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Oiler girls eyeing Class 2A threepeat
hoisington practices 13


CLAFLIN — Central Plains girls basketball coach Pat Stiles treasures every moment. From the time he first started coaching the Oilers during middle school basketball, he knew they were once-in-a-lifetime team.
The Oiler seniors were 32-0 in junior high and have recorded back-to-back Class 2A state basketball championships with a 71-4 varsity record in three seasons.
“I’ve been really lucky to coach this group since seventh grade when they were undefeated,” Stiles said. “It’s been fun because they work hard and play the right way by sharing the basketball. They truly enjoy playing basketball with each other. We’ll work at getting better one practice and one game at a time to be the best basketball team we can be at the end of the year.”
The Oilers defeated Moundridge 46-33 behind stifling defense to capture the Class 2A title. Central Plains also beat Meade 64-51 and Alma-Wabaunsee 62-52 at the state tournament.
Fort Hays State bound Taylor Rolfs averaged 15 ppg at the state tournament and Washburn University-bound point guard Reagan Phelan averaged 13 ppg while perfectly directing the Oilers’ offense.
The Oilers outscored their opponents by eight points per game on 3-pointers. Ryan made 57 3-pointers, Rolfs 37 and Phelan 26 from long range.
The Oilers avenged their only loss with a 72-54 victory over rival Ellinwood in the substate finals. The Oilers also beat Plainville 63-36 and Ell-Saline 60-18 in post-season play.
The Ellinwood loss boosted the Oilers down the stretch.
“That game taught us that we have to focus on every game,” Stiles said. “We started out slow and Ellinwood played really well that night.”  
The Oilers start a virtual all-guard lineup featuring Phelan (14 ppg), Rolfs (17 ppg), Janae Ryan (9.6 ppg), Cassidy Crites (7.4 ppg) and Kendi Maxwell (2.5 ppg). Kylee Kasselmann (5.9 ppg) and Kaycee Steiner also return.
“We’re a different team and it’s a new year,” Stiles said. “Our success will depend on us continuing to play the Oiler Way —  playing hard, and playing together by making the extra pass and sharing the ball, which we have done so well. Expectations are very high with seven players with experience from back-to-back state champions.”
The Oilers will emphasize a fast pace with pressure defense that forced 21 turnovers a game last season.
“We play pressure defense and we like to get up and run,” Stiles said. “When you get to state level games, you have to show the ability to keep improving.”
Stiles’ goal is to develop every players’ ability beyond standouts Rolfs and Phelan. Every year, players step up at the state tournament.
“Your best players tend to play well at state, but the best teams will guard them tough,” Stiles said. “We always believe that the team with the best role players will win. We want to develop our bench as much we can. We have steady players who have played that role.”
A challenging schedule includes Dodge City and Concordia in non-league and LaCrosse and Ness City in the Central Prairie League. A showdown with Moundridge is possible at the mid-season tournament.
Two years ago, Rolfs converted the game-winning basket that boosted the Oilers to a 47-45 state championship victory over Jefferson County North, which lost its fourth consecutive state title game. Janae Ryan delivered the game-winning assist and Reagan Phelan was the Oilers’ leading scorer at the state tournament. Claflin won prior girls state championships in 2005 and 2006.
Since the Oilers captured the school’s first state championship two years ago, Central Plains has also won state titles in eight-man football and volleyball.
Stiles has been a head coach or assistant coach for five state football champions, two state track champions and four state basketball championships.

Central Prairie League
Head coach—Pat Stiles
Years at school—4th year (71-4) (182-72 overall)
Record last season—25-1 (7-1, 1st)

Reagan Phelan, 5-6, PG, sr., 14.2 ppg, 5.8 apg, 5 spg; Kendi Maxwell, 5-6, G, sr., 2.5 ppg; Kaycee Steiner, 5-5, G, sr.; Taylor Rolfs, 5-11, G, sr., 17.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.2 spg; Cassidy Crites, 5-11, G, jr., 7.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2 spg; Kylee Kasselman, 5-9, F, jr., 5.9 ppg; Janae Ryan, 5-7, G, jr., 9.6 ppg; Chelsey Bieberle, 5-5, jr.; Keeley Hipp, 5-5, jr.; Emma Williams, 5-10, jr.; Kirsten Gunder, 5-7, jr.; Darian Hubbard, 5-2, so..; Aslisha Crow, 5-6, so..; Emily Hitschmann, 5-4, so.; Julie Donecker, 5-11, so.; Destiny Hurley, 5-5, fr.; Katie Gunder, 5-3, fr.; Faith Hurley, 5-3, fr.; Brianna Hickel, 5-9, fr.; Avery Hurley, 5-2, fr.   

12-8—Nickerson at Lincoln Tournament
12-11 to 12-12—at Lincoln Tournament
12-15—at St. John
1-5—at Smith Center
1-8—at Macksville
1-19 to 1-23—at St. John Midwinter Classic (boys)
1-26 to 1-29—at Barton Hilltop Classic (girls)
2-5—ST. JOHN
2-9—at Plainville
2-12—at LaCrosse
2-19—at Kinsley
2-29 to 3-5—at 2A St. John substate