When eight high school girls basketball players were selected to represent the Kansas City area in a state all-star challenge, they gathered together for one practice that lasted less than two hours. That was the extent of their preparation.
It was more than enough.
The Kansas City All-Stars breezed to the Missouri Challenge All-Star tournament championship last weekend in Springfield, winning all three games by at least 32 points.
Lee’s Summit North senior forward Imani Johnson was named the tournament most valuable player, with Staley point guard Monique Townson and Truman center Becca Jonas also receiving all-tournament honors.
Raven Bunn (Fort Osage), Sara Turner (Grain Valley), Taylor Wetzel (Liberty), Erica Nelson (Lee’s Summit North) and Annie Dewberry (Lincoln Prep) filled out the Kansas City All-Stars roster.
“Being a former player, I knew how difficult it can be to put great players together and expect them to play as a team,” said Missy Wilt, a Staley High School assistant who coached the all-star team along with assistant Rebekah Vann. “These young ladies had an automatic bond on the court.”
It showed in the results.
The tournament separated the state’s best players into eight teams based on their geographical regions. Kansas City defeated Central Missouri 93-41 in the quarterfinals, downed South Central Missouri 105-64 in the semifinals and routed Southeast Missouri 75-43 in the championship game.
“One thing I kept telling the young ladies was to represent Kansas City (and) show the state of Missouri what Kansas City girls basketball is all about,” Wilt said. “We are about winning, proving who we are, about putting Kansas City girls basketball on the map. It is my hope that more big NCAA Division I programs can see this and start recruiting more from our area.”
Of the eight-player roster, six have signed to play college basketball. Johnson (Southeast Missouri State), Jonas (Drake) and Townson (Arkansas-Little Rock) are headed for Division I schools.
The Park Hill Trojans climbed to No. 2 in the Western Missouri Class 3 soccer poll, as voted on by the Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association. The Trojans are 15-4 thus far this season after finishing with a losing record in 2013.
St. Teresa’s Academy, 13-0, remained first in the poll, receiving all 11 first-place votes. Park Hill South, 9-8-1, moved up one spot to seventh, and Liberty is No. 10.
Park Hill landed two seniors on the weekly Elite Eleven team, also selected by the MSHSSCA. Midfielder Regina Bolin and goalkeeper Claudia Fonseca made the team. Fonseca has posted 12 shutouts this season.
Staley junior defender Kinsey Kiser was also part of the Elite Eleven team after helping the Falcons post a pair of shutouts last week and distributing two assists.
Lee’s Summit, Lee’s Summit North and Blue Springs were ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Park Hill South quarterback Carson Reid signed a letter of intent last Wednesday to attend Missouri Western on a football scholarship.
In his senior season with the Panthers, Reid passed for 1,331 yards and 15 touchdowns while completing 51 percent of his passes.
His father, Joe, played quarterback at Missouri Western from 1988-92.
A new racing series in the Northland is built around running for a cause. A lot of them.
Sixteen not-for-profit races have banded together to form The Northland Race Series, with all of the proceeds benefiting local charities.
“These locally-organized runs are the heartbeat of the running community and are essential fundraisers for local charities that serve our community,” said Kathy Gates, owner of The Running Well Store, the sponsor for the series. “The Northland Race Series was created to help promote and grow these vital not-for-profit runs while celebrating our beautiful Northland running community and all of those who participate in it.”
The Woofstock Woof Walk kicked off the new series last Sunday. The remaining races included in the series are Sophie’s Run at Lake Waukomis (Saturday), Hillcrest Hawaii 5K Walk and Run (May 17), Pioneer Run (May 31), Northland Hot Trot (July 12), Julia’s Warrior Run for Hope (July 19), Run TOGETHER (Aug. 24), Broadway Bridge Run (Sept. 7), Great Amazing Jeff Taylor Race (Sept. 20), Hustle for Hunger 5K (Oct. 4), Bringing Up the Rear (Oct. 12), Liberty Giving Thanks 5K (Nov. 27), Christmas Light Run (Dec. 13), the Groundhog Run (Jan. 25), Shamrock Run (March 15) and Second Chance Pet Adoptions (April 2015).
To participate in the series, register at TheRunningWellStore.com.