By JUSTIN BURKHARDT
In a game that was built to be a heavyweight fight and a battle for the Centennial League title Tuesday night in Emporia, things started off the wrong way for Hayden's girls as Emporia opened the first quarter with a 24-0 shutout and added five more points to start the second quarter before the Wildcats would score their first points three minutes into the second quarter down 29-0.
Hayden was able to fight back to make it a game over the final three quarters, but the Spartans wlked away with a 44-32 win.
Junior Norma Greco would finally get the Wildcats on the board with two free throws and the Wildcats would scratch and claw and go on their own 13-0 run to go into halftime down 29-13.
“We found ourselves in a situation that really tests our character down 29-0,'' Hayden coach Carvel Reynoldon said. "I've never been in a situation like that, but the way that the girls fought back and turned it into a 38-30 game, with us having all the momentum, I see the positive in what happened tonight.”
By RICK PETERSON
If there's a player in Shawnee County or the nearby area that Washburn University football coach Craig Schurig and his staff thinks has the ability to play in the MIAA, Schurig and Co. want them playing for the Ichabods.
And in a year that was considered talent-heavy in Washburn's backyard, the Ichabods made that a priority, signing seven Shawnee County products thus far, including four from Class 6A semifinalist Washburn Rural in a 2024 recruiting class that is expected to reach about 55 signess when all the paperwork is completed.
"You don't want to play against them,'' Schurig said of the local talent base. "And what was neat was those kids really, I think, researched things out well. They talked to kids that are currently here and I think our school's done a good job of advertising Washburn and making it where they feel like home here.
"Then obviously our facilities are outstanding, so when they do their campus visits they're like, 'Yeah, the best place we can go to is at home.' ''
Washburn Rural twins Jaren Heim (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) and J.C. Heim (6-3, 225), both linebackers, signed on Wednesday along with Junior Blues quarterback Branton DeWeese (6-0, 185) and Rural defensive lineman Jamond Lane (6-0, 280).
The Ichabods also landed Shawnee Heights defensive lineman Christian Gonzales (6-1, 275), Topeka High defensive back Isaiah Kincade (6-0, 195) and Silver Lake running back Blake Redmond (5-9, 160).
The Heims, DeWeese, Lane, Gonzales and Redmond were all TopSports.news All-Shawnee County Top 22 picks as seniors while Kincade was a Second 22 selection.
"It was a good year (for local prospects) and a lot of those kids were on the verge of maybe some of the bigger schools sniffing around and that kind of thing, but they're perfect for MIAA and their work ethic and all that stuff is really good and their football's good, so we're very excited,'' Schurig said.
"Obviously, when you have local talent it really helps.''
In addition to the county signees announced Wednesday, Washburn also signed Sabetha twins Jacob Grimm (6-5, 285) and Joshua Grimm (6-5, 300).
The current 49 member 2024 recruiting class includes 21 Kansans along with players from six other states, including 12 players from Missouri, six from Georgia, four from Texas, three from Arizona, two from Colorado and one from Nebraska.
There's also diversity among position groups, with nine players projected as linebackers, eight offensive linemen and defensive backs, seven running backs, six defensive linemen, four wide receivers, three quarterbacks and tight ends and one player listed as an athlete.
It all adds up to the biggest signing class of Schurig's career.
"It is and it's because of a combination of reasons,'' Schurig said. "We had quite a few kids graduate and we're pretty much transitioning out of the Covid time and so some of the guys that may have had a year left got really good jobs so they are moving on.
"And then locally and in-state it just seemed like there was a lot of good fits for us. With the Heim boys and the Grimm boys we got a couple of twin packages which was awesome and we've got a lot of legacy kids coming, where mom and dad went to school here, which is really cool.
"We felt like we needed to fill some needs for sure and then with the group that left, and then some kids that aren't going to continue to play because they got great job opportunities, scholarship-wise we had a good amount to offer, which was great.''
Washburn, which fought through an injury-riddled season in 2023 is coming off a 2-9 campaign, but Schurig feels like the '24 signing class paired with the Ichabods' returning cast will allow WU to right its ship in a hurry.
"We're still going to be young, but very talented, and we just have to get them going in the same direction,'' Schurig said.
"It's exciting because you know the talent base that you're going to be coaching is really strong, Now we've just got to get them going. It's a very talented and very diverse group that we're bringing in.''
Washburn recruiting capsules:
By RICK PETERSON
The Washburn University women's basketball team returns home at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday after a two week stint on the road to face Missouri Western State.
Washburn is coming off a 66-62 road loss to Northeastern State on Saturday afternoon.
WU is now 11-10 overall on the year and has gone 6-9 in the MIAA while Missouri Western is 17-4 overall and 12-3 in the MIAA after defeating Nebraska-Kearney 73-61 on Saturday.
The Griffons have won seven straight games and are receiving votes in the latest WBCA rankings.
As a team Washburn averages 70.6 points on 41.2 percent shooting from the floor and 32.6 percent from 3-point range.
Senior Aubree Dewey leads Washburn with a 16.4 scoring average and dishes out a team-high 4.8 assists per game and pulls down 5.5 rebounds from the point guard position, second most on the team.
By RICK PETERSON
The Washburn University men's basketball team will be back in Lee Arena for the first time since Jan. 20 at 7:30 Wednesday night, with the Ichabods hosting Missouri Western in an MIAA contest.
The Ichabods are coming off a 2-2 road trip, with wins over Nebraska-Kearney and Rogers State.
Washburn, 14-7 overall, 10-5 MIAA, is coming off a 75-66 loss at Northeastern State last Saturday.
Missouri Western is 15-6 overall and 9-6 in the MIAA race, one game behind the Ichabods in the conference standings. The Ichabods won the first meeting this season against the Griffons, 83-77 in St. Joseph.
Wednesday's meeting will be the 106th in the history of the two programs, with the Ichabods leading 61-44. The Ichabods have won six of the last eight games in the series and the last two played in Topeka.
Junior Andrew Orr leads the Ichabods with a 13.5 scoring average, shooting 85.9 percent from the free throw line and 57 percent from the field. Orr is fifth in the MIAA in field goal percentage and ranks ninth on Washburn's all-time career chart at 58 percent.
By Todd Fertig
A dismal third period doomed the Washburn Rural boys’ hopes of scoring a big Centennial League win Tuesday, with the Junior Blues falling to the visiting Junction City Blue Jays, 63-55.
Trailing by just two points at halftime 32-30, the Junior Blues were ambushed by a nine-point Junction City run to start the third period.
Washburn Rural failed to score for nearly four minutes and mustered just three points in the quarter.
By the time the Junior Blues stemmed the tide early in the fourth period, the Blue Jays led 52-33.
“Honestly, we felt like we were getting decent looks. We just weren’t knocking them down,” Washburn Rural coach Alex Hutchins said of the fateful third period.