Exhibition hoops hold local appeal
Local fans had three reasons to cheer last Wednesday at the Tonganoxie junior high and high school gymnasiums.
Former Tonganoxie High athlete Addie Heim and former McLouth High athletes Courtney Edmonds and Amanda Shaver played in women's basketball exhibition games in Tonganoxie.
Heim plays at University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, while Edmonds is at Benedictine College in Atchison. Shaver is a freshman at Highland Community College. All three schools scrimmaged each other, as well as Kansas City Kansas Community College.
Tonganoxie Recreation Commission board chairman Ken Mark, who teaches at KCKCC, got the ball rolling a few years ago for the annual scrimmages.
"Primarily when my daughter played at Benedictine, I knew they did several of these preseason scrimmages, not necessarily on campuses," Mark said, speaking about his daughter, THS grad Kara Mark. "I thought it would be something good for our town to have. I think it's grown each year, which is good."
Benedictine, St. Mary and KCKCC have been regulars for the scrimmages, while this is the first year for Highland.
"Hopefully some of the girls who like basketball at the junior high and high school level can come out and see what playing at that level is like," Mark said.
According to TRC director Gayle Parker, good crowds attended games in both gymnasiums. Fans were encouraged to bring canned goods to the games that would be donated to the Good Shepherd Thrift Store and Food Pantry in Tonganoxie. Parker said fans brought in two boxes of canned goods.
"Obviously a lot of them were parents of the kids who lived close," Parker said. "There were local kids, like junior high teams were there for a little bit. Local people were there watching."
Heim returned to her former home court as a sophomore at St. Mary. The 2005 THS graduate started her collegiate career at Baker University in Baldwin, but transferred to USM this year.
Edmonds also started her collegiate career elsewhere. The 2003 McLouth graduate originally signed with Kansas to run cross country and track for the Jayhawks, but later transferred to Benedictine. She now is a junior at the Atchison college.
Shaver, a 2006 MHS graduate, is in her first year at HCC.
Other local athletes also played last week in Tonganoxie.
Here are those basketball players, listed with year in school, college and hometown: Drew Huff, fr., Benedictine, Lawrence; Hilary Johnson, fr., KCK, Bonner Springs; Michelle Deluna, fr., KCK, Eudora; VaShunta Johnson, fr., KCK, Leavenworth; Tricia Dunham, fr., USM, Lawrence; Nicole Twitchel, fr., USM, Lansing; Ashley Fraser, fr. USM, Leavenworth.
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