Chanute High School enters the 2020 Class 4A East Sub-State No. 3 playoffs on a good note.
The Lady Blue Comets walloped Fort Scott 55-34 on Friday after also blowing out Parsons 54-26 on Feb. 21 just two games prior, which means CHS arrives to the postseason winning two out of three.
But the task at hand today, 6 pm at home for the No. 6 Lady Blue Comets (13-7), are the No. 11 Topeka-Hayden Lady Wildcats (9-13).
“I think anytime you enter sub-state play, it is exciting,” head coach Dustin Fox said. “The stakes ramp up; it’s win or be done.”
CHS prepares to face a team that has lost five out of their last seven games, though the losing streak and its overall record isn’t a reflection of how talented Topeka has a chance to be. Topeka, a school in the Centennial League, competed versus 5A and 6A teams all year, including a 17-5 Washburn Rural Blues team that won the 6A championship last year, an 18-2 No. 2 team in 4A in Kansas-City Piper, a 19-3 Seaman bunch, and a 14-6 Lansing group.
On this Topeka-Hayden team are talented guards Macy Smith (5-8 sophomore) and Sophia Purcell (5-5 senior), who was an All-Centennial League Honorable Mention last season, as well as a Topeka Capital All-City third-team selection. The Lady Wildcats also boast 6-foot Rhen Calhoon, who can cause havoc on the floor and contributes to Topeka being a taller team overall.
Topeka has been wrecking havoc all decade, having achieved six winning seasons over the last decade, though the last two seasons haven’t been exceptional record-wise.
Still, there could’ve been a more advantageous route in the playoffs, avoiding private schools like Topeka-Hayden, if the Lady Blue Comets lost their regular season finale versus Fort Scott last Friday.
If Chanute lost versus Fort Scott, the Lady Blue Comets would’ve been the No. 7 seed and faced Iola in the first round before taking on Kansas-City Piper in the second round. With the playoff bracket set up the way it is now, if CHS wins, the 13-7 team will likely play Bishop Miege — the No. 1 team in 4A — in the second round of sub-state.
First-year head coach Carvel Reynoldson said his team — a basketball contingent that likes to play fast and primarily man-to-man — looks forward to playing Chanute.
“We are excited, hoping to put a good game together,” Reynoldson said.
Chanute, however, is far from scared. And the Lady Comets look to put another showcase together. Led by All-SEK junior point guard Kori Babcock (5-6), the talented guard is averaging 19.7 points per game, 5.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.6 steals.
At her side is senior swing guard Jacey Lewis (5-5), who is averaging 7.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals a game. Although Babcock can do it all from anywhere on the court, Lewis is capable of knocking down the 3 while playing active defense. Senior post player Makayla Schoenhofer (height: 5-11; 7.7 point and 6.3 rebounds), junior guard Mattilyn Cranor (6-foot; 5.6 points, 4.3 rebounds), junior guard Brianna Waggoner (5-1; 4.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals) and freshman guard Tyra Bogle (5-5; 4.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and a steal a game), among other players such as sophomore forward Jacelyn Catron (5-9) and freshman forward Brinly Bancroft (5-7), are all usual reasons the Lady Blue Comets win.
These players will continue to run their high-tempo offense, and will mix it in with tenacious defense in myriad strategies.
“It will be a tremendous challenge, but I know the girls are excited for the opportunity to take that challenge on,” Fox said. “Knocking off two programs like that would be pretty legendary.”