Kylie Dohl of Jackson Heights has been awarded Rainbow Communications Northeast Kansas Athlete(s) of the Month for the month of February.
Last season, Jackson Heights finished 17-6 and qualified for the Class 2A state tournament, its first trip since 1999. Seventh-year coach Dan Shupe, a JH graduate, has led a turnaround for the Cobras behind an experienced group of seniors and its matchup point zone defense. JH first tried the scheme several years ago.
“Give them a different look from what a lot of the teams we play usually see,” he said.
This year, JH features six seniors: Makenzie Kennedy, Jodi White, Abby Brey, Kylie Dohl, Grace Roles and Southern Raborn. The Cobras focus on not letting teams drive. Dohl called White “a really awesome defender.” JH’s players can play multiple spots.
“That is the point of a lot of our success,” Dohl said of the defense. “Something we put in my freshman year. We have run it a lot. I think that’s what helps us a lot. It keeps our legs fresh.”
Dohl is the school’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder with more than 1,130 career points. Dohl’s mom, Kristi, first coached the current seniors in fourth grade.
“A big thing is I have an awesome group of classmates, and we all decided when we were younger that this is something we wanted to turn around, and we wanted to be successful,” Dohl said. “And they are super competitive.”
Dohl is a four-year starter, White and Brey three years. Junior Amaya Marlatt is also a returning starter for a corps that has helped key the program turnaround.
“There’s a lot of pride,” Shupe said. “There’s a lot of people that have come back and established households in our community, and they are second and third generation kids that are coming through Jackson Heights now. I think that’s a big part of it.”
Jackson Heights opened the season with a 62-53 loss to Jefferson County North in its season opener. Both teams play in the Northeast Kansas League and are in the Horton sub-state. Since then, JH is 13-1 – including a 38-25 home upset win versus JCN on Feb. 4. After the upset, the Cobras have picked up three more victories.
“Anybody can win a certain game,” Dohl said. “So going into that knowing like, ‘Oh, we can do this’ was really important for us. I think it was a really big confidence booster for us. Because that was kind of our turnaround point of the season. We started playing together.”
Overall, JCN, with Missouri Western signee Josie Weishaar, is 15-1 and currently ranked fifth in 2A. Valley Heights, also in the sub-state, is 15-2 and eighth. JH remains unranked. Since the JCN loss, the Cobras have allowed just 26.5 points per game.
“Our kids are playing extremely good defense,” Shupe said.
Rainbow Communications and Sports in Kansas are in partnership to release an athlete of the month from the Northeast Kansas Area at the beginning of the following participation month. To nominate (last 5 days of the month) send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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