It was another solid year for girls basketball in Crawford County.
Four winning teams, two state qualifiers and Frontenac parlayed a 15-game winning streak into the inaugural Class 4A, Division II championship game.
The Raiders finished their season 22-3 and state runner-up, losing a tough overtime game to Santa Fe Trail, a school which also won the inaugural 4A-II volleyball title earlier in the school year.
St. Mary's Colgan qualified for the 2A state tournament, its first time under third-year head coach Abby Farabi. The Panthers finished 14-10 and pushed eventual state champion Central Plains in the first game at Bramlage Coliseum.
Frontenac and Colgan each made their first state appearance since 2010.
The Northeast Vikings showed the most improvement from last season, finishing with a 14-7 season after going 7-14 the previous season.
KAYLEE BOGINA, NORTHEAST
Bogina, Northeast's starting point guard since her freshman season, helped lead the Vikings to their 14-7 overall record and 8-1 Three Rivers League mark, second place behind Class 1A, Division I fourth place state finisher St. Paul.
No. 11 paced the Vikings with 12.6 points and 4.1 assists per game. She also tallied 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game, as well as 52 total deflections.
The Vikings doubled their win total from the previous season.
RACHEL BOLE, SOUTHEAST
Bole averaged 9.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals during her senior year.
Her shining moment was the game-winning free throw she made during a 36-35 victory over Galena in the first round of their Class 3A substate, a shot which she made with no time on the clock.
"I was very nervous," Bole said. "I knew I couldn't let the season end with my girls and I knew that if I didn't make the shot, we'd go into overtime but I wanted to end the game right then and there. I just shot my free throw like I usually do in practice and it ended up going in. It was probably the highlight of my basketball career."
Bole also shot 52 percent from the floor.
BAILEY FLORA, FRONTENAC
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.
She had some of her biggest games against the best competition: 16 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.
CARLY HEATHERLY, GIRARD
Heatherly. along with fellow senior Hannah Jones, served as a link to the recent past of Girard's success in the Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League (five straight undefeated runs and 50-game league winning streak) and in the friendly confines of Ted R. Taylor Gymnasium (37-game winning streak). These seniors also played key roles on the state-qualifying team of two seasons ago.
During her senior year, Heatherly led Girard in scoring at 8.3 points per game and handled the point guard duties. She averaged 2.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.0 rebounds for the 7-14 Trojans.
Heatherly was a two-time Wilson County Classic All-Academic Team selection.
KATIE KOLARIK, COLGAN
Kolarik always seemed to be one of those players in the middle of everything, entering the fray and emerging with the basketball or with a black eye.
The junior forward, with her favorite shot at the elbow, averaged 7.6 points and led the Panthers with 7.3 rebounds per game.
At one point early in the season, Kolarik was nearly named 'Automatic' for her performances at the free throw line.
AMY MARTIN, SOUTHEAST
Martin, a four-year varsity player for the Lancers, averaged 11.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.9 steals during her senior campaign. No. 11 also shot 47 percent from the floor.
RYLEIGH MCCARTNEY, FRONTENAC
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.
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 season 105-138 at the line, 76 percent, an above-average percentage for any high school player.
McCartney scored her season high of 22 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.
McCartney was another four-year varsity starter for the Raiders.
ALEX MINTON, COLGAN
Minton, a starting point guard since her freshman season, was averaging 13.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.8 steals entering the state tournament.
The Panthers started their season 1-4 and started playing their best basketball during Tournament Week in the Tony Dubray Classic.
In the championship game against host Liberal, Minton scored a career-high 25 points.
"Alex has done a tremendous job for us," Colgan head coach Abby Farabi told Aaron Amershek of KSHQ. "She has a lot of pressure. She's our point guard, she's got to score, she's got to get us in an offense, she's got to play defense and she's really handled it. She never gets frustrated. She could have 10 turnovers, which she never will, but she carries herself well and she knocked down some big shots. She's getting a lot more confidence."
Minton caused Farabi some concern before the championship game.
"I was laughing after the game because the girls came up to me and told me she threw up before the game," Farabi said. "She hasn't been feeling real well. I was feeling a little nervous but it didn't affect her play."
KATY SHORT, PITTSBURG
Short, the most emotional player on the floor in just about every game, took over the primary scoring role her junior season, following the graduation of Lizzy Willis and her older sister Alaura Short.
ALIEE STORY, COLGAN
One of three juniors who have been at the core of the Panthers basketball program, along with Alex Minton and Katie Kolarik, Story was averaging 8.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.5 steals entering the state tournament.
Like Kolarik, Story always seemed to be in the middle of a scrum on the floor.
AUTUMN WALKER, NORTHEAST
Walker's overall numbers seem impressive, 11.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, nearly a double-double every game.
Well, keep in mind, this was her freshman season.
Walker, however, did average a double-double in Three Rivers League play, 12.4 points and 10.0 rebounds.
She also averaged 2.4 steals per game, tied with junior point guard Kaylee Bogina, and totaled 67 deflections.
Walker is the lone freshman on the All-County team, surrounded by seniors (six) and juniors (five).
HALEY WILSON, FRONTENAC
Another key veteran for the Raiders on a team with all five starters seniors, 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 perimeter sharpshooter.
Wilson fulfilled her role with 61 3-point shots in 160 attempts — she made a 3 in 24 of 25 games this 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.
Kaylee Bogina, Northeast
Rachel Bole, Southeast
Bailey Flora, Frontenac
Carly Heatherly, Girard
Katie Kolarik, Colgan
Amy Martin, Southeast
Ryleigh McCartney, Frontenac
Alex Minton, Colgan
Katy Short, Pittsburg
Aliee Story, Colgan
Autumn Walker, Northeast
Haley Wilson, Frontenac
Hannah Jones, Girard
Morgan Maransani, Northeast
Emily Merando, Frontenac
Katie Phalen, Pittsburg
Olivia Powell, Southeast
Sydney Russell, Colgan