Young BSHS girls hoops team gears up in MAYB Tournament
The regular season tip-off still months away, the Bonner Springs girls basketball team is taking every advantage of time spent in the gym this summer.
With many of the tournaments away from home, it was a nice change of pace for Bonner Springs to host the Mid America Youth Basketball Tournament last weekend.
For the Braves, who fielded mainly a group of freshmen and sophomores for an event made for all high school girls, their second-place finish in the “B” Bracket was a nice output for coach Clay Oakes and his players.
Bonner Springs came within one point of defeating the Gardner Blazers in the championship game, but were unable to pull off the victory.
What makes this tournament even more essential for the Braves is how it helps with the team’s expenses throughout the year. The MAYB Tournament is one of the main fundraisers for both the boys and girls programs.
“It brings in some revenue to our basketball teams and allows us an opportunity to go to some other tournaments throughout the summer,” Oakes said.
“It allows you to get a lot of games in without having to travel.”
On Friday night, the Braves defeated Omaha Sports Academy in the first game of pool play.
Bonner Springs then dropped its other two games on Saturday to the Lawrence Lions and Topeka Lady Panthers.
But the girls fought back on Sunday for a steady final performance.
The Braves have a large turnover this season, so getting more repetitions for their young group of players will be crucial once the begin of the season comes along.
The core group of junior Kennedy Bizzell, sophomores Abrise Sims, Kayleigh Taylor and freshman Julianne Jackson all made strides throughout the weekend to reload from their 4A state semifinal appearance last season.
Oakes also said that sophomore Mikaela Bennett made it back from vacation and contributed to the team’s effort on Saturday and Sunday.
“Those are our five nucleus players that contributed and did good things throughout the tournament,” Oakes said.
During the summer, the Braves compete in a handful of similar tournaments, but with many of the players busy with other activities, trying to squeeze in the two home tournaments was most important to the coaches.
“We kind of give them the option of which weekend they are available to play in the summer,” Oakes said.
Bonner Springs also hosted a MAYB tournament in late May.
The summer games are also abbreviated compared to the full-length games of winter. With running clocks and shortened time periods, it’s far from the pressure they’ll see later in the year.
“You don’t have a lot of different situational stuff like the school year, but you’re still getting good court experience,” Oakes said. “You’re playing against good competition in these tournaments.”
Following this weekend, it was another step forward for Oakes and his team, hoping that this new group of talent can produce similar results when the time comes this season.
“We’re going to be able to do some things that we weren’t able to do last year,” Oakes said. “It’s going to be a growing period through the first half of the season, but I expect the second half of the season we’ll be right there competing against everybody.”
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