First impressions sometimes make lasting impressions.
At least that seemed to be the case for Kansas Wesleyan women’s basketball coach Gordon Reimer, who watched Great Bend’s Kalie LeShore play for the first time when the Lady Panthers took on top-ranked McPherson in January at the Roundhouse.
LeShore scored a season-high 14 points against the talented Bullpups, who went on to take home third place at the Class 5A state tournament in March.
“Kansas Wesleyan saw her play against McPherson during our first meeting and they really liked her,” Great Bend head coach Jason Tatkenhorst said. “She just felt like that was the best place to be.”
LeShore, a senior, signed on Monday to play for Kansas Wesleyan. She was a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection this past winter as a playmaking point guard, joining teammates Lexie Brack and Cassidy Tutak on that list.
Averaging 6.6 points and dishing out 44 assists – second on the team — LeShore was a dynamic for the Lady Panthers, a pacemaker who created havoc with her quickness as she could drive coast-to-coast to the hoop against any GBHS opponent.
“When she played at a very high level … I guess that’s the way it is with most point guards,” Tatkenhorst said. “If the point guard looks good, the team looks good and we definitely saw that this year.
“I really feel like she has a high ceiling where she has a lot of work to do to play college basketball, but most definitely, she can do it and she has the skills to do it.”
LeShore, who also ranked No. 2 on the team in steals, has always been an up-and-down, penetrating type of guard.
“I’ve always looked to drive,” LeShore said. “(The GBHS coaches) starting working with me more to be able to drive and look for someone to kick out to.
“I usually was able to drive off like a reverse (in a set offense), so when everyone shifted to one side, I would try to get inside and hit a layup.”
At times, LeShore was able to let her athleticism take over in certain instances against slower guards.z
“We can do all kinds fundamental skills with our basketball players and say that we want to get you to this point,” Tatkenhorst said. “She has the ability to do it, no matter what the opponent is trying to do to stop her.
“She could take the basketball through a press and some good things would happen. Kalie did a good job of getting into the lane and scoring points and that type of thing.”
LeShore also had her moments as a distributor for the Lady Panthers, who finished 9-12 overall and nailed down second place in the WAC with a 3-1 record. Their season ended at the hands of McPherson at the Roundhouse in late February.
“I’m excited to see her really go for it and see what happens in her college years,” Tatkenhorst said. “She did some very good things at the high school level.
“Other times, they would guard her and she would hit a player on the wing or the corner for an open shot. As it turns out, it was one of our strengths. When we made the jump shots from 15 to 17 feet out, the person that was able to get them open was Kalie LeShore.”
Tatkenhorst said that LeShore came into her own during her final season at GBHS.
“I felt like I improved a lot,” LeShore said. “I just fell in love with basketball this year.”
LeShore said she liked Kansas Wesleyan because of its curriculum.
“I’m looking to major in pre-med,” said LeShore, who added that the college is adding some extension courses from the University of Kansas.
Kansas Wesleyan is coming off a stellar 31-3 record this past season, culminated by the KCAC school’s appearance in the State Farm-NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championships, where the Coyotes fell in the second round.