By CONOR NICHOLL
OTIS – Otis-Bison’s Maddie Wiltse is one of Kansas’ most decorated seniors. Wiltse, a middle blocker, has thrice earned all-state honors by the Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association. She picked up second team as a sophomore, honorable mention her junior year and second team again last fall.
In basketball, Wiltse has signed with Division II University of Nebraska-Kearney. Wiltse has tallied 1,320 career points and collected first team all-state two winters ago and second team last season by the state’s basketball coaches.
This winter, the 6-foot-2 forward averages 16 points and 7.4 rebounds a contest. Otis-Bison, known for its patient offense and stifling defense, is ranked No. 8 in Class 1A by the KBCA as of Jan. 28.
In addition to her accolades and talent, Wiltse perpetually wears an effervescent smile, joy that comes from her team’s success and notably her two other seniors: 6-1 forward Cora Anderson and 5-11 point guard Cristen Trapp.
The trio has played together since second grade. Wiltse and Trapp are four-year starters. Anderson will play basketball at Barton County. She was the sixth player as a freshman and has started the last three years. This winter, O-B has held multiple teams scoreless in a quarter. Among the leading 1A teams, the Cougars are among the most experienced and tallest.
“Honestly, these two girls right here, they mean the world to me, and all of us, we go in this thing hand in hand together every single game,” Wiltse said. “I couldn’t do it without them, and I smile because I love it. I love being with them. I love playing the game, and I just love all the memories we’ve made since second grade together.”
Otis-Bison has consistently enjoyed success with coach Bobby Trapp, Cristen’s father. He holds a 77-28 career record in his fifth year. The Trapps are one of many successful father-daughter or mother-daughter pairings this basketball season, including at WaKeeney-Trego, Scott City, Colby, Cheney, Haven, Central Plains and Stockton.
“I like playing for him,” Cristen said. “Sometimes it’s rough, we fight throughout the season, but otherwise it’s fine. I love working with him. He’s very intense and makes us work hard.”
On Tuesday, Otis-Bison plays host to Central Plains, ranked No. 1 in 1A and on a state record 124-game winning streak. Both Central Prairie League squads are 13-0 in a rare February matchup with two perfect squads. The teams are in the Central Plains regional, though will be in different sub-states. Last year, O-B fell 74-35 to Central Plains in the regular season, and 62-32 in regionals. The latter is one of the closer contests for the Oilers in their run.
“I just love basketball, so this is something that I have always loved to do, but this group here, it’s means a lot to me,” coach Trapp said.
In 2017, the Cougars had the best girls’ basketball finish in school history with a 21-5 showing and third place at state. Volleyball was also third in ’16 and second in ’17. Last winter, O-B was 19-4 as Wiltse averaged 21 points and seven rebounds a contest.
On Friday, the Cougars defeated Sylvan-Lucas, 56-28, in a home game that featured a running clock. S-L is 8-4. Coach Trapp has wanted O-B to shoot more 3-pointers. Cristen delivered 17 points and made three 3s in the contest. She had one trey last winter and three this year before Friday.
“It’s nice to shoot outside and get some points,” Cristen said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Last year, the Cougars averaged 53.6 possessions a contest, scored .900 points per possession and allowed .654. Otis-Bison collected 21.5 percent of available offensive rebounds.
This winter, O-B has added 5-11 junior Lauren Maier and 5-6 junior Danica Bartonek to the starting lineup. Wiltse’s sister, freshman Macie, is a reserve. The Cougars are at a methodical 47.1 possessions a game. The Cougars have scored .930 points and allowed .565 points a possession, numbers that are on par or better with previous state qualifying teams.
“Their height is so hard to defend,” third-year S-L coach Craig Batchman said. “They move that ball around as well and look to get it inside. It’s just tough to defend them.”
Anderson is at 9.8 points and 6.5 rebounds a game, and Trapp averages 8.3 points with a team-best 41 assists.
“I just love playing with these girls,” Anderson said. “We have played since second grade. It’s just awesome, and with that much time you know just what’s going to happen, which is really good, and this season, we’ve just been so blessed.
“All our girls are really good,” she added. “They work hard in practice, and I love that about them. This season has just been amazing. I have loved it so far.”
Coach Trapp said the defense “is probably the best” in his tenure. Overall, O-B has an average score of 44-27. The Cougars average 12.1 steals a game after 8.3 a contest in ’18-19. Wiltse leads with 3.3 steals per game.
“The girls are learning that once we get the basketball, we can slow it down, run the stuff that we want to do,” coach Trapp said. “And then once we have the ball, they don’t have the ball, makes it a lot easier on our defense to keep them scoreless.”
Otis-Bison has won both the Fairfield and Hoisington tournaments.
Notably, O-B shut out rival Victoria, 4-0, in the second quarter on Jan. 10 in a 26-12 victory. The Cougars have defeated 8-5 Ellinwood twice – in both tournament finals. On Jan. 25, O-B led Ellinwood, 15-0, after the first quarter and won 49-16.
Otis-Bison has run a variety of defenses, including box-and-one, 1-3-1 and 2-2-1. O-B traps often, including with Wiltse and Anderson. Coach Trapp’s goal is to “completely take” away the team’s top player.
“To look up at the scoreboard and just smile,” Wiltse said. “Like it’s not all about the score obviously, but we take a lot of pride in our defense. Because a lot of our practices are defensive-intensive focused.”
Ellinwood junior Mya Maxwell delivers 14 points and 6.1 rebounds a game. O-B ran box-and-one against her, and she combined for 10 points on 2 of 14 shooting in the two Cougar wins.
“With our defense, it’s a lot easier, because that one person has help with our big talls on the inside,” coach Trapp said of the box-and-one.
Maxwell didn’t make a field goal in the Hoisington championship game, the only time she has not made a shot in the last two years.
“When we see that we are holding them scoreless, that means that our defense is doing what it’s supposed to be doing, and that’s a lot of pride for us and a lot of hard work paid off,” Wiltse said.
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