American Implement Western KS Team of Week: Meade

Meade girls improved to 10-2 on the year.
By: Conor Nicholl for Sports in Kansas
Jan 23, 2019

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Both Meade basketball teams captured the Hi-Plains League tournament championship last week with victories against Cimarron. The Meade girls won 61-51 and moved to 10-2. The Buffs went 17-5 last year and returned 92 percent of its scoring. Earlier this season, Meade lost in the finals of the Cimarron tournament to South Gray, 42-36, in overtime.

This championship contest, Meade led the entire way, including a 10-0 run to start the game. The Buffs had a 32-20 advantage at halftime. Senior Katey Wilhelm paced Meade with 17 points, including two 3s and 7 of 11 shooting from the free throw line.  Senior Shiane Wondra had 12 points, and sophomore Lauren Christensen tallied 10 points. Meade had 15 turnovers, nine fewer than Cimarron.

Meade has captured the last four league championships, the past two under new coach Tyler Flavin, who had a long run at Wheatland-Grinnell as head football and head girls’ basketball coach. Flavin led W-G to a fourth-place state finish in 2008. Before Flavin, coach Craig Batchman and all-stater Jaylin Stapleton – now a standout at Barton County – paced Meade to four straight 20-win seasons.

Class 2A continues to be wide-open with no undefeated girls’ teams in the entire classification. Stanton County, also in the Hi-Plains League, was among the last two perfect squads but took an upset loss to Sublette in the first round of the league tournament and is now 10-2 after a defeat against Syracuse. West Elk opened 9-0 but fell twice last week to South Haven and Caldwell.

Meade bumped back into the rankings at No. 9 in 2A this week, while Stanton County is fifth. The Buffs are back in the rankings for the first time since they were No. 10 in the Dec. 17 poll. Meade took the loss to South Gray and also fell 51-43 to one-loss Spearville on Dec. 18. Since then, the Buffs have captured six in a row.

Through the first 10 games, Wilhelm paces the team with 14.2 points, 3.8 assists and 6.1 steals. Senior Liberty Luetters is at 11.2 points and 3.3 rebounds, and Wondra delivers 9.2 points and 5.2 rebounds. Compared to last season, Meade has had a slight improvement in offensive efficiency to .762 points per possession, better offensive rebounding rate (21 percent of misses) and again a low turnover margin (15.7 percent).

Last year, Meade averaged .74 points per possession, rebounded 16.4 percent of misses and turned the ball over 16.1 percent of the time. Wilhelm averaged 12.3 points and 2.6 steals last winter. This year, her 6.1 steals per game lead Kansas, according to the MaxPreps statewide lists.

The Meade boys, coached by Aaron Dardis, avenged a season-opening loss to Cimarron with a 68-65 victory in the Hi-Plains League championship.

Meade tallied four points in the final eight seconds. Senior Garrett Gillum tallied a layup, then Cimarron standout Matt Mowry was called for an offensive foul with a second to play. Sophomore Hunter Davis made a pair of three throws. Meade (8-5) led the majority of the contest and received 15 points from sophomore Vance Shewey, 13 by junior Preston Woodruff and 12 from Garrett Gillum. Meade captured its third league title in its sixth HPL league tournament trip.

Shewey, Garrett Gillum and Davis all avenge between 11.6 and 13.3 points per contest. Dardis, who had a highly successful run at Hoxie that included a state runner-up appearance, is in his third season with the Buffs. He had records of 11-11 and 14-8 before this year.

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