SALINA — Girard’s Sydnee Crain and Pittsburg’s Marque English were selected to play in the Kansas High School Basketball Association (KBCA) All-Star Game on March 26.
Both athletes closed out their high school campaigns with standout senior seasons, earning them a nomination by the coaches.
“It's honestly just a great honor to have been selected,” Crain said. “I’m excited to be able to play with my future teammates at Pitt State.”
Crain follows in the footsteps of several players from the Girard girls’ basketball program who have previously been selected.
“We’re a 4A school, and the state All-Star game is typically dominated by 5A and 6A,” GHS head coach Brad Herlocker said. Carly Twarog, Haydn Herlocker and Ashley Ray, in addition to Sydney, are players who were able to go and have that experience, which means so much to our program. I feel very fortunate to have coached those great players.”
The Pittsburg State commit is the single-season points leader at Girard and finished second in scoring all time.
“Its super exciting to know that Sydnee will be playing at Pitt State,” Herlocker said. “The Girard community, and much of southeast Kansas, has supported my daughter Haydn very well while she was at PSU, so I know those same people will come for Sydney. It's so close to home, and coach name Lord does a really good job. I'm excited to see her go to such a good program.”
Crain also helped lift the Lady Trojans to their first state championship in 2017.
“I always dreamed of winning the state championship as we did last year, so I’m still super happy about that,” Crain said. “I feel blessed to have the career that I have had, along with the teammates and the coaches that I’ve been with.”
For English, his opportunity to play in the All-Star game comes on the heels of leading the Purple Dragons to a second-place finish at the state tournament.
“It’s an honor to be selected,” English said. “It feels nice to have the hard work pay off and I’m blessed to be able to play in this all-star game to have received the awards I’ve gotten.”
In his senior season, English averaged 20.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, earning him the 5A Player of the Year Award by Sports in Kansas.
“Maque impacts the game in many ways, and I think that’s one of the reasons he was chosen to play in this game,” Roelfs said. “He can effect a game in many different ways, and it has just been a pleasure to coach him and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. He’s also been a joy to coach because of the type of person he is off the court. He’s a great student in our school and he’s just been what you want as a representative of our program. We’re just really proud of him.”
Although the outcome of the All-Star Game maybe forgotten when the scoreboard is erased, representing the Purple Dragons isn’t something English takes lightly.
“Representing PHS and this community is something I’m taking great pride in,” English said. “Coach always tells us that it feels good to do good. That’s what we’ve been raised on since the beginning and that’s what I want to continue to do.”
Regardless of where basketball takes him after the game, English says he’ll always be a Dragon.
“I just want to say to all the future kids of Pittsburg that, as long as you play with heart, you’ll find a spot on the team and do good things for the community,” said English.