When eight high school girls basketball players were selected to represent the Kansas City area in a state all-star challenge, they gathered for one practice that lasted for 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 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 team 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 players, six have signed to play college basketball. Johnson (Southeast Missouri State), Jonas (Drake) and Townson (Arkansas-Little Rock) are headed for Division I schools.
It’s playoff time for the Lacrosse Association of Kansas City.
The postseason continues Wednesday with semifinal matches at Durwood Stadium on the UMKC campus. Rockhurst faces Blue Valley West at 5:05 p.m. with Pembroke Hill and Shawnee Mission East to follow.
The winners will meet for the championship at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Durwood Stadium.
Rockhurst, 13-3, is the top seed in the playoffs after maneuvering through the regular season without a loss against a Kansas City team. The Hawklets’ scoring attack is led by Joe Faerber, Jack Hilliard and Wheaton Jackoboice, each of whom has topped the 20-goal mark.
“We’ve had some exciting, close games this season, but we’ve found ways to pull out the victory because our team has bought into playing together,” Rockhurst coach Tim Reidy said. “We don’t just have one or two star players, but (instead) a lot of very talented players who don’t play selfishly.”
Pembroke Hill is looking to get over the hump against Shawnee Mission East — this time, in the semifinals. The Raiders have lost to Shawnee Mission East in the association’s championship game each of the last two seasons.
St. Teresa’s Academy remains on top of the Western Missouri Class 3 soccer poll, as voted on by the Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association. The Stars improved to 13-0 last weekend and received all 11 first-place votes.
Park Hill, Lee’s Summit, Lee’s Summit North and Blue Springs round out the top five, in that order. They are followed by Raymore-Peculiar, Park Hill South, Blue Springs South, Lee’s Summit West and Liberty.
St. Teresa’s midfielders Lizzie Luallin and Savannah Trujillo were named to the Elite Eleven team, also picked by the MSHSSCA. Also making the team was Raymore-Peculiar forward Baylie Edwards, who has 13 goals during the Panthers’ six-match winning streak.
Others on he Elite Eleven this week are Lee’s Summit senior Jackie Sampson, Blue Springs sophomore Morgan Hensley, Lee’s Summit North defender Addie Merrick, Blue Springs senior Gabi Severns and Lee’s Summit West defender Annie Parscale.
Ball State (Ind.) University sophomore pitcher Kelsey Schifferdecker was named the Mid-American Conference female scholar athlete of the week last week after compiling a 3-0 record. She is a graduate of Belton High School.
The award is presented weekly to athletes who sport a 3.0 or higher grade point average. Schifferdecker, a business major, has a 3.954 GPA.
“I am very excited for Kelsey to be recognized, not only for her athletic accomplishments but for her work in the classroom as well,” Ball State coach Tyra Perry said in a release.