The Beloit girls shared the North Central Activities Association title after going just 2-8 in league play last year.
The Beloit girls shared the North Central Activities Association title after going just 2-8 in league play last year.

Beloit girls experience major turnaround with shared NCAA title | North Central Kansas Basketball League Champions

2/21/2024 10:53:55 AM

By: Brent Maycock, KSHSAA Covered

It wasn’t a huge victory this season that told Beloit girls’ basketball coach Shauna Remus that her Trojan team was for real.
Instead, it was a loss. A 16-point one, at that.
It came in the finals of the Colby Orange and Black Tournament where Beloit took a 53-37 loss to a Wellington program that’s 18-1 and ranked No. 3 in Class 4A. After the game, she got a visit from Crusader head coach Eric Adams.
“He looked at me and said, ‘That’s the best that anybody’s played us,’” Remus said. “We lost by 12 or whatever it was, but in the fourth quarter we’re only down six and I’m thinking, ‘We don’t even belong in the same category as this team. … At that point, though, I’m like, ‘Maybe we do have something here.’”

The Trojans haven’t done much losing since, winning seven straight which included a 45-37 win over Southeast of Saline that avenged an earlier loss to their fellow Trojans. A 38-37 loss to Minneapolis ended Beloit’s winning streak and denied the Trojans an outright North Central Activities Association title, but Beloit (15-5) still earned a share of the league title – a first for the program since 2019-20.
The 8-2 mark in league play also was a complete reversal of a year ago when Beloit finished just 2-8 in league play and 4-17 overall.
“They just come out and grind and fight and refuse to lose,” Remus said. “They make games ugly enough that we win them. It sounds really weird to say that, but I can’t say that any of our wins were pretty. But that’s OK, too because they’re finding ways to win.
“Our schedule is intense. And I said that last year too. Last year, we played eight state-ranked teams. You’re looking at we only won four games, but almost everybody we played had a winning record. It’s the same thing this year. There’s never just that cupcake game. We don’t have that on our schedule and has helped them more than we probably know.”
The league title carries even more significance with the overall competitive balance in the league much greater than in past years. Southeast and Minneapolis are both 15-5 while Sacred Heart is 12-7. In non-conference games, the top five teams in the six-team NCAA hav combined to post a 35-15 mark.
“The league in the past was not what it is now,” Remus said. “This year, you’re hoping to go 7-3, 6-4 and that’s a good thing. We come out and go 8-2 and it’s ‘Holy Moly.’ Nobody saw that coming except us who are fighting for it.”
After winning just four games last year and just 17 over the past three seasons, Remus knew the outlook for this season was much better. Not only did the Trojans return every player off last year’s roster, but also welcomed back junior standout Addison Budke, who spent her sophomore year concentrating on volleyball where she’s one of the state’s top players.
That gave Beloit another tall, athletic fit and her presence has been a big reason Beloit has outrebounded its opponents by double digits all season. Budke is averaging 7.5 rebounds per game while guard Ashlyn Knight and post Cassandra Thompson are both just under 6 per game.
Scoring was an issue for the Trojans a year ago with no player averaging more than 7 points per game. This year, Budke leads the way at 10.7 points per game while Thompson adds 10 and Peyton Remus chips in 7 per game. Remus also leads the team in assists and steals.
“The kids just believed,” Remus said. “When you have seniors who have been through some of the adversity these kids have been through, I think that helps too. They get to where it’s, ‘OK, this is my last year, we’re going to refuse to lose games.’ That’s what they did. There’s no magic potion or anything, they just refused to lose.
“It’s been fun watching these girls progress for these four years and then having the opportunity to be the league champ is just awesome.”
Beloit’s path to a state-tournament berth for the first time since 2015 is an arduous one with the Trojans in arguably the toughest sub-state in Class 3A, and maybe any classification. No. 1 and Mid-East League champion Silver Lake (19-0) and Big Seven League champion Nemaha Central (18-2) top the substate with Rossville (17-3), Minneapolis (15-5), Beloit, Riley County (11-8) and St. Marys (11-8) all sporting winning records and No. 8 seed Marysville having 10 wins.
With the girls sharing the league title, it gave Beloit a clean sweep of the NCAA crowns this season. The Trojan boys completed an undefeated run through the league, which included a pair of narrow wins over Sacred Heart – an 88-77 overtime win on Jan. 23 and a 57-54 road win on Feb. 13.
