By CONOR NICHOLL
Uniontown has enjoyed many rare moments this winter: a player exceeding 1,000 career points, a top-10 ranking from the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, a midseason tournament title and multiple big victories against familiar opponents such as Humboldt and Jayhawk-Linn.
The highlights have yielded an 11-1 record and No. 9 ranking this week. Uniontown bumped into the rankings for the first time this winter. The Eagles have won 10 straight after a 32-29 overtime loss to Erie on Dec. 10.
Uniontown is part of a relatively wide-open classification. Last season, Uniontown went 16-6 and lost to Pittsburg St. Mary’s-Colgan in sub-state. Five squads had separated themselves in the 2A pack: undefeated Spearville, Sterling, Garden Plain, Valley Heights and one-loss WaKeeney-Trego. Spearville beat Colgan in the state quarterfinals.
While all five of those squads remain ranked this winter, no 2A team is undefeated. Sterling was the only one of those five to reach the finals of its midseason tournament, though took a 21-point loss to 3A unbeaten Hugoton. Notably Spearville has overcome multiple injuries, including three ACLs. Uniontown, under veteran coach Dustin Miller, returned 67 percent of its minutes and 87 percent of its scoring from last winter.
Notably, the Eagles have junior Danielle Howard and senior Karleigh Schoenberger, a longtime combination. Last winter, Howard finished with 16.7 points, 5.9 steals, five rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. Schoenberger tallied 15.4 points and 4.6 rebounds a contest.
Uniontown, which has 9-2 Colgan and 9-4 Erie in its sub-state, has two all-time state appearances in ’92 and ’03, according to Kansas historian Carol Swenson. Uniontown’s best-ever record is 22-2 in ’91-92. Last winter marked Uniontown’s top record since before ’06-07. Uniontown is 0-10 against Colgan since ’06. After 10 contests, Howard had delivered 18.8 points per game.
This winter, Uniontown has five seniors: Becky Goebel, Sammie Hampton, Schoenberger, Aiden Holt and Paige Mason. In the season opener, Uniontown beat Humboldt, 55-38. That represented Uniontown’s biggest margin of victory versus the Cubs since Dec. 7, 2010.
On Jan. 26, Uniontown defeated Jayhawk-Linn, 55-36. That produced Uniontown’s largest win versus Jayhawk-Linn since before 2007. Howard tallied 22 points, six assists and three steals. Schoenberger tacked on 19 points and five rebounds. Hampton finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four steals. The Eagles had been 8-16 in the last 24 meetings in the series.
Uniontown hosted and won the inaugural Kenny Holt tournament that ran from Jan. 19-22. Holt coached Uniontown girls from 2000-01 to ’11-12, and then served as the assistant coach in ’18-19.
The Eagles beat Kansas City Christian (54-28), then Altoona-Midway (59-27) followed by a win versus Prairie View (65-25). While Uniontown does not frequently play KCC or PV, it marked the first win versus KCC in at least 15 years. Uniontown defeated PV for the first time since 2010.
At the tournament, Howard averaged 19.7 points, 6.7 assists, 6.3 steals, 4.7 rebounds and a pair of blocks per game. Schoenberger delivered 19 points and 7.3 rebounds. Both players earned all-tournament team honors and team varsity players of the week. Schoenberger reached 1,000 career points. She became the third player in Uniontown history to clear 1,000 career points. Howard, who has earned 2nd team all-state honors from Sports in Kansas last season, is averaging nearly 19 points per game this season and is a standout multiple sport athlete as an all-state track and field athlete the last track season we had in Kansas in 2019 as a freshman. She's also a member of the highly talented and regarded Wheat State Elite Program in Kansas.
Versus Prairie View, Howard finished with 26 points, 13 steals, seven assists and three rebounds. Schoenberger tacked on 19 points, three steals, two rebounds and two assists.
On Tuesday, Uniontown beat Central Heights, 43-27, the first meeting against CH in seven years.
Last week, Uniontown’s varsity player of the week was Hampton. She averaged 11 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and two assists a contest. She held Chetopa’s leading scorer to zero points in a 62-21 victory on Jan. 29.
Craw-Kan “Your Technology Partner" and Sports in Kansas will once again be in partnership over the 2020-2021 school year to release a "Craw-Kan Team of the Week" for the seventh consecutive season.
"I am looking forward to this partnership again for another year with Craw-Kan and highlighting teams from the SEK area to not only a local platform but also giving them statewide reach on our network, it's became quite the popular feature over the last six or seven years," said Sports in Kansas CEO, Chet Kuplen. "Not only does this help athletes and teams to be promoted for their achievements, it also lets the area know what all the new products that Craw-Kan has to offer, including new gigabit fiber now in the area. Also that Craw-Kan is now in Frontenac and Pittsburg. It's also going to several other areas in Southeast Kansas. We are also doing a Craw-Kan All-Access show this year with video of interviews with athletes that will feature reporter Bethany Bowman.”
"Craw-Kan offers all your technology needs in the area from internet to web design and cell phones to security systems." said Craw-Kan Marketing Manager, Zach Adams. "We have a lot of new products including the fastest internet in the area in the new gigabit fiber, we are also in Frontenac and Pittsburg with our service. We are very excited with all the new products we have to offer to the area."
Nominations will be accepted from every Friday-Sunday, with the "Craw-Kan Team of the Week" being released every Monday-Wednesday on Sports in Kansas (Kansas-Sports.com). Teams must be nominated via email or twitter.
Teams must be from the following leagues in the Southeast Kansas area to be eligible: SEK, CNC, TRL, plus Erie, Pittsburg and Parsons.