball team set a school record for wins and led the team in kills. Ellis volleyball coach Ellen Dreyer, a former Fort Hays State University player, said Deutscher has Division I volleyball talent. “The addition of the Deutscher girl as a freshman I think has really boosted their confidence as a power team, because she is such a powerful hitter and when she is on, she just really adds a lot of dimensions,” Stockton coach Mark Wildeman said. In basketball, she collected Hays Daily News first team all-area honors, paced Ellis in scoring and rebounding and helped the Railers tie the school mark for victories. At the state track meet, Deutscher won three medals, including second place in the Class 2A long jump. Deutscher called basketball and track her two most favorite sports. Deutscher enjoyed great success in junior high track and then kept the same four events in

By Conor Nicholl have known and a lot of people have known for a long time that she was a good athlete.” Deutscher had the speed to grab the rebound and take off down the court in Ellis’ traditional fast-break offense under Mick. “She is just amazing,” senior point guard Bailey Hensley said last year. “I am so lucky to have her on our team this year. I wish I could play with her four more years. We just all worked together so well and it’s awesome.” This year’s team graduated Hensley, a four-year starter, and guard Megan Honas, but returned all of the other significant contributors, including Deutscher, senior Kaleigh Soneson and junior Stephanie Greenway. Soneson, a consistent player, has been a significant contributor in basketball since she was a freshman. “Kaleigh does a great job for us,” Mick said. “She is a good player. She probably doesn’t get noticed as much as she should.” “My role is stepping up and really rebounding and getting those inside shots,” Soneson added. Mick was even surprised with Ellis’ season last winter and Deutscher’s numbers. Mick expected Deutscher to Courtesy Photo start, but Deutscher collected a double-double in nearly every condefending Class 1A, Division I state test and led the Railers to the MCL champions, and went 1-2 against Smith tournament championship with an overCenter, the eventual Class 2A state time victory against Smith Center. champions. One of the losses came in “I knew she would be a good player,” the Plainville sub-state championship. Ellis started 12-1, the best start in veter- Mick said. At the start of last winter, Ellis had an coach Perry Mick’s 14 seasons. undergone several seasons around the Deutscher averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds and four steals a game en route .500 mark since it reached the sub-state championship game the year after the to first team all-state and first team allstate runner-up bid. The 2011-12 season Mid-Continent League honors. “Wow, she has done a really good job See DEUTSCHER, Page 49 for a freshman,” Mick said. “Obviously, I high school: 100 and 200-meter dashes, long jump and triple jump. Deutscher has confidence in her abilities in all sports. “The best feeling in the world is walking into an athletic atmosphere and knowing the other athletes are scared to death to compete against you,” reads Deutscher’s Twitter feed motto. On the basketball court, though, the 5-foot-8 Deutscher had few athletes who could compete with her on a 20-3 Ellis team that tied the school mark for wins with a 20-6 state runner-up Railer squad in 2009. Ellis lost once to Hoxie, the two-time


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Page 27

Class 2A

Plainville’s Hadley Gillum He always delivers more than expected

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oxie High School’s Kade Spresser, an all-state selection last year, was impressed with his cousin, Plainville junior Hadley Gillum. Hoxie and Plainville matched up Feb. 5. While Hoxie won by 19 points, Spresser observed what the rest of the area saw: Gillum did just about everything. “We had him tired,” Spresser said. “We were forcing him to play all five spots, which would mean bring the ball up, set the offense up, go post up and then [he was] expected to rebound and all that, too. That’s really hard.” Gillum finished with 15 points and six rebounds versus the Indians, one of the few games where he didn’t record a double-double. The athletic 6-foot-4 Gillum collected Hays Daily News Player of the Year honors as the Cardinals enjoyed a surprising 15-6 season. Gillum collected 18.3 points and 14 rebounds a game, and multiple coaches called him the best player they saw all year. This summer, Gillum spent the summer traveling the AAU circuit with a team primarily based out of Class 4A powerhouse McPherson. He went all over the Midwest. This winter, Gillum is expected to lead a Plainville squad under first-year coach Chris Drees, who formerly coached at Palco for the six years. Drees started his career as a Thomas More Prep-Marian assistant and helped the Monarchs win two state crowns. Drees led Palco to a single season school record for victories and made the Roosters consistently competitive despite being one of the state’s smallest schools. Drees coached Gillum as a freshman before he transferred to Plainville before his sophomore year. Palco had several players come over to Plainville, too. Last year, Plainville graduated four starters, including all-area selection Andrew Casey, from a team that won 40 games in two seasons. Gillum was the sixth man on the 2011-12 squad and averaged 7.4

By Conor Nicholl mother and two brothers. Gillum, able to dunk since his freshman year, delivered some big slams. His father ran through some shooting drills with his brothers. “That is kind of a big deal for our family,” Gillum said. Weiser, now competing with the Fort Hays track team, was the lone returning starter. He averaged 15.4 points per game and Collins tacked on 7.6 points a contest to help Gillum. However, Plainville had trouble handling the ball, so Gillum often played point guard before he set up down low. He scored more than 20 points nine times, including a 29-point, 26-rebound effort in a 52-47 win against Victoria on Jan. 29. Coach Lonnie Weiser hardly ever subbed out Gillum; sometimes, he called a Courtesy Photo timeout just to give Gillum some rest. Plainville’s Hadley Gillum plays keep “I am not sure how he did it some away from a defender. times,” coach Weiser said. points and 5.7 rebounds in his first year No matter how big his role, Gillum with Plainville. always deflected praise. After the big perGillum always has basketball “on the formance against Victoria, Gillum credited mind” and, shortly after the end of last his teammates with hitting key foul shots. year, started to talk with seniors Nolan In the season finale, a sub-state semifiWeiser and senior guard Connor Collins. nal loss to Oakley, Gillum finished with 21 Gillum improved his physical strength points and 10 rebounds. and mental game and realized he needed Gillum fouled out with just over five to play a bigger role this winter. minutes left, but immediately became a “I usually have the ability to do stuff,” leader from the bench. He turned to the Gillum said. “It’s just having the confihome crowd and raised his arms, exonerdence to step and make it happen and ating them to help in a comeback. During know that I can do it. I just kind of got it timeouts, he constantly encouraged and in my head. We lost these great seniors, helped in the huddle. and somebody had to step up.” “I was certainly disappointed that I was Gillum has become more involved in out, but I just had to fill those other guys coach Joe Simon’s weightlifting program up,” Gillum said. and has seen massive gains in the three After the season, Gillum was asked for core lifts, bench, squat and clean. what game stood out the most. Gillum, who called himself “very weak” Gillum thought for a second and when he first moved, could squat 325 couldn’t name one. Instead, he was simply pounds and clean 275 pounds at the end pleased to win games and help the of last basketball season. Cardinals post a solid year. This winter, Gillum also comes from a basketball the expectations will likely be higher with family. After the sub-state championship Gillum back and Drees now on board. game in Plainville ended, Gillum came “Nobody even expected us to have a onto the court with his father, Tyler, winning record,” he said.


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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Class 2A

Meade boys and Ellis girls School history doesn’t get any better than this

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By Conor Nicholl

he Meade boys’ basketball program and the Ellis girls are each enjoying the best runs in school history. Meade has finished as state runner-up to Sterling and Belleville-Republic County the last two seasons. In the last seven years, Ellis has five winning seasons and two state appearances under coach Perry Mick. Three other times, the Railers have lost in the sub-state championship game to teams that have gone on to finish first (twice) or second. In 2008-09, Ellis had the best season in school history and set the wins record en route to a 20-6 mark and state runner-up showing. Last season, the Railers tied the mark with a 20-3 record. Two of the losses came to eventual state champion Smith Center, including one in the sub-state title game. This winter, Meade and Ellis have the talent to possibly make a run at the first basketball championships in school history. Meade, under second-year coach Austin Lewis, did graduate six seniors, but returned its top two scorers in senior forward Morgan Davis and senior guard Jett Little. Davis averaged 15.9 points and Little tacked on 15.6 points per contest.

Davis also tacked on 7.3 rebounds per contest and collected first team all-state honors. Ellis graduated guard Bailey Hensley, a four-year starter and first team all-league player. However, the Railers return 43 of 60 points per game. Sophomore forward Alexcia Deutscher was a first team all-league and third team all-state player. She averaged 17.4 points, 10 rebounds and five steals a game. Senior forward Kaleigh Soneson tacked on 9.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals per contest. Smith Center has long been a state power in volleyball and girls’ basketball for Nick Linn, who has coached both sports for more than 40 combined years. Last season, though, marked Linn’s first state titles. Sydney Benoit earned Class 2A Player of the Year honors before she graduated. Five of the top six players were seniors. Senior forward Colbie Decker emerged in the second half of last season and averaged 11.6 points and 6.6 rebounds, both second to

Republic County’s Joni Sheets attempts to avoid another player during a game this past season. Belleville-Republic County is the reigning Class 2A boys’ state champion.

Kansas Hardwood Photo by Mark McCoy

Benoit. Belleville-Republic County is the reigning Class 2A boys’ state champion. The Buffs, which beat Meade 64-53 in overtime for the title, graduated all-state guard Trenton Kuhlman. Coach Kevin Kuhlman won a state title in his first season at the helm after he was an assistant and former junior high coach. Alan Sheets, the longtime boys coach, led the Buff girls to a state appearance in his first year with that program. Senior Trevor Allen returns after he collected all-state honorable mention honors. Plainville returns senior Hadley Gillum, a first team all-state player, from a 15-win team. Former Palco coach Chris Drees has taken over the Cardinals. Oakley, a traditional power under longtime coach Randall Rath, brings back senior Laura Dennis, a first team all-state selection who averaged 19 points per contest. Oakley lost to Smith Center in the substate semifinal.


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Bennington Bulldogs

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he Bulldogs had a great run during the 2012-13 season under veteran coach Tim Dolloff, who has been at Bennington for more than a dozen years. The Bulldogs finished the season with a win-loss record of 20-2 and 8-1 in league play. Included in last season’s team were nine seniors, which means there could be some holes this season. One senior Bennington lost to graduation was Derek Stanley, who received second team All-State honors in his class. Seniors, based on the 2012-13 roster, are: Gunner Mick, Trevor Wood and BJ Glanton, all 6’1”; Heath Thornhill, 6’3”; and Drake Juenemann, 6’4”. Girls The Lady Bulldogs finished the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 5-15 and 5-6 in league.

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Brookville Ell-Saline Cardinals

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xpectations were high during the 2012-13 season for Ell-Saline basketball. The Cardinals ended the year with an overall record of 8-13 and 3-9 in district. Girls The Lady Cardinals lost one of their league’s outstanding players to graduation this past season. EllSaline will have to move on without point guard Emily Work, who helped lead her team to a 15-6 season. The Lady Cardinals were 8-2 in league. Seniors, based on the 2012-13 roster, are: Jordan Weems, 5’5” guard; Bailey Goddard, 5’6” guard; Morgan Scheibler, 5’8” post; Sesely Omli, 5’7” forward; Aubrey Wilson, 5’8” guard; and Paige Johnson, 5’4” point guard.

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Canton-Galva Eagles

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he Eagles return a lot of players, including four starters, and good size to try to build on last year’s 1-20 season. Head coach Shane Duncan said, “We had a great summer, so we must build off that success, and carry it over to the season.” Three of the Eagles’ returning starters and two players with varsity experience are 6’ or taller, so size will be a major asset. “We must take care of the ball, and value possessions to be more successful,” Duncan said. “I feel we have nice size this year, so controlling the boards will be imperative.” It’s hard to go anywhere but up from a 1-20 season. If the Eagles can stay healthy, carry the confidence and experience they have developed during the summer, and play with more discipline this year the Eagles should be considerably more competitive. Returning Starters: Cody Savage, G/F, 6’3”, Sr.; AJ Medley, G/F, 6’, Sr.; Austin Bullinger, 6’2”, Sr.; Tanner Klingensmith, 5’10”, Jr. Girls The Lady Eagles are loaded with young players and only three seniors from the 2012-13 roster — Erika Smith, 5’6 point guard; Lindsey Unruh, 5’8” forward/guard; and Lauren Ballantyne, 5’7 forward/guard. Last season’s overall record was 2-19 and 1-9 in league.

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Page 30 Dave Hickel

Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2 Joe Dreiling

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Central Plains

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he Lady Oilers expect to have plenty of competition for floor time. Claflin was sub-state runner up in the 2012-13 season, which ended with the Lady Oilers having a record of 20-3. Returning from that team will be: Reagan Phelan, 5’6” sophomore point guard; Breanna Holmes, 5’8” senior forward; and Taylor Rolfs, 5’10” sophomore guard. Pat Stiles, in his second year as Lady Oilers coach and 10th year as a high school head coach, thinks success will depend “on how our team chemistry develops and having some individuals stepping up to take on leadership roles.”

ColdwaterSouth Central Timberwolves

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he Timberwolves finished the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 7-12 and 2-7 in league. Only one senior is listed on the roster — 6’3” forward Nathan Brooks. South Central lost only one senior to graduation. The 2012-13 roster also lists a sophomore and several freshmen. Derek Hubbard is the coach. Girls Tim Rietzke’s Lady Timberwolves finished the 201213 season with an overall record of 6-10 and a district finish of 3-6.

Boys The Oilers return five starters this season, Layne Bieberle, 6’1” G, Jr.; Michael Ryan, 6’0” G, So.; Braeden Crites, 6’1” G/F So.; Evan Liebl, 6’1” F, Sr.; and Michael Lamatch, 6’1”, F Jr. Brett Rolfs, in his second year as Central Plains head coach, hopes to compete for a league title and “be playing our best going into sub-state.” “We must physically and mentally take the next step in our maturation process,” he said. “We have several varsity players returning and will have high expectations for them. Figuring out each other’s roles and playing hard every night in every phase of the game will no doubt yield success. If we do the little things the big things will take care of themselves.” The Oilers finished the 2012-13 season with a win-loss record of 13-9.

Decatur Community Red Devils

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randon Gehring enjoyed a successful run at Logan with a 43-47 record and state appearances in his second and third seasons. The Trojans went 4-15 last year and then Gehring moved north. Oberlin, a longtime powerhouse in volleyball, has struggled for many years in basketball and went 4-17 last season. Oberlin doesn’t have a winning season since an 11-9 mark in 2006-07. Oberlin averaged 37.3 points per game and graduated leading scorer Miki Dorshorst, who averaged 13.2 points per game, but returns everyone else. Junior Demi Murray, junior Shawn Baker, senior Hannah May and senior Alexis Hissong were the two through five scorers; Murray led the group with 8.8 points per contest. Oberlin shot just 27 percent from the field and 18 percent from the 3-point line. Murray led the team with 5.5 rebounds. Boys Coach Daniel Conrad led the squad to a 9-13 record. A 14-8 record in 2010-11 is the team’s only winning record in the last eight years. Tyler Bruggeman, the team’s leading scorer, graduated after he led the team with 10.9 points per contest. Three starters return in senior guard Kyle Breth, (10.9), junior guard Keiden Breth (5.7) and sophomore guard Noah Nelson (5.4).

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Ellinwood Eagles

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he Lady Eagles return six veteran varsity players, including 5’11” senior Amanda Tucker, who was out with injuries most of last season. She is joined by seniors Sophie Hayes, 5’7” guard, Kelsea Ward, 5’7” forward, and Brooke Panning 5’7” guard; and juniors Blake Wilt, 5’7” forward, and Rachel Doll, 5’8” guard. Ellinwood finished last season with a 12-9 record. “One of our team expectations is to be competitive every day in practice and games,” said head coach Kyle Kriegh. “We expect our team to attack every day with relentless effort and intense focus. Last, our seniors expect to have a winning record. “A critical key for our team is to play together, and have players that are willing to fill their specific roles. We must keep our team goals in mind, and work as a team.” Boys The Eagles made an early exit from the 2012-13 Class 2A sub-state in Sterling with a loss to the No. 6 seed, the Inman Teutons. That ended the Eagles season with an overall record of 5-16 and 1-5 in district. The Eagles were paced by Gavin Vink, a 5’7” junior who returns this year to help lead the team coached by Dustin Klassen. Seniors on the 2013-14 roster are: Ryley Ney, 5’7”; Kyle Jenks, 5’8”; and Tanner Swank, 6’3”.


