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Chanute's Kori Babcock leads week of superlatives

Babcock is having a huge year for Chanute. (photo: Sophia Osborn)
By: Conor Nicholl
Jan 19, 2021

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By CONOR NICHOLL

Cnicholl1@gmail.com

SIK looks at several superlatives, including Chanute’s Kori Babcock’s triple-double, Russell’s Rylan Reeves’ double-doubles, plenty of Tuesday upsets, several milestones and the longest current boys’ winning streak in Kansas.

4A: Chanute’s Kori Babcock achieves highly rare points-rebounds-steals triple-double

Since her freshman year, Chanute senior Kori Babcock has learned a mantra from veteran Blue Comet coach Dustin Fox. If she is not scoring, Babcock has long remembered to “contribute in other ways.”

Last season, Babcock finished 11th for all classes at 19.6 points per game. Babcock, a Neosho Community College signing, delivered five assists per game. That ranked seventh across Kansas, second-best in 4A. Her 3.5 steals stood 30th, according to SIK rankings.

“She is just a playmaker, and a basketball player, and I think that’s the biggest compliment I can give Kori,” Fox said.

During her sophomore and junior seasons and the first four games of 2020-21, Babcock had three contests where she did not make a 3-pointer. In those, Babcock went a combined 0 of 7.

On Jan. 8, Chanute faced Coffeyville Field Kindley. Babcock has been bothered back/shoulder issues, which has required rehab. Fox said she is getting closer to full strength but it has “definitely” affected her shooting. Babcock finished 0 of 7 from 3-point range.

Babcock still delivered a superlative effort and finished with one of the rarest basketball lines: a points-rebounds-steals triple-double in a 60-44 victory.

She collected a season-best 29 points, including 12 of 19 from inside the arc, and sunk 5 of 7 free throws. Babcock delivered 12 rebounds, her third double-digit rebound performance of the winter, and 11 steals. In the last three years, Babcock had never had more than seven steals in a contest.

“Such a complete game,” Fox said.

Fox said it marked the first triple-double by a Chanute girl since he started coaching in 2011-12. Chanute had key players out with COVID-19, including the top-three “5s,” or posts, that normally play at the top of the 1-3-1. Overall, Babcock is one of several players posting strong numbers for teams unranked as of Jan. 18.

Triple-double statistics at the high school level are hard to pinpoint, but Babcock’s showing is rare at any level. SIK has reached out to several coaches and checked into databases. Triple-doubles have occurred in Kansas, and Eudora’s 4A first team all-state pick Harper Schreiner had 19 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in a game last week.

However, no WNBA player has ever pulled off Babcock’s points-rebounds-steals triple double. Just two NBA players accomplished the feat from 1986 to 2011, according to Bleacher Report. Division I women’s college basketball reported 529 triple-doubles from 1988 to 2020, according to NCAA statistics. Just 42 were recorded as points-rebounds-steals triple-doubles. In just eight of those 42, a player had at least 12 steals.

MaxPreps tracks double-doubles, but not triple-doubles. In Nov. 2019, The Indianapolis Star looked into the rarity. Lilli Frasure, who has signed with NAIA Indiana Wesleyan, posted four such points-rebounds-steals games in ’19-20, but none this season.

Babcock plays on the backside of Chanute’s 1-3-1 defense, a look that few teams display. Chanute has run the defense since 2013, a program hallmark. Fox said Babcock has put in a “ton of work” with anticipation and reading passes. That’s allowed her to be “in the right spot.” Babcock has learned to watch defender’s eyes and be ready for the lobs across the defense.

Through seven games this season, Chanute has delivered a steal on 19.4 percent of possessions. Babcock has recorded a steal on 20.3 percent of her possessions. Last season, Chanute had a steal on 17.4 percent of possessions and Babcock was at 14.6 percent.

“We just want to touch the ball, and we tell the girls, ‘Touches lead to steals, steals lead to layups, and layups lead to wins,’” Fox said. “And so we are just trying to disrupt what the other team does on the offensive end, and let that turn into offense for us.”

Overall, Babcock has 901 points after she delivered 21 against Parsons on Jan. 15. That included 410 in 21 games last winter, the most in a single season since Fox has been coaching. The 5-foot-6 Babcock has perpetually filled other columns and has 294 rebounds, 240 assists and 201 steals in her career.

She has helped Chanute to back-to-back winning seasons and a 5-2 start this year. Through seven games, she has 17.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, five steals and 3.9 assists a contest. Babcock and her teammates have bought into Fox’s motto of “family first.”

In Babcock’s eyes, Chanute is a family both in and out of basketball season. The players can give other teammates advice. In Fox’s tenure, Chanute has won 17 games three times.

“Everyone around us should be a family, so we all treat each other like we want to be treated,” she said.

