By CONOR NICHOLL
On Jan. 24, Hoxie senior point guard Addi Campbell, a four-year starter, delivered a performance that encapsulated her career. Hoxie coach Jared Dowell labels her the “Tasmanian Devil.”
The 5-foot-4 Campbell perpetually delivered energy and dove on the floor multiple times versus Phillipsburg in the Mid-Continent League tournament semifinals at Plainville High School.
One of Kansas’ top defensive players, Campbell produced five steals and delivered a team-high 18 points. That included a long trey from a few steps inside the half court line on the left side as regulation concluded to send the contest to overtime.
“Defense is where I’d say her strong point is this year,” Dowell said. “She is having a great offensive year, too. But really it all boils down to heart, and it carries over to the gym in practice, too. Just a special player when it comes to hard work, and hustle and heart. She doesn’t like to lose. She’s a perfectionist at everything.”
Hoxie eventually lost 51-45 in overtime, though bounced back the following day to beat Smith Center, 47-29, and take third in the MCL tournament.
The Indians are longtime members of the Northwest Kansas League, though are fully transferring to the MCL after this year. This winter, Hoxie, ranked No. 9 in Class 2A by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association in the Feb. 4 poll, played in the MCL tournament.
Coach Dowell has talked with veteran Hoxie boys’ coach Jake Moss and both are excited about the change. Hoxie boys stood third in 2A on Feb. 4.
“Absolutely, I wish we could have done this a few years ago,” Dowell said. “It’s a tougher league. We are a bigger school now than we had been in the past.”
The Indian boys were ranked first at league tournament, though suffered an upset loss to Phillipsburg in the tournament quarterfinals. Entering this week, the Hoxie girls are 12-3 and own wins MCL foes against Ellis (42-33), Norton (49-43) and Hill City (33-27). Last year, Hoxie lost 59-20 to Norton.
“This is what we need to prepare us for the end of the season,” Dowell said. “And we already have some MCL teams on our schedule, which was good, but to get to come and do this (tournament), no matter which way you kind of fell, even if you fell on the backside right out of the gate, you are going to face a good team.”
Dowell has changed his defense because of more MCL squads. He likes playing a two-post defense. After 15 contests, Hoxie had permitted 39.5 points per game against the state’s No. 46 hardest strength of schedule, according to MaxPreps. Last year, Hoxie finished 12-8, permitted 39.5 points per game, though versus Kansas’ No. 138 SOS.
“When we came to the MCL this year, we knew that all these teams, the top-notch teams are physical, man-to-man defense teams primarily,” Dowell said. “I knew that’s what we had to be.”
Like basketball, Campbell is also known for her defense in volleyball. The team’s libero, Campbell finished with 741 digs (8.6 digs per set) for a 22-13 squad that had four seniors. In the last three years, she collectively delivered 1,784 digs (7.6 per set). In 2019, Campbell led Kansas in digs and digs per set, according to MaxPreps statistics.
Last season, Campbell delivered 11.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 4.3 steals a game. After Phillipsburg, she had around 16 points and more than five steals a contest.
“She is just one of those players that doesn’t ever give up, and does not quit,” Dowell said. “She bangs on the floor whether it be volleyball or basketball, all over. It’s not just in games.”
On Feb. 4, Hoxie lost 48-40 to rival Oakley in a game that Campbell produced 10 points, seven rebounds, four steals and an assist. Campbell has received collegiate interest for both volleyball and basketball. As well, Hoxie’s key players include seniors Macy Schamberger, Ashlyn Dorenkamp and juniors Baylee McKenna and Lauren Spillman.
“She gets up every single time, and she pushes other players,” Dowell said. “She makes the other girls on the team better.”
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