Seniors participate in area all-star events
Saturday provided a final shot for two Tonganoxie High athletes to play volleyball and basketball at the high school level.
Rachel Bogard competed in basketball and Ali Pistora played volleyball as part of all-day Northeast Kansas All-Star competitions at Ben Allen Fieldhouse on the Highland Community College campus in Highland.
Bogard scored four points in a game that her team lost by roughly 10 points.
Bogard said players were divided into two teams when athletes arrived Saturday, but her team had an interesting configuration: It had just one point guard.
"Even I played a little point guard, and I don't play that in Tongie ball," said Bogard, a forward who was used to receiving the basketball, not distributing it, for short-range jumpers and layups in the Tonganoxie system.
Regardless, the all-star game was a welcome experience for Bogard.
"Playing Saturday was a lot of fun," Bogard said. "It was fun because everyone was good. We just went out and played. It wasn't extremely serious. It was a lot of fun."
Bogard played on the same team as Bonner Springs' Christina Delladio, an opponent during Bogard's four-year career at THS. Thursday, Delladio signed a national letter of intent to play basketball with Baker University.
"I felt like we played the best together because we knew how each other played," Bogard said.
Rebecca Bogard, Rachel's sister, also was invited to play Saturday at HCC, but wasn't able to participate. Rachel said she and her sister both mailed in confirmation that they would play in the game late, but apparently Rebecca's was received after the rosters had been decided, Rachel said.
Pistora, a fellow Tonganoxie senior, played in almost five games in the all-star volleyball match.
She said there was a time limit for the volleyball match, which was followed by the girls basketball game and a boys all-star game.
Pistora said her squad, as she recalled, won three of the five games.
"All the girls had different skill levels, but it was just fun," Pistora said. "Nobody was really serious about it. It was just fun to play."
Pistora's team was coached by Centralia High's Jennifer Rusche, while the other team was coached by Osage City's Tara Schlesener. Centralia won the Class 1A state volleyball championship last fall, while Osage City finished fourth in 3A.
On April 14, Pistora also played in a basketball all-star game pitting Kansas high school seniors against Missouri high school seniors in the Mo-Kan Metro Classic.
Absent at that game was the loose atmosphere found at the volleyball all-star game. In the Metro Classic, which included top players from the Kansas City metro area, it was all about state vs. state.
"It was a pretty rough game," Pistora said. "It was not all fun and games. It was pretty serious."
The game certainly showcased some of the top talent in the area, according to Pistora.
"They all are going D-1 and I'm the only one whose not playing basketball in college," Pistora said with a laugh, referring to players set to compete in NCAA Division 1 basketball in college. "But it was fun to play with my friends and meet the great players I got to play against."
Pistora played alongside Paola's Brittney Miller and Baldwin's Kelsey Verhaegh
Two more familiar faces roamed the bench at the game.
THS head coach Randy Kraft and assistant Jon Jacques coached the Kansas team, as did two representatives from Free State.
"It didn't seem unusual," Pistora said. "It just seemed like another game. It probably would have been different if I had another coach. It was another game, and there's Kraft. The gang's all here."
Jacques helped coach Pistora for the final time. Also a social sciences teacher at THS, Jacques recently resigned, as he plans to move to Oklahoma City.
As Pistora said, all the familiar faces were together a final time at the all-star game, but she admitted it was a tough transition getting back on the court. The team practiced twice at UMKC as well.
"The first day was pretty hard on me because I haven't played basketball; I've been in track," said Pistora, who participates in javelin and high jump this spring on the Tonganoxie High track team.
Pistora scored four points but Kansas fell, 90-79, in the game played at Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe. Pistora also represented Kansas in the three-point contest. In the boys game, Missouri was victorious again, 119-91.