Former Basehor-Linwood basketball players pack KCKCC summer league rosters
It is Monday night and Kansas City Kansas Community College’s gymnasium is hopping like its February.
The sounds of basketballs bouncing reverberate through the gymnasium. Players hustle up and down the court, often without any coaching and in front of just a few loyal fans. They compete on 11 different teams from area colleges, most just looking for a competitive basketball game in the summer.
A team of players from Washburn University and Grinnell College in Iowa form one team. The other teams in the league are Kansas City Kansas Community College, University of St. Mary, Benedictine, William Jewell, Northwest Missouri State, Baker, Ottawa, Mid-America Nazarene, Johnson County Community College and Central Missouri.
Basehor-Linwood High School is well represented in the league. Former BLHS players who are now playing in college compete in the league.
Ashley Jeannin and Cassie Lombardino play on a team that is filled predominantly with players from Washburn University where Lombardino plays in the fall. Jeannin and her teammate Megan Huey from Grinnell also play on the team.
For the former Basehor-Linwood players, it is fun playing together again.
“Yeah, it is fun playing with Cassie,” Jeannin said. “It is nice to see a familiar face. It’s nice playing together again. We have both changed a lot in one year being apart as players.”
The opportunity to play with Lombardino arose when Jeannin’s father, Pat, was speaking with the Washburn University coach, who he is friends with, about providing his players a chance to play in the summer. He looked into the KCKCC league and a team was formed.
The team has a winning record in the league.
In addition to Lombardino and Jeannin, Michelle Chrisman plays on the team from USM. Brooke Sanders, a 2008 BLHS graduate, and 2009 Basehor grad Bren Koontz each play at Baker University.
“Brooke and Bren were on the same team at Basehor, so it’s neat to see them and all these players playing,” Simpson said. “It is good for the school and for the program. It’s awesome to see those kids play. Myself and coach (Bruce) Courtney try to watch them play. It’s fun to watch them compete and see what they are doing.”
The summer league games start at 4 p.m. and end after the 9 p.m. nightcap.
Valerie Stambersky is the head coach at KCKCC. She said the league is nice because it allows area college basketball players to play close to home. It also helps coaches know their players have a place to play competitive basketball games.
“It just keeps a ball in their hands, and you develop team chemistry a little quicker by playing in the summer before school starts,” she said.