By BRETT MARSHALL
Sunday's Southwest Kansas Senior All-Star girls basketball game at Perryman Athletic Complex provided an opportunity for many of the area's top 2012 players to showcase their skills.
For some, it will be a prelude to playing Division I basketball next year, as in Kaylea Britton of Ulysses who will put on a Vermont Lady Catamounts jersey in the fall. For Taylor Bleumer, the Ingalls' Lady Bulldogs top scorer this past season, she is off to Southwestern College in Winfield to play for the Lady Moundbuilders.
In the case of Cimarron's Lindsay Wehkamp, this would be her final competitive basketball game as she has signed to play volleyball at Western Nebraska Community College, the reigning NJCAA national champions.
For Deerfield's dynamic outside-inside duo of Bridget Crandall and Mariah Smith, it was a day to enjoy and prepare for their next step of competitive sports.
Crandall, a 5-6 guard, is headed to Seward County in Liberal to play for the Lady Saints in the fall where she will join fellow area senior Avery Burns of Cimarron. For Smith, her future is uncertain. She has yet to make up her mind about what she will do, but recently visited Kansas State and is looking at possibly becoming a member of the Lady 'Cats rowing team. She is also hoping to land a basketball scholarship.
On Sunday afternoon, though, it was all about competing and having fun in a fast-paced game that saw the Gold team, coached by GCCC assistant Whitney Corley, easily cruise past the White team, coached by fellow assistant Nick Salazar, 88-47.
"I liked the competition, it was a lot of fun," said Wehkamp, a 5-10 forward who played for the 22-3 Lady Bluejays this past season, averaging 13.5 points and 8 rebounds and was a second team Telegram All-Area selection. "It was just really loose, not a lot of pressure. You know who is here and it's fun to play with and against them."
Wehkamp scored 14 points in her final appearance on the basketball court. Crandall, one of her teammates on the Gold team, finished with 10 points, including a pair of long-range 3-point baskets.
"Coach told me to shoot, that's what I usually do, and I got a couple of them to go down," Crandall said. "One time Mariah (on the White team) pushed me out of the way and we just smiled. It was a lot of fun to play with everyone. The game at the next level will be faster, more physical. I've got a lot of work to do in the weight room to get stronger. I'm only 115 pounds, so that will be a big focus for me before next fall."
Smith tallied 10 points for the White team, yet it will be a good memory for her.
"I had not touched a ball since sub-state (early March) so I got a little winded out there," Smith said. "I'm really not sure what I'll be doing. K-State is a possibility (for rowing). That's something new, but I'll keep my options open if somebody has a basketball scholarship for me."
The Gold team led from start to finish, leading early 9-2, extending it to 31-18 and then 38-22 by halftime. The closest the White team would come was 13 points ad 41-28. From there, the Gold team raced to the finish line.
Kesha Buckner of Dodge City was the game's high scorer for the Gold team with 20 points. Kimi Lindshield of Smoky Valley added 11 to the winning cause. Britton added nine points for the White team.
Garden City's Kristen Heiman scored six points for the Gold team.
and was organized by GCCC women's coach Alaura Sharp and her two assistants — Corley and Salazar.
There were seven players, including three from the first team, who were selected recently to The Telegram's All-Area team. Britton, Bleumer and Sublette's Daryan Whaler were first team picks; Wehkamp was a second-team choice; while Smith, Crandall, Katelyn Marlin of Sublette, Janae Droster of Ingalls, and Kristen Heiman of Garden City were honorable mention choices. Also participating was Breanna Bryant of Cimarron.