Pair of Chieftains named to All-KVL basketball squads
A pair of Chieftain basketball players were recently honored for their 2011-12 achievements by the very coaches they faced throughout the season.
Senior Dane Erickson and junior Jenny Whitledge were named to the All-Kaw Valley League teams, which were announced over the weekend.
Erickson, a three-year starter for the THS boys, was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder this season. The 6-foot-6 forward averaged 16.8 points and 8 rebounds in 22 games this season. He netted a career-high 33 points Feb. 17 at Bonner Springs and surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career just four days later in a senior night win against Piper.
“I think this year especially was a testament to what a solid player he is,” coach Shawn Phillips said of Erickson. “Our league had some really good players this year, and for him to be in that company shows what a dominant player he is. He put together a really nice career.”
Erickson led the Chieftains to an 11-11 record in 2011-12, including an appearance in the Class 4A sub-state semifinals.
Whitledge was at or near the top of the Chieftain girls’ roster in several statistical categories this season. She started all 23 contests and led all players with 12.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. Additionally, she finished second on the team with 1.6 assists per contest.
“A lot goes into (the voting process), and it’s quite a tribute to her play this year,” girls coach Randy Kraft said of Whitledge’s selection. “I think it’s very deserving.”
Junior Hannah Kemp and sophomore Emma Stilgenbauer each picked up All-KVL honorable mentions. Both joined Whitledge in the starting lineup in every game this season. Kemp led the team in minutes played with 29.5 per game. She also established herself as the Chieftains’ top passer, averaging 4.5 assists.
Stilgenbauer averaged 7.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game in 2011-12.
“Obviously, they’re on the floor the first and second most minutes, so they’re valued on both offense and defense,” Kraft said of the duo. “Their defensive efforts, rebounds and assists, that’s all stuff other coaches noticed.”
With Whitledge, Kemp and Stilgenbauer all back next season, Kraft is optimistic the Chieftain girls can improve on their 16-7 campaign, which ended in the sub-state finals.
“I think it’s great any time you still have a good core of your team left,” he said. “To have your nucleus left, i’s a good thing going into next year.”