The Skyline Thunderbird basketball teams completed contrasting seasons recently. The girls went a respectable 14-8 while the boys struggled to a 2-19 mark. Individually, Kaitlyn Stark, Janessa Davis and Brandon Abbott were tabbed for post-season honors.
Not a whole lot went well for the young, rebuilding T-Bird boys. Many nights they found themselves simply overmatched in size and experience, with predictable results. Although not every game was a blowout, several were— especially when the T-Birds went up against powerhouses like Fowler, Central Christian and Little River.
Skyline managed to pick up a victory midseason in the 54 Classic, downing Stafford 51-49. Toward the end of the season, the Thunderbirds bested Norwich 62-52 in what was one of their best efforts on the campaign. Those were probably the high points in a season that was characterized by one step back for every two steps forward that were taken by the youthful Skyliners.
Junior Brandon Abbott averaged 12 points and 8 rebounds and was named Heart of the Plains league honorable mention for his contributions.
T-Bird fans might be able to look forward to next season, as the entire boys team should return intact. No seniors were on the squad this season, so head coach Justin Miltner will lose no one to graduation. With a year of growing pains under their belt, next year’s team should be able to benefit from the experience gained this season.
The Skyline girls had a better time of it, finishing the season at 14-8 and getting ousted in the sub-state semi-final by Claflin-Central Plains for the second consecutive year.
Two of the Lady T-Birds’ losses were to league champ and #2 in 1AII Norwich; and one defeat was to 1AI #4 St. John, so Skyline was playing a difficult schedule.
Skyline also dropped three contests to Pretty Prairie on the year, which was kind of irritating because two of the three games were close (one went to OT), and the Lady Thunderbirds easily handled some teams that beat the Bulldogs during the season. It just seemed to be a bad match-up for Skyline—one that cost them 3 notches on the “L” side of the season ledger.
Head coach Chuck Young got all-league performances this season from juniors Kaitlyn Stark (unanimous) and Janessa Davis honorable mention. Stark was a unanimous all-league selection, averaging 13 points and 5 rebounds per game. She also had 62 steals and shot 43% from the floor and an outstanding 46% from 3 point land. Stark was also selected by the Wichita Eagle to their 2A girls all-state team, honorable mention.
To earn her HOPL nod, Janessa Davis averaged 9 points and 5 boards per game with 50 steals and connected on 49% of her attempts.
Other statistical leaders for the Skyline girls included Morgan Flowers with 3 ppg, 2 ppg and 53 steals; Alyssa Swonger with 7 ppg, 4 rpg, 32 blocks and 56% shooting; Kadi Richardson with 3 points and 3 boards per game; Brooke Fisher with 3 ppg, 2 rpg and 33 steals; and Taylor DeWeese with 2 ppg, and 3 rpg.
Page 2 of 2 - Senior starter Morgan Flowers and role players Shannon Neifert and Ashley Koirth will move on after this year, but much of the squad will return intact next season. In addition to Stark and Davis, Mycha Owens, Alyssa Swonger, Kadi Richardson and Brooke Fisher all got lots of playing time this year, and will return next season. Although the seniors will be missed, the Lady T-Birds should be able to put another good season together again next year.