Bonner Springs teams greet new year with high hopes
The Bonner Springs High School boys` and girls` basketball teams and the Braves` wrestling squad started workouts this week. Hopes are high among the teams and the basketball schedule features new opponents.
Both the Braves and Bravettes had winning records last year and both return key players. The Braves were 14-7 last year and were upset in the first round of the 5A Sub-State by Washington, 60-45. The Bravettes finished 12-9 and lost a heart-breaking overtime game to DeSoto, 32-31, in the first round of sub-state play.
Garold Baker returns as the Bravettes head coach. He maintained the coaching duties in addition to his appointment as athletic director. John Rost is the girls` assistant and John Linn will be the freshman coach.
The Bravettes return six letterwinners, three seniors and three sophomores. Senior returnees include Holly Thompson, Alicia Forshey and Melissa Wiseman. Sophomore letterwinners battling for starting spots include Amanda Berry, Morgan McConico and Lindsey Stanbrough.
More than 30 girls are expected to compete for places on the varsity, JV and freshman squads.
Jim Bonar is the boys` head coach. Andy Price will be the assistant coach and Dan Streit is the freshman coach.
There are five lettermen returning, headed by all-Huron League center Darryl Anderson, senior, and Sean Birdsong, junior. Anderson led the Braves in scoring with 18.6 points per game and Birdsong averaged 16.3 points per game. Other lettermen returning include senior Alfonzo Cole and juniors Joe Botts and Chris Cobbins. In addition, sophomore Michael Cook logged considerable playing time late in the season. About 45 boys are seeking spots on the varsity, JV and freshman rosters.
Due to a change in state rules, the Braves and Bravettes won`t play in a December tournament. Prior to this year, teams were allowed to schedule 14 games and two tournaments or 16 games and one tournament. This year, teams can schedule 17 games and a single tournament, which means major changes in the schedule.
Both teams will open play at Basehor-Linwood High School on Friday, Dec. 1.
"That should be quite an event," Baker said.
It will be the first regular season meeting of the two schools and is the first game scheduled in the new BLHS gymnasium, all of which is expected to result in a huge crowd.
The Braves will play new regular season games at home against Immaculata and Tonganoxie and will complete the pre-holiday portion of play at Olathe Christian on Thursday, Dec. 21. On some schedules, the game was listed on Friday.
Bonner Springs` boys will return to the Tonganoxie Invitational tournament to defend their championship. Schools entered include Tonganoxie, Bonner Springs, Olathe Christian, Eudora, Bishop Hogan, Oskaloosa, Lansing and Van Horn.
The Bravettes have numerous new faces on the schedule. Baker said that a game against the Olathe Christian girls in December has been cancelled. Baker said that Olathe Christian would probably not field a girls team this year. Instead, Bonner Springs will play Central High School of Kansas City, Mo., at the BSHS gym on Monday, Dec. 18.
After opening against Basehor-Linwood, the Bravettes will play at Mill Valley and have home games against Kansas City Christian and Tonganoxie prior to the holidays.
The Bravettes will compete in the first Bobcat Invitational tournament at Basehor-Linwood High School from Jan. 15 to Jan. 20. Other schools entered include Fort Scott, Lincoln Prep, Mill Valley, Paseo Academy, St. Joseph, Mo., Benton and St. Teresa`s Academy. In previous years, Bonner Springs had competed at the Louisburg tournament.
The Braves` wrestling team will open its season on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at Basehor-Linwood High School in a double dual along with Louisburg. Matches start at 5:30 p.m.
Coach Randy Lowe returns 11 lettermen from last year`s squad.
They are: Spencer Buck, 130 or 135 pounds; Chad Vanden-berg, 119 or 125 pounds; Mark Lewis, 145 pounds; Donnie Shepherd, 135 pounds; Scott Witzke, 125 pounds; Jimmy Vogel, 130 pounds; Brock Peter-son, 152 pounds; Nathan Park, 160 or 171 pounds; Jeff Burns, 189 or 215 pounds; David Bass, 275 pounds; Nick Borders, 140 pounds.
Lowe`s assistant coaches are Dan Burns, a former Bonner Springs High School wrestler and Russell Baldwin.