The 2019-20 winter seasons were filled with memorable moments. From technical falls to walk-off baskets, it’s all been mesmerizing.
But with the winter seasons culminating weeks ago, it’s time to name Chanute Tribune’s All-Region team, which will include Neosho County Community College.
While many deserve to be recognized due to their scintillating seasons, only one student-athlete will be listed from the respective teams; NCCC’s track team was the only exception with two track stars.
Chanute High School’s junior wrestler Brayden Dillow (182 pounds, 44-1), the No. 2 wrestler in his class, dominated his competition all year. He ended the wrestling season with a first, even for himself: a State championship after ousting Concordia’s junior Hunter Schroeder in a 7-3 decision Saturday, Feb. 28 at Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina, the site for the Kansas State High School Activities Association 4A Championships. Dillow also led his team to a 21-1 dual record and a State wrestling title for the first time in school history.
Dillow’s most exhilarating moment was the State championship display he put on versus his competition, completely overpowering and technically outwrestling Schroeder. His preparation before all of his matches separated him from his opponents. Dillow cut out junk food and soda in his diet all year, all the while training hard in the weight room, which helped him rise above all this past wrestling season.
“I’ve always known I’ve had a good gas tank and throughout that match (against Schroeder), I knew as long as I kept pressuring, sticking to my plan, I knew I can do what I do,” Dillow said after his championship match. “I wouldn’t say it’s a completion; I’d say it’s on to another chapter. I’ve passed a milestone that I’ve turned up and now it’s time to start back over and do it once again. …That’s basically how it feels, it’s like passing a milestone.”
For the CHS girls basketball team, junior guard Kori Babcock can’t be left out of the Tribune’s All-Region nod. Several publications, including the Wichita Eagle, recognized Babcock, a player averaging 19.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 3.5 steals, as a Class 4A Girls second-team member. Max Preps put the prolific scoring guard, the 11th leading scorer in the state, on the third team, while Babcock was also a first-team All-SEK member and a second-team SEK All-Region player. Babcock led the Lady Blue Comets to back-to-back 13-win seasons, the best set of winning seasons since the 2014-15 and the 2015-16 seasons.
The stats are eye-opening, but Babcock’s best moments included her career-high 30 points versus Coffeyville on Feb. 14 en route to a 68-45 blowout win, and when she scored the game-winning bucket versus Labette County on Dec. 17. Specifically, Babcock was at the top of the key above the three-point line, and with just under 12 seconds left in the game, she crossed over, drove to the basket and banked the ball straightaway off the backboard, which put CHS up 57-55 – the game’s final score.
Babcock’s awards are attributed to the hard work she put in during the off-season, including summer weights, cardio and summer basketball, as well as basketball when nobody was looking.
“It is nice to see my hard work pay off and people are noticing how hard I am working,” Babcock previously said.
Moving to boys basketball, senior forward Ty Bowman was also working hard on and off the court to get himself to peak level. Bowman on the year averaged 11.1 points and 6.1 rebounds, earning him the nod on Chanute’s All-Region team. Southeast Kansas also recognized Bowman as an All-Area Basketball team member, while the Wichita Eagle labeled him as an All-State Honorable Mention.
Bowman’s best all-around game of the year was when he scored 13 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, at the time his second double-double of the year versus Coffeyville on Jan. 7.
“Incredibly proud of him,” CHS head basketball coach Devon Crabtree previously said. “Ty is a great athlete and works hard. He always approaches every day with the right mentality to be successful. Ty was a do-everything type of player for us. We relied on him to score, rebound, and the area I believe he was the most helpful in was defending. He was our best defender in every aspect of the game.”
Erie High School:
Erie High School’s senior guard Matthew Vail, a ball of fire who put pressure on the defense with one speed, is no question a Tribune All-Region player. Putting up 14.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists with 35 made 3s, Vail was also put in the spotlight by the Wichita Eagle as a 2A Honorable Mention.
Vail led the Red Devils to a 19-5 record – the best in at least a decade and a half – as well as their first State playoff appearance since 1993. But his best stretch of the year was scoring at least 19 points in three straight games early in the year. Vail scored 24 points versus Colony Crest in a 68-20 win in the Humboldt Tournament on Dec. 10; 19 points versus Uniontown in a 50-36 win on Dec. 12; and 24 points against Humboldt High in a 56-24 victory on Dec. 13.