The Trojan boys are 19-1 overall with their lone loss coming to Class 6A Olathe North in the finals of the Colby Orange and Black Tournament. Bryce Beisner has led the way for the Trojans this season, averaging 16.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game.
With the end of the Mid-East and Big Seven Leagues as they currently exist after this school year – the two leagues merging to form the Big East League next year – the final league titles stayed put for the most part.
The girls’ Big Seven title came down to Tuesday’s contest between Nemaha Central and Riverside. Thanks to a previous win over Riverside, Nemaha Central already had earned at least a share of the league title for the seventh consecutive season. The Thunder made sure they didn’t have to share the crown, however, topping Riverside 56-37 on Tuesday to finish 14-0 in league play and wrap up the program’s 19th Big Seven title overall.
Riverside finished the regular season 18-2 as well, its only two losses coming to Nemaha, including that 52-47 loss on Feb. 10.
Sabetha’s boys, meanwhile, closed out the league with their second straight title, the first under new head coach Josh Wertenberger, who replaced the retired Scott Burger as head coach this season. The Bluejays dropped a 51-49 decision to Holton last Friday to suffer their first league loss, but after beating Hiawatha 58-36 on Tuesday, Sabetha finished league play 13-1 and the regular season 18-2, the only other loss coming to Rock Creek in the finals of the Burlington Invitational.
Silver Lake’s girls haven’t quite matched Nemaha’s run of Big Seven dominance in the Mid-East League, but the Eagles will go into the new league on a nice little streak of their own. Silver Lake wrapped up its third straight Mid-East League title with a 68-39 rout of Rossville on Feb. 9 and 66-33 win over Rock Creek on Feb. 16.
The Eagles (19-0) can complete an undefeated league run and regular season overall with a home win over Wabaunsee on Friday.
On the boys’ side of the league, Rock Creek, which will move the North Central Kansas League next year, had a chance to leave as an outright league champion. But Rossville clipped the Mustangs 57-50 on Tuesday night to earn a share of the league title with both teams finishing 8-2 in league play. Rock Creek is 16-4 overall while Rossville is 14-6.
  • Little River’s girls captured their fourth straight Wheat State League title, finishing undefeated in league play. The Redskins didn’t have a league win decided by less than 44 points and had three games where they held an opponent to less than 10 points, including a 110-0 win over Peabody. In last Friday’s non-league win over Inman, senior Alaina Eck went over the 1,000-point mark for her career. Not to be outdone, fellow senior Aubrey Olander hit that same mark in Tuesday’s game against Central Plains.
  • Elyria Christian’s boys are halfway to Little River’s girls title streak in the Wheat State League, claiming their second straight league title. The Eagles matched Little River with a perfect league record and enter the postseason on a 19-game winning streak, having not lost since the season opener against defending Class 2A state champion Moundridge. All but one of Elyria’s league wins were by double-digits, the closest call a 55-49 win over Solomon.
  • Emporia’s girls clinched their first Centennial League title since 1997 with wins over Manhattan (44-43) and Junction City (39-7) last week. The Spartans close the season against Washburn Rural looking to finish off an undefeated league season, one that included a 43-22 win over Rural on Feb. 2 that ended a 17-year drought against the Junior Blues.
  • Junction City took the Centennial League boys’ title, finishing with a 9-1 league mark after pulling out a 67-64 overtime win over Topeka High on Tuesday night. A loss could have opened the door for Washburn Rural to share the league title with the Junior Blues sitting 7-2 in league play going into Friday’s finale against Emporia. Junction City is 18-2 overall.
  • Maur Hill swept the Northeast Kansas League titles with the Raven girls capturing just the second league title in program history and first since winning a league title in 1985. The Maur Hill girls finished undefeated in league play for the first time ever, going 16-0 after beating McLouth 54-13 on Tuesday.
  • The Raven boys, meanwhile, went 13-3 in league play to win the league title by a game over Horton, which still has one game remaining. Maur Hill beat Horton 48-45 last Friday to clinch a share of the league crown and won it outright with its 76-64 win over McLouth on Tuesday.
  • With a 72-36 win over Chapman on Tuesday, Abilene clinched the North Central Kansas League title, sitting 9-0 going into Thursday’s regular-season finale against Clay Center – two games ahead of Concordia.
