2018 Sports in Kansas Girls Basketball COY Honors

Rick Hetzel led Aquinas to their seventh state title and earned 5A COY. (photo: STA Athletics)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen & Conor Nichol
Mar 18, 2018

Share This Story:

2018 Sports in Kansas All-Classes Girls Coach of the Year –

Pat Stiles, Central Plains

Pat Stiles had to replace six seniors from last year’s state title team, including standouts Cassidy Crites and Kylee Kasselman. CP lost sophomore Addison Crites to injury in early February. However, the Oilers (26-0) rolled to its fifth straight state title, a new mark for a Kansas girls’ program. At state, CP defeated Inman, 55-30, in the first round, defeated Hill City, 60-35, in the semifinals and beat Blue Rapids-Valley Heights, 48-32, in the championship game. Sophomore Emily Ryan, one of the state’s top-five players, led Kansas with 34.5 points a contest. Lone senior Julie Donecker stepped up, including a double-double in a nine-point sub-state title game victory versus Kiowa County. Since the start of ’13-14, Central Plains is 129-1 with a current 84-game winning streak, third-longest in state history behind Hoxie (107) and Little River (91). Stiles’ daughter, Jackie, a former Claflin great and the state’s all-time leading scorer, has battled cancer throughout this season. Stiles is 149-4 as the Oiler girls’ coach. He has coached multiple levels in Claflin for more than three decades, including 111-68 as the boys’ coach from ’86-95.

6A Sports in Kansas Girls Coach of the Year–

Jodie Karsak, Derby

Jodie Karsak finished 7-14 and 8-14 in her first two seasons with the Panthers. However, she knew about the talent coming through the middle school ranks, specifically guard Tor’e Alford and post Kennedy Brown. The duo has helped Derby to 19-4, 20-5 and 23-1 records the last three seasons. Last winter, Derby made a big comeback and fell just short in a 44-42 loss to Manhattan in the title. This year, the Panthers came from behind to beat Wichita South, 42-40, in the semifinals, and beat Olathe East, 50-35, to capture the first girls’ basketball title in program annals. Derby lost junior Madi Young, a Kansas softball commit, to a knee injury in midseason. Senior Holly Mills stepped up in a big role and led the team in charges. Each state game, Derby held the opponent to under 40 percent shooting, shot more free throws and committed fewer turnovers. Karsak credited first-year assistant Jody Adams-Birch, the former Wichita State women’s coach, for helping win the title.

5A Sports in Kansas Girls Coach of the Year –

Rick Hetzel, Aquinas

Hetzel won his seven state title and third in a row. He is now 414-80 in his career and ranks second to Bishop Miege’s Terry English in championships won by a head girls’ coach. Aquinas has reached the state tournament 24 straight seasons, a streak that started the year before he took over as junior varsity coach. Hetzel has had the same lead assistant, Bob Harbour, ever year.

Saint Thomas Aquinas High School and Athletic Department would like to congratulate the 2018 5A State Champion Saints on an outstanding 2017-2018 season. STA would also like to congratulate Sereena Weledji on the 5A POY and head coach Rick Hetzel on the 5A COY. Find us online at www.stasaints.net

4A-I Sports in Kansas Girls Coach of the Year –

Chris Strathman, McPherson

Strathman, in his 23rd season with McPherson and 13th as head coach, enjoyed his third state title this season. McPherson had been 0-5 against powerhouse Bishop Miege since 2010, including losses in last year’s state title game and early this regular season. McPherson made some subtle changes between the December loss to the Stags and the state title game, most notably looking to get to the foul line more frequently. McPherson trailed Miege by nine points with just under two and half minutes to play but rallied to force overtime and then won 62-58. The Bullpups finished 23-1 this season and bumped to 259-52 in his career. It marked Miege’s first loss in a title game since 1997. Senior Taylor Robertson had 21 points in the final, including seven made foul shots in overtime. Strathman labeled this team the deepest he’d ever had, and incorporated Mandi Cooks (Texas-San Antonio) into the lineup as the season progressed. Cooks missed the first part of the year due to an Achilles injury and had a season-high in minutes in the title.

McPherson High School would like to congratulate Taylor Robertson, Ben Pyle, and Coach Strathman on picking up postseason player and coach of the year honors from Sports in Kansas. Congrats to all of the Bullpups for outstanding seasons in 2018!

The McPherson Booster Club is a proud supporter of Sports in Kansas and would like to congratulate the Bullpups on another great season. Congrats to all of the players and coaches who picked up postseason honors this season!

4A-II Sports in Kansas Girls Coach of the Year –

Bob Martin, Baldwin

Martin led Baldwin to a 58-57 victory over Andale for the 4A-II state title, its first since 1996. Baldwin finished 24-1.  Baldwin dropped from Class 4A, Division I to Division II at the start of the year. Baldwin graduated Katie Jones, the team’s top player, but had strong chemistry and received a standout season from Abby Ogle. Martin is in his ninth season coaching the Bulldog girls after 10 years with the boys. Baldwin is 83-12 over the last four year with three apperances in four years. They took second in 2015.