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Page 31 FARMERS COOPERATIVE COMPANY

Ellis Railers

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he Railers don’t return any starters from their 13-8 team in 2012-13. Three letter winners, Nick Gehring, Eli Lohrmeyer, and Brendan Brenner, will have to step into leading roles on the team. They’re all over 6’, so size will be an asset for Ellis in the coming season. Head coach Chris Rorabaugh hopes to develop a talented junior varsity team from last year into varsity roles this season. “We’re short on depth, and have low numbers for upperclassmen, so we’ll have to ride on the success of a 13-1 JV team from last year,” he said. “Hopefully [we’ll finish] 12-15 in the upper division of the MCL.” Girls The girls’ team finished last season 20-3 and tied the school record for victories set in a 20-6 state runner-up year in 2008-09. Coach Perry Mick is 151-153 in 14 seasons with Ellis and guided an 11-win improvement from 201112. Ellis graduated Bailey Hensley, a four-year starter and first team all-league point guard. “Our second-leading scorer and main ballhandler,” Mick said. “She will be tough to replace.” The Railers return one of Kansas’ top players in 5’9” sophomore forward Alexcia Deutscher. She averaged 17.4 points, 10 rebounds and five steals and earned first team all-league honors. Senior Kaleigh Soneson has logged significant minutes since her freshman year and averaged 9.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals. Junior guard Stephanie Greenway (4.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, two steals), senior Brittany Dinkel (3.7 points), junior Sarah Mick (3.2 points) and senior Sidney Gottschalk (2.2 points) are key players, too. Ellis, which returns 43 points per game, tied for the MCL regular season title and won the league tournament championship. “We do return quite a bit of experience, so we hope to be very competitive,” Mick said.

Hill City Ringnecks

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ill City boys’ basketball coach Keith Riley coaxed a strong 14-8 season from a young and inexperienced team that had just one senior in guard Solomon Wilson. Riley has more than 600 career victories and three state titles in 44 seasons. A coach who focuses heavily on the fundamentals, Riley returns four starters, none above 6’. Senior guard Shane Jones, senior forward Greg Billips, junior guard Ethan Gansel and junior forward Deric McKeever led the team. Jones was a second team all-league selection, Billips shot around 90 percent from the foul line and McKeever is an athletic player with great leaping ability on the inside. “There have been a lot of years where we haven’t been the most talented team, but the way we survive is doing the little things, so we have got to do them,” Riley said. “When you’ve got the talent and you are doing the little things, it makes you that much better.” Girls Coach Linda Nighswonger went 8-13 last season and bumped her career record to 96-62 at Hill City and 209-120 in 14 years as a head coach. The Ringnecks took a fivewin step back from the year before. Hill City graduated three of its top four scorers, including all-league guard Shelby Stewart (13 points a game), but returns two starters in sophomore Lexie McDowell (8.2 points, second-best) and senior Brooke Burton (3.9 rebounds, second-best).

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Kinsley Coyotes

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he Lady Coyotes lost three seniors to graduation, leaving the team loaded with sophomores for the 2013-14 season. Ana Ordaz, a 5’6” forward, is the only senior listed on the team’s roster. Kinsley finished last season with an overall record of 7-12 and 3-4 in league. Jamie Castaneda is the coach. Boys Coach Derek Newsom led his Coyotes to a 9-12 overall record for the 2012-13 season and 1-6 in district.

Note to Readers — We apologize for any teams that might be missing from this edition of Kansas Hardwood. Every effort will be made to include them in the 2014-15 edition.

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Scott C ity • W aK eeney H illC ity • O ak ley

Kiowa County Greensburg Mavericks

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he Lady Mavericks are loaded with seniors, based on the 2012-13 roster. They are: Katelynn Gamble, 5’5”; Heather Melton, 5’9”; Mackenzie Rose, 5’4”; Emily Sarber, 4’11”; Riann Heft, 5’3”; and Dena Liggett, 5’6”. Coach Randy VandenHoek’s team finished last season with an overall record of 11-9 and a league tally of 5-4. Boys

The Mavericks have a new head coach this season, Zach White, who replaces Nick Perez, now at Solomon. Perez ended his final season at Greensburg with a 12-9 record. Eight of the 11 players on the roster were seniors, which indicates the Mavericks have a lot of work ahead of them this season. Based on the 2012-13 roster, this year’s senior class includes: Mike Tedder, 5’10” forward; and Corbin VandenHoek, 6’2” post. Landon Davis, a 5’10” guard, rounds out the roster.


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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Class 3A - Class 4A

Peat and Threepeat Scott City accomplishes a first Story by Rod Haxton Photo by Mark McCoy

The O’ Neils are, from left, Trey, Glenn and Brett.

Scott C ity • W aK eeney H illC ity • O ak ley


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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Beavers know about winning I

t’s not as if Glenn O’Neil hadn’t already established himself as one of the top high school basketball coaches in Kansas prior to the 2010-11 season. In his first 14 seasons as the boy’s head coach at Scott Community High School his teams had earned a Class 4A state title (2006), were a Class 3A state runner-up (2007) and had qualified for the state tournament seven times. During that time, the Beavers had just one losing season while compiling an impressive 233-98 record. That’s in addition to a 159-74 coaching record prior to SCHS. That’s a career for many coaches. But what’s happened since then has cemented O’Neil’s place among the elite coaches. At the 2013 state tournament in Hutchinson, the Beavers became the first boy’s team in Kansas history to win three consecutive Class 3A titles and did so by compiling a 75-3 record during that remarkable stretch. In that three-year span they had identical 25-1 records with their only regular season losses coming against an elite private school (Wichita Word of Life) and two Class 6A opponents — Dodge City and Wichita North — in the Dodge City Tournament of Champions. If that wasn’t enough, the head coach had the pleasure of coaching his two sons - Brett, a 2013 graduate who was the starting point guard during all three of the state title seasons, and Trey, who saw considerable playing time as a freshman and started as a sophomore on last year’s team. “There’s no better feeling than sharing a state championship with your sons,” says Coach O’Neil. “It’s been one of the greatest things as a teenager to have a coach who is also your dad,” says Trey. “You just want to go out there and make him proud.” Of course, both boys have been absorbing the sports culture and knowledge for as long as they can remember. They were the ball boys for the 2006 championship team. “I don’t think it’s any harder playing for your dad. You work hard for him because you don’t want to disappoint him,” says Brett.

"It’s never about one guy being more important than the team.” Brett O’Neil Scott City

There were great expectations for Brett’s class from the time they were competing in MAYB tournaments as fifth and sixth graders. By their junior high years they had already earned a reputation as an outstanding group of athletes on the football field and the basketball court. That led to expectations of a state title. “I expected maybe one championship. I don’t know that I expected three,” says Brett. The first one came during his sophomore year when guard Ron Baker, who has since become a standout at Wichita State University, scored a buzzer-beater in a 55-53 win over Minneapolis. “After the first one, we figured what’s going to stop us now? Let’s just win two more,” says the soft-spoken O’Neil with a grin. The Beavers accomplished that in relatively easy fashion with lopsided state title wins over Nemaha Valley (61-47) and Humboldt (74-55). “The second one was important to us because it proved that we were a good team, even without Ron,” Brett says. “This last we just wanted to enjoy the season and whatever happened happened.” Trey’s approach wasn’t quite as casual. “I couldn’t wait to be part of this team after watching them win their first (state title). I expected to win the second and third,” Trey says. “I saw how much fun they had winning their first championship and I wanted to help in any way I could.” A Football Community Coach O’Neil’s success is even more

impressive considering that he has put basketball on equal footing in a community that is passionate about its football. “We knew Scott City had good athletes and we’d seen the success they had in football, track and wrestling,” says Coach O’Neil. “The only blip on the radar at the time I came here was in basketball.” At the time O’Neil arrived in 1996, the Beavers had only one state basketball title (1958) and hadn’t been to the state tournament since 1979 when they were the runner-up. “It wasn’t because they didn’t have athletes. I felt if we could get five or six boys to believe in what we were doing it would be contagious.” It didn’t take long for O’Neil to make believers of his basketball team and the community. In his first season the Beavers qualified for the Class 4A state tournament and three years later they returned, earning a fourth place finish. SCHS would make two more appearances at state before finally claiming the Class 4A title in 2006 and adding a Class 3A runner-up finish the following year. If one had to find a constant behind O’Neil’s coaching success it would be the emphasis on defense. In particular, the match-up zone. “All man and zone defenses have their principles. We link the two together and create confusion so a team has to figure whether we’re playing a true switching man or a zone,” explains Coach O’Neil. “We try to mess with an opponent’s game philosophy on how they want to attack us.” O’Neil downplays the complexity of his defense, stating it’s “basically a switching man defense with backside help.” Opponents would probably argue that it’s not as simple as it sounds. “Our philosophy in football and basketball is to rep things to the point they become natural. You do them without thinking about them,” he says. “Once you get into somebody’s head and they have to think about what they’re doing — are you running zone or man defense — then you’ve won the See SCOTT CITY, Page 49


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Lincoln Leopards

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oach Steve Crist hopes his Lady Leopards play differently in February, after they have a few months of experience on their resumes. Lincoln, which ended last season 15-7, including a run in substate finals, behind the leadership of all-state player Jenna Farris, now a freshman at Wichita’s Newman University, returns one starter, Sawyer Pittenger, a 5’6” senior guard. “We will be a young and inexperienced team this year,” said Crist, who has been at Lincoln 14 years. “Hopefully, we can weather the storm early, learn on the go and become a solid team by February.” Crist offers two areas that will be key: “development and experience for our young players” and “we will struggle to score at times so will have to lean on our defense to win games.” Boys Twenty-year veteran Dalen Rathbun coaches his first season with the Leopards with no returning starters, but high expectations for his young team. “We must put ourselves in a position to win games,” he said. “To do this we have to get the players to buy into what we teach them and what we want to do.” This season’s roster includes: senior Jerod Obermueller, 6’1” forward; junior Wynter Wiebke, 5’8” guard; and sophomores Zac Walter, 6’0” guard, Matt Davied, 6’2” post, Tyrece Sims, 5’8” guard, and Gabe Gulledge, 5’10” guard. North Central Kansas Cooperative - Grain, Agronomy, Energy Serving Clay, Cloud, Lincoln, Mitchell, Republic, Riley, and Washington counties as well as surrounding areas

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Little River Redskins

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he Redskins of Little River had a highly successful season in 201213, finishing with an 18-5 record and taking the runner-up trophy in the 2A Sterling tournament, after losing a close battle with Inman by a mere three points. Head coach Chad Lafferty, in his sixth year at the helm of the Redskins, returns three starters from that team, 6’0” senior Tevin Ranken, 6’1” Trevor Smyres and 5’9” junior Zack Konen. “We lost a big senior class from last season,” Lafferty said. “Our underclassmen will have to step up and fill those holes left by the seniors. We need to get better every day.” The Redskins were known for their defensive prowess in the 2012-13 season and defense will once again be a big part of its overall strategy in the 2013-14 season. “Defensive intensity is a big key to our success,” Lafferty said. “We will play an aggressive man-toman defense and concentrate on not giving up the easy shots. We like to rotate different defenses

on the court to keep the pressure on our opponents.”

Girls The Lady Redskins finished the 2012-13 season under coach Shane Cordell with an overall record of 13-7 and 6-1 in league.

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Medicine Lodge Indians

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oach Lowell Dohrmann is entering his 15th season coaching the Lady Indians. He believes this will be a rebuilding year as the team works to improve on its record of 3-18 last year. Three starters return, including Sarah Eck, a 5’4 guard who is the only senior on the team. She’s joined by juniors Mallory Shinliver, a 5’6” junior, and Kamri Thies, a 5’7” post/guard who has been a three-year starter. Dohrmann’s expectations for the team are to win more games than last year and “maybe even surprise some teams in the always tough Central Plains League.” He added that he expects his team to “play hard on defense and keep the other teams’ points down as low as possible.” Boys The Indians are looking to better last year’s record of 8-13 with Paul Totty, now in his third year as head coach. He’s counting on his three returning seniors to “carry a heavy load this year since they’ve played together a long time.” He noted that “these kids have played summer ball and some AAU ball and this is their year to do great things.” Seniors include Scott Angell, a 6’9” center with a 55 percent shooting average. Dane Hrencher, a 6’1” outside shooting threat, suffered a leg injury in football that required surgery, so he is expected to join the team around Christmas. Rounding out the senior trio is Scott Beecher, a 5’9” point guard the coach called “the most conditioned kid I’ve ever seen. He’s also one of the most intelligent ball players I’ve seen.”

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Moundridge Wildcats

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lack of height could be the challenge this year for the Lady Wildcats. “Without much height we will need to utilize the full court offensively and defensively,” said coach Vicky Kessler, who is taking over the program after 16 years as assistant coach. She has four returning starters: seniors Brooke Holloway, 5’9”, and MacKenzie Suderman, 5’8”, and juniors Michelle Schrag, 5’6”, and Anna Stucky, 5’5”. “This team will work hard and compete hard throughout the season,” Kessler said. Boys The bad news for Coach Vance Unrau’s Wildcats is that they lost 80 percent of their scoring firepower to graduation. The good news is that the Wildcats may be the best rebounding machine Unrau has coached in his 27 years at Moundridge. “Our inside game will be our strength. Our weakness is going to be perimeter shooting,” Unrau said. Returning starters are: forwards Hunter Enyart, 6’2” junior, and Colton Frazer, 6’2” sophomore. Other returning key players include: junior guards Garrett Higgins and Kyle Huxman, both 6’1”. Unrau said he also is concerned about the depth of his bench. “We go young and we go inexperienced,” he said. The Wildcats ended the 2012-13 season with a record of 20-6, which included a third-place finish in the 2A state tournament. “I feel like this team has a lot of potential,” Unrau said. “But we have some work to do inside.”

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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Losing six seniors can’t stop Meade Buffaloes By Sandra Stenzel Kansas Hardwood

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he key to Meade’s success is going to hinge on how well their junior varsity players adapt to playing varsity this sea-

son. The Buffaloes had a great year last year, going undefeated until losing in the 2A state championship game. Meade lost six seniors to graduation following the 2012-13 season. Seniors Morgan Davis, 6’4” forward, and Jett Little, 5’9” point guard, return to the starting lineup. Davis was named to the KBCA All-State 1st Team, and Little made KBCA All-State 2nd Team. Head coach Austin Lewis expects his younger players to step up and complement his two allstate seniors. “We will be replacing six seniors on our varsity squad next season, so we will need to get used to playing with some new personnel on the floor,” said Lewis. “Our JV team had an excellent 2012-13 season, so we hope to be able to plug in some players to varsity and keep a high level of play. Overall, I think our expectations remain very high, and we hope to see big things from our team this coming year.” Girls Lady Buffaloes coach Craig Batchman will start his fifth year as head coach with an overall record of 47-43 at the school where he is looking for a higher finish in

Page 35

the state tournament and an improvement in the team’s record last year of 13-8. “We lost in the first round of the state tournament last year and this year we have our sights set on winning it all,” he said. Meade returns three starters, Mackenzie Moshier, a 5’10” senior forward, Tarah Wiens, a 6’0” junior post and Bailey Olvera, a 5’9” guard. Batchman noted that Olvera frequently draws double teams, a tactic that will open up plays and shots for other players and Meade intends to capitalize on that. Ford, Meade and Batchman says the keys Gray Counties Mitch L. Little to his team’s success will be For All Abstract & Title Work teamwork and communicating better on defense. They High Plains Land & Title also need to push the ball 107 Gunsmoke • Dodge City, KS 67801 and then take care of it with (620) 225-6574 • Fax (620) 225-6575 no turnovers. “That’s something we worked on at summer camp in Oklahoma. I think we found out there we could compete with some pretty tough teams. The Lady Buffalo players will run a ‘dribble-drive’ spread offense and must make quicker cuts to the basket to be successful. “That’s where Olvera can really make a difference,” Batchman said. Batchman said his team will be tested when the Lady Buffaloes play a Cimarron team that returns several experienced players and that Southwestern Heights has a lot of talent. “We just need to take our shots and not be timid. We need to realize what we are capable of and build our confidence.”

