As basketball ends players, coaches reflect

(Photo by Dallas Lackey)
Junior Camille Schweizer surveys the court during the first half of a Feb. 21 game against former CKL rival Hesston. Schweizer finished the game with seventeen points as she sparked the Lady Black Bears to a 52-33 victory over the state-ranked Swathers.

For girls’ coach Jill Rowland, beating Hesston this season on senior night was very rewarding.
It was our best win of the season,” Rowland said. “To beat Hesston feels good. It feels good because they’re a premier program whose been consistently good over time.”
The Lady Bears slid into the game with a tough three-game losing streak.
One of the biggest reasons that we needed that win was just for confidence,” senior Lindsay Gilmore said. “Heading in our confidence was definitely at a low spot.”
This year’s senior boys viewed the game as a chance at redemption.
“In all of our minds that was our biggest regular season game,” senior Edward Weiner said. “We hadn’t beat them in high school after each team had won against each other in middle school. it made it even sweeter to beat them when they were ranked number one in the state.”
Boys’ coach Derek Schneider was very pleased with the victory.
I think the win really validated the work we’d been putting in in practice,” Schneider said. “We needed it. The win really gave us some momentum headed to the postseason.”
Both teams headed to substate with a 13-7 record. The boys drew the number two seed in the Lyons substate, while the Lady Bears fell to the four seed after losing a coin flip with Syracuse.
We definitely expected to see Hugoton sometime,” sophomore Grace Rowland said. “Since we lost the coin flip we had to see them in the semi-finals instead of the championship. We weren’t nervous about playing them, the pressure was on them as the higher seed.”
The Lady Bears recorded a dominant 60-33 victory over Hutch Trinity in the quarterfinals before losing 53-29 to Hugoton in the semi-finals.
“Very pleased with our season,” Coach Rowland said. “We won fourteen games, three against ranked opponents. We had eight losses, all but one of those against ranked teams. Good competition for us. Very pleased with winning two-thirds of our games. Proud of our kids.”
The boys used high-scoring efforts by Junior Lucas Briar, and Senior Kyler Comley to defeat Lakin in the opening round.
“The coaches did a great job of preparing our zone offense for that game,” Briar said. “It helped us get some open looks.”
Unfortunately, the Bears ran into a Hutch Trinity team in the next round they’d already played twice before.
“They came in with a very good game plan, and they executed it well,” Comley said.
The Bears lost 57-47 and finished the season 14-8. Comley, the program’s all-time leading scorer finished his final game with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals.
“It meant a lot,” he said. “It was a lot of highs, a very limited amount of lows. Something I donated a lot of my time too. To wear that uniform for four years meant a lot to me.”
Coach Rowland felt proud of her graduating seniors.
“It was easy for people to focus on who we’d lost from last season,” Rowland said. “But, they said ‘Hey, we’re here.’ I was proud of them for coming back and leading us this season.”
Similarly, Coach Schneider felt his seniors showed other players how to work hard.
“I think their legacy is going to be laying that foundation for the amount of work it takes to be successful,” Schneider said.