Pete Carr, your Baldwin City Edward Jones financial advisor at 723 8th Street, Baldwin City, Kansas, would like to congratulate Coach Martin and the Baldwin girls basketball team on an oustanding season. Learn how Pete can help you reach your financial goals or visit edwardjones.com. Edward Jones. Making Sense of Investing, Member SIPC.

3A Sports in Kansas Girls Coach of the Year –

Kody Kasselman, Garden Plain

Due to the competitive nature of the Central Plains League, Garden Plain can play the same teams multiple times in the winter, including conference action, midseason tournament and sub-state. Last year, GP defeated Cheney in the regular season and then lost twice to the Cardinals, including sub-state. This year, the Owls had to beat Cheney four times, including the sub-state semifinals. Additionally, Garden Plain beat league foe Conway Springs early and then took its only loss to CS on Feb. 9. The defeat, though, forced the Owls to change its zone offense. The new zone look helped in a 49-39 state title win against Royal Valley. The Owls focused on guarding the perimeter and held teams to 5 of 34 on 3-point shooting. GP finished 23-1 and won its first title since 2001. Kasselman is 98-18 in five years with the Owls.

Garden Plain High School would like to congratulate the 2018 3A State Champion Garden Plain Owls Basketball Team. They would also like to congratulate Taylor Joplin and Kody Kasselman on their 3A Player of the Year and Coach of the Year Honors from Sports in Kansas.

Garden Plain Booster Club would like to congratulate the 3A State Champion Garden Plain Owls Girls Basketball Team. They would also like to congratulate Taylor Joplin and Kody Kasselman on their 3A Player of the Year and Coach of the Year Honors from Sports in Kansas.

2A Sports in Kansas Girls Coach of the Year –

Pat Stiles, Central Plains

Pat Stiles had to replace six seniors from last year’s state title team, including standouts Cassidy Crites and Kylee Kasselman. CP lost sophomore Addison Crites to injury in early February. However, the Oilers (26-0) rolled to its fifth straight state title, a new mark for a Kansas girls’ program. At state, CP defeated Inman, 55-30, in the first round, defeated Hill City, 60-35, in the semifinals and beat Blue Rapids-Valley Heights, 48-32, in the championship game. Sophomore Emily Ryan, one of the state’s top-five players, led Kansas with 34.5 points a contest. Lone senior Julie Donecker stepped up, including a double-double in a nine-point sub-state title game victory versus Kiowa County. Since the start of ’13-14, Central Plains is 129-1 with a current 84-game winning streak, third-longest in state history behind Hoxie (107) and Little River (91). Stiles’ daughter, Jackie, a former Claflin great and the state’s all-time leading scorer, has battled cancer throughout this season. Stiles is 149-4 as the Oiler girls’ coach. He has coached multiple levels in Claflin for more than three decades, including 111-68 as the boys’ coach from ’86-95.

First Kansas Bank would like to congratulate the Central Plains Oilers on state titles for boys and girls basketball. First Kansas Bank of Claflin is proud to support the Oilers. First Kansas Bank, equal housing lender and member FDIC, has locations in Claflin, Great Bend, Hays and Hoisington.

1A-1 Sports in Kansas Girls Coach of the Year –

Chris Beikmann, Hanover

Beikmann, a 2007 Hanover graduate, won his second state title in his second season as head girls’ basketball coach. Those are the lone two girls’ basketball crowns in school history. The Wildcats are known for their quick pace, aggressive play and ability to draw fouls. Last year, Hanover finished 24-2 and won the title as the fifth seed with wins against Dighton, top-ranked and rival Centralia and powerhouse Olpe. This season, the fourth-seeded Wildcats went 21-3. In the first round, Hanover trailed Frankfort by eight with three minutes to go and then scored the game’s final 11 points. In the semifinals, Hanover defeated previously unbeaten South Central, 54-46. The Wildcats put SC standout Bri Rutherford in early foul trouble and broke open a 30-30 game at the end of the third quarter. In the finals, Hanover trailed slower-paced St. Paul at halftime before pulling away in the third quarter for a 48-26 victory. In the last two years, only eight boys’ and girls’ teams have won a title seeded fourth or lower. Hanover is the lone squad to do it twice. Beikmann’s sister, Micaella, is his assistant, and their brother, Brandt, serves as team manager. Beikmann has also enjoyed great success in football as coach Matt Heuer’s longtime assistant; Hanover has won back-to-back state titles.

1A-II Sports in Kansas Girls Coach of the Yeaer –

Matt Havlas, Quinter

Five years ago, Quinter finished 0-21 in coach Matt Havlas’ first year. Havlas quickly improved a program that had just one state tournament victory in its history entering this season. The Bulldogs won seven games in his second year, and 11 in his third. Last year, the 15-9 Bulldogs went to the 1A-I state tournament as the No. 8 seed, the team’s first trip to state since ’07. This winter, Quinter dropped to 1A-II and broke through with its first-ever state championship – the first state crown for any girls’ sport in program annals. The No. 4-seeded Bulldogs (21-5) defeated Bucklin, 48-41, in the first round, held off top-seeded Cunningham, 36-22, in the semifinals and beat Hartford, 46-44, in the final. Havlas’ daughter, Peyton, and assistant coach Scott Crist’s sister, Kylie, were multi-year starters and helped key the turnaround.