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Ness City Eagles

ward/guard. Overlease also has juniors that will see time on the court including Pedro Flores, a 5’ 8” point guard; Kyle Harris a 6’ guard andf Tanner McMillen, a 6’ forward. “We will definitely be rebuilding,” Overlease said. “We have a good group of guys that work hard, but have no varsity experience. A Real Community Bank We have high expectations Proud to support area athletes! for them. “We will have to find a Great Bend Ellinwood way to be good. We will Ness City • Otis have to play bigger than we www.communitybankmidwest.com are, since we really don’t Eagles ball club. “So our guys have a post. We will have to execute and do the little just don’t have any varsity things right.” experience.” However, Ness City will Girls have some talented seniors to The Lady Eagles of Ness begin the rebuild — Dylan Winter, a 6’1’ forward; Dallas City ended the 2012-13 basketball season with a 10-11 Winter, a 5’ 10” guard and record under first year coach Trevor Hawkins, a 6’ 1” forhe Ness City Eagles are in a rebuilding mode for the 201314 basketball season, after placing fourth in the 2A State tournament in 2013 and owning a record of 17-9. “We graduated 10 quality seniors,” said head coach Matt Overlease, in his fourth year at the helm of the

Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Curtis Foos, making it to the semi-final game of the 2A sub-state tournament. Foos returns to coach the girls in the 2013-14 season and has several seasoned starters to put on the court. Returning for the Lady Eagles will be Cailin Foos, a 5’10” junior; Jesse Ruboettom, a senior and

McKenzie Stiawalt, a senior 5’9” point guard. The Lady Eagles play in the tough Central Prairie League, which is chock full of talented basketball teams and coaches, including St. John/Hudson and Central Plains, so they are used to playing at a highly competitive level.

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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Page 37 611 S. Washington Plainville 785-434-7232

Scott C ity • W aK eeney H illC ity • O ak ley

Oakley Plainsmen

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akley, a traditional power under longtime coach Randall Rath, brings back senior Laura Dennis, a first team allstate selection who averaged 19 points per contest. Oakley lost to Smith Center in the sub-state semifinal to finish the season with an overall record of 15-5. Boys The Plainsmen had a great season in 2012-13, logging a 17-6 overall record and 7-2 in league under coach Steve Allison. Based on last season’s roster, Oakley lost four seniors to graduation. However, several juniors are available for duty as this season gets underway. They are: Daruis Herl, 6’3” post/guard; Braydon Hubert, 6’3” forward/ guard; Nate Janzen, 6’1” wing; Eric Rucker, 5’9” guard/point guard; Austin Wellbrock, 6’2” post; and Austin Baalman, 6’5” center/forward.

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Oxford Wildcats

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oach Kyle Green leads the Wildcats into his 8th season with a record of 87-67 in his time there. Last season the Wildcats went 12-9 before losing in the first round of sub-state to Moundridge.

Oxford will benefit from four returning starters: Derek Williams, F, 6’6”, sophomore; Carson Crain, PG, 5’11”, senior; Kurt Sloan, F, 6’1”, senior; Dexter Norris, G, 6’, senior. They will be joined by Colter Silhan, 6’0” junior. The Wildcats will also look for some of last year’s junior varsity players to step up and take on varsity roles. Oxford’s junior varsity team had an impressive record of 14-2. “We hope to get better every day,” Green said. “That’s always the goal. We have experience returning, and we had a very successful JV season last year with this group. We need a couple of our juniors to step up this year and take on expanded roles. This group will work hard. “We are going to have to play together. Share the basketball. Play with intensity. I’m excited about the potential of Williams and Silhan. They could be huge contributors in 2013-14.” Girls The Lady Wildcats finished the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 8-14 and 5-5 in league under coach Kadee Wheeler.

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Plainville Cardinals

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lainville will return two starters from last season’s 15-6 team. First year head coach Chris Drees will look to 6’5” center Hadley Gillum and 5’10” point guard Logan Frederking to anchor the Cardinals in 2013-14. The Cardinals will be limited in depth beyond that, so staying healthy will be crucial to Plainville’s season. “Our keys to success will be to stay healthy, and out of foul trouble,” Drees said. “I expect our team to play with toughness, and compete at a high level.” Gillum and Frederking are going to have to carry the load this season, and develop younger players on the team. If some of the younger players have trouble stepping into roles with more responsibility, it could be a long rebuilding year for the Cardinals.

oach Jeff Lankas has his eye on a sub-state championship — and he just may have the experience to do it. The Buffaloes return five starters from the 2012-13 season, when Atwood finished with a 5-15 record. Taking to the court again this year will be seniors James Peterson, 6’5” center; Dylan Tiemeyer, 6’1” forward; Michael Capo, 5’10” post; Michale Blodgett, 6’0” forward; and Cameron Ginther, 6’2” center. Tiemeyer averaged 10.4 points per game, while Capo averaged 8.5 points per contest, Cameron Ginther averaged 6.7 points per game and Blodgett averaged 2.6 points. Lankas, who is in his eighth year as head coach, said the key to success this season will be to “play as a team and to push the ball on offense and play hard on defense every game.”

Girls Ron Wolf led the Cardinal baseball team to two state appearances in two seasons and then went back to Wheatland-Grinnell, his alma mater. Last winter, he returned to Plainville and took over a 3-18 team. Wolf led a big improvement to 9-11. Senior Hannah Friend, now at Kansas Wesleyan, was a solid leader and defender. Junior forward Kim Junkmeier is back after she led the team with 9.8 points per game and 11.3 rebounds per contest, both teamhighs. Senior Allison Sears is back after she was the fifth-leading scorer at 4.3 points per contest.

Girls John Terry has coached the Lady Buffs’ program for more than 40 years, but hasn’t made the state tournament in 21 seasons. The Buffs finished 10-11 last season. However, Atwood graduated just two seniors and returned all but 8.2 points from a team that averaged 37.4 points per contest. Junior guard Katie Withington returns after she averaged 11 points per game last season. Sophomore post Olivia Chvatal averaged 5.5 points per contest, while senior guard Keshia Green also averaged 5.5 points per game. Chvatal averaged 6.1 rebounds per game, while Green tacked on five rebounds a contest.

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ast year, the Republic County boys and girls each reached the Class 2A state tournament. The boys won the state title as the No. 3 seed and finished 23-3. The Buffs defeated Jefferson County North in the first round, 78-68, then beat Ness City, 51-37, and defeated Meade 64-53 in overtime. Trevor Allen hit a last second layup at the regulation buzzer to tie the game. Republic County came from six down in the final minute of regulation to beat topranked and undefeated Meade. It marked the school’s first state title since 1999. All-state guard Trenton Kuhlman finished his career with a 30-point game. Kevin Kuhlman was a former longtime assistant and junior high coach before he took over the boys’ program. Girls The girls lost 63-47 to Sterling in the first round of state. Coach Alan Sheets, the long-time former boys’ coach, took over the girls program last winter, and led the team to an 18-6 season and the state appearance.

Smith Center Redmen

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hat a difference a year makes for the Smith Center girls. Last season, Nick Linn’s team ended the season with a 24-2 record and a 2A state championship trophy. Then came graduation. Smith Center has one returning player this year, senior Colbie Decker, a 6’0” center. “We’re very inexperienced with varsity returning players,” said Linn, who has been at Smith Center for 21 years. Offering the team an immediate boost could be Drew Mann, a Valley Heights transfer. Otherwise, “utilizing our height on the inside will be key,” Linn said. “Improving our guard play will be a must as we lost some very good guards from a year ago.”

Boys

Joe Burgardt, the former assistant coach, takes over for Doug Boucher, who led the Redmen to a 9-11 record in his first season with the program last winter. Smith Center has won nine, 13, six and nine games in the previous four seasons. The Redmen graduate their top two players in guards Payton Buckmaster and Zach Linn, but return their top forward in senior Taylor Zabel, who averaged 12 points a game. Senior guard Kody Molzahn and junior guard Mason Buckmaster are returning starters, too. Those three players are the only returning Redmen who averaged at least three points a game.

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Solomon Gorillas

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he Gorillas start a new season with a new coach, Nick Perez, who comes to Solomon from Kiowa County High School at Greensburg.

The Gorillas posted a 16-6 record this past season under former coach Tom Flax. That was a significant improvement from the season before when Solomon ended its basketball year with a 6-15 record. Seven seniors were on the 2012-13 roster. Moving up to replace them are this year’s senior class: Mason Demars, 6’2” guard; Curtis Wiese and Mark Aylward, 5’11” guards; Jordan Rangel, 6’3” forward; and Alex Garrett, 6’2” post. Girls Under coach Pete Meagher, the Lady Gorillas finished the 2012-13 season with an 8-13 record. Solomon lost three players to graduation, leaving 5’10” Jamie Meagher and 5’6” Taylor Hagen as the veterans on the roster.

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ontezuma girls’ coach Grant Salmons is in his 19th year of teaching at the school, but this is his second stint as head coach in almost 20 years. Salmons is looking to help his Lady Rebels improve from last season’s 4-16 record. The team returns two starters, Myranda Axtell, a 5’8” senior post, and Whitney Wright, a 5’9” junior forward. “We’re really rebuilding this year and it’s kind of like starting over,” Salmons said. The coach says the keys to team success will be to play aggressively on defense and to play on both ends with discipline and confidence. “The players are fundamentally sound, so we need to work on building their confidence and develop some ball handling skills.” Boys Coach Mark Applegate is in his 31st year of coaching the Montezuma Rebels. That’s a lifetime in coaching, and his team will have the benefit of all those years of experience as players work to improve on last year’s great 20-4 record. “We made the finals of substate, and that was pretty good considering it was our first year as a 2A school. We’ve always been 1A, so I think we showed we could compete in a bigger class,” he said. Helping Applegate achieve his goals this year are four returning starters. Gabriel Loya is a 6’3” senior forward, and he’s joined by juniors Tate Skinner, a 5’10” point guard, Jake Peters, a 6’5” forward, and Carson Skidmore, a 6’3” guard. The team will run a motion offense and take advantage of team experience and size.

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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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Sterling Black Bears

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he basketball future looks bright for Sterling’s Lady Black Bears for several seasons to come as coach Jill Rowland combines the experience of upperclassmen with members of a talented sophomore class. Sterling finished the 2012-13 season with a win-loss record of 22-4 and a third place finish at Class 2A state, losing to Smith Center, the eventual winner. Returning are Aubree Nuest, a senior guard; juniors Andi Dowell, a utility player, and Chelsey Riffel, post; and Kylah Comley, sophomore point guard. The Lady Black Bears have a deep bench. “We were kind of hampered this summer by injuries, but we have high expectations. We want to get back to state,” Rowland said. “We have a lot of kids who put in a lot of time.” And there’s that talented sophomore class. “They’re a good group,” said Rowland, who is in her sixth year as head coach. Boys The Black Bears have some rebuilding to do this season with the loss to graduation of Austin Maxwell, 6’5” forward who helped lead Sterling to a Class 2A state championship at the end of the 2011-12 season by averaging 15.8 points. Six other seniors also played their final game this past season, which ended for the Black Bears with an overall record of 10-12. Derek Schneider is in his fifth year as head coach.

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Syracuse Bulldogs

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he goal of the Lady Bulldogs will be to “get better every day,” said coach Bryce Simon. Last season, in his first year as a high school head coach, he led Syracuse to a 3-17 season. Keys to success this season will be to “continue to build on our team defense concepts and become more consistent on offense,” he said. Syracuse returns five starters: seniors Kassie Baeza, post; and guards Amy Norton and Kiah Rash; and juniors Sydney Brown, guard; and Delaney Pollart, post. Boys “Solid” is the word coach Jeff Mathias uses the most when he talks about keys to the 2013-14 season. “Solid communication and teamwork.” “Solid depth and bench contributions.” “We always expect to challenge for league title and solid post-season showings,” said Mathias, who has a 40-27 record in his three years with the Bulldogs. Syracuse finished last season with a 6-14 record and a loss to powerhouse Meade in sub-state quarter finals. Returning are junior Dexter English, 6’0” post; and senior Tierney Cashler, 6’3” guard/post. “This team will expect discipline on both sides of the ball,” Mathias said. Another key to success this season will be “renewed dedication to defensive intensity,” the coach added.

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Washington County Tigers

Trego Community Golden Eagles

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irst year WaKeeney coach Robert Hall is bringing a little music philosophy to the basketball court this year. Hall, who played basketball in Iowa while majoring in music and history, said the Golden Eagles “need a little harmony on the court” as they rebuild a program that went 6-15 last season. Returning are seniors Devon Ghumm, a 6’3” forward/post, and Blake Huxman, a 5’10” guard who can either run the floor or be the shooting spark when necessary. The other returning senior is 6’1” guard Lincoln Brungardt. Hall also expects big contributions from 5’6” senior guard Cade Papes who led the team in assists last year, and Sam Graham, a 6’7” senior. “He’s also 300 lbs.” Hall said. “He’s a big strong farm kid and if we can teach him some footwork, he could be a real surprise for other teams. Girls The Lady Eagles will be under the tutelage of first year rookie coach Jerod Brown and his right hand assistant LaTrisha Flax. Brown has some specific expectations for his team, which finished with a 3-17 record last year. “We are going to learn how to have fun again,” he said. After a tough season like last year, Brown wants his team to enjoy playing with each other and enjoy the basketball experience again. “After all,” he said, “these are their high school years and they need to enjoy them.” Brown is also expecting this team to start a program turnaround and while he is rebuilding this team, he is also looking to the future and rebuilding the entire program for the long haul. Brown has high expectations for returning players including senior point guard Addie Zeman, junior guard Peyton Desormiers, junior forward Shaylee Flax, and Senior post player Hayley Weigel.

324 S. 1st St. WaKeeney 785-743-2383

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he Lady Tigers return three starters — all juniors — who were part of Washington County’s 2012-13 team that posted a 21-2 record, falling to Republic County in overtime at sub-state. They are: Erin Alexander, 6’2” center; Taylor Powell, 5’7” forward; and Heidi Stegman, 5’6” guard. Scott Romeiser is in his fourth year as head coach. “We’ve averaged 20 wins all four years I’ve been here,” he said. “We just can’t seem to make it over the sub-state hump.” He said the loss to graduation of Washington County’s Kylie Penning, 5’8” guard/forward, and Megan Stegman, 5’7” point guard, hurt the Lady Tigers; however, this season’s team is not without experience. “We have something to build on,” he said. That for sure will be the case in another year when Romeiser’s junior players become seniors and the sophomores and freshman from this year’s team continue to gain floor experience. Boys Coach David Bisnette’s Tigers finished the past season with an overall record of 13-8 and 10-7 in league. Washington County has a new coach this year, Lyle Thompson.

