CHS' Shields

Peyton Shields dribbles down the court as Brianna Waggoner trails behind her.


Inclement weather prevented Chanute High School’s girls and boys basketball teams from playing on Tuesday night at home.

Both teams would have been playing Labette County High School for the second time in less than a week. But temperatures in the teens, frozen roads, snow and school cancellations halted any basketball competition.

There are adjustments that head girls coach Dustin Fox needs to make in case of such a change.

“Sometimes we end up having a full practice. Other times, we get a chance to recharge – we’ll just do some shooting, some film, things like that – it just kind of depends,” Fox said.

For the Lady Comets, the team just did some shooting on Tuesday and called it a day. That kind of adjustment is fairly typical for most high school teams in Kansas. In a year that has delayed and canceled sports because of COVID-19 and now inclement weather, Fox said it is important to have the mentality to move on if games or practices can’t happen, especially if it’s out of their control.

Fox is already a step ahead when it comes to the process. On Wednesday, the Lady Comets worked on their conditioning skills, while also researching and studying their next opponent: Chanute is scheduled to play Class 5A No. 5 Pittsburg High School Friday at 6 pm on the road.

While Pittsburg is ranked at No. 5, they were in the same boat as Chanute when it came to not playing on Tuesday. Pittsburg has also played fewer games than Chanute to date.

“I think we are all kind of in the same situation,” Fox said. “Everyone in the SEK is going to have a little bit longer of a break. You always hope it benefits you. You hope that your legs are a little bit fresher and that the time off is beneficial. But you never know until you show up on game day whether you’re a little rusty or if you’re recharged. Our biggest thing is, we try not to put too much emphasis on it. And we focus on what we can control. And we can control our preparation and we can control our effort, and our attitudes, and we’re going to try and bring it as much as we can on Friday.”

In an adjustment period, good teams usually need strong leadership to be all-in on winning. For Chanute, that starts with senior leadership from point guard Kori Babcock, forward Mattilyn Cranor, and guard Brianna Waggoner.

These players have been in the program for four years, embracing that standard of team play, positive reinforcements, accountability, and playing for one another. Exhibiting these characteristics in challenging times has equated to Chanute winning no fewer than 11 regular-season games a year since 2017.

“Because we didn’t have a game, we all agreed to take the day off to focus on schoolwork and then we went back at it in practice Wednesday, and we will again (Thursday) to prepare for Pitt on Friday,” Waggoner said. “I try to lead on the court as a senior by doing what I would like others to do.a For instance, on defense –without talking, our defense isn’t as effective, whereas when we talk, we get a lot of touches, which leads to steals and easy transition points, so I try to make it a priority to talk on defense. So hopefully, others will follow.”

Others have emulated the seniors to the point they can lead. Freshman guard Peyton Shields has notably taken on the role of encouraging the team, which is a quick adjustment on her part as a newbie high school basketball player. Senior guard Jaceyln Catron, sophomore forward Brinly Bancroft, sophomore guard Grace Thompson, sophomore guard Tyra Bogle, freshman forward Kierny Follmer, sophomore guard Preston Keating, junior forward Madison LaForge, freshman guard Jacie Costin, freshman forward Jayelynn Smith, freshman forward Faith Fewins, sophomore guard Braylee Peter, freshman guard Camry Ranabargar, freshman guard Kelsey Haviland, freshman guard Kynleigh Chard, freshman guard Ashley Haviland, junior guard Emma Atherton, junior forward Kearstyn Bogle and sophomore forward Emma Sander have all, at the very least, learned what it takes to lead.

Chanute hopes to show up strong against Pittsburg today on the road.

“We’ve got our hands full on Friday,” Fox said. “They’ve got an excellent big and an excellent guard and some nice pieces around them. And we’re going to have to play really well to beat them.”


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