In an all-too familiar setting, the Holcomb Longhorns boys basketball team will have a short turnaround time for several members to get basketball-ready for Friday's season home opener against Liberal.
The Longhorns are just coming off their second Class 4A-II state football championship on Saturday in Salina, and a number of starters and reserves were to be on the court early in the week for their first basketball practice.
In addition to the Holcomb girls and boys hosting Liberal on Friday, Scott City's teams open at home against Wichita County while Ulysses travels to Cimarron. Hugoton's teams will not open until Dec. 7 when the Eagles host the Blue and REd Classic.
Head coach: Chad Novack (7th season, 14th overall)
Record at school: 120-22 (200-86 overall)
2016-17 record: 24-1 (10-0 in league)
Finish: Won Class 4A-II state championship.
Returning starters: Trey Gilbert, 6’2”, Sr., G; Kobe Dickson, 6’9”, Sr., F.
Prospects: Devin Mader, 5’9”, Sr., G; Carter Blackburn, 6’2”, Sr., F; Zeke Leyva,
5’6”, Sr. G; Steven Crain, 6’6”, Sr., F; Garrett Williams, 5’11”, Sr., G; Damon
Kepley, 6’5”, Jr., F.
Holcomb has been to the state tournament three of the past four seasons, winning
Class 4A-II titles in 2015 and 2017. They lost three seniors to graduation, including Conner
VanCleave, a 6’7” forward who was an all-state all-class player, and The Telegram's Player of the Year. Also gone are
Michael Roth and Brandon Stegman. That trio combined for 31 points, 18
rebounds and nine assists per game. Gilbert averaged 10.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists a game. Dickson
averaged 9.8/7.0 and 1.5.
Strengths for this season include overall team size, varsity experience, and a love
of the game. One area to watch is the “unknown:" who will step up to fill the shoes
of the graduates, Novack said.
Head coach: CJ Korf (3rd season)
Record at school: 40-10
2016-17 record: 17-7 (6-4 in league)
Finish: Won Class 3A sub-state; lost in first round of state
Returning starter: Mitchell Hamlin, 5’10”, Sr., G.
Hugoton lost a core of top players to graduation, including all-league/all-state players
Zack Leininger, Colby Korf and Tony Kinser, as well as reserve Carter Brown.
Strengths for this season include having developed a winning tradition in the
program the past three seasons. One area of concern is the team’s youth; with just
one senior in the program and losing four starters from last year’s team, the Eagles
hope to build on the winning tradition, Korf noted.
Hamlin averaged 8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1 assist per game.
Scott City Beavers
Head coach: Brian Gentry (2nd season)
Record at school: 13-9
2016-17 record: 13-9
Finish: Sub-state runner-up
Returning starter: Jordan Horn, 5’11”, Sr., G.
Newcomers: Marshall Faurot, 6’4”, F; Reid Brunswig, 5’11”, G; Zach Carson,
6’3”, F; Joe Evans, 6’5”, C.
Horn averaged 12 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Faurot will be the
most experienced player who came off the bench last year, averaging 8 points and 2 boards a game.
Horn was a second team all-league player and honorable mention all-state.
Head coach: Chris Wagner (3rd season)
Record at school: 23-38
2016-17 record: 10-11 (5-5 in league)
Finish: First-round loss to McPherson in sub-state.
Top returners: Bryan Garcia, 6’2”, Sr., F; Jaiden Taylor, 5’9”, Sr., G.
Top newcomers: Devin Walker, 6’7”, Jr.; Victor Perez, 5’11”, Jr.; Julius Sifuentes,
Garcia averaged 9.5 points and 5 rebounds a game last season. Taylor averaged 11
points a game.
Head coach: Nathan Novack (4th season)
Record at school: 28-37
2016-17 season: 8-14 (3-7 in league)
Finish: Sub-state runner-up
Returning players: Eboni Sapien, 5’6”, Sr., G.; Courtney Wren, 5’4”, Sr., G;
Britnie Novack, 5’10”, Sr., P; Taylor Sleep, 5’10”, Sr., P; Chesny McVey, 5’6”,
Sr., G/P. Jones, 5’6”, Soph., G; Gracelyn Rupp, 5’0”, Soph., G; Teryn Teeter, 5’7”, Soph.,
G/P; Alli Meng, 5’10”, Soph., P.