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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Class 1A, Division 1

Bringing Home the Hardware Hoxie’s Spresser leads a team loaded with talent

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or the Hoxie men’s basketball team, the saying that “the future’s so bright we have to wear shades” holds true for the 2013-14 season. Coach Aaron Dardis, in his ninth year as the Indians’ head coach, has high hopes his team will “take off from where we ended last year.” His take on the 20-4 season last year was “we were overachievers and made it to state by exceeding everyone’s expectations. We were Northwest Kansas League champions in both the regular season and the tournament. So expectations this year are high and we hope to exceed them again. We’re looking for a return trip to state.” Considering that Hoxie is loaded with talent and returning players, a return trip to state is not out of the question. Led by returning senior Kade Spresser, a 6’2” point guard who is just about everyone’s all star pick in western Kansas, Hoxie also returns seniors Chase Kennedy, a 5’8” 2-guard, and Mitchel John, a 6’4” post player. Returning juniors include Connor Katt, a 5’9” guard, and Tanner Smith, a 6’5” post player. That’s an impressive load of returning talent that other teams in the region can ignore only at their own peril. Coach Dardis also commented that one of the keys to Hoxie’s success is that the boys “have played together a long time. They play summer ball every year and they have played together since grade school. They know each other and are good friends, both on and off the court. If they play together and play up to their potential, they could bring home a lot of hardware.” One of the challenges Hoxie faces this

By Sandra Stenzel lings carefully and gave the kids pointers following his own successful basketball career. “Dad was pretty good, too, and Kendra went on to play D1 ball at K-State, so it was always a challenge to me to live up to my family,” Spresser said. He and Kendra spent many hours in the shed playing one-on-one, and he commented that “she was always a challenge until I got taller. She gives me the inspiration to play 110 percent all the time.” The same goes for his other sisters who made sure he kept up the family work ethic. Spresser said the best thing about playing for the Hoxie Indians is the relationship he has with his teammates. “Some of us have been playing together since sixth grade, and they always give me inspiration to do my best. We don’t want to let each other down. They give me the drive to want to win, and we all get along pretty good, so it makes it fun to play together and work hard to reach our goal.” That goal, of course, is winning a state championship this year and Spresser said his teammates “are willing to do whatever it takes to get there.” He also said he Courtesy Photo and his teammates hang out at almost every school event given that they attend a small school. called Spresser, “probably the best high “We want to make the most of our last school player I’ve ever seen,” a sentiment year together and that’s why we spend as other opposing coaches are probably much time together as we can.” thinking but not saying. The nagging back injury could be the Spresser, the son of Dennis and only thing standing between Spresser Shawn Spresser, grew up in a basketball family and credits the time spent playing and a successful senior season. “I have a cracked vertebrae and it’s been holding with his three older sisters in the family Quonset shed with giving him a love of the game. His father watched the sibSee HOXIE, Page 42 year is keeping everyone healthy. “We have to make it out of football without injuries and, of course, Kade Spresser is rehabbing a back injury he had last spring.” A healthy Spresser is key for Hoxie. Dighton coach Earl Steffens


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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Class 1A, Division I

St. John-Hudson’s Dean Wade Versatility is key to his play Story and Photo by Mark McCoy

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he St. John-Hudson Tigers dominated discussions of the Central Kansas press corps during the 2012-13 boys’ basketball season. The Tigers could literally do it all — defend, shoot within the paint, hit the open jump shots and drain 3-balls almost at will. More than one correspondent agreed that the Tigers could probably “play up” far beyond the 1A Division I level, where they clinched the State championship with relative ease, defeating a solid South Haven team 70-50 and ending the season with a 25-1 record. In a team chock-full of talented and quick seniors, 6’ 7” sophomore Dean Wade stood tall. He moves with an easy, almost flawless grace and is generous on the court. Although he led the team in scoring with 319 points, Wade made a ton of assists. Watching Wade play, you can’t help but be reminded of an all-time great basketball player. “Larry Bird,” Wade said, when asked his greatest influence in the sport. “I watched a lot of his games when I was younger. I would watch his videos and then go out into the driveway and practice.” Wade has a simple philosophy. “Play as a team and play hard to win,” he said. Wade knows hard work only enhances natural talent and he trains hard, practicing at least three times a week and playing not only for the St. John team in summer league, but MYOB ball as well. Wade has grown over the summer, adding at least an inch-anda-half to his height and a lot of muscle to his once lanky frame. His 2012-13 statistics are impressive, averaging 16 points a game, 7.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 3.6 blocks and 2.2 steals. He hit 118 of 196 2-point field goals for a whopping 60 percent average and drained 13 of 39 treys for a 39 percent average from beyond the arc. Wade made 70 of 100 charity shots for a 70 percent average from the stripe. He is also an impressive defensive player, using his height and vertical leap to swat away balls that would otherwise slip through the goal. He also is unusually fast for a tall player. “He’s really versatile,” Tiger head coach Clint Kinnamon said. “Most of the colleges are looking at him as a potential three or maybe a stretch-four player. He can go inside or outside. For us, this year he is going to play a three and a four.” The Tigers shoot — and make — a lot of 3-pointers. “These guys have done a fantastic job with good fundamentals. They were taught at an early age how to shoot with good form. Most of them have pretty good shooting form, so consequently they are going to make a lot of shots,” Kinnamon said. Kinnamon said that the top eight players of the 2013-14 Tiger team had the ability to make 3-point shots. “That makes it very very difficult to isolate and key on just one particular person,” he said. “It should be a season where we are going to have three guys average between 15-22 points per game. “Balance is a wonderful thing.”


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Hoxie Continued from Page 40 me down all spring and summer, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get back to full strength.” He added that “I’ve been told to take it easy so I’ve been taking little steps to get healthy and I’m almost 100 percent. I intend to have a good year.” The support of the Hoxie community is also vital to the success of the school’s basketball programs, both men’s and women’s. Spresser said, “the girls are just so good and they are a big draw. That helps us a lot and sets a pretty high standard for all of us in the school and community. Then, the school and the community just back us all the way and give us a reason to win.” He went on to say that “parents drive 2-3 hours for away games and when we look up in the stands at those games, we have as big a crowd of supporters as we do at home games. It’s great.” Dardis agreed that community support of Hoxie basketball is a phenomenon other schools can only envy. “We get almost all of our games televised and that’s because the community supports us and makes sure the funds are there to get us on TV. It just builds on itself because then people who can’t make the game can see it on TV, and that just give us more support over time. We love this community and they love us right back.” Long known as “title town” for women’s basketball, this could be the year Hoxie becomes “title town” for men’s basketball as well. Dynasties are being built in both programs. “It’s exciting,” Dardis said. “We won’t know what we’ve got until the first game, but I have a good feeling.” Apparently, so does the rest of the Hoxie community.

Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Scenes from Season Past At left, Southern Cloud’s Katelynn Hicks has her eye on the bucket. Below, Kami Miller from Rexford-Golden Plains shoots around a Hope defender.

Photos by Jim Williams and Mark McCoy


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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ucklin returns one of the state’s top players for a squad that finished third place in Class 1A, Division I with a 19-6 record last season. Morgan Hood, a standout volleyball player, collected first team all-state Class 1A honors. Hood, a 5’9” senior shooting guard, averaged 17.7 points and 8.4 rebounds and shot 45 percent from the field for coach Craig Bowman. Hood hit a buzzer-beater to defeat St. John 38-36 in the third place contest. It marked the fourth state appearance in school history, the first since 1998. Hood has been first team allconference every season and was also honorable mention all-state as a sophomore. Her sophomore year, she collected 15.6 points and 8.4 rebounds and she averaged 13.5 points and 7.3 rebounds as a freshman. In addition to Hood, Bucklin also returns junior guard Janae Price (11.1 points) and junior guard/forward Allyson Rudd (6.3 points). Bucklin has three straight .500-plus seasons. Boys The Bucklin boys, under coach Sarah Kirk, went 2-17 last year. Five of the top six players last season were seniors. Junior forward Colton Downey is the lone returning starter.

Alyssa Oborny of LaCrosse, right, goes for the basketball during a 2012-13 season game with Central Plains.

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Bucklin Red Aces

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Centre Cougars

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fter two consecutive trips to the state tournament and with four starters and seven key players returning, life could be good on the court this year for the Lady Cougars. Centre’s record of 16-7 was enough to earn the Lady Cougars a sub-state championship before they lost to St. John-Hudson in the first round of 1A-Division I state tournament. “I expect us to be very competitive. We have proven scorers and strong defenders to build on,” said Alan Stahlecker, who is in his fourth year as head coach. “Staying healthy is always a key. We aren’t extremely deep. We will need to develop a stronger rebounding mentality as our best rebounders graduated. We need to move our defense to a higher level if we expect to take the next step.” Returning starters are: seniors Cacey Simons, 5’10” wing/forward, Makenzie Deines, 5’11” post and Bryanna Svoboda, 5’7” guard; and junior Shelby Makovec, 5’6” guard. Boys The Cougars finished the 201213 season under coach Greg Wyatt with a record of 11-10 overall and 5-6 in league.

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Good Luck to the Fairfield Falcons

Fairfield Falcons

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airfield returns five starters from a team that was one win away from a state playoff tournament berth in 2013. Coach Todd Cossman expects his team to compete for league and state this year. He said outside shooting, rebounding, and leadership will all be keys to the Falcon’s success. Leadership should be a staple for the Falcons. Four of their returning starters are seniors, with two juniors returning to starting and semi-starting roles. Returning starters: John Dealy, F/C, 6’4”, Sr.; Wayne Schoenecker, PG, 5’8”, Sr.; Eric Schoenecker, G, 5’7”, Sr.; Ryan Ewy, G, 5’7”, Sr.; Cannon Burns, F, 6’, Jr. Girls Fairfield finished last season with an impressive 18-5 record, but fell one game short of a state playoff berth. This year the Falcons return two starters and four letter winners. Improving the team’s shot percentage and defense are coach Chris Hewitt’s objectives for the team’s immediate success, as he looks to four other letter winners to step up and take on a leadership role. “We are going to have to have some people step up and be leaders on and off the court,” he said. “We also need to become better shooters, that is something we need to work on in the off season.” In Hewitt’s three years at Fairfield he has turned around a program that finished 4-17 the year before he took over. Hewitt has put together a 34-33 record since he has been there, and continuing to develop a winning culture is his top priority. “We would like to just continue to improve,” he said. Returning Starters: Anna Schwertfeger, G, 5’6”; Hali Pankratz, G, 5’7”.

Goessel Bluebirds

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or the first time in awhile, coach Ryan Hoopes expects his Lady Bluebirds to have size and depth. “We have very young players, but have a lot of potential,” said Hoopes, who is in his seventh year at Goessel. “We have no seniors this year and only three juniors, but have a very strong sophomore class ... The keys for our success will be how quickly we can perform at the level we are capable of. I see a lot of young talent, but much room for improvement.” Returning starters will be guards Erin Brubaker, 5’8” junior, and Page Hiebert, 5’11”, and Aleena Cook, 5’3”, both sophomores. This trio helped the Lady Bluebirds go last season to the sub-state semi-finals, where they lost to Fairfield by 3 points. Goessel finished the season 11-11. Boys It’s a rebuilding year for the Bluebirds, who lost four starters and six seniors to graduation. “We will be looking for many guys to step up and fill the spots from the guys that graduated,” said Curtis Guhr, who is in his second year as head coach. “We have some guys to step into those roles but just not a lot of experience. “Fundamentals and defense are going to be the keys for us this year. With many new guys and younger guys playing, we will focus on the fundamentals for the game. We will have decent speed so defense also will be a key for us.” The Bluebirds finished the 2012-13 season, 9-12. Senior Ben Wiens, a 6’0” guard, is the only starter from that team. Other returning players are: seniors Brian Hiebert, 6’3” post; Reece Hiebert, 6’1” post; and Zach Showalter, 5’10” guard.


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Hanover Wildcats

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he Lady Wildcats ended the 2012-13 season with records of 13-8 overall and 7-4 in league play under coach Ryan Doebele. Hanover loses six seniors from last season’s roster, which contained only two juniors —now seniors — Abby Richter, 5’9” center, and Heather Moore, 5’9” forward. Boys The Wildcats ended last season with a 13-7 overall record and a league record of 10-3 under coach Kim Lohse.

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Hoxie Indians

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oxie returns four starters from last year’s undefeated team that went on to win state. Hoxie’s unblemished 26-0 record last year lead them to their second Class 1A state title in as many years. As expected, coach Shelly Hoyt has high expectations for her team. Hoyt’s main objective for this season is to develop a deeper bench to complement the core of their returning team. “We’re trying to get younger kids developed and establish a bench,” said Hoyt. 2012-13 Record: 26-0 Returning Starters: Kristina Farber, 5’10”, Sr.; Gabi Spresser, 5’7”, Sr.; Carly Heim, 5’6”, Jr.; Lexi Schamberger, 5’10”, Jr. Boys Coach Aaron Dardis has built Hoxie into one of the top Class 1A, Division I programs. The Indians took third place two years ago and then advanced to the state tournament with a first round loss to Stockton last winter. Dardis, 128-69 overall, earned Hays Daily News Coach of the Year honors last season. Hoxie started the season 3-3 and had its best player, all-state guard Kade Spresser, sidelined with an ankle injury. Then, the Indians won 17 straight contests and Spresser earned all-state honors. Plus, the Indians had strong bench scoring and depth, rarities among any Class 1A program, especially one that’s also a wrestling powerhouse like Hoxie. “It allowed us to have a deeper rotation and handle foul trouble better,” Dardis said. Spresser (18.2 points per game), senior point guard Chase Kennedy (16.7 points) and junior guard Connor Katt (7.8 points) return.

Good Luck to the LaCrosse Leopards & OtisBison Cougars!

LaCrosse Leopards

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oach Laron Nordstedt, in his second year as head coach, hopes to take his program to the next level this year. “I want to see this team continue to grow and improve collectively as a team throughout the year and be playing our best basketball by the end of the season,” he said. “We have a lot of experience returning and if they continue to work hard and improve then we have an opportunity to win a lot of games and accomplish some great things.” Returning starters are: juniors Alyssa Oborny, 5’5” point guard, Ashley Depperschmidt, 5’8” guard/ forward and Marissa Wagner, 5’5” guard/forward; and sophomore Morgan West, 5’10” forward/center. “A big key to our success will be having some leadership step up. We have a lot of talent and experience, but having some leaders emerge will help us become a better team,” Nordstedt said. “Building some team chemistry and having a couple younger girls step up into prominent roles will further help us.” Boys LaCrosse lost in the second round of sub-state last year to eventual state champions, St. John. The Leopards finished the season with an 8-14 overall record. LaCrosse has one returning starter, senior Marshall Jay, a 6’2” forward. Coach Rob Holopirek has a simple formula for improving this season. “One, play defense. Two, rebound. Three, ball security. Four, finishing shots,” Holopirek said. “We expect to play hard, play smart, and play together as a team.” The Leopards will also rely on seven other upper-classmen to step into varsity roles this season.

Lakeside Knights

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akeside finished with a .500 record last season after losing in sub-state to finish with an 11-11 record. Coach Kyle Beisner will look to improve from last year’s record in his ninth year coaching the Knights. Beisner’s record over those nine years is a solid 111-83. Two starters will be back for the Knights — Justin Underwood, and Shayne Renken. Lakeside also returns several younger players eager to take on varsity roles. “We bring back a good group of young players with some experience,” said Beisner. “We’ll need to work hard in the gym, and in the weight room this off-season.” Returning Starters: Justin Underwood G/F, 6’3”; Shayne Renken, G, 5’8” Girls The Lady Knights should improve on their six win season from 2012-13 with the return of three seniors and four starters overall. “Only losing one senior starter from last year’s squad, we hope to capitalize on our varsity experience,” said head coach Judy Gasper. “Expectations are high this year. We will have to give an all-out effort every night, especially hitting the boards, and stepping it up on the defensive end.” The Lady Knights are expected to improve. How much they improve is yet to be seen, but Lakeside should expect to get to at least a .500 record with the experience they will have on the floor. Returning starters: Kelsi Smith, G, Sr.; Savana Brush, F/C, Sr.; Carridy Storer, PG, Jr.; Sierra Senger, G, Sr.

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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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Linn Bulldogs

The Lady Bulldogs have an abundance of starting experience; now they need someone to step up to take the place of the two starters they lost to graduation. “We will have to get some girls to step up in those roles who will do what it takes for their team,” said Brittni Oehmke, who is in her second year of coaching at Linn. Her record is 15-27, with 10 wins and 11 losses during the 2012-13 season. Other skills the Lady Bulldogs must hone are “continue improving on our fundamental base, becoming better at finishing at the rim and being more comfortable shooting from outside.” Oehmke has seven players with starting experience: Acacia Thalmann, Sami Meier and Lauren Oehmke, all senior guards; Kendra Bargman, Kesiah Thalmann and Rachel Bott, junior guards; and Nicole Ohlde, junior post.

w w w.m id w a yco o p .co m

Macksville Minneola Osborne Mustangs Wildcats Bulldogs

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eteran coach Jeff Kuckelman offers this observation about the Central Prairie League: “It’s always tough and Macksville’s season will force the Mustangs to get better or suffer the consequences.” As a result, he hopes his team, which has made eight trips to state, the most recent in 2011, will be ready for post-season play. Projected starters are: seniors Tanner Tranbarger, 5’11” point guard, Jordan Welch, 6’1” guard and Simon Miller, 6’4” forward; sophomore Alan Ibarra, 5’7” guard; and junior Kaden Herman, 6’2” forward. Other returning players are: junior guards Isaac Seibert and Cristian Acosta; and senior forward Andy Wendland, who suffered a knee injury the first game of the 2012-13 season. “We gained some valuable experience last season as our seniors got tons of playing time as juniors,” Kuckelman said. “We hope to play an uptempo game and force turnovers to create easy baskets. We will not be very deep, especially early in the season, but hope to develop that throughout the year.”

