Great Bend’s versatile Sydney Unruh earned second-team Western Athletic Conference basketball honors.
Unruh led the Panthers in scoring (9 ppg), free throws (57-91) and assists (2 apg) and helped Great Bend finish with a 6-15 record, a five-win improvement. Unruh scored a season high 22 points against Junction City and played her best when she slashed to the basket.
Liberal’s Katie Hornya and her Redskin basketball teammates finished with a 23-0 record, They were two wins away from winning a Class 6A state championship for the first time.
On Thursday, March 12, the Kansas State High School Activities Association leadership pulled the plug on all state high school basketball tournaments, preventing Liberal from fulfilling its dream.
Horyna was philosophical about the decision.
“At the end of the day, we play games, and we’re talking about a virus that could kill people,” she said. “It was a tough night and left a sting with us. It hurts the most because we played with a chip on our shoulder all year after what happened last year (loss in the first round of state).”
Horyna departs as the 2019-20 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Liberal’s Carter Kruger was named Coach of the Year.
“When coach (Carter Kruger) told me about the honor, it shows how good of teammates I have,” Horyna said.
Horyna finished with 1,012 career points. She averaged 11 ppg, scoring 324, 328 and 272 points the past three years. She finished with 326 rebounds (3.5), 282 assists (3.1) and 179 steals (2.0). During the four-year run of Horyna and All-WAC Machia Mullens, the Redskins rolled to 85-8 record — 17-5, 23-2, 22-1 and 23-0.
They won the WAC team championship every year and played in three state tournaments, finishing third in 2018 in Class 5A.
WAC coaches respected Hornya, who has signed Horyna with Abilene Christian,
“They were so nice. They’d tell me how much improvement I’ve made and encouraged me,” said Horyna. “You don’t see that from many other schools.”
The WAC first team also featured Liberal’s 5-9 forward Aubrey Warden, and Dodge City’s guard Kisa Unruh and forward Chidera Okora.
The second team is comprised of Dodge City’s Camree Johnson, Garden City’s Keyhana Turner and Amaya Gallegos, Hays High’s Aleyia Ruder and Great Bend’s Sydney Unruh.
Writer Brett Marshall contributed to the article.
LIBERAL—Katie Horyna, 12; Machia Mullens, 12; Aubrey Warden, 11
DODGE CITY—Kisa Unruh, 11; Chidera Okoro, 12
PLAYER OF YEAR—Katie Horyna, Liberal
COACH OF YEAR—Carter Kruger, Liberal
DODGE CITY—Camree Johnson, 10
GARDEN CITY—Keyhana Turner, 11; Amaya Gallegos, 9
HAYS HIGH—Aleyia Ruder, 10
GREAT BEND—Sydney Unruh, 11