The 2015-16 Ingalls girls’ basketball team was a veteran squad that featured six seniors. The group included Kaisha Batman, a career 1,000-point scorer, Hope Beach and Jordyn Cure, a key outside shooter. The team had just two freshmen, Odalys Escobedo, a little-used reserve, and Cure’s sister, Ashlyn, the first player off the bench.
The Cure’s father, Jamie, was a former standout for Hanston’s eight-man football dynasty under coach Jerry Slaton, who captured six state titles. Jamie grew up with two brothers, Michael and Scott.
In ’15-16, Jamie couldn’t come to games because of Michael’s health. On Jan. 15, 2016, Ingalls played Coldwater-South Central in a matchup of two undefeated teams.
Early in the contest, Beach went down with an ankle injury, and Ashlyn had to play more. She finished with nine points on 4 of 5 shooting in a 52-29 victory. The contest was the first big performance for Cure, now a senior, a 4.0 student and rare four-sport standout.
“I actually got a lot of playing time in that game, and I was doing pretty well,” she said.
At that time, it marked her second-most points in a contest. Jordyn finished with three assists. Ingalls, which used just six players, pulled away with a 22-4 second quarter.
Then-coach Roger Thurlow, now at Fredonia, wrote that Ashlyn was “phenomenal.” After the win, the Cure’s mother, Staci, told her daughters that Michael had passed away. He was 37.
“She played great defense and had her best offensive game of the season,” Thurlow wrote in an email last Thursday. “I remember she made an amazing play just before half when she split a double team off a pick and roll with a crazy behind the back dribble and scored on an and one. We went to win one of our biggest games of the season, but unfortunately after the game the girls heard the news of their uncle’s passing, and they were devastated.”
Michael resided in Hays with his wife and two children. Ashlyn said her family is “really close” and she saw Michael every year for holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
As well, the Cures have long had family gatherings in Hanston and played pickup games in the Elks’ old high school.
“He had a good personality and everyone enjoyed having him around, but it was definitely sad when the time came,” Cure said.
The following Tuesday, Ingalls had another game on Michael’s funeral, and defeated Kiowa County, 50-47. Cure still has her basketball shoes from that year and said she will “probably keep them forever.” Ingalls eventually went 21-3 and took third in Class 1A, Division I.
“One of the most amazing things about those impressive young ladies is that the following Tuesday they went to their uncles’ funeral, then traveled over two hours to help us win another tough game against Kiowa County,” Thurlow wrote.
Since then, Cure has continued to remember Michael as she has enjoyed an outstanding career. Cure is one of the state’s most accomplished athletes in the class of 2019. This winter, for the first time since her freshman year, Ingalls played on Jan. 15.
Jordyn texted her sister “good luck and play for Uncle Michael.” Ashlyn dedicated the game to him. On her Twitter, Cure has “RIP M.C.” with a heart. On Jan. 15, she posted “Tonight’s for you, M.C.” also with a heart.
“That year me and my sister dedicated our basketball career to him, and we wrote stuff on our shoes for him,” Ashlyn said. “And then we actually had to play a game when his funeral was, so it was a very emotional two weeks for us, but we just dedicated our career to him, especially that year.”
After her freshman year, Thurlow left for southeast Kansas after an impressive decade run with the Bulldogs. Ingalls graduated 79 percent of its scoring. Cure immediately had to take on a much bigger role and has helped lead Bulldog volleyball, basketball and cross country teams since her sophomore year.
“It was a huge transition,” Cure said. “But I actually think being able to play with those seniors my freshman year did get me prepared. Those were an amazing group of seniors.”
Ingalls basketball has posted marks of 14-7, 14-8 and 13-7 the last three winters for coach Terra Simon. She has averaged at least 14 points and four rebounds every winter since her sophomore year.
“Instead of just kind of being a key player on the team, I knew I had to be a very good player,” she said.
This year, Cure is the only senior and leads the team with 18.2 points despite coming back from a variety of injuries suffered in the fall. She also has 3.8 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2.3 assists per contest. In January, Cure went over 1,000 career points.
Ingalls features sophomore Regan Ast (11.4 points, 4.5 rebounds) and lone junior Britlyn Beach (8.9 points, 8.8 rebounds). A team captain, Cure has received interest from small colleges and expects to major in either physical or occupational therapy. She was all-state honorable mention as a sophomore and second team all-state last season along with her high level academics. Cure is also an avid outdoorsperson and has hunted with her father several times.
“I absolutely hate being behind on anything,” Cure said. “… I just love to get my work done and get it done the right way and have good grades.”
