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March brings post season basketball and the end of season one with the Kats
At the Mike
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March brings post season basketball and the end of season one with the Kats

Goodbye February. You and your cold weather.

I know it wasn’t cold all month, in fact some nice days actually greeted the Golden Belt. But it will be remembered for the 10-day cold snap. And I mean cold.

Hate it. Hate cold. So goodbye to you.

Welcome March. Strutting in with some 70-degree days. Look at you go. Keep it up.

I do have memories of some heavy snows right around state basketball tournament time. I should hush.

Let’s go back to the 70-degree days. Yep. Positive thinking.

Prep Thoughts

By the end of Saturday, just eight teams from each class will still be playing prep basketball in Kansas. Hopefully a handful will be from right around here.

Hoisington is one of the best teams in 3A. Unfortunately, the 10th ranked Cardinals are in a loaded sub-state. Semifinal foe Hugoton is ranked 5th. Potential final foe Lakin is No. 1. Buckle up.

The Ellinwood boys are not getting any love in the rankings despite its 17-4 mark. That’s okay, they are doing it on the court. Medicine Lodge is a solid semifinal foe with a possible showdown with No. 5 Sterling in the title game.

The Central Plains girls have sat atop the 1A D-II rankings all year. Its semifinal opponent is 6-11 Hartford. The other half does have a 15-5 Elyria Christian team but the Oilers’ path looks good.

The St. John boys and girls are also vying for a sub state title. The boys came in the 7th seed but pulled an opening round upset of Macksville. The girls get 6th ranked Norwich in the semis.

The Coaching Box

So it wasn’t the perfect ending to the season for my favorite basketball team.

The day started with a text that my leading scorer was home sick, up all the previous night with the flu. After I said a few words I won’t write here, I responded to the text from the AD staying she needed to be in school being sick and could still play. I got no response to my humor.

Anyway, it proved to be the beginning of a difficult day for the Chase girls’ basketball team as our season ended in Lost Springs to Centre High School. It wasn’t pretty.

Those last games are never easy, especially for the seniors. Tori Dooling, Skylar Harrington and Lindsey Winkelman were a great first senior class.

The other seven are all freshmen and sophomores. Coming up are a handful of solid eighth graders. Chase legend Taytem Munoz, Taytem Patton in her playing days, will return to assist me.

One practice we broke into groups and had a shooting contest. The last two left were Taytem and I. She won. We never did that contest again.

And Finally

As I just mentioned, season one is in the books for me as the girls’ basketball coach at Chase.

Believe it or not, I have a few thoughts on it.

First, I need to thank Principal Kylee McDonald for taking a chance on me. It was such a good decision the USD 401 board made her Superintendent. You’re welcome.

Seriously, it was a blast. I had a great time. I think the girls did too, despite winning just a couple games. Those two wins, both coming down to the final seconds, were indeed fun.

Most of all, however, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have taken part in.

I knew going in what I was getting myself into but I also had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Building a basketball family amongst the group was something I wanted to achieve.

I feel we did that. But I had no idea just how special the relationships with the players would become.

We had just six early. Casen made it seven around Christmas. Three more joined in January and suddenly our family was 10.

I can truly say, with the season now over, I have 10 basketball daughters.

When it became late afternoon last Friday following our sub state loss and no game or practice to go to I was lost.

Practice was my favorite time. I let the girls play music as long as it didn’t get in our way. Early the music wasn’t so good. But in January when Alexis took over creating one of them there play list thingies, it got much better. Cassie, you should have let all my songs finish. Shutting off Piano Man will get you fired.

At that point it became 70s and 80s rock and roll. Not sure if the girls were just trying to appease me but several of them did know the words to AC/DC, Styx, Queen and even Twister Sister.

We’re Not Gonna Take It, right?

Practice wasn’t just going through how to beat that dad gum 1-2-1-1 full court press. Sometimes it was about me showing them how to dance and them telling me how old I was. I think Falyn and Abigail got way too much enjoyment out of that.

Practice wasn’t just about going over how to slow down the other team’s best player, usually played by Coach Munoz. If it was Addyson guarding her in a box she would literally follow her everywhere she went. Everywhere. That’s focus.

No, it was also having them sit and listen to me talk before we started. Maybe it was complementing Isabella on her 94-foot sprint to run down a Lakeside player and block her shot to save a win. Maybe it was about a dagger 3 by Skylar in the final minute to give us the lead in the Natoma win.

It was not always basketball related, though. I just like to talk. About anything really. Perhaps they didn’t like listening to me talk as much as I liked talking, but hey, they had no choice. They had to sit and listen.

Games weren’t always just about winning. They were for the comradery during pregame in our little room downstairs. Watching Lindsey strut around and getting the team fired up. Unable to make me flinch.

And sometimes they were for celebrating that special birthday afterwards, right Tori?

Anyway, it was a season I will never forget. For that I thank my favorite basketball team.