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n his sixth season as Wildcat coach, Moe Ptacek expects his team to make a great showing at state this year. “We lost in the first round last year, and we should have gone much farther, but we let one game slip and that was it for the season,” he said. Minneola will have to work hard to get to that level again this year as only one senior returns to the team. Ptacek said, “We had three seniors, but one quit and another one moved, so senior Aaron “Boots” Pinkerton will be the lone returning senior.” Junior Joey Herrington is also expected to provide leadership, but the rest of the team will have to pick up the load if Minneola succeeds in meeting the coach’s expectations. “We’re looking for good leadership and we’ve got good freshmen and sophomores that were impressive last year. We’ll be very young, but we’ll play hard.” Girls The Lady Wildcats will be learning a new system and a new way of playing this year as first year coach Brandon Haynes works to improve on his team’s 1-19 record last year. To help with that task, Haynes welcomes back four returning starters. Kristin Schrelweis, a 5’8” senior forward will be joined by fellow seniors Sarah Wilczel, a 5’7” guard, and Shaley Sumate, a 5’6” guard. Natalie Stewart, a 5’10” junior forward is also a returning starter. Two other players from last year’s team return and they are Sallon Haynes, a 5’6” junior guard, and Taylor Efaff, a 5’10 sophomore forward.

918 N. Second Osborne 785-346-2006 Dine-in or Carryout

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ith four veteran seniors returning to the court this year, coach Brad Roadhouse believes the Lady Dogs control their destiny. Returning are: Baylee Wolters, 5’7” and Taylor Noel, 5’5,” guards; and Jessica Princ, 5’9” forward, and Caitlyn Miller, 5’9” forward. Miller averages 13.6 points a game; Princ averages 12.6. Roadhouse said this year’s keys to success will be to “stay healthy and bench play out of underclassmen.” The past season, Osborne went 17-6, winning second place at substate after being defeated by Thunder Ridge, Kensington, 58-32. Boys The Bulldogs finished the 2012-13 season on a high note, winning four of their last six games and playing in the sub-state final. Osborne finished the season as sub-state runners-up and an overall record of 6-15. “We expect our team to pick up where we left off, competing and giving ourselves a chance to win every night,” said Jamie Wolters, who is in his second year as head coach. The Bulldogs return five starters — another good sign for this season — junior Brandt Wolters, 6’1” forward; senior Maverick LeRock, 6’3” forward; senior Kenton Ubelaker, 5’8” guard; junior Parkes Wolters, 5’11” guard; and sophomore Jake Tiernan, 5’10” guard. Coach Wolters said his team’s keys to success this season will be “competing every night in practices and games.”


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ary Loring heads into the 2013-14 season in his 30th year as Pike Valley’s head coach. The Panthers lost in the semifinals of sub-state last year with an 11-9 record. Pike Valley will have to replace eight seniors from a season ago, but Loring still has high expectations for his team. “Even though we lost eight seniors to graduation, I have very positive expectations for those returning,” said Loring. “We had a successful junior varsity season and some of them have valuable varsity experience as well. How our players work during the offseason and our attitude headed into the season will be key.” The Panthers will look for their incoming juniors and seniors to provide leadership and a sense of identity for their team. Returning: Casey Jensen, 6’5”, Jr.; Gabe McGregor, 5’7”, Jr.; Kameron Blanding, 5’9”, Sr.; Dallas Loope, 6’2”, Sr.; Nathan Larson, 5’9”, Jr.

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espite a record well below .500 last year, the Bulldogs found a way to make it to the finals in sub-state before losing to Hoxie. Quinter will have four starters coming back from its 8-14 team. “Hopefully we can build on what we accomplished last year,” coach John Crist said. “We have a lot of experience coming back. That should help us.” Getting to the sub-state finals last year after such a dismal season should carry over into this season and give the Bulldogs a great sense of confidence. If the four returning starters can stay healthy throughout the season, Quinter should be competitive in its league. Returning starters: Colton Corwin, F, 6’, sr.; Ryan Tebow, G, 5’10”, Sr.; Brett Crist, G, 6’2”, Jr.; Tyler Waggoner, G, 5’9”, Jr.

Satanta Indians

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ith four returning starters, the Indians hope to be a better team than a year ago, when they ended the season with a 4-17 record. “We should be an improved team and we want to be competitive,” said Tim Dusin, who is in his second year as head coach after more than a decade at Spearville. He said the keys to success will be consistent shooting, reduced turnovers and having younger players step into roles with more responsibility. Returning starters: James Turpin, 5’11” G, So.; Jesus Garcia, 5’11” G, So.; Garrett Miller, 6’3”, P/F, Sr.; and Tristan Colantonio, 6’4” P, Jr.

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Pike Valley Quinter Panthers Bulldogs

Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2 GOOD LUCK

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Southern Cloud Warriors

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he Lady Warriors come into the 2013-14 season looking to fill a few spots that are vacant from last season. Southern Cloud is without its starting point guard, power forward, and leading scorer from last year. Head coach Tyler Williams is looking to junior guard, Jacy Martin to transition into the point guard role. “Also, we are in need of an emotional leader. We lost a great one, Shannon Wallace, to graduation and need someone to be that rock for everyone to lean on,” Williams said. This is Williams’ second year as head coach at Southern Cloud. After setting an aggressive pace for his team last season, when his team finished with an 8-11 record, he expects his team to step up and continue fulfilling its potential. “I fully expect our girls to take their aggressiveness to the next level. I feel that last year we started to set a tone with how hard we are going to go. Now I would like us to make shots. We should be successful.” Returning Starters: Jacy Martin, G, 5’7”, Jr.; Morgan Cool, F, 5’6”, Sr.; Haylie Kingsley, G, 5’4”, Sr.; Kathleen McAllister, G, 5’4”, Sr. Boys Coach Roger Perkins returns six seniors to his roster, including cocaptains, seniors Ryan Perkins, 6’0” point guard; and Dakota Cooper, 6’2” guard/forward. The Warriors finished the 201213 season with a record of 5-14.

MARK McCOY/Kansas Hardwood A Beloit student leads the student body in a cheer known as “The Roller Coaster” at the Dec. 13 North Central Activities Association game against Ellsworth.


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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Spearville St. Francis Royal Lancers Indians

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eamwork, rebounding and defense will be keys to the Lady Lancers upcoming season, according to Lorie Stein, who begins her sixth season as head coach. Stein, whose overall record is 81-29, said she is excited for this season and “I am looking forward to working with these young athletes.” Returning starters from the 2012-13 substate runnerup team are: Lindsey Heskamp, 5’3” senior guard, and Rachel Slattery, 6’0” junior post. Last year’s team finished with a 17-6 win-loss record.

Boys The Lancers had an underwhelming record last year, but all five of their starters are back, and will look to take a step forward this year. Of the five starters that are back, only one of them, Matthew Kerschen, is a senior. If Spearville can move in the right direction, and improve from last season’s 5-16 record, they will be poised to have an even better season in 2014-15. “I expect us to be a very competitive team, night in and night out,” said coach Christopher Sohm. “If we use our experience we gained from last year to our advantage we should be very successful.” The Lancers are young. If they can capitalize on their experience and just keep making progress throughout this season they have a bright future in seasons to come. Returning starters: Matthew Kerschen, 5’10”, Sr.; Kaden Stein, 6’4”, Jr.; Reegan Kliessen, 5’10, Jr.; Clinton Stein, 6’, So.; Nathan Stein, 6’2”, So.

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he Lady Indians were 2-18 last year and are returning two starters. Both are juniors and will be threeyear starters by their senior year. This year St. Francis is hoping to improve its shooting percentage, and find a leader who is willing to step up and make shots. Developing their guards is also a priority for coach Susan Dinkel. “Finding someone to step up and make shots, as well as develop stronger ball handlers will be key for us,” Dinkel said. If the Lady Indians can accomplish the goals Dinkel has set for them, they should be a much improved team next year. This year looks to be more of another rebuilding year. Returning starters: Kyla Bandel, G, 5’5”, Jr.; Justice Wiley, F, 5’6”, Jr. Boys St. Francis finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 8-14. In May, the Indians lost six players on their roster to graduation. Stepping into their role will be this year’s seniors, Mason Schiltz, 6’0” guard; Wyatt Landenberger, 5’6” guard; Jacob Baxter, 6’2” post; and Lenny Olivares, 5’11” guard. Jeff Beims is the St. Francis coach.

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St. John Tigers

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t. John will be one of the favorites to win the 1A-D1 state championship this year. The Tigers return three talented starters, Kade Kinnamon, Zuriel Reyes, and Dean Wade. Last year St. John went 25-1 on its way to a state championship. One of the keys for coach Clint Kinnamon is keeping his players healthy. “We have three guys that will play at the college level. We need to keep those guys healthy,” he said. St. John will look to a few letter winners and underclassmen to fill roles that were lost to graduation. Four other players with varsity experience will be expected to step into new roles. Jesus Alvarez, Trey Nelson, Gera Calleros, and Jacob Milton all have valuable time with the varsity squad form last year. Two freshman guards, Cole Kinnamon and Jorge Calleros, will also assimilate into the varsity mix. “It is equally as important for our other guys to be healthy as well,” said Kinnamon. “They are just as, or maybe even more, important to our success this year. Trey being back full strength is key. Jesus continuing to improve. Jacob and Gera playing with the confidence they did this summer, and getting stronger will be critical as well.” Returning starters: Kade Kinnamon, G, 6’0”, Sr.; Zuriel Reyes, G, 5’10”, Sr.; Dean Wade, F/G, 6’8”, Jr.

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Stockton Tigers

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t could be a good year for Stockton basketball. In his first year in 2012-13, coach Tom Stephens’ team finished the season with an 18-8 win-loss record and a fourth place finish at the state 1A Division I tournament at Emporia. The Tigers return four starters from that team. “Expectations are to improve every practice and every game and to be playing our best basketball in the post season,” Stephens said. “Keys to success will hinge on our ability to execute as a team, be good in transition from offense to defense and defense to offense, communicate and maintain a good attitude throughout the season.” Returning starters: Reed Stephens, 6’2” Pt/Shooting Guard; Christian Hamel, 5’9” junior, Pt/ Shooting Guard; Justin Wiltfong, 6’4” junior; and Jaden Williams, 6’5” Junior. Girls Stockton went 9-13 last season and has experienced a big turnaround under coach Mark Wildeman. The Tigers were 1-17 just two years ago, but improved from three wins to nine victories last season. Stockton went 1-8 in league play and finished one spot out of the Mid-Continent League cellar ahead of WaKeeney-Trego, which didn’t win a league contest. Junior Morgan Beougher is the Tigers’ top returner. Stockton hasn’t made the state tournament since 1999, only the fourth state trip in school history. The program hasn’t had a winning season since 2001.


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Thunder Ridge Kensington

t’s all about hard work and commitment for John Boden’s Longhorns. The second-year head coach returns four starters from a 201213 team that went 10-11: seniors Garrett Krueger, 6’2”, Shane Webb, 5’8” and Dalton Miner, 6’3”; and junior Dylan Bretton, 6’0”. “A senior laden team with 11 of top 12 back should bring more wins if they learn to play better defense and be more intense for a full 32 minutes,” Boden said. “Seven seniors and four juniors make up the 12.” The Longhorns play in the Northern Plains League. Girls The Thunder Ridge girls have put together four winning seasons and three years of at least 15 victories, including a 18-5 record last year — 9-1 in league play. The Longhorns improved throughout the season under coach Darren Grauerholz, now entering his sixth year. The Longhorns eventually lost to Bucklin, 45-32, at the first round of state. It marked the first time in 22 years a girls’ basketball team from West Smith County reached state. Thunder Ridge graduated five seniors and four starters, including point guard Brittany Kirchhoff, who led the team with 14 points, three steals and two assists, but returns talented sophomore forward Kirsten Burger, an all-league player as a freshman. She averaged nine points and seven rebounds. Senior forward Caitlin Boden also is back after she was a key reserve who averaged four points and four rebounds.

Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2 Proudly supporting Victoria Athletics!

Marysville (785) 562-2186

Valley Heights Mustangs

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he Mustangs lost two important players to graduation; however, Valley Heights returns more than 75 percent of its scoring, rebounding and assists from what coach Adam Plummer calls “a solid 2012-13 campaign.” The team’s record last season was 14-8, which includes a loss in the sub-state semi-finals to Hanover. Returning from that team is 6’5” senior center Charles Musil, who received All-State, All-League and All-Flint Hills honors. He is joined by fellow seniors, 6’2” AllLeague forward Derek Trimble and 5’8” guard Bennett Bargdill. Plummer said the keys to Mustang success will be “consistent perimeter shooting and keeping our starters out of foul trouble.”

Girls The Lady Mustangs finished the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 17-5 and 10-1 in district under coach Don Potter. Valley Heights loses one senior from last year’s roster.

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Victoria Knights

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he Lady Knights — substate Division 1 runnerup last season — have one simple goal in mind this year. Get better! Anne Dinkel, who is in her third year as the Lady Knights’ head coach, said her team needs to be “in good physical condition to get up and down the floor. Improve every practice, every game.” For that to happen, Victoria needs strong leadership from its seniors, team play, young players willing to step up and strong defense, said Dinkel, who has an overall career record of 29-18. Returning this year are seniors Kristin Huser, 5’3” guard; Audra Nowak, 5’9” forward; and Brooke Schmidt, 5’4” guard. Boys Victoria finished 12-9 last season under veteran coach Stuart Moeckel. The Knights averaged 51.3 points per contest and had no player average more than 7.2 points per contest. The top six players averaged between 7.2 and 5.5 points per game. Senior guards Clayton Roth and Sam Ottley and junior guard Bryan Dome and senior forward Connor Gagnon are among the key returners. Ottley led the team with 8.4 rebounds, while Dome paced the squad with 2.9 assists. Victoria has finished with at least nine wins in the last seven seasons with six years .500 or better.

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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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Deutscher Continued from Page 26

Lakin Broncs

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he Broncs have a new coach this season, Nate Schmitt, who replaces Steve Davidson. Davidson led Lakin to a 7-14 record in 2012-13. Based on this past season’s roster, six seniors were lost to graduation. The Broncs have three seniors on this season’s lineup — Gage McAtee, Robert Aparicio and Javier Esquivel. Girls The Lady Broncs lost two seniors to graduation, leaving five juniors to move up to the 2013-14 senior class — Alex Martinez, 5’6” forward; Karlee Davidson, 5’5” guard; Maja Henry, 5’6” guard/forward; Kara Simmons, 5’5” guard; and Morgan Pepper, 5’4” guard. The Lady Broncs finished this past season 9-12 under coach Shawn Michaelis.

Greeley County Jackrabbits

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he Jackrabbits finished 10-11 this past season under coach Troy Haberman. Girls The Lady Jackrabbits compiled a 9-10 record during the 2012-13 season. Serving 18 Communities Including:

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had just nine victories. The Railers had enough depth to use eight or nine players regularly in 2012-13 and often wore teams down with their speed and depth. In an early season game against Ness City, Ellis won 67-46. The Railers led by one midway through the third quarter, but then forced turnovers on five straight possessions and went on a 9-0 run to put the game out of reach. Deutscher collected 21 points and 10 rebounds. In the press, Deutscher was quick enough to guard the ball handler or be the interceptor.

“She is just so quick and has such a good reach and so fast that we try to move her around so that we can sneak her some places that they are not expecting it,” Mick said. At that point, Ellis was 6-1 and Deutscher had 17.7 points and 9.3 rebounds. The Railers lost only to Smith Center the remainder of the season and Deutscher continued to put up big numbers. “She has got a lot of physical tools,” Mick said. “She is using them really well right now. She is playing smart. She gets a lot of steals. She handles the ball sometimes. She has got a nice little jump shot. She has done a really good job.”

Scott City Continued from Page 33 battle because you have forced them to think more, which slows them down. Creating that doubt in the other team’s guards is the key.” While defense is the heart and soul of any Coach O’Neil team, he doesn’t overlook the offense and the need to build teamwork. “We’ve always told our post boys that if you want to get the ball in the half-court, then you have to get the ball to (the guards) in the full-court transition. And we tell the guards that once the fastbreak is stopped, they have to get the ball into the post. “It’s a partnership between the bigs and the littles. If you share equally, then you all have a chance to be successful.” And teamwork isn’t limited to the basketball court or the football field. “Even after practice within our different sports, we take turns with who picks up the dummies and who sweeps the floors. It’s not just the freshmen,” says Coach O’Neil. “We stress that we’re all there as Scott City Beavers — not as different groups of kids.”

