Smart not anticipated to return as WHS boys basketball coach

Boys basketball coach Chris Smart will not return next season.

The school board voted on rehiring winter head coaches at Monday night’s board meeting. Wrestling coach Joey Heersche was the only WHS coach on the list, which was approved unanimously.

Principal Jan Hutley and athletic director Jeron Weisshaar declined to comment.

Reflecting on the team’s season, Smart said “We made huge strides this year. I think that’s what I’m most disappointed about is that I won’t get to continue that. Not only as basketball players but maturing as people.”

Smart ends his time at WHS with a record of 5-19.

The district is currently searching for a replacement. The new head coach will be the charger’s  third in three years.

— Laurel Barber, @Lawl_e_20

Opinion: WHS Pep Club needs to try harder

Wabaunsee has the worst student section in the Mid-East league.

When the team travels to other schools the first thing you notice is the many students in the student section cheering for their team. On a few occasions, the other teams have student sections that travel with the team. The Wabaunsee student section is very weak compared to other area schools. The handful of students attending every game just sit on their phones while the team is playing.

When the student section gets into the game it makes the game more fun for the players and fans. Nothing is more fun than being out on the court and having the crowd get super excited over anything that happens. Hearing the roar of the crowd just gets the blood pumping.

The rest of the crowd can be as weak as the student section. During time outs and breaks, the cheerleaders do their best to get the crowd going, but it doesn’t always work. Standing to clap might seem like a lot of effort after a long day, but if you aren’t there to support the team, what is the point?

With around 50 players on both of the basketball teams, there could be around 100 students in the pep band and the student section. Students can start by cheering with the cheerleaders and standing when the band plays. Even if no one around you in standing and cheering, be the person to stand and get everyone around you to stand. It starts with one person to break the ‘awkwardness’ and get everyone else to do it.

We have home games on Thursday and Friday to get the crowd prepared for the possible home game next Tuesday in the first round of Sub-State.

Let’s be honest, nothing else is happening in Alma, Kansas. Come out and support the teams. You might have some fun.

— Laurel Barber, @Lawl_e_20

Oliver signs to play basketball at Washburn

Senior Abby Oliver signs to play basketball at Washburn with her parents Kelly and Jason Oliver. “The coaches and program at Washburn were a really good fit for me. I also felt at home in the atmosphere of the school and how it is a small community feel,” Abby said. Photo by Laurel Barber.

Oliver celebrates signing in ceremony at WHS

Senior Abby Oliver signed to Washburn University to continue her basketball career Monday.

The signing was held in the commons and had a large turn out, including elementary classes Oliver has worked with through career and community connections.

Principal Jan Hutley and basketball coach Shana Perine both spoke at the signing. “I’ve had the privilege of watching her compete since she was very small in a variety of sports,” Hutley said, “and though she is multitalented, good at every sport she’s ever participated in, I have to say there’s a special place in my heart watching her play basketball.”

“She’s absolutely a great leader, she means well, she wants her team to do their best and you can see that on the floor. When she is on the floor our team is better,” Perine said.

Oliver’s father, Jason Oliver, also spoke on her accomplishments. “Her mom and I are extremely proud of all the hours Abby’s put in, it’s awesome for her.”

Oliver has an impressive high school sports career, including cross country, tennis, volleyball, basketball, and softball, making the decision a difficult one. “It was a really hard decision to choose between softball and basketball, since I had put so much time and work into both, but basketball has also been slightly the favorite,” Oliver said, “ I love how the game is so fast paced, and you’re always moving and having to read the situations in front of you.”

Oliver also had other schools reach out to her. “I had some other schools show interest, especially at some of the larger AAU tournaments Madelyn (Hutley) and I played in over the summer.” Oliver said, although she ultimately landed on Washburn. “The coaches and program at Washburn were a really good fit for me. I also felt at home in the atmosphere of the school and how it is a “small community” feel. Being so close to home was just a big plus.”

Oliver plans to take lessons she learned in high school with her to college. “I think a big lesson that WHS sports have shown everyone and continue to show is the off-season work that you put in really makes the difference. My coaches here have also always pushed me and my teammates to our fullest potential.”

— Emma Frey, @_emmafrey_

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