Even with all of his individual success, Vail will credit his teammates.
“I was shooting well, finishing well, but it was all about my teammates getting me open looks and allowing me to shoot the ball as well as I did,” Vail previously said.
On the girls side, junior Maddie Kramer, who averaged 11.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals, earned a Tribune All-Region selection. Kramer is also a Wichita Eagle 2A Girls Honorable Mention. All of her stats helped the Lady Red Devils to a 15-8 record – the best mark for the Lady Red Devils in at least a decade and a half as well – and to the sub-state championship game.
Her best game of the year happened to be when it mattered most. Kramer scored 19 points in the first round of the sub-state playoffs versus Northeast Arma on March 2 at Yates Center.
Humboldt High School:
Conor Haviland earned a Tribune All-Region selection after averaging 20 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.0 assists. These efforts led his team to a 13-8 record, the ninth straight year with 10 wins or more. Along with the Tribune, Haviland was also noted by the Wichita Eagle as a Class 3A second-team player.
Haviland’s award is from myriad performances throughout the year, which equated to 930 points scored for the senior guard.
“Conor having made it and I was very pleased with how he played this year,” Humboldt coach David Taylor previously said. “I’m really happy for him.”
Humboldt’s Lady Cubs went 12-11 on the year, and that was in part because of the production of Tribune All-Region post player Jada Dangerfield. Dangerfield put up 11 points and 13.4 rebounds per contest.
Dangerfield’s season-high was 22 points.
Neosho CountyCommunity College:
All year, NCCC sophomore point guard Chrissy Brown was a double-double machine for the Lady Panthers, as she racked up 15 of those during a year that comprised the best record (13-17) for her team in 25 years and a Region 6 second-round berth for the first time since the 1996-97 season. On the year, Brown averaged 16.8 points (third in the conference), 9.8 rebounds (second in conference), 5.1 assists and sticking 34 made 3s, which is good for second in the conference. The all-around guard also won Player of the Week in the 15th week of the year after registering 18 points, 15.5 rebounds and 12 assists while nabbing three steals, and shooting the ball at a 43.7 percent clip and 45.4 percent from downtown.
Her stats led to a first-team All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference and second-team NJCAA All-Region nods.
“Being selected first team is very cool and exciting,” Brown previously said. “I never thought I would have been selected. It took a while for people to notice I was more than someone who scores, but I appreciate the first team. Now it’s time to put in more work to become All-American because anything is possible.”
NCCC men’s freshman guard Jonathan Breeland Jr. is well-deserving of a Tribune All-Region selection, especially following a campaign of 13.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists with 34 made 3s on the year, which is good for 39th in the nation. As a tempo-setter, Breeland Jr. led NCCC to the second round of the Region 6 playoffs.
“I think it’s pretty cool to be acknowledged and selected,” Breeland Jr. previously said. “It truly shows that hard work pays off.”
Student-athletes Dallas Boone (wrestling, 157 pounds), Caleb Clay and Billy Kiprono (track and field) all earned Tribune All-Region honors.
Boone, a sophomore who earned Scholar All-American and All-American accolades, placed eighth in the NJCAA National Wrestling Championships in Council Bluffs, Iowa on March 7.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Dallas,” NCCC wrestling coach Nick Nothern said. “He is a testament to hard work and dedication.”
On March 6-7 at the NJCAA Indoor National Championship in Lynchburg, Virginia, Clay placed 28th in the 60-meter dash with a 6.94, while finishing 22nd in the 200 meters with a 21.79. Kiprono placed 11th after a 2:32.23 in the 1K and also earned 10th place with a 4:24.71 in the mile, a school record.
“Both of those guys, Billy and Caleb, they both had what me and my coaches call (assistants Carlos Cano and Michael McGruder) the killer instinct,” NCCC track coach Noe Hernandez said. “When they get on the track, it doesn’t matter who they go up against, they can be an Olympian or they can be an average Joe, they’re going to come out every single meet and they’re going to run their best to their potential.”