That, says O’Neil, is where the foundation for success is built. “I don’t think I know Xs and Os better than anyone else. What we’ve accomplished is the ability for our kids to play hard and play for Scott City rather than as individuals,” he emphasizes. “They trust each other and play hard for the team on the front of your jersey. You won’t have success unless you are playing for the right reasons.” Those lessons haven’t been lost on his two sons. “It’s never about one guy being more important than the team,” adds Brett. “He makes everyone feel important. Even a role player is important in the team’s success.” With four state basketball titles and a 308-101 (.753) record at Scott City, no one can dispute O’Neil’s winning philosophy or his results. O’Neil and his Beavers simply know how to win . . . and keep on winning. Rod Haxton is publisher of the Scott City Record.


Page 50

Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Class 1A, Division II

Shania Steinike The spotlight’s on her this year

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By Mark McCoy

hania Steinike, a 5’10” forward/guard of the Wilson Lady Dragons basketball team, might be the most overlooked female basketball player in the tough Northern Plains league coming into the 2013-14 season. Steinike has played in the shadow of Wilson’s Karlie Steinle for the past three seasons, but opposing teams have learned not to underestimate her on the court. She posted a total of 19 games of double-digit scoring in the Lady Dragons’ 2012-13 regular season, including a 20-point game Jan. 22 against Palco. Steinike averaged 11 points per game; four rebounds; 2.1 steals; 1.4 assists and .6 blocks for the season. Her free throw average was also good, shooting 58 percent at the charity stripe, but she improved that percentage vastly during post-season play, shooting 88 percent against Otis-Bison in the sub-state tournament and 83 percent against Baileyville B&B in the first game of the 1A Division II State tournament in Hays. The bigger the game, the better she seems to play. Steinike likes to shoot from outside the paint, hitting the open jump shots and has a good 3-point shot. She averaged 23 percent from beyond the arc and 47 percent in 2-point land last season. Steinike likes to flow down the court with the ball, looking for an open teammate and if her opponents make the mistake of leaving her open, she pops up and drops the ball through the net. Improving every day is the mantra for the Lady Dragons, and Steinike has taken that philosophy to heart. “I believe that you have to try and get better every day, not just yourself — but the whole team,” Steinike said. “That is what got us to state last year. This year, we need to work hard to come together as a team, both on and off the court.” The Lady Dragon lost a lot of quality seniors to graduation including Steinle, Shania’s sister Tanisha, Antjelica Pfannenstiel and defense specialist Kasey Davis. Steinike transferred from Ellsworth to Wilson her freshman year and claims watching and playing with the Wilson team was her biggest influence in basketball. “Playing with Karlie and Justine Dlabal, Ashley Zelenka and even my sister — they worked hard in everything they did and tried to get better every day. I See WILSON, Page 57


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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Class 1A, Division II

Team to Watch Dighton boys return the talent for 2013-14 season O

By Sandra Stenzel

and sophomores who, ne of the men’s "We want kids to have self confidence. They need Steffens said, “really teams to made a great transition watch in westto see themselves as winners and having the ability this summer from JV to ern Kansas this year will to succeed no matter what. We want them to believe they varsity. They’re all ready be the Dighton Hornets. can win. That will always give them the ability to get to bring it this year.” With a roster full of a job done here and in life beyond school." The importance of returning talent, Dighton great school teams in will be one of the teams Earl Steffens small towns is not lost garnering statewide Dighton Coach * on Steffens who said, “of attention as they work to course, academics have bring the state title to come first, and we home. Last year’s coach, this year will come not only from expesupport other activities Earl Steffens, led the rience but also from having a large like band and the scholars bowl teams team to a 16-8 record, and he thinks number of boys in the senior class and just as much as the athletic teams.” He this could be the breakout year for a depth on the bench that will keep the also had high praise for the Dighton Dighton. “We won the substate last girls’ basket ball team. “Amy does a year and lost in the first round of state, team competitive long after other teams are tired. He also believes the great job and she deserves credit for so we want to come back and win it all Hornets benefit from a good summer the school’s winning attitude as much this year,” Steffens said. Dighton has basketball program that keeps the kids as anyone else.” He added that in towns not brought home a state championthinking about basketball while honing the size of Dighton, “the school is the ship since 1994, but this year the hub of the community. It’s what holds school has high hopes of winning it all. their skills during the off season. He added that “this is a team of hardwork- the town together and serves as a But in order to get back to the state ing kids. They work awfully hard and meeting place and the place where peotournament, Dighton will have to face they’ve played together a long time. ple visit. It’s where you see your peosome very competitive opponents in There is no substitute for that type of ple, hear what’s going on, and develop a the always salty Northwest Kansas team unity.” spirit that makes kids want to stay or League. “We joined the league for the With a deep bench and good team come back home when they get older.” first time last year, and that league sent chemistry, Dighton will still depend on Steffens also believes school activities five or six teams to state. We’re well its seniors for leadership if they are to provide kids with another quality that seasoned by the time we get through make a return trip to state. Those will make them successful all through league play.” leaders will include Isaac Alinor, a 6’ 1” life and not just school. “We want kids The Hornets have gone through all around floor general, Matthew to have self confidence. They need to some tough years recently. “Four years Mulville, a 6’0” defensive specialist and, see themselves as winners and having ago, we were pretty down in the “one of the hardest workers I’ve ever the ability to succeed no matter what. dumps,” Steffens said. He added that, coached,” according to Steffens. Ryan We want them to believe they can win. “we made the decision that coaches Horn is a 5’11” senior who missed 9-10 That will always give them the ability need to really talk to the kids. Yelling games his sophomore year due to a to get a job done here and in life and screaming doesn’t work. We had knee injury, but returned to full beyond school.” to explain the goals and communicate strength last year to help Alinor handle Experienced players steeped in teamwith the kids, and that made a huge the ball and to be the team’s three work, possessing good attitudes, and difference.” He said it took two or point shot ace. Matthew Barnett is a backed by total community support three years to shape up the kids and 6’4” senior Steffens called “a very polmay prove the winning combination the program, but the effort paid off. ished offensive athlete who has for Dighton this year. No doubt, the “Now,” he said, “we’re successful and entire community will be cheering will continue to be successful.” Steffens improved his defensive game for this year. Sam Moomaw, a 6’5” senior them on as they step into the spotlight also commented that attitude is everymissed last year due to a knee injury this year as one of the top teams in thing. “Mechanics can be taught but western Kansas. attitude is something you live and dem- but this year he is back to 100 percent health and is expected to bring inside onstrate, and the kids have seen that defensive pressure, something he * Earl Steffens resigned as Dighton’s and in turn shown that to the commushowed promise with this summer. basketball coach shortly after this interview nity.” Other team members include juniors took place. Steffens believes Dighton’s strength


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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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Ashland Blue Jays

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enior Canaan Endicott, a returning all-state honorable mention selection, paces the Ashland girls for coach Karrie Kay. Ashland went 16-7 last season and lost to Ingalls, 46-34, in sub-state. Ashland lost three times to Ingalls, who has three straight state tournament bids and finished with an undefeated season and state title last winter. Endicott averaged 13.8 points per game, shot 34 percent from 3-point range and hit 39 treys. She also led the team with 5.8 rebounds and 2.6 steals and was second with 31 assists. Ashland graduated its second, third and fourth leading scorers, but junior guard Shelby Luerman is back after she averaged 4.1 points per contest.

Boys The Blue Jays finished the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 13-10 under coach Kit Walker. Ashland lost three seniors to graduation this past spring, leaving two players to move up into the veteran spots — seniors Grant Meininger, 6’4” center/forward; and Alex Ornelas, 6’0’ forward.

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Axtell Eagles

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xtell won the boys’ Class 1A, Division II state championship last season with a whirlwind winter that culminated in a 19-8 year. Axtell had its first winning season, first league title and first state berth since 1996. Axtell was the No. 7 seed at state, but delivered a 65-56 victory against Fowler. It marked the first state crown in school history. Axtell finished perfect in tournaments all season with a 12-0 mark. Lucas Dalinghaus, who won the state title on his birthday, will have to retool this season without senior Aaron Schmelzle, who led the team with a season-high 26 points against Fowler. However, all-state forward Payton Heinen returns after he scored 15, 15 and 23 points in the three state tournament games. Heinen averaged 15 points and shot 63 percent from the field with 9.3 rebounds a game. Senior guard Christian Buessing and senior guard Derek Porting are also returning starters. Girls Coach Fred Feldkamp led the Axtell girls to a 9-12 record. Axtell returns four starters, three whom were freshmen last season. Sophomore guard/forward Courtney Heinen averaged 11 points per contest, while sophomore guard Kiersten Talbot tacked on 9.6 points per game. Junior guard Ashley Buessing and sophomore forward Megan Buessing are also returning starters.

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BeloitSt. John’s Blujays

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hree years ago, Beloit-St. John’s and Tipton formed a co-operative agreement for sports. That year, it paid off in girls’ basketball as the Blujays advanced to the Class 1A, Division II state tournament. It marked the first trip since 1992 for St. John’s and the first one since 2004 for Tipton. That season, Vanessa Kresin, coach Keith Kresin’s daughter, averaged 22 points per game for a 22-2 season. The last two years, the Bluejays have posted 14-7 and 12-9 records. The nine-player roster had three seniors in its top six players. Senior guard Kellan Niewald averaged 13.1 points per game, while senior forward Hannah Eilert tacked on 5.1 points per contest and 6-foot-2 sophomore center Chloe Miller scored 4.1. Niewald also led the team with 6.2 rebounds, 3.8 steals and 2.4 steals. Boys The Blujay boys finished 18-3 lost to White City, 42-40, in substate. The top four scorers return for coach Lance Bergmann. Junior Trey Dubbert averaged 15 points a contest, senior Connor Eilert averaged 12.3 points, senior Luke Eilert tacked on 11.4 points and senior Caleb Brummer averaged five points a game.

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Chase Kats

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he Chase Kats finished the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 5-15 and the loss of five seniors to graduation. Coach Mitch Light leads a young team this year — one loaded with sophomores.

The Chase Kats Joyce Kizzar, right, goes after the basketball during a game this past season.

Girls The Lady Kats continue to compensate for their lack of height. Chase finished the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 3-17. The good news is the Lady Kats lost only one senior to graduation. Returning are: seniors Joyce Kizzar, 5’7” forward; and Emily Root, 5’8” post.

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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Cheylin Cougars

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oach Anthony Blair delivered a 16-5 season in his third season with the program. Blair recorded 12-8 and 11-11 records in his first two seasons. Cheylin will miss center Joshua Keltz, who averaged 14.2 points, 11.1 rebounds and 4.9 blocks per contest. The Cougars also graduated their second and third leading scorers in Kenan Reeh (12.5 points) and Adam Orten (11.4 points). Senior forwards Ty Carmichael (8.1) and Walker Janicke (5.8) are the Cougars’ lone returning starters. Girls Veteran Max Keltz remained on to coach the girls. Keltz had spent 25 years coaching football before he gave the reins to Blair, a former assistant, this fall. The Cougars finished 10-11 last season, the program’s best record in many years. In the previous four seasons, the Cougars had four, nine, three and three wins. Senior Stephanie Busse, a fouryear starter, graduated after she averaged 12.8 points and 12.5 rebounds a game. Senior point guard Shayla Hubbard, also a four-year starter, returns after she averaged 11.9 points and led the team with 3.3 assists. Junior guard Allie Frisbie, sophomore guard Danea Magnani and sophomore forward Elizabeth Keltz return after they all averaged between seven and five points per contest.

Dighton Hornets

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ighton finished with a 16-8 record last year after losing in the first round of the state playoffs. The Hornets will return all of their starters, but not all of them will be ready to play due to injuries. Two seniors suffered injuries during football season and will have to wait to return to the team. Head coach Earl Steffens* expects his team to compete for a league title this year, but says “our defense will have to improve and our shot selection will be critical.” With the injuries the Hornets have had to deal with in the offseason, keeping his team healthy throughout the season is one of Steffens’ main concerns as well. “We need to improve on freethrow shooting, and stay healthy during the season,” said Steffens. “We’ll need our seniors to be leaders, and have to find a strong post game. We should be able to do that.” Returning starters: Issac Alinor, PG, 5’9”, Sr.; Ryan Horn, G, 5’11”, Sr.; Matthew Mulville, F, 5’11”, Sr.; Matthew Barnett, 6’4”, Sr.; Dalton Birney, 6’5”, Sr.

* Steffens resigned as head coach shortly after this interview took place.

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Elyria Eagles

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his may be Greg Fields first year as the girls’ head coach, but he is no stranger to the Lady Eagles. He assisted the team’s former coach the past two seasons, the most recent of which ended with Elyria as sub-state runner up and a record of 13-8. “Our girls have a strong desire to make it to state this year. After coming so close this last season, they have worked very hard in the offseason to improve their skills,” Fields said. He said tough defense and improved ball handling and shooting will be the keys to success this season. The Lady Eagles return Rachel Adamyk, a 5’9” sophomore forward, who was the team’s leading scorer as a freshman. Also on the roster will be Anna Adamyk, a 5’8” junior guard, and Camille Anderson, 5’11” senior forward.

Fowler Goldbugs

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owler went 24-1 on the boys’ side and lost 65-56 to Axtell in the state championship game. The Goldbugs averaged 65 points per contest, while allowing 41 points per contest. Coach Scott Brown, in his sixth season, has seen marked improvements every year. Fowler went from 9-9 to 10-11 to 13-5 to 20-5 to 24-1 in his career. The Goldbugs graduated leading scorer Jett Reese, who averaged 15.1 points per contest. Tem Shetley, who averaged 8.7 points per game as a junior, moved back to Branson, Mo. with his family. His dad is a traveling minister. Fowler brings back two starters in senior guard Taylin Bird (14.1 points) and senior forward Ty Clark (11.7 points). Bird made 65 3-pointers for a team that had 163 treys. Girls The Goldbug girls finished 12-10 with coach Adam Sobba. Fowler graduated five seniors from that team; however, sophomore guard/forward Nikki Friesen was the team’s best player last season as a freshman and she returns. The forward averaged a team-high 12 points a contest — no one else averaged above 7.9 — and shot 46 percent from the field. She also averaged 6.7 rebounds per contest. Sophomore guard Sara Dressler collected 1.7 steals a game.


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Boys The Bulldogs return three starters, seniors Tristen Schwarz and Grant Spresser, both 6’1”, and Shane Ryburn, a 6’0” post, from a 2012-13 team that went 5-16. “We expect to show improvement day in and day out. After a great summer of competition, I expect us to compete and have a chance to win in every game,” said Mike Doll, who is in his second year as head coach. “Our keys will be to execute and take good shots every possession. Defensively, we need to force tough shots and outrebround our opponents every game.”

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Hope • Dillon • Navarre • Woodbine White City

Golden Plains Hope Lions Bulldogs

xpectations are high this year for the Lady Bulldogs, who finished the 2012-13 season in third place at the 1A, Division II state tournament at Hays and a season record of 22-3. Returning this year is starter Jordan Christensen, a 5’10” senior guard and forward who was named to the All-League first team and to the All-State Class 1A second team. Starter Kylie Jones, a 5’11” senior forward and center, also returns after being named to the All-League first team. Other returning starters are Hailee Spresser, 5’9” senior guard and forward; and Kami Miller, 5’5” sophomore guard. Four substitutes — Mikayla Lobato, Paulita Ramirez, Macayla Easton and Leea Juenemann, all seniors — also return. Parker Christensen, who is in his 20th season as head coach, said “being a sound, strong team on the defensive end is always one of our biggest keys to success.” “We will work hard to improve individual floor play. For me personally, my goal will be to play our best ball in the final three weeks of the season ... Also to make it back to the state tournament and play our way into the title game.”

North Central Kansas

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he Hope Lions return their leading scorer from the 2012-13 season — 5’7 senior guard Trevor Hostetter. Other members of this season’s senior class are Ty Wood, 5’10” forward; Dustin Davidson, 6’1” forward; and Dustin Rhodes, 5’11” forward. Davidson wasn’t the Lions’ leading rebounder this past season, but he came close with an average of 3.3 rebounds a game. Hope finished the 2012-13 season under coach Joe Ross with an 8-13 record.

Hunter Aumiller, left, blocks a shot during the 2012-13 season. Girls The Lady Lions finished the 201213 season under coach Chris Brown with a 16-7 record. They might have to struggle to maintain that many wins this season. Hunter Aumiller, 5’8” senior, returns to a team that lost five seniors to graduation this past spring.