  • Concordia’s girls clinched at least a share of the NCKL title with a 42-38 win over Clay Center on Tuesday, moving to 7-2 in league play. The Panthers face defending league champion Wamego on Thursday with the Red Raiders on a three-game slide after seemingly being in control of the league race before a key injury to standout Alexis Hecht. Clay Center’s girls are 6-3, a game back of Concordia after Tuesday’s loss, and finish with winless Abilene.
  • With its 57-42 win over Anderson County on Tuesday, Santa Fe Trail’s girls secured the Pioneer League title. The Chargers (16-3 overall) can complete an undefeated league season with a win Thursday over Iola.
  • On the boys side, Wellsville finished off its undefeated run through the league with a 62-46 win over Iola on Tuesday. The Eagles improved to 17-3 overall and had only one league win decided by less than 10 points, a 46-40 win over Burlington in December.
  • Centralia swept the Twin Valley League titles though the Panther boys had to share their crown. The boys handed Clifton-Clyde its only league loss with a 45-36 win last Friday, but couldn’t close out an undefeated league season on Tuesday, falling to Axtell 45-37. Both Centralia and Clifton-Clyde finished 10-1 in league play with Axtell 9-2. Based on the league constitution, the head-to-head results gives Centralia the league title.
  • The Panther girls, meanwhile, also went 10-1 in league play to win by a game over the trio of Frankfort, Hanover and Valley Heights, each of whom went 9-2. The Panthers took their only league loss on Friday in a 40-39 loss to Clifton-Clyde, but clinched the title with a 52-21 win over Axtell on Tuesday.
  • Despite dropping a 57-51 decision to Shawnee Heights on Tuesday, Seaman’s girls had already clinched at least a share of the United Kansas Conference title, winning it for the second straight year. Tuesday’s loss was their first in league play and with a win over KC Turner on Thursday, the Vikings will win the title outright thanks to its sweep of runner-up De Soto, which suffered its only league losses to Seaman.
  • The UKC boys title will come down to Friday’s game between Piper and Shawnee Heights. Piper is 14-1 in league play, its lone loss coming to Seaman in December. Heights, meanwhile, is 13-2 with the T-Birds having won 13 straight in league play after starting 0-2. A Piper win on Friday gives the Pirates the title outright while a Heights win forges a shared title between the two.
  • Heritage Christian claimed the Kaw Valley Conference girls title for the third straight year, going undefeated in league play with an 8-0 league mark. None of the Chargers’ league games were decided by single digits.
  • Bishop Seabury finished 8-2 in Kaw Valley play to earn at least a share of the league title, getting a little help from Heritage Christian on Tuesday. Bishop Ward entered the week sitting 7-1 in league play, but dropped a 72-56 decision to Heritage on Tuesday. The Cyclones can still earn a share of the league crown with a win over Maranatha on Thursday and split their games with Seabury this season.
  • Highland Park swept the Meadowlark Conference crowns, with the boys needing a win over KC Washington on Friday to go undefeated in league play for the second straight year after joining the league last year. The Scot boys are 18-1 overall after Tuesday’s 77-29 win over KC Harmon, while the girls are 13-5 overall and 8-1 in league play, the lone loss coming to Atchison, which the Scots later avenged.
  • The Lyon County and Flint Hills Leagues decided their regular season champions before their mid-season tournaments in January. Olpe won the boys title in the Lyon County League while Olpe and Lebo shared the girls titles. Olpe and Lebo won the league tournament titles. In the Flint Hills League, Lyndon’s boys and Osage City’s girls swept the regular season and tournament titles.
  • Solomon’s Spencer Coup reached the 1,000-point milestone last Tuesday.
  • De Soto’s Makenzie Farmer broke her own single-season assist record last Friday and has 88 assists through 19 games this year.
  • Anderson County’s Kylie Disbrow recorded the 500th blocked shot of her career last Friday.
  • Marais des Cygnes Valley’s Akyra Traver nearly missed putting up a quadruple double against Central Heights. Traver had 12 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds and 9 steals in the game and averaged 16 points, 7 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 8 steals in two games.
  • Linn’s Conner Ohlde recorded his third double-double in the last four games and eighth of the season, getting 19 points and 11 rebounds in a 48-31 win over Doniphan West.
  • Bishop Ward’s Emily Collins had 20 points and 7 steals against KC Christian.
  • Mission Valley’s Kai Jacboson hit 5 of 6 3-pointers to score 25 points against Northern Heights.
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