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Morning Sun
  • Frontenac seniors continue their careers

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  • FRONTENAC — It seems only fitting the three Frontenac senior basketball players would have their signing ceremony on the same Thursday afternoon in the commons area just outside their home court.
    Bailey Flora, Ryleigh McCartney and Haley Wilson played on three Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League title winners, helped end Girard's 50-game CNC League winning streak, won 78 and lost 16 games over four years, and were three of the five senior starters (flanked by Natalie Coomes and Andi Palumbo) on the first Frontenac team in the state championship game since 1982.
    Frontenac ended state runner-up in the inaugural Class 4A, Division II and on Thursday, Flora, McCartney and Wilson officially signed with Cowley County (Flora, McCartney) and Allen (Wilson).
    "These three girls have obviously meant a lot to this program and had a lot of success," Frontenac girls basketball coach Jeremy Rakes said. "You did the story the other week about the wins and the losses that they've had in their four years and the CNC records and all their accomplishments but not only that, you've got three great kids, you know, that obviously have been friends since they were little-bitty and have had traveling teams since they were in the second grade. They've just been great people and great success stories later on in life. I'm very proud of them and it's a very huge accomplishment to have three girls be able to sign from the same class. We're looking forward to watching them in the future."
    Flora and McCartney get the opportunity to play together at least two more years.
    "I'm really excited," Flora said. "It makes it more comfortable. I have somebody that I already that I know. I don't have to go into something brand new."
    "It's awesome," McCartney said. "Getting to go with one of your best friends and continue playing with her is awesome."
    "We'll play against you, Haley," McCartney playfully added, all three friends giggling.
    "That will be fun, interesting," Wilson said.
    Both Flora and McCartney focused on Cowley head coach Todd Clark as being the main attraction to Arkansas City. The Tigers finished 22-9 this past season.
    Wilson signed with Allen, based in Iola.
    "I just thought it was the best fit for me," Wilson said. "I just liked the atmosphere and the town it's in. Coach (Katie) Mahoney's really nice."
    All three considered some of the same schools.
    There was time for some reflection on their high school careers.
    "It was a great experience," McCartney said. "We didn't win the last game but I mean, great memories that we'll have with each other. They don't go away."
    "Well said," Wilson added.
    The Frontenac senior group had been playing together since the second grade.
    Page 2 of 3 - "Long time," McCartney said.
    "It's crazy that it's over," Flora said.
    "I know," McCartney said.
    "Real crazy," Flora said.
    All three agreed they didn't know how difficult it would be when it was all over in Park City.
    BAILEY FLORA
    The Raiders' leading scorer and rebounder during their run to the state championship game, Flora averaged 12.7 points and 8.2 rebounds, and also led the team in shot blocks, averaging one per game.
    "With Bailey Flora, in my opinion, still the best post player in the state of Kansas," Rakes said. "Great footwork and is willing to always go above and beyond. The ceiling's very high for her and what she can accomplish at the college level. I feel like she's just going to get better and better in the post game. I'm sure they'll have to move her out some and she'll have to play some of the 4. She's already learned to handle the basketball in the fullcourt set and setting up the offense."
    Flora had some of her biggest games her senior year against the best competition: 16 points against Columbus, 12 against Blue Valley Southwest, 15 against Columbus, 16 against Southeast, 15 against Colgan, 22 against Coffeyville, 21 against Independence, 15 against Holton and 19 against Santa Fe Trail in the state title game.
    Flora recorded double-doubles against Columbus (16 points, 10 rebounds), Blue Valley SW (12 points, 11 rebounds), Baxter Springs (18 points, 14 rebounds), Girard (15 points, 10 rebounds), Baxter Springs (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Holton (15 points, 11 rebounds).
    Flora was a four-year varsity starter for the Raiders.
    RYLEIGH McCARTNEY
    McCartney, who often served as the Raiders' point forward, averaged 11.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game in helping Frontenac reach its first state title game since 1982.
    "Ryleigh's physicality, being able to play inside-outside, shoot the 3, make a post move, drive to the basket, she's just an all-around basketball player," Rakes said. "Another one who can lead by example and lead by vocal. She'll make a huge impact."
    The Raiders could depend on McCartney in the clutch, down the stretch with the ball in her hand, opponents fouling her and placing her at the line. No. 42 finished her senior season 105-138 at the line, 76 percent, an above-average percentage for any high school player.
    McCartney scored her season high of 22 points against Galena and had 19 against Colgan, 18 twice against Prairie View, 13 against Oklahoma City Classen, Coffeyville and Columbus and, in her final high school game, 16 against the Chargers of Santa Fe Trail in the title game.
    She recorded four double-doubles: 10 points and 11 rebounds against Columubs, 18 and 11 against Prairie View, 13 and 12 against Classen and 19 and 10 against Colgan.
    Back to free throws: McCartney shot 8-8 against Labette County, 7-7 against Lamar, 9-10 against Independence and in the ever important first game at state, 8-8 against Trinity Academy.
    Page 3 of 3 - McCartney was another four-year varsity starter for the Raiders.
    HALEY WILSON
    Another key veteran for the Raiders, Wilson averaged 12.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
    Wilson scored a career-high 28 points in a 63-52 win over Louisburg and had 22 against Labette County, 18 against Coffeyville, 17 against Oklahoma City Classen and 15 against Independence.
    With interior presences Flora and McCartney, Wilson served the function of being the main perimeter sharpshooter.
    "Obviously, Haley Wilson's skillsets are her shot," Rakes said. "She made 60-some 3s this year and well over 150 for her career. She's going to have that 3-point threat and the 3-point game's become so huge in the college game. She'll definitely bring that but definitely her leadership on and off the court will help, as well."
    Wilson fulfilled her role with 61 3-point shots in 160 attempts — she made a 3 in 24 of 25 games her senior season with a high of four against Louisburg, Classen, Coffeyville and Baxter Springs, as well as three against Labette County, Neodesha, Columbus, Lamar, Prairie View, Blue Valley Southwest, Parsons, Independence, Trinity Academy and Holton.
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