Natoma Tigers

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he Tigers return four starters from a 7-13 team that lost in the semifinals of sub-state last year. Head coach Kurt Grafel is optimistic that returning the core of his team will keep the Tigers competitive in league, but recognizes the need for his seniors to fill the void left from graduation last season. “We lose one senior from last year, therefore, we will bring back a solid group of players,” Grafel said. “It will be hard to fill the position left by Phillip Murphy, so one or more of our players will have to step up and play aggressively. We should hope to be near the top at the end of the season.” Grafel is in his third year at Natoma, and with an overall record of 14-48, this season looks to be the most promising. Returning starters: Cale Cooper, F, 6’1”, Sr.; Jackson Meiers, G, 5’11”, Sr.; Elijah Holmes, G/F, 5’11”, Sr.; Triston Boxum, G, 5’11”, Sr. Girls The Lady Tigers return their second leading scorer, 5’5” sophomore guard Regan Casey, after ending this past season under coach Aaron Homburg with a 15-8 record. Casey averaged 14.9 points a game. She is joined on the roster by seniors: Marcy Barth, 5’6” guard; Tatum Pfortmiller, 5’9” forward/center; Breanna Eulert, 5’7” forward; and Ella Niiranen, 5’1” guard.

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Ingalls Bulldogs

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he Lady Bulldogs return to basketball this year as defending state champions and defending SPIAA League champions, and that translates into high expectations for coach Roger Thurlow and his team, which went 26-0 last year. “That’s a lot for this year’s team to live up to but we intend to have fun and be our own team this year.” Thurlow, with an overall coaching record of 101-50, returns three starters. Rebecca Wyatt is a 5’11” senior forward and Kaisha Batman is a 5’6” sophomore shooting guard. Bulma Galaviz, described by her coach as “a really strong and smart athlete,” is a 5’6” guard/forward combo player. Also expected to contribute heavily is Hope Beach, a 5’6” guard. “We have to replace last year’s point guard who was a 4-year all state starter who handled the ball and is now playing at Dodge City Community College. But, we’ve got people who can and will step up.” Boys In his first season at Ingalls, men’s coach Curtis Myers is looking forward to this year after the Bulldogs finished last year with a record of 2-15. “Our kids are terrific, the community is terrific and we’re fortunate to be here in Ingalls,” he said. The team is returning four starters from last year, but Myers declined to name names of the people he expects to contribute heavily to team success. He said, “Everything is wide open and I expect competition at every position. No one should feel they don’t have a chance, and no once should feel overly safe. We’ve got experienced people and some strong sophomores and freshmen, so it should be fun.”


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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Northern Otis-Bison Valley Cougars Huskies T

orthern Valley finished last season with a 9-12 record, and returns three starters. Junior Matt Stutsman, 5’8” guard; seniors Hunter Chandler, 6’1” forward, and Jordon Baird, 5’10” guard, will be called upon to lead the Huskies in 2013-14. “We need someone to step up and be a leader on the team,” Chuck Fessenden, nine-year head coach, said. “We also will need to be able to score in the 50s on a consistent basis.” As for his team’s future, Fessenden expects to challenge for the league title as well as make a deep run in sub-state. “We expect to improve over our past couple seasons. We are capable of competing for the league championship, and making the finals at sub-state.” Girls Logan Kats, a former Norton standout, is back to lead the Northern Valley girls. The girls finished 5-17 last season and graduated just one player in Erika Chandler. Three of the top four players were freshmen last season, including guard Brooke Baird, the leading scorer at 10.2 points per game. Junior forward Kortney Cunningham returns after she averaged 9.8 points per contest. Sophomore guard Shayna Vincent averaged 5.2 points per game and sophomore forward Sarah Baird averaged 4.5 points per contest. Cunningham led the team with eight rebounds a game and Sarah Baird was second with 5.5 rebounds.

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he Cougars play this season without their 6’0” guard, Dylan Wissman, who was lost to graduation. Wissman was at the heart of recent teams, one of which came painfully close to a state title for two of his years. This past season, Otis-Bison finished their season under coach Bryant Briggs with a 7-15 record. Erin Patrick steps into the head coach’s job this year. Returning are: Kole Urban, the team’s third leading scorer in the 2012-13 season, Colin Regan and Jordan Hoffman.

Emily Schneider controls the ball for Otis-Bison during a game this past season. Girls The Lady Cougars lost their two leadings scorers who combined for an average of more than 20 points a game during the 2012-13 season. Members of this year’s senior class are: Annie Kraisinger, the team’s third leading scorer with 8.3 points per game, Emily Schneider and Raegan King.

Palco Roosters

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oth Palco teams face change this season. On the girls’ side, Shay Simoneau takes over for Justin Pierce, who is now at Eureka. Pierce went 12-9 last season, the best record since a 16-4 mark in 2007-08 that set the school record for wins. Seniors Fallyn Handley and Kiley Marcotte lead the way. Handley paced the squad with 11.4 points per contest, while Marcotte, a guard, averaged 11.3 points per game. Handley, a forward, led the team, with 10.4 rebounds per contest. Junior guard Jaci Benoit (5.7 points) and senior guard Maddy McClellan (3.4) are also returning starters. McClellan led the team with 2.6 assists per game and Marcotte was second at 2.4 assists per contest. Junior Macy Keller is the only Rooster taller than 5-7. Boys On the boys’ side, Chris Drees left for Plainville after a successful sixyear run. Drees went 12-9 last season. Palco and Logan formed a cooperative agreement in football, but, as of early October, Palco was trying to separate for basketball. Ethan Kosjer, a former All-American punter for Fort Hays, would be the coach. Kosjer coached junior high football this fall.

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SylvanLucas Mustangs

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oach Jude Stecklein hopes for another chance at this season’s sub-state

finals. A year ago, the Mustangs lost to 3A school Hutch Trinity. “We are looking for a good season,” Stecklein said. “We would like to get back to substate finals again and this time win.” The Mustangs ended the 201213 season with a record of 14-6. Returning starters are senior Nick Lawson, a 6’1” forward; and junior Ty Heenan, a 5’9” guard. “We need to be able to rebound much better and get better at the defensive end,” Stecklein said. Girls The Lady Mustangs return three starters from the 2012-13 team, which ended the season with a 7-14 record. Leading the way for Sylvan is Micheala Merchant, 6’1” senior; Tasha Bland, 5’9” senior; and Gabby Hoard, 5’5” junior. “I expect us to be very competitive in our league,” said coach Jason Seehafer. “We have some good players coming back and if we can develop a point guard and some outside shooting, we will be much improved. “We need to develop some depth as well as some good ball handlers. We turned the ball over too much last year. If we can play good defense and get some guard development, we will compete with everyone on our schedule.”

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Page 56

Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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Tescott Trojans

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he Trojans of Tescott finished the 2012-13 season under coach Shawn Pecenka with a record of 4-16.

Tescott’s Shiland Fuller takes the ball during the 2012-13 season. Girls The Lady Trojans return their leading scorer and rebounder, Shiland Fuller, 5’6” senior. Tescott ended the 2012-13 season under coach Terry King with a 3-17 record. Joining Fuller in the senior class are: Shaylynn Sparkman, 5’6” guard/ small forward; Makayla Webb, 5’5” forward; and Amber Pickering, 5’1” guard. Height could be an issue for the Lady Trojans.

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Triplains Wallace Co. Wildcats Titans

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he Lady Titans return a loaded roster from a team that fell one game short of qualifying for state last season. The Titans finished the season with an overall record of 13-8. Triplains-Brewster head coach, Kent Gfeller has one simple expectation for this year. “Win one more game at sub-state, and advance to state.” The Titans starting five will be comprised of all upper classmen returning from their starting spots a year ago. “Keys to success are to continue to improve, and get better each day,” Gfeller said. Returning starters: Brittany Plummer, PG, 5’2”, Sr.; CJ Lewellen, F, 5’6”, Sr.; Sheyna Regge, F, 5’8”, Jr.; Alicia Barrie, G, 5’5”, Jr.; Dora Roulier, C, 5’11”, Jr.

Boys Michael Collett expects to start with the basics in his first year as head coach of the Titans. “We will be a high pressured defensive team. This year is about building confidence as a team and program while also winning some games,” he said. The Titans finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 0-21, losing to Weskan in the first round of substate. Keys to wins this year will be to create a “fast-paced defense and offense and create easy scoring opportunities with our defense,” Collett said. Returning this season are: seniors Michael Schmidt, 5’10” forward, and Will Allen, 5’7” guard; and junior guards Nate Jorgenson, 5’10” and Seth Smith, 5’8”.

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xpectations are high for the Wildcats. Coach Larry O’Connor is returning three starters from a team that took 4th place in 1A-DII state and ended the year with a 19-7 record. Cayden Daily, Nate Klinge, and Clay Schemm all return. “We hope to have a great summer of development, and for our young kids to mature, and be ready to handle varsity basketball,” O’Connor said. Senior leadership from Daily, a 5’10” guard, and Schemm, a 6’2” forward/center, should help the Wildcats have a solid season and also develop the younger players on the team. Girls The Lady Wildcats return Rachael Kuhlman, a 5’9” junior forward who was named to the All-State team her freshman and sophomore years. She averaged 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists this past season. She will be joined by juniors Rylea Rains, 5’9” forward; and Sarah Dinkel, 5’7” guard; and senior Ally Dewees, 5’5” guard. Also on the roster is expected to be Jordan Compton, a 5’7” senior guard who started every game as a sophomore, but missed 20 games this past season because of concussions. Coach Landon Steele has high expectations, but concedes there are many “could” and “potentially” associated with his outlook. “The girls had a great summer in the weight room, on the court and every one of them showed improvement,” he said. “If we play to our potential, we could be tough to beat. Numbers and athleticism should allow us the versatility to play multiple defense, and could be one of the best defensive teams we’ve had in my six years.”

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Weskan Coyotes

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eskan ended the 2012-13 season with a record of 14-6. This year, the Lady Coyotes return their three top scorers, including senior forward Kelsey Hale. She averaged 12.2 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. She is joined by juniors Robyn See, who averaged 10 points a game; and Shaelynn Compton, who averaged 7.5 points. Boys The Coyotes lost their leading scorer to graduation, but their second leading scorer and rebounder returns. Hayden Walker, 6’0” senior, averaged 12.7 points per game during the 2012-13 season and 5.7 rebounds. Other returning seniors are: Tyler Comption, 5’8”; Trevor Frasier, 5’1”; and Robert Martin, 5’9”. Weskan finished this past season with a 15-6 record.

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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

GrainfieldWheatland Grinnell ‘Hawks

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yler Flavin, in his 10th season with the program, has posted .500 or better records the last three years, including an 11-9 mark overall. Flavin is 108-109 with the Thunderhawks. Wheatland-Grinnell graduated Brooke Ostmeyer, who led the team with 11.9 points per contest. However, Ostmeyer was the lone senior. The Thunderhawks return senior forwards Paige Ramey and Taylor Rathgeber and senior guards Shania Dirks and Hannah Gillespie. The quartet averaged between 9.5 and 4.3 points per contest. Rathgeber led the team with five rebounds a game and Gillespie tacked on 3.1 assists a contest for a squad that averaged 47 points per game and allowed 43.1. Boys After a state appearance with a 10-14 mark two seasons ago, the Thunderhawk boys stepped back to a 5-14 mark under coach Charles Packard. Senior Austin Lager graduated after he led the team with 11.6 points per contest, but juniors Dominic Zimmerman, Nathan Goetz and sophomore Kaleb Holaday are back as starters. Zimmerman tallied 7.4 points per contest, while Goetz tacked on 6.5 points and Holaday averaged 5.6 points per game.

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Wilson Dragons

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ilson finished last year with an impressive 21-4 record and a fourth place finish in state. Coach Rod Seehafer expects another good season in 2013-14 with five returning letter winners. “I’m expecting another good year because we have five returning letter winners that all have a lot of experience from sub-state and state last year,” Seehafer said. He is focused on developing his guards and bench this season to balance his team out. “Keys to success depend on how quick our guards come around, and how our depth develops.” Returning Starters: Shania Steinike, G, 5’10”, Sr.; Janell Ptacek, F, 5’9”, Sr.; Dreamer Roberson, PG, 5’8”, Sr. Boys Wilson will have to heavily rely on a cast of young players without much varsity experience. Only one starter, Marcus Denham, is expected to be back for the Dragons this year, but it is questionable if he will be living in the Wilson school district when the season starts. If Denham is with Wilson this season he will undoubtedly be Wilson’s leader, and go-to option. Denham averaged 15 points for the Dragons last year and received an all-league honorable mention. Jarod Shelton, a 6’2” post player, will be the only other senior on the team. “We had 14 kids play summer league this past year, and I feel it gave us a chance to get a look at some of our younger players,” said coach Mark Spears. “We will try to apply defensive pressure and get up and down the floor in transition. I think we will have good depth, but lack a lot of varsity experience.”

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Grinnell Locker Plant

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Steinike Continued from Page 50 respected everything they did and decided that is what I needed to do,” she said. At the helm of the Lady Dragon basketball team is head coach Rod Seehafer, a 37-year veteran who led the Lady Dragons to the State tournaments in 2011 and 2013. Seehafer was recognized for his years of service coaching, all of them at Wilson, and a total of 576 wins and five trips to the state tournament in his career at the August Kansas Basketball Coaches Association All-Star game in Topeka. “Shania is going to have to be our scorer this year,” Seehafer said. “She’s a good point guard and ball handler. She’s working on her skills to become a better ball handler. Shania is one of the three seniors we are going to lean on for leadership. She’s very athletic, makes good outside shots and can take the ball inside. She has all the skills and we are looking forward to her senior year.” Steinike attributed a large part of her on-court prowess to Seehafer. “He has helped me a lot, not just basketball, with everything,” she said. “He has told me to keep shooting, every single day. I don’t always do that, but he pushes me and all the girls on the team and that really helps. He wants me to get better and he really cares about me.” Steinike is humble about assuming the role as the Lady Dragon’s new floor leader. “I will try,” Steinike said. “I’m not sure about being the floor leader, I want the whole team to step up too. I know it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be different without Karlie, but I will do my best.”

David A. Peterson, M.D. Bradley C. Daily, M.D. Michael J. Johnson, M.D. Byron L. Grauerholz, M.D. Todd M. Herrenbruck, M.D. James W. Bogener, M.D. Lindsy Batson, P.A. -C


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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

College Hoops

Kansas State

Off-season losses could plague Wildcats Stories by Matt Denning

K

ansas State suffered some heavy set backs in the off-season. The biggest was Angel Rodriguez transferring. Rodriguez was arguably the best point guard in the Big 12 coming into the 2013-14 season. What Rodriguez brought to Kansas State was irreplaceable. His speed, defense, and ability to get to the basket was the best in the conference by any point guard. With Angel transferring the point guard duties will be left up to a much slower Will Spradling. Spradling is a very disciplined player, but lacks the athleticism, defense, and overall scoring ability that Rodriguez had.

Adrian Diaz also transferred to be closer to his family. Diaz showed flashes of athleticism, but never really panned out for Kansas State. What he does take with him though is a defensive presence in the paint, leaving D.J. Johnson and Thomas Gipson as the Wildcats’ primary post players on defense. Neither are taller than 6’9”. Bruce Weber did bring in two solid recruits in the offseason — Brandon Bolden, a 6’11” transfer from Georgetown, and Justin Edwards, a talented guard who transferred from Maine. Unfortunately for Kansas State, both have to sit out a year before becoming eligible

to play. Kansas State’s best player is going to be senior Shane Southwell. Southwell has tremendous upside. He can shoot from anywhere on the floor, and is very athletic. Southwell ideally plays as a 2 or 3 guard, but because of Rodriguez and Diaz transferring, Southwell could be playing anywhere from point guard to a power forward/ post position. Everything Kansas State does is going to have to go through Southwell. All-in-all, this year is going to be a tough season for Kansas State. 2013-14 is going to be more about rebuilding and developing

younger players more than anything else. If Shane Southwell averages 20 or more points a game, Gipson and Johnson own the paint on both ends of the floor, the Wildcats find someone to effectively fill in another guard spot, and Will Spradling improves drastically on defense, Kansas State could make the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, that doesn’t look very realistic. What does seem to be more realistic is finishing in the bottom half of the Big 12 this year, and making a push for the NIT. Matt Denning is a senior at Kansas State University.