Sapien averaged 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds a game. She was named second-
team all-league, and honorable mention all-area and all-state. The other four
returning starters combined for 12.6 points and 11.1 boards a game.
“Collectively our team will have a lot of experience,” Novack noted. “We have
several seniors mixed with several sophomores. These girls have put a lot of
dedication into the off-season and prove themselves.
Head coach: Emmanuel Adigun (1st season, 4th overall)
Overall record: 47-40
2016-17 record: 26-0 (10-0 in league)
Finish: Class 3A state champion
Returners: Dallie Hoskinson, 5’5”, Sr., G; Johanna Rawlins, 5’10”, Sr., F;
Brooklynn Harper, 5’8”, Sr., G; Laney Hoskinson, 5’3”, Sr., G; Rebecca Johnson,
5’8”, Jr., F.
Newcomers: Molly McClure, 5’4”, Fr., G; McKenna Hamlin, 5’4”, Fr., G; Jordyn
Beard, 6’0”, Fr., C; Toby McClure, 5’6”, Soph., G; Etai Guzman, 5’5”, Jr., G.
Last season was a banner one for the Hugoton girls as they went undefeated and
captured the Class 3A state title. Graduated is Kansas Miss Basketball and Class
3A player of the year Katy Heger. Also graduating were Amy Scott, the state
tournament’s MVP, and Sydney Hein, also an all-state player. Coach Andy Gillan
also moved on to a new coaching position; he led Hugoton to four straight trips to
the state tournament, including a Class 4A-II title in 2015.
Under new coach Emmanuel Adigun (47-40 at Pratt), the Eagles still have quality.
Senior guard Dallie Hoskinson is a three-time all-league/all-area player, among
other honors. Last season she averaged 13.4 points a game, as well as 7.3
rebounds, 4.2 assists and 4.5 steals a game. She enters the season with 910 career
points. Johanna Rawlins also returns. The 5’10” forward averaged 4.2 points and 5
rebounds a game.
Adigun has a lot of experience returning, but he said they will need some new
players to step up and fill some big shoes. He expects the team to continue playing
with its traditional high-pressure defense and fast-paced offense.
Scott City Beavers
Head coach: Sarah McCormick (3rd season, 7th overall)
Record at school: 21-24 (122-45 overall)
2016-17 record: 14-10 (7-3 in league)
Finish: Fourth in Class 4A-II; GWAC runner-up
Returners: Macie Price, 5’5”, Sr.; Bailey Latta, 5’3”, Sr.; Kaitlyn Roberts, 5’5”,
Sr.; Emily Weathers, 5’9”, Soph.; Emily Smith, 6’0”, Sr.
Scott City had its most successful season ever, finishing fourth at the state Class
4A-II tournament, its first trip to state in school history.
Third-year coach Sarah McCormick returns five starters. Emily Smith, a 6’0”
senior, led the team with 9 points and 8 boards a game. Senior Macie Price and
sophomore Emily Weathers averaged 8 points each, with Smith pulling down 6
rebounds. Bailey Latta and Kaitlyn Roberts combined for 12 points and 5 boards
Price was an all-league first-team player. Latta was all-league honorable mention,
along with Smith. Price and Latta were honorable mention players in various state
“Although last year was extremely exciting for our team, we cannot ride on those
coattails,” McCormick noted. “We have to use our experience and continue to
improve because we want an even better finish this year.”
Head coach: Tim Hofferber (6th season)
Record at school: 31-73
2016-17 record: 11-10 (5-5 in league)
Finish: Lost in first round of sub-state
Returning starters: Mercedes Degollado, 5’4”, Sr., G; Alyssa Castilleja, 5’6”, Jr.,
G; Luz Gomez, 5’9”, Jr., F; Riley Oglevie, 6’2”, Jr., C; Gina Ballesteros, 5’8”, Jr.
Newcomers: Madison Haney, 5’10”, Jr., F.
Ballesteros was an all-league player last season, while Castilleja and Oglevie were
honorable mention. Haney is a transfer who started for Lakin.
“We have all our returning starters back this season,” Hofferber said. After the
Christmas break, they will see the return of senior Kali Kenny, the team’s MVP
two years ago who missed last season due to injury. Lakin transfer Haney will add
athleticism and skills to the lineup.
“The team has a chance to make some noise in the GWAC and in the playoffs,”
Hofferber said, “if they play up to their potential.”