On Monday, Ingalls plays host to Macksville (4-15) in the first round of the Class 1A regionals. Start time is 7 p.m. The 5-foot-6 Cure has been remarkably consistent in career with just four single-figure performances in the last two years, all this winter. Ingalls is 0-4 in those contests. Overall, she has played in 82 career games with 1,115 points.
Known for outside shooting, Cure has made 29 treys with 33 percent from long range this winter. Cure has also focused more on driving. She has made 33 free throws and shot 83 percent from the line, the best marks of her career.
“Something that my dad has been telling me is to attack earlier, and just get things going earlier for the team, because someone always has to start it,” she said.
In 2015, Ingalls volleyball qualified for state. The next fall, Cure was the only returning player for volleyball.
“That year was basically just bonding, chemistry,” Cure said. “We had the skills we needed, we just needed to bond together and know who goes where and who does what, and figure out who our setter was, and who are hitters where, and where our back row would be.”
The Bulldogs, with no player above 5-8, again reached state. Then-coach Kim Batman, now at Montezuma-South Gray said in 2016 that, at the beginning of the year, she didn’t expect Ingalls to go back to state.
“We are blessed and fortunate to be able to play this year,” Batman said at the time.
Cure also ran cross country and helped Ingalls finish second in Class 1A in ‘16.
Simon served as the cross country coach. Her daughter, Kaylee, was a terrific runner. They talked Cure and a group of Ingalls girls into running. Simon was seventh and Cure finished in 13th for all-state. Cure had to manage her time well and sometimes ran after volleyball practice.
“It’s been really great,” Cure said of Coach Simon. “I have known her since I was younger, and so have all the other girls, but we bonded really well together just being together, and she is very motivational for everyone, so that was really nice to have that. And she always pushed us to do our best, and she is always very encouraging for even volleyball, too, even when we did cross country, and always made sure we were on top of things and that we were all doing fine.”
After the ’16 success, the girls decided to do both sports again in ’17. Ingalls volleyball went 23-12 and cross country again took second.
“Our coaches were very flexible with that,” Cure said. “And allowed us to skip some practices and go to the meets, but overall, it’s just been really great.”
In ’17, Simon replicated her seventh place state finish, sophomore Hailey Minet was No. 19 and Cure finished No. 39 with freshmen Alexa Lightner and Aryca Brandon in 43rd and 44th, respectively. Cure earned the squad’s Most Inspirational award in ’16 and ’17.
“It definitely put a lot of toll on all of us just having to do two sports at once, but it was definitely worth it being able to be state runner-up two years in a row,” Cure said.
In track, Cure was a state qualifier in the 800-meter run in 2016. In the last two years, she earned two state medals: sixth in the 3,200-meter relay in ’17 and eighth in the relay last year. This fall, though, Cure grew and suffered injury with too many activities. She fought ankle, shin and specifically her hip problems.
“Every time I did anything, it hurt extremely bad,” she said.
Cure, though, never missed a volleyball match or a cross country race. She rested in the break between the end of fall sports and the start of basketball.
“Don’t ever quit, no one likes a quitter. Keep working hard for what you want, that’s always been something that’s been around my life, just with people at school and even around my home life,” Cure said.
Cure attended physical therapy for several weeks with stretches, massages and running on a treadmill. Once she returned Cure has continued to perform at her high level.
In the season opener, she helped Ingalls to a 58-24 win against Moscow and tallied a career-high 29 points on 11 of 14 shooting. The Bulldogs are 13-2 when she has at least 17 points in a game.
“I just fought through it most of the time,” Cure said. “And then practices just not doing very much at all, and just laying low for a little bit, so I got to compete in everything that we had.”
How did you get involved in basketball?
- Basketball has always been in my blood. When I was two years old I was able to dribble a ball. Playing basketball has just been something I grew up with. I started recreation basketball when I was in kindergarten. If I’m not playing basketball, I’m likely watching it on TV.
What are your goals this season?
- Overall, my goals for our team is to do well in our post season. I feel we definitely have the potential to go far just like any other team out there. As far as personal goals, I really hoped to reach my 1000th career point and was able to do that during our league basketball tournament in January. I also have been working hard towards being a better leader for my team.
Do you guys have a shot to make a run this year?
- Any team that has hard work, dedication, and motivation can make a run. We are a very young team but we definitely have that potential.
What makes you such a force as a player?
- I think what makes me a force player is that I am able to shoot from the outside and able to attack in the inside. I am an extremely competitive person and that really pushes me to do my best on the court at all times.
What’s the atmosphere like to play basketball for your school and town?
- I love our atmosphere and even just our gym! We have great crowds that come support us at our games and our “Dog Pound” pep club gets the gym rolling. The best atmosphere is during a close game and everyone in the gym gets involved.
For anyone that hasn’t seen one of your games, why come to one?