This winter, Chanute’s top-three players are all seniors. Mattilyn Cranor has 9.5 points, six rebounds and 1.8 blocks. The 6-foot Cranor missed the Coffeyville game and then another week because of COVID protocols. She has played in four games.

“A huge difference for us just with her size and her motor,” Fox said.

Senior Brianna Waggoner has 6.1 points and 3.6 rebounds. Freshman Peyton Shields has 5.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.9 steals. Sophomore Tyra Bogle has delivered 6.0 points and 3.7 rebounds, with junior Jacelyn Catron at 4.7 points and 5.0 rebounds.

The Blue Comets allow .59 points per possession, an improvement from .69 last winter. Chanute has upped its possessions from 63.6 a game last year to 66.4 this season.

“They don’t want to lose, and losing bothers them, and when you have got a group where that’s the case, generally they put in the work,” Fox said.

Chanute has faced against K.C. Piper and Topeka Hayden in sub-state the last two seasons and taken losses by 32 and 25 points, respectively against the state powers. This year, sub-states are grouped geographically because of coronavirus concerns. Chanute is the five-team Independence sub-state with host Indy, Labette County, Coffeyville and Parsons. Chanute, LC and Indy are all over .500.

Chanute lost, 52-37, to Independence on Jan. 12, though is 3-2 in the last five meetings against its SEK foe. Chanute has won two of the last three against LC and will face them Feb. 4 and Feb. 9. Labette County is sixth in 4A.

“We really believe that we can go to state this year,” Babcock said.

3A: Reeves change offensive game for Russell, averages a double-double

Last season, Rylan Reeves earned first team all-North Central Activities Association as a Russell sophomore. In 15 games, Reeves averaged 11.9 points and 9.7 rebounds. She finished with seven double-doubles. Reeves, who currently stands 5-foot-7, sunk 1 of 11 treys.

First-year coach Lexi Schamberger was hired later in the process and didn’t know about Reeves’s game prior to the first day of practice. Schamberger and Carly Heim were four-year starters for Hoxie and highly instrumental in the Indians’ then state record 107 straight wins under former coach Shelly Hoyt. Reeves told Schamberger she was a post.

“I go, ‘You are not just sitting in there,’” Schamberger said. “I am like, ‘You are going to get out.’ And we haven’t really worked her a whole lot out there, but she’s really adapted to that situation really well.”

Through seven games, Reeves is at 14 points and 10.1 rebounds. She is 10 of 30 from 3-point range and sunk at least one trey in six games. That included 18 points and 13 rebounds versus Phillipsburg, undefeated and ranked in the top-5 in 3A. Reeves is in the top-5 in Kansas for double-doubles, according to MaxPreps.

“She was hot tonight,” Schamberger said after the Jan. 8 loss. “So we just kept feeding her and feeding her, and she’s filling that spot really well.”

Russell is 3-6 in its first year of highly difficult Mid-Continent League action, though started last winter 1-9.

“We knew she was a key player for them,” Phillipsburg coach Rachel Miller said. “I think we underestimated. She is a strong girl. She can work inside and outside. I think maybe we weren’t respecting perhaps her range a little bit.”

Frank Schulte, the previous coach, had rebuilt the program and put together several strong years, including a state final four.

“They had a culture built themselves,” Schamberger said. “And I am not going to ruin their culture, but I am going to start a new culture and build more of a family bonding.”

Schamberger has looked to emulate Hoyt, a coaching legend who is now at Eureka.

“She taught me everything I know, and that’s who I am going by,” Schamberger said.

Schamberger went to Pratt Community College, and then University of St. Mary in Leavenworth. She played both volleyball and basketball at each sport. Schamberger earned Female Student-Athlete of the Year at Pratt CC. In ’18-19, she started 21 games for St. Mary basketball. She played in 12 matches for the ’19 USM volleyball team.

COVID-19 hit, and she was struggling to find a job. Russell athletic director Scott Nuss reached out, and Schamberger called it a “perfect opportunity.” Schamberger has served as a para and will work with special education this semester.

“It’s been the best thing,” she said.

Early Week updates – Midseason tournament/regular season upsets/postponement

Last winter, the Twin Valley League girls and Mid-Continent League boys’ midseason tournament yielded several upsets. Notably, Hanover girls, then-ranked third in 1A, and an eventual Forever Four squad, fell to Frankfort. The No. 7 and No. 8 TVL seeds won tournament quarterfinal games on both the boys’ and girls’ sides. The MCL boys’ Plainville and Hoxie, both then-ranked in the top-six in 2A, lost in the quarterfinals.

On Tuesday, the upsets continued, this time the MCL girls. Throughout the winter, SIK has noted the impressive depth for the MCL girls. Four teams have been ranked. The Lyon County League boys also had an upset.