University of Kansas T

This could be the ‘Year of the Freshmen’

he Jayhawks’ success this year will depend a lot on their incoming freshman class. That’s not always bad when you sign the best player in the country, and the second best recruiting class in the country. Joel Embiid was a late bloomer in high school. For much of his high school career he wasn’t even ranked, but the most recent Rivals ranking has Embiid as the number 25 recruit in the

country, and the third best center in the 2013 class. Embiid is 7’0” with a 7’5” wingspan. Embiid has a very fluid game. He is incredibly coordinated for his size and just as athletic. When he dunks, he is literally looking down at the rim. Conner Frankamp, a Kansas native from Wichita North, will join the Jayhawks. Frankamp has won two FIBA Gold Medals for the United States as well as averaging more than 30

points a game in high school. Frankamp is a natural shooting guard, but is ready to step in as a point guard if needed. Rivals ranks Frankamp as the number 37 recruit in the country and the seventh best player at his position. In December of 2011, small forward Brannen Greene committed to Kansas. Greene is an all-around great player. Greene is 6’7”, has incredible ball handling skills, can pull up and

shoot from anywhere, and is able to drive and dunk with ease. Greene is also a very good passer, and gets up and down the court in transition. Rivals ranks him 29th in the 2013 class, and the 6th best player at his position. Frank Mason committed to Kansas last October. Mason is the purest form of a point guard. Mason’s ball handling See JAYHAWKS, Page 59


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Page 59

College Hoops

Wichita State

Shockers move into season with confidence

T

o understand the unbelievable job Gregg Marshall has done in his six and a half years at Wichita State, and the Shockers’ potential going into this season, one has to reflect on their 2012-13 season. In 2013 Wichita State not only stole the attention of basketball fans in the state of Kansas during the NCAA Tournament, they also became the biggest story of the tournament, and the biggest story of the season when they took a 9 seed, at-large bid, and rolled straight through the West Region into the Final Four. Both Kansas State and Kansas qualified out-right for the tournament when they were crowned co-champions of the Big 12 Conference, while Wichita State finished second to Creighton in the Missouri Valley Conference. Once Wichita State got into the tournament though, they hit the ground running with huge upsets over first seed Gonzaga

By Matt Denning

and second seed Ohio State to advance to the Final Four. The Shockers were 10.5 point underdogs to Louisville going into the Final Four. With 13 minutes left in the second half, Wichita State had Louisville on the ropes with a 12 point lead. Louisville was visibly rattled as they kept throwing up illadvised three points shots, one after another, that were failing to land. When Rick Pitino called a timeout to compose his team, Marshall met his team on the court, and before he said anything he turned around, crossed his arms, looked up at the hysterical Wichita State fans, and simply nodded. That is the kind of confidence Gregg Marshall has brought to Wichita State. Unfortunately Louisville did regain its composure and went on to edge the Shockers by four points in the final minutes of the game, but a message had been sent. Wichita State is for real, and they deserved to be on that stage, in that arena, with the number 1

overall seed of the tournament. A lot of Marshall’s success is due to his talent for recruiting. Malcolm Armstead left a PAC 10 scholarship at Oregon, and transferred to Wichita State where he had to take out loans and worked at a car dealership to pay his way through his first year. Armstead averaged 10.9 points and 3.9 assists for the Shockers. Carl Hall suffered from neurocardiogenic syncope, a disorder that caused him to pass out frequently due to an abnormal heart rate. He sat out two years while attending school during the day, and working a grave yard shift at a light bulb factory before coming back to basketball and joining Wichita State’s team. Hall averaged 12.5 points and 6.9 rebounds. Cleanthony Early chose Wichita State over San Diego State, and averaged 13.7 points for the Shockers. Ron Baker, Wichita State’s three-point specialist from Scott City, played his first year with-

out a scholarship, and quickly became a starter. Marshall’s knack for recruiting has been vital to Wichita State’s success, and he has another good class coming in this year. Junior college transfer, Darius Carter will join the team in 2013. He played power forward, and was ranked the eighth best recruit coming out of the junior college ranks. He was also an NJCAA All-American. Shaquille Morris was a standout power forward in Oklahoma before committing to the Shockers. DJ Bowles a freshman point guard coming that was a top 150 recruit will join the Shockers in 2013. Ri’an Holland, and John Robert Simon round out the Shockers 2013-14 recruiting class. With Ron Baker, Fred Van Fleet, Cleanthony Early, and Tekele Cotton returning from last year’s team, the Shockers will be one of the better teams in the Missouri Valley Conference, if not the favorite to win.

you’ve seen Wiggins highlight tapes, you know that’s a fair statement. Nothing is holding Wiggins back from being the best player in college next year. His speed, coordination, and athleticism are unrivaled. This is Bill Self ’s best recruiting class, and it’s not unfair to assume it’s the best recruiting class Kansas has ever had. All six of these incoming freshman will get playing time, and most of them will get significant playing time. Depending on how

well they mesh this year will be key to how well the Jayhawks do, because a number of these guys are going to be gone after this year. To use a cliché, the sky is the limit for the Jayhawks. If KU’s 2013 recruiting class can coexist, and maximize each other’s potential, the Jayhawks could look reminiscent of Kentucky. The upside is the 2011-12 Kentucky team, but relying on an all freshman dream team can also have the downside of 2012-13 Kentucky.

Jayhawks Continued from Page 58 skills are unrivaled, and he can stop and go on a dime. Mason is the fastest player on the floor when he’s in. His speed and agility allow him to stop and go on a dime. He can get to the goal in a flash and is a tremendous finisher. Wayne Selden is the ranked the 2nd best shooting guard in his class, and Bill Self has already said how impressed he is of him at practice. Selden is a very physical 6’5” shooting

guard that takes the ball straight to the rim every time he drives. Selden plays a lot like a young Vince Carter. The Jayhawks’ final addition to their roster is Andrew Wiggins. There’s no way around it, Wiggins is the best player in the 2013 class. He is likely a top 3 NBA draft pick in 2014. Most NBA scouts have him as the number 1 pick overall. Wiggins is said to be the most talented player to come out of high school since Lebron James. If


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Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Upper Deck offers KU set

Special to Kansas Hardwood

Y

ou don’t have to be a basketball fan to recognize the names of these Kansas sports legends. James Naismith. Phog Allen. Wilt Chamberlain. Danny Manning. What do they have in common? They’re legends because of their connection to basketball — specifically University of Kansas basketball. In recognition of KU’s special relationship to the game Naismith created, Allen coached and Chamberlain and Manning played — the Upper Deck Company has released a star-studded collection of college basketball cards focusing on one of the NCAA’s most storied programs. The 100-card set celebrates the rich history of the Jayhawks basketball program — and includes autographed cards from standout players and coaches. What’s more, in the “Monumental Moments” subset, a variety of meaningful moments are covered while also paying tribute to unique elements of the school such as the opening of Allen Fieldhouse and an image of James Naismith’s original rules of basketball which were recently donated to the school. “This is the most comprehensive set of Kansas basketball cards ever produced,” said Brandon Miller, Upper Deck’s collegiate sports brand manager. “With such a wealth of history in outstanding players and team championships, this Jayhawks trading card set is really a tribute to one of the greatest basketball programs of all-time.” The product is loaded with

all the big names you would expect from James Naismith to Phog Allen, from Wilt Chamberlain to Paul Pierce, it spans the history of the program to bring you the greatest lineup of Jayhawk basketball superstars ever to dribble a basketball. And what is even more exciting is the opportunity to score rare autograph cards from many of these big name talents randomly inserted into the product. Some lucky collectors can also find limited-edition dual and triple autograph cards. All autograph cards are inserted live into the product, as no redemption cards were issued. The card set was produced through Upper Deck’s exclusive partnership with the Collegiate Licensing Company. Beyond the 76 player cards featured in the base set are a variety of compelling insert sets as well. The “Final Four Legacy” subset chronicles 10 stellar players who made huge impacts in the NCAA tournament. The “Distinguished Numbers” insert set pays tribute to some of the greatest players to wear the KU jersey. The “Jayhawk Hall-of-Fame” insert set calls out players and coaches who have distinguished themselves as the best in the game. And the “Jayhawk Legacy” insert set is comprised of 30 cards and speaks to players who are beloved members of the KU family. Aside from Hobby boxes, which boast 24 packs per box and eight cards per pack, a separate retail Blaster Box version exists. The latter includes 10 packs per box, eight cards per pack. What’s unique about the Blaster boxes is that each one contains a bonus National

Championship replica banner. Fans can buy blasters and collect all five of KU’s men’s championship banners, which is certainly a must-have for fans looking to celebrate this championship history of the school. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Upper Deck to bring this one-of-akind set to KU and basketball fans everywhere,” said Paul Vander Tuig, trademark licensing director for the University of Kansas. “We will be kicking off the release by having special blow-up cards available at the KU Bookstore for Homecoming weekend as a gift with purchase. Fans can also collect the entire four-card blow-up set at their local Kansas Sampler retail locations. And of course, the trading cards will be available at our Allen Fieldhouse store and at KUStore.com.”

These cards are examples of those found in Upper Deck’s tribute to KU basketball, the second legacy basketball card set produced by the company. The first featured North Carolina. Included are several players who have never had cards before but were important to KU and Kansas basketball.

Upper Deck is the leading sports and entertainment trading card and collectibles company. For more information on Upper Deck and its products please visit www. upperdeck.com. Also see the ad on Page 2 in this edition of Hardwood.


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

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Boys that finished third in the Centennial League last year — 6’3” junior Payton rebounds a game last year as a Stephens (9.0 ppg.), 6’3” freshman. Luke Berblinger, a senior Darian Taylor (5.0 6’1” senior, and Shawn Davis, ppg.), 6’2” senior Winston a 6’1” junior, also return after Dimel (7.0) and 6’2” senior getting playing time last year. Alex Stitt (4.0). “I’m confident Jace will step “We expect Payton up his game this year and be Stephens to lead us as he has even more productive for us fully committed to make on the offensive end,” himself better in Wahlgren said. the off-season,” Sophomore Noah Brooks said. “Alex Webster is expected "It has been a process, the most challenging of my career. will lead us at the to be the starting guard spot, while point guard and That being said, the guys have shown perseverance Darian and Davis will provide and persistence. We have a good mixture of young Winston give us depth inside. athleticism and Salina South has a players along with three solid seniors. We are looking toughness. new coach, sort of. to take some positive steps this year.” Jason Hooper begins “We will be a Don Cameron his first year as the good rebounding Newton coach boys’ head coach team that will be after spending the able to play a last seven years leadvariety of styles ing the Cougar girls. defensively.” He will have plenty Junction City of talent to work struggled in the with. Three starters return senior Treyton Hines and 6’0” bounce back? Centennial League a year ago from a 9-13 team, including senior Max Kuhn. and was 6-15 overall. Two “It has been a process, the 5-11 senior Justin starters return for head coach most challenging of my Hines, a four-year starter, is Stonebraker, who scored 14.5 one of the better outside shoot- career,” Cameron said. “That Pat Battle — 6’3” senior points per game. Semaj Johnson and 5’10” being said, the guys have ers in Class 5A. He averaged In addition to Stonebraker, junior Tanner Lueker — but shown perseverance and per11.3 points a game last year 6’0” senior Ryan Fox is back sistence. We have a good mix- much of the scoring has and was first team all-league, after averaging 6.1 points a graduated. Johnson is ture of young players along while Kuhn scored 8.5 per game and 6’3” senior Ethan expected to be joined in the game. Also back are four addi- with three solid seniors. We Mitchell hopes to be back are looking to take some posi- frontcourt by 6’6” varsity tion lettermen, including 6’4” after suffering a season-endnewcomer Jordan Lawrence, tive steps this year.” junior Jordan McNelly, who ing football injury. Mitchell while 6’0” senior Danny averaged 7.5 points and 4.5 Jack Kingsley (6’0” junior), averaged 8.9 points and 6.5 Thornton will team with rebounds per game off the Gunnar Drinnen (5’10” rebounds a game as a sophoLueker in the backcourt. bench. Tanner Roble (6’4” senior) and Josh Carlgren more in 2011-12. senior), Karmen Kossow (6’0” (6’1”, senior) are the three “Overall, I feel the players have finally found some com“I am very excited about the senior) and RaShun Allen (6’0” returning starters. The Railers will get their size fort and stability in the offenreturning players on this team,” junior) are the other returning lettermen. from returning lettermen sive and defensive systems Hooper said. “There is a trebrought in a few years ago,” mendous amount of experi“This team has a chance to Brenden Downey (6’4”), Samuel Lehman (6’5”) and Battle said. “Our overall team ence and talent coming back. be very good; we had a great Josh Robinson (6’3”). speed is solid and we have the They are hungry for a breaksummer and made tons of Manhattan coach Tim tools to improve our team out season. They are excited progress,” Central coach defense, which is going to be a to turn things around and Doug Finch said. “These kids Brooks welcomes back four starters from a 12-10 team prove they can be a winner.” love basketball and I had key for us.” Continued from Page 10

Hooper also expects big contributions from senior lettermen Aaron Mar (2.2 ppg.), 6’3” Zach Nachbar (2.8) and 6’6” Shawn Smith (5.8). Salina Central saw its state tournament hopes dashed on a last-second shot in the substate finals. The Mustangs welcome back two starters from that 14-7 team — 6’4”

more ‘gym rats’ than at any time in my 10 years here. This could be the best shooting team we’ve had here and the most depth in several years.” The Newton Railers have struggled for the last four seasons, averaging just over four wins per year for veteran head coach Don Cameron. Could this be the year they


Page 62

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Nex-Tech Wireless is eligible to receive support from the Federal Universal Service Fund in designated areas. As a result, Nex-Tech Wireless must meet reasonable requests for service in these areas. Questions or complaints concerning service issues may be directed to the Kansas Corporation Commission Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection by calling 1-800-662-0027.

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Wide Variety of Phones

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Beyond Competition

Salina, McPherson receive ‘Spirit of Sport’ Award Special to Kansas Hardwood

T

he Kansas State High School Activities Association recognized the McPherson High School and the Salina-Central High School girls’ basketball teams with the 2012 “KSHSAA Spirit of Sport Award.” The award was presented at the end of the 2012-13 season. This award recognizes the values inherent in high school sports beyond winning and losing. KSHSAA Executive Director Gary Musselman invited all member high schools of the association to submit the name of an individual, coach, or team demonstrating such qualities. The McPherson and Salina Central teams were selected from eight outstanding nominations submitted by KSHSAA member senior high schools. The KSHSAA Student Advisory Team assisted in the selection of the state of Kansas honoree. As the state honorees, both McPherson and SalinaCentral girls basketball teams received plaques to be displayed at their schools. Salina South High School’s winning

nomination of the McPherson High School and Salina Central High School girls’ basketball teams was submitted for consideration by the National Federation of State High School Associations. The National Federation initiated the “NFHS Spirit of Sport Award” in 2008. The NFHS announces a national honoree at its annual summer meeting in early July. Salina South High School witnessed two remarkable acts of selflessness and unity from their “rival” schools, McPherson High School and Salina Central High School. McKenzie Haynes, a member of the girls’ basketball team at Salina-South, was battling a rare disease requiring a bone marrow transplant. For their game versus Salina South, the McPherson girls’ basketball team wore “Got Marrow?” warm-up shirts, which were also sold as a fundraiser with all proceeds donated to the Haynes family. The Salina Central girls basketball team also wore a new warm-up for their game with Salina South. These shirts had an important message, “Some

Things are Bigger than a Rivalry,” and McKenzie’s family members each received a shirt as well. “In both instances the teams showed exceptional spirit and support for another school and for McKenzie,” said Salina South High School athletic director Ken Stonebreaker. “It really shows what high school athletics and being on a team is all about.” “Kansas was the first state high school association in the nation to develop a state Spirit of Sport Award for the express purpose of recognizing outstanding acts of character and leadership, demonstrating the true spirit of sport in educational athletics,” Musselman said. “We believe it is important to focus attention on the many positive acts which occur in our programs every year. Without question, every Kansas high school has students and faculty who demonstrate the true spirit of amateur sport on a daily basis. Bringing recognition to the McPherson High School and Salina Central High School girls basketball teams is in keeping with the mission of the KSHSAA.”


Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

Page 63

Hope’s Hunter Aumiller blocks a shot.

More scenes from season past At far left, Brooke Panning of Ellinwood jumps for ball control. At left, Sam Pahls of Beloit looks for a teammate.

Kansas Hardwood photos by Mark McCoy


Page 64

Kansas Hardwood, Volume 2

KSportSImageS.com

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Kansas Hardwood 2013  

Kansas Hardwood is the only Kansas High School basketball preview magazine for western Kansas.

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