Wildcat teams could have big second half
As the blanket of snow that we’ve been under for the past month finally begins to melt this week, the thought of warm sunshine has me excited that better days are ahead weather-wise. And for what the final six weeks of the winter sports season potentially could hold for the De Soto sports teams.
Ask boys basketball coach Jim Bonar and he’ll tell you the boys could have won the Frontier League title last year. And had a couple games not slipped away, they would have. But led by Brandan Philbrook and Mason Wedel, the team has played well and is motivated to win league.
The boys are in midst of perhaps the toughest portion of their schedule, playing quality teams in Wyandotte, St. James, Eudora and the Tonganoxie Invitational next week. This streak of games will make the team tougher mentally and physically for the final month of the season.
The girls basketball team also is poised to have a strong second half. Memories of last year’s three-win season have been replaced by a team that is much improved. And credit coach Dwight Spencer for the team’s turnaround, as the Wildcats have done it from within.
Shelbi Petty and Kelsey Fisher have given the Wildcats solid play both offensively and defensively, but the team’s inside play, which was lacking a season ago, is now a strength of the team.
Sisters Ashley and Katie Gorman and Katie Williams give the Wildcats hustle and grit inside the paint. They are also nice passers, which has made for open looks for Petty, Fisher and Tami Crow.
The schedule is not easy for the girls during the final six weeks and there are no easy wins in the Frontier League. But the girls will battle each team and compete. Spencer has said that as long as the team plays hard and competes, he’s happy. The girls will do that, and more wins come.
The final six weeks of the season also could be bright for the wrestling team. While the team is short on seniors, it is not short of leaders. Brandon Vukas, Donny Parr and Zack Atchison have had solid seasons thus far and figure to be even better in the second half.
The addition of Cole Cannon, a state qualifier last year at St. James, to the roster could pay immediate dividends on the scoreboard and he could also serve as another leader who helps groom the talented youngsters on the team.
Tough tournaments at Clearwater and Hays will help prepare the Wildcats for league and regionals. And this could be the year De Soto qualifies multiple wrestlers to the state tournament in February.