Currently, Phillipsburg is undefeated and fourth in 3A. WaKeeney-Trego is No. 5 in 2A. TMP entered the poll this week at ninth in 3A. Smith Center was previously ninth in 2A in the last December poll, though dropped out in Tuesday’s latest rankings.

On Tuesday, Smith Center won 47-44 against TMP at Al Billinger Fieldhouse in a great game. SC led the majority of the second half. The Monarchs had several chances late, including a potential go-ahead layup. Both teams are 7-2. It marked the Monarchs’ first home loss.

As well, Hoxie upset Trego girls, 36-32. Trego (8-2) had beaten Hoxie, 53-31, in December. The Golden Eagles were the defending league tournament champions. Norton pulled off a minor upset with a 56-50 win versus Ellis. Norton senior Tessa Hauser leads Kansas in double-doubles among KSHSAA players, according to MaxPreps.

The semifinals will have No. 1-seed Phillipsburg (10-0), No. 5 Norton (8-3), No. 6 Smith Center (7-2), and No. 7 Hoxie (5-4).

Burlingame’s Garrett Robison sunk a game-winning shot as time expired as Burlingame defeated No. 4-ranked Lebo, 43-42, in the Lyon County League. Lebo dropped to 9-1 and took its first regular season loss since a 42-38 defeat to Lyndon on Feb. 11.

Lebo, a returning 1A state qualifier, had won three in a row versus Burlingame. Trevor Quaney paced the Bearcats with 12 points. Burlingame improved to 4-3.

The Twin Valley League tournament is set for the weekend with its semifinals. Unlike last season, the top seeds advanced. For the girls, it yielded No. 1 Valley Heights, No. 4 Frankfort, No. 2 Doniphan West and No. 3 Hanover. VH is ranked fourth in 2A.

Frankfort received 21 points from Mariah Broxterman in a 39-28 victory versus Wetmore. Broxterman had a standout game last week when Frankfort upset Hanover, ranked second in 1A, Division II. She averaged 9.6 points a game in ’19-20.

For the boys, No. 1 Clifton-Clyde, No. 4 Centralia and No. 2 Hanover – along with No. 11 seed Troy, which has pulled two upsets. Hanover is ranked third in 1A, Division II. Clifton-Clyde and Centralia are sixth and seventh, respectively, in 1A, Division I.

Also on Tuesday, a scheduled high-profile girls’ game between Andover Central and McPherson was moved to Feb. 13. AC is No. 1 in 5A, and McPherson is fourth in 4A. AC has won 28 in a row. It’s only loss was a 54-50 overtime defeat to McPherson on Dec. 10 last season.

Player and coach milestones

Olathe West’s Bailey Collar and Bucklin’s Catherine Bowman each cleared 1,000 career points. Both have been highlighted players on SIK throughout the years. Collar is headed to Washburn basketball. She and senior point guard Kenzie Hart (UMKC signing) have led the Owls. Olathe West coach Rick Rhoades noted he has coached for 25 years and has had three players clear the milestone. OW is the defending Sunflower League champions.

Collar is OW’s all-time leading scorer in the school’s fourth year of existence. Bowman went over the milestone Tuesday against Kiowa County. She averages 22.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. Both Bucklin and Olathe West are unranked.

Vance Unruh reached 500 career victories at Moundridge. He has 516 total, including one season at Goessel. Unruh has won five state titles in 34 years. He captured four straight 2A crowns from ’90-93 with Jacy Holloway, who played at Iowa State. Holloway is the veteran Garden City High School boys’ basketball coach.

Blue Valley Northwest, Little River inherit longest current boys’ winning streak

Entering this season, Andover and Campus were the lone two boys’ teams that posted undefeated season records in the Forever Four. Campus (4-1) lost in December. Andover fell last week to Maize and ended its 30-game run.

There remains four ’20-21 undefeated teams left that were a Forever Four team: Class 6A Blue Valley Northwest, Class 5A Hays High, Class 4A Bishop Miege, and Class 1A-1 Little River.

On Jan. 19, BVNW, Miege and Little River retained its top spots in the rankings. Hays High moved to No. 1. The Indians have vaulted from unranked in the preseason to seventh on Dec. 8 to sixth on Dec. 15 to third on Dec. 22. HHS has averaged 66.9 points per game, best in 5A. Class 5A has two undefeated teams, both in the same sub-state. Salina South is 5-0, per KSHSAA records.

Blue Valley Northwest has a current 26-game winning streak, Little River is at 24, and Miege and Hays High both have 16 game runs. Northwest has 71.3 points per game, the No. 2 offense in 6A.

The girls feature Topeka High, Olpe, Spearville and Nemaha Central all with current winning streaks of more than 30 games. Spearville continues to be hurt with knee injuries. Star Alissa Heskamp went down earlier in the week, and another key player recently had a knee injury, too.

 


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