The Chanute Lady Blue Comets basketball team had another successful winning season, and the engine that made it all work racked up another stellar year.
Last week, junior point guard Kori Babcock earned Sports in Kansas Southeast Kansas All-Area Player of the Year award and was a finalist for Sports in Kansas 4A Player of the Year. Max Preps also recognized her on the third team of the Kansas All-State Girls Team, while the Wichita Eagle named her an All-State second-team selection.
Averaging 19.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 3.5 steals and draining a grand total of 66 three-pointers, Babcock said she is humbled by her awards.
“It is nice to see my hard work pay off and people are noticing how hard I am working,” Babcock said.
CHS head coach Dustin Fox said he wasn’t surprised by the accolades, especially since she was first-team All-SEK in her sophomore year.
“Last year, we saw her take big strides and really kind of fulfill some of her potential, and then the summer, seeing the work that she was putting in,” Fox said. “She’s a kind of kid that probably has been in the gym as much as any kid that I have ever coached. And she’ll call me, weekends and evenings, ‘Hey coach, I want to get in the gym.’ And when you get a kid like that, there’s a chance of a successful year when she’s putting in the work like that.
“Really happy for her and the season that she had. A big part of that is the work she put in. The other part of that is having teammates that recognize her abilities and really buy into their role.”
In a season in which the Lady Blue Comets finished 13-8, many of Babcock’s teammates put the Player of the Year finalist in position for her to be successful.
While there are countless moments Babcock displayed why she is deserving of all the recognition and accolades, there are distinct moments that stand out.
One of those was when she hit the game-winning basket over Labette County on Dec. 17. 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 versus isolated Labette County senior Mackayla Forbes, drove to the basket and banked the ball straightaway off the backboard, putting CHS up 57-55. The game-winner for the Lady Blue Comets defeated Labette County to move to 3-1 at the time.
Babcock, who fervently worked out and got shots up nearly every day in the gym to prepare for these kinds of moments, said she needed to take her time.
“I want to calm down and try to take my time, and look for openings, and when somebody is open and when I’m not open, they get it off, have them get a shot to have everyone inclusive and make sure we get the best shot we possibly can,” Babcock said after the Labette game. “It’s pretty exciting at the moment but you have to change it, because you have 10 seconds left and you can’t let them score. So you have to compose yourself and keep them from scoring.”
Another standout moment was when the junior point guard hit a career-high 30 points versus Coffeyville on Feb. 14.
Still, Babcock doesn’t just look at her scoring ability as the end-all be-all. She also works hard at being the best teammate she can be.
“I think the thing with Kori is she is every bit as happy of her teammate’s success as she is of her own,” Fox said. “She’s an unassuming star player, she’s not one to be out there bragging about herself or draw attention to herself, she just loves basketball and wants to make our team as good as it can be.”