On the boys side, Crawford County featured two state qualifiers, one substate finalist and two substate semifinalists during this past high school basketball season.
St. Mary's Colgan qualified for its 13th consecutive state tournament and placed fourth in Class 2A, recording a 19-6 overall and 6-1 Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League mark. The Panthers tied for the league title with Riverton, a fourth place state finisher in 3A.
Girard caught fire at the right time and qualified for the inaugural 4A, Division II tournament. The Trojans ended their season 12-11.
Northeast made the biggest improvement among county teams and finished 16-6.
Southeast finished its season 11-10, Frontenac 6-16 and Pittsburg 5-16.
JAMES BROOKS, FRONTENAC
Brooks developed into the Raiders' primary scorer in the second half of the season, benefiting from what head coach Doug Barto called "very good ups."
No. 15 became very adept at creating his own shot, either finding his way to the basket and finishing at the rim or pulling up and hitting the mid-range or short-range jumper.
Brooks averaged 9.8 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Class 4A, Division II substate finalist.
(Brooks shares his name with the famous producer and director responsible for "Terms of Endearment," "Broadcast News," and "As Good As It Gets," as well as TV shows "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Taxi," and "The Simpsons." Headline possibilities await.)
AUSTIN COMMONS, COLGAN
Commons took over the main scorer role after senior Luke Marquardt's departure on the eve of the Class 2A substate tournament, helping the Panthers to their 13th straight state tournament appearance and first in 2A after playing the previous two seasons in 3A.
Commons averaged 16.5 points, shooting 56.5 percent from the field, 38.3 percent from deep and 75.2 percent from the line. The junior wing made 36 3-point shots and hit 91 free throws.
His other numbers include 2.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
LAIKE DAMMAN, GIRARD
Damman averaged over 10 points and made 24 3-point shots for the 12-11 Trojans, one of four sophomores — joined by Drew Davied, Tyler Green and Garrett Bailey — in the starting lineup during the Class 4A, Division II state tournament run.
No. 11 became known for hitting the big shot, like his buzzer-beating 3 which handed Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League co-champion Riverton its only league loss, 63-60.
Damman scored a season-high 19 points in the 77-74 overtime win over Parsons, another game where he stepped up and made big shots, including four 3s.
DREW DAVIED, GIRARD
One of the best athletes in the county, Davied — a state champion high jumper — totaled 359 points his sophomore season, averaging 15.6 points.
No. 14 scored in double figures the final 10 games of the season, highlighted by his career-high 37 points against Parsons, a 77-74 overtime win for the Trojans, as well as 26 against Baxter Springs, 24 against Frontenac, 22 against Southeast and 22 against Frontenac in the Class 4A, Division II substate final.
Davied knocked down 32 trifectas.
BRETT MACARY, FRONTENAC
A multiple-sport All-County athlete, Macary averaged 10.2 points and three rebounds during his senior year.
Head coach Doug Barto said, "Leader, great driver, knack for hitting the big shot in his career."
Macary signed with Pittsburg State to continue his baseball career.
SPENCER MASSOTH, PITTSBURG
Arguably nobody showcased longer shooting range than Massoth and Massoth was one of those proverbial shooters who could get on a roll any moment, like his nights at home against Chanute and Joplin.
Massoth averaged 12.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists during his senior year, making the most of his one varsity season after biding his time in the Pittsburg basketball program.
DREW MILLS, NORTHEAST
Northeast head coach Scott Post mentioned the almost telepathic bond Mills and senior guard J.T. Richardson developed with one another, a bond which helped the Vikings improve their overall record to 16-6.
Richardson became skilled at the drive and dish, and Mills usually was the recipient of the dish, making 41 3-point shots on the season, shooting 40 percent from long range.
Mills averaged 10.9 points, 3.1 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game.
RYAN RAKESTRAW, SOUTHEAST
One of the best all-around athletes in the county, Rakestraw averaged 10.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks for the Lancers.
Head coach Steve Taylor mentioned that Rakestraw usually guarded the other teams' best player, being a post or a guard.
Rakestraw hit the semi-legendary 3-point shot at the buzzer to defeat Baxter Springs in the third place game of the Lancer Classic. The amount of defenders in his face and the exact distance he faded away have only increased over time.
J.T. RICHARDSON, NORTHEAST
Nobody scored more points in Crawford County this season than Richardson, the senior guard who returned to basketball to average 21.2 points per game. Richardson was the engine in the Vikings scoring machine, a focus of every opponent's defense.
Richardson averaged 5.4 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 2.6 steals in addition to his scoring production.
Head coach Scott Post's high-tempo offense most benefited Richardson.
RILEY ULERY, SOUTHEAST
Ulery showed a wide range of skills during his junior season, an ability to step outside and knock down shots opening up the drive and his inside game.
Ulery averaged a double-double, 14.1 points and 11.2 rebounds, as Ulery and senior Steven Uber developed into an effective 1-2 punch during Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League play.
The junior forward also proved his abilities to defend the goal, blocking 2.1 shots per game.
DYLAN UNTEREKER, PITTSBURG
A first-year varsity player, sophomore forward Untereker averaged 12.7 points and 9.2 rebounds, nearly a double-double, making up for the absence of the graduated FeDor Lomax, who averaged a double-double last season.
Untereker had some early struggles adjusting to the varsity level, especially getting his shots off, but developed into Pittsburg's leading interior player who drew lots and lots of contact.
CHASE VANBECELAERE, COLGAN
A sophomore wing whom head coach Wayne Cichon encouraged to shoot more and to be more aggressive offensively, VanBecelaere averaged 7.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
VanBecelaere knocked down 22 3-point shots and shot 50 percent overall from the floor, including 36.1 from 3-point range, in helping Colgan finish 19-6 overall and 6-1 in the CNC League.
This year, we have decided to add an All-Defensive Team, recognizing players who guarded the opponent's best players, were counted on to make stops, took charges and made the hustle plays that do not get counted in the scorebooks, as well as those who defended their rim with the block shot, block out or shot altered.
Plus, it's always best to give as many young men and women due credit and recognition as possible.
Our inaugural selections: Colgan senior Tucker Hoffman, Northeast sophomore Troy Howard, Girard senior Austin O'Dell, Southeast junior Ryan Rakestraw, Frontenac senior Tyler Randall and Pittsburg junior Dante Richardson.
James Brooks, Frontenac
Austin Commons, Colgan
Laike Damman, Girard
Drew Davied, Girard
Brett Macary, Frontenac
Spencer Massoth, Pittsburg
Drew Mills, Northeast
Ryan Rakestraw, Southeast
J.T. Richardson, Northeast
Riley Ulery, Southeast
Dylan Untereker, Pittsburg
Chase VanBecelaere, Colgan
Tucker Hoffman, Colgan
Troy Howard, Northeast
Austin O'Dell, Girard
Ryan Rakestraw, Southeast
Tyler Randall, Frontenac
Dante Richardson, Pittsburg