By RICK PETERSON
Topeka West interim girls basketball coach Angie Ketterman is playing catch-up after being tapped to take over the program about two weeks before the start of preseason practice.
But very few people know Topeka West better than Ketterman, and the veteran coach will count on that institutional and athletic knowledge to make up for lost time.
Ketterman is a Topeka West graduate and played and served as an assistant coach for West coaching legend Mike Goehring and was on the staff of former Charger coach Becky Svaty while also serving as the Chargers' head softball coach.
The goal now for Ketterman, West's third head coach since March, is to provide some stability for the Chargers.
Jeff Skar resigned following the 2022-2023 season and his replacement, Brent Reese-Hackett, was relieved of his duties last month for undisclosed reasons after being named as Skar's successor in July.
West's administration quickly turned to Ketterman to get things back on an even keel for the West program.
"I was open to it,'' Ketterman said. "Svaty contacted me and then Laura Nichols (a former West coach and current administrator) did,'' Ketterman said. "They said, 'You've got the weekend to decide.'
"It took me about 24 hours and I'm like, 'Let's do it.' ''
By RICK PETERSON
You don't graduate an outstanding senior class like Highland Park's boys basketball team did last year without feeling it.
But a group of players that have waited their turn to lead the Scots get that opportunity this winter and the goal remains the same for Mike Williams' team -- make it to the Class 5A state tournament at Emporia and challenge for a state title.
"The amazing thing about coaching and playing at Highland Park is that expectations do not change,'' Williams said. "There is always an expectation of winning and getting to the Class 5A state tournament.''
The Scots graduated TopSports.news Shawnee County player of the year Bo Aldridge and Top 10 picks Jahmir Kingcannon and Tre Richardson off last year's 24-1 team that finished third in 5A.
But Highland Park's cupboard is far from bare, with 6-foot-6 junior Ja'Corey Robinson, a second-team all-county pick in 2023, leading a solid group of returners that saw extensive action a year ago. Senior Tamir Anderson (6-4) and juniors Mikey Williams (6-3) and Jamon Wilson (6-0) received all-county honorable mention last season while senior Amari Taylor (6-0) also played a key role off the bench for the Scots.
"That was a dang good group of kids that we lost, but with that being said, this group of kids that is coming behind them battled them day-in and day-out for the last two years,'' Mike Williams said.
"And honestly, in any other locker room they probably would have got a little more time than what they got and they still got a good amount of time over the last two years and great experience. So they're biting at the bit to get out there.''
Robinson averaged 12 points and six rebounds as a sophomore while Anderson and Williams averaged 8 points and were two of the city's top 3-point shooters.
By RICK PETERSON
Playing for a state championship is something every high school athlete dreams of.
And no athlete feels more blessed to get that opportunity than Hayden senior star running back Finn Dunshee, who will help lead the 12-0 Wildcats into Saturday's 1 p.m. Class 3A title game against 12-0 Cheney at Hutchinson's Gowans Stadium.
"I'm just happy to be here,'' the 5-foot-10, 185-pounder said. "I wouldn't want to be here with any other team, these boys are great. It's really just pure joy.''
That joy was heartbreak just a few weeks ago after Dunshee suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee early in Hayden's Week 5 district game against Perry-Lecompton.
"It was just a normal sweep, our bread and butter, and someone was being blocked downfield and he got off his block and he pulled me down from behind,'' Dunshee explained. "I just kind of got spun around and landed on it wrong and it just went.
"I could feel that something wasn't right in my knee. I think I stayed in for one play and then I came off. It was a complete tear.''
Dunshee's initial fear was that his senior season was over.
"At first the doctor said I'd be done, so I'm just happy to be out here and have gotten another chance,'' Dunshee said.
By RICK PETERSON
Seaman's girls basketball team had an outstanding 2022-2023 season, posting a 21-2 record, winning the United Kansas Conference championship and advancing to the Class 5A state tournament.
But the way the season ended, with a 65-42 first-round state loss to St. James Academy, has given Matt Tinsley's Vikings plenty of motivation entering the upcoming campaign.
"We have a chip on our shoulder,'' Tinsley said. "Our quote today in practice is, 'Feeling comfortable is the first cousin to being complacent.' We're disappointed with how last season turned out, but looking on the positive side of it, we got a taste of (state) and now we know what it takes to get back there and hopefully take that next step.''
Seaman would appear to have the pieces in place to make that happen, beginning with four players who earned TopSports.news All-Shawnee County recognition a year ago.
Junior Anna Becker and sophomore Maddie Gragg were All-Shawnee County Top 10 selections last season while senior Taylin Stallbaumer was a second-team pick and junior Jaida Stallbaumer received honorable mention.
Becker, who has orally committed to Drake, averaged 12 points, 3.7 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 steals last season, while Gragg, the county newcomer of the year, averaged 13.4 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 60.2 percent from the field on 2-point attempts and 75 percent from the free throw line.
By RICK PETERSON
Washburn University men's basketball showed plenty of offensive firepower in Tuesday's 97-76 home non-conference win over Ottawa.
But it was the Ichabods' performance on the other end of the court that left Washburn coach Brett Ballard with a sour taste in his mouth.
Washburn, which improved to 3-2 on the season, had five players in double figures and eight players with at least seven points, but the fact that the Ichabods have now allowed four of their first five opponents to score between 76 and 85 points was a concern for Ballard.
"I'm about as disappointed as I could be after a win,'' Ballard said. "I thought our defense was as bad as it could be. We just can't guard like that and win games in our league.
"No disrespect to Ottawa, but we're trying to prepare our guys for MIAA teams and that defensive effort, you're going to get beat every night with that, so we've got some things to tighten up.''
Washburn used an 8-0 run to take a 34-18 lead over the Braves with 6:33 left in the first half and went on to lead by as many as 18 points before taking a 51-35 lead to the locker room at the half.