- We are a very fast paced team since I was a freshman which makes our games fun to watch. We can also make great connections with each other while we are on the court.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a player?
- I would say my strength is to be able to handle the ball under pressure and be able to attack going strong. I’d say my weakest point is being really active on defense and always being able to shoot outside every game.
Who are other key players on your team?
- We are very young team this year even off the bench. I am the only Senior and Britlyn Beach is the only Junior. Beach is a leading rebounder which is important for our team so she is definitely a key player on the boards, along with Alexa Lightner. Also Regan Ast is a deep outside threat followed up with Julina Wall as a shooting guard. As with other teams, when it’s not working for one of us, the other teammate will step up and be a key player.
Favorite thing about basketball?
- My favorite thing about basketball is just the game itself and the connections you make with others. Its fast paced and tests your mental and physical states. I have always loved basketball since I was young and that hasn’t changed. It’s a great sport to play!
Do you play any other sports, tell us about that, what other positions do you play?
- Besides basketball, I have also played volleyball and have ran in cross country and track. My position in volleyball was the right-hand hitter and also played backrow. My accomplishment was learning how to jump serve this year. In cross country I placed 13th individually at state my sophomore year and as a team were runner up both my sophomore and junior year. In track my freshman year I was a state qualifier in the open 800m. Then, my sophomore and junior year we placed 6th and 8th in our 4X8 meter relay team. I also started to learn how to throw javelin and have had a few successful meets with that event.
What is it like to play for your coach?
- Playing for my coach is a lot of fun. We have serious practices but at the same time Coach is always making them fun. I’d say my favorite part though about playing for Coach is seeing her get super excited on the sideline and it just makes everyone’s momentum go up. She constantly is pushing us to be our best and refuses to let us get down on ourselves.
What did you and the team do in the off-season to become better?
- As a team we typically participated in a summer basketball league where games were played in the surrounding area within 30-40 miles from Ingalls either on a week night or a weekend tournament. In the summer with everyone’s crazy schedules many of us would lift and do their own workouts as we could get them in. As for myself, I spent a lot of time on the court outside my house shooting baskets in the mornings and evenings almost daily. I also got the chance to attend two Fort Hays State University girls’ basketball camps that made me a better player than what I was before I went to the camp.
What interest are you seeing at the next level and what are your plans?
- I have a few teams contact me and my Coach, but not sure where I really want to go yet. There are a lot of choices to be made and I’m starting to narrow it down to schools that would be best for me. I am planning to major in Physical or Occupational Therapy.
Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports?
- My favorite thing to do when I’m not playing sports is just straight relaxing. I enjoy watching Netflix and just resting up for another week. And its always a good time hanging out with friends.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
- I hopefully see myself graduated from college and having my own “big girl” job. Also hope to plan to have a family and still be around sports.
Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you, GPA?
- This year I’d say my favorite class was government. Our teacher, Mr. Pelischek made the class really fun while incorporating games while we learned about government. We learned a lot and worked extremely hard the first semester to get everything done. I enjoyed learning about our government because I really did not know much about it, so “shout out” to Mr. Pelischek for making it a great experience. I have a 4.0 GPA all throughout High School. My teachers and other students describe me as being a hard-working student and always get my work completed, or otherwise I freak out! I like to give nothing but my best in what I do.
Who is your role model?
- My role model would have to be Shalee Lehning. Since I was in Jr. High, she has always been a person I’ve looked up to and I’ve always wanted to have her basketball skills. Not only that, she came from a Southwest Kansas school of Sublette, KS just 45 miles from my town.
Best place to eat in your town or the surrounding area?
- Well, our town is extremely small so there are not a lot of options! The only place to eat at is our Café, but I’m not complaining because it is really good. If we want more choices, we have to drive 30 min to Garden or Dodge City.
One thing the average person wouldn’t know about you?
- I absolutely love summer and can not stand the cold. Like seriously…I’m constantly cold. I spend a lot of my summer spending time at the lake whether it is just hanging out, jet skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, and even do some fishing! I also enjoy going out hunting and just spending my time outdoors as much as I can. I also CANNOT stand blood or needles when getting a shots. It has always been something that has bothered me and I think forever will!
Anything else to add?
- One of the many great experiences that I have had in my basketball career includes being on an incredible basketball team my freshman year. I was able to play with my sister who was a senior at the time. I was quite nervous stepping up and having to be the 6th man off the bench with a very talented group of seniors who have played with each other since grade school. Thankfully, I bonded quickly to them. It was cool that me and my sister were a huge threat on the court together being able to sink 3s throughout games. My freshman year I also got to experience my first state basketball game that I was able to play in. We ended the season placing 3rd at State at the United Wireless Arena.
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