If you were to script the Class 2A girls’ state basketball championship game last spring, Hollywood couldn’t have come up with anything wilder than what happened on the court.


If you were to script the Class 2A girls’ state basketball championship game last spring, Hollywood couldn’t have come up with anything wilder than what happened on the court.

Down early, up late and down in overtime, the Berean Academy Warriors came back to win the title.

The Warriors’ finish is among the top stories in Kansan area sports in 2008. A number of top finishes for area teams highlights a look back at the year.

• Berean Academy girls’ basketball team wins state title. Down by seven points early in overtime, the Warriors came back to beat St. John-Hudson 42-41 in the finals of the Class 2A state tournament in Manhattan for the team’s first state title.

Berean finished the season 24-1.

The Warriors were led by all-state pick Cathryn Wiebe, who missed much of the state championship game with a knee injury. Wiebe went on to play for Sterling College, where she is averaging 11.17 points a game for the eighth-ranked team in National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division II.

• Hesston boys take third at 4A state. Traditionally, a Class 3A team, the Hesston High School boys’ basketball team moved up a class, taking third in the Class 4A state tournament in Salina. Hesston downed Colby in the quarterfinals, fell to eventual state champion Topeka Hayden 63-52 in the semifinals and beating Andover 68-67 in the third-place game.

• The Newton High School boys’ swimming team won its seventh straight league title, taking seventh in the state meet. Chacour Koop took fourth in the 100-yard backstroke. Newton took fourth in the 200-yard medley relay and sixth in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

• The Hesston High School tennis teams each a second-place finish at the Class 4A state tournament. For the girls, senior Miranda Weaver downed Caroline Lincoln in straight sets to win the singles title with a 38-1 record. The girls finished two points behind Wichita Independent. The boys were led by the doubles team of Brett Liechty and Alex Roth, which downed Tucker Noyes and Neal Rasmussen of Andover Central in straight sets in the finals, finishing the season 33-5. The boys won a tie-breaker over Topeka Hayden to take second and finished 14 points behind Independence for the title.

• Bethel College tennis player Paige McKinney claimed a fourth-place finish at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association-NAIA individual championships. She finished the calendar year ranked fourth in the NAIA individual rankings, the highest ranking for any BC tennis player. McKinney was named the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference player of the year and newcomer of the year. She helped lead the Threshers to the conference post-season tournament title. BC coach Lonnie Isaac was named the KCAC coach of the year.

• Bethel claims javelin medals. The Bethel College track team had three athletes qualify for the NAIA nationals, claiming two medals. Recent grad Jeff Buller repeated as NAIA national champion, winning the event in 214 feet, eight inches. Freshman Garrett Hiebert finished sixth with a toss of 194-7.

• Bethel sweeps volleyball titles. The Bethel College women’s volleyball team won the KCAC regular-season volleyball title with a 16-2 record. The Threshers then went on to down Bethany in five games in the finals of the post-season tournament, advancing to the NAIA national tournament. Bethel lost in the nationals to Doane in four games, ending the season 23-10.

• Berean Academy boys, Burrton girls each take second in the state cross country meet. The Warrior boys missed a Class 2A state title by three points. Arlan Newby and Josiah Busenitz, both juniors, claimed medals in the meet. The Burrton girls missed a Class 1A state title by one point. Sophomore Kalley Gardner, sophomore Valerie Wallsten and junior Meghan Navarro each claimed medals for the Chargers.

• Goessel golf team takes second at state. The Goessel High School golf team placed second at the Class 1A state tournament last spring in Dodge City. Goessel was nine strokes behind Quivira Heights for the state title. Cameron Voth, Nathan Ensz and Derek Brown each claimed a medal for the Bluebirds.

• Moundridge takes second in state volleyball. Under first-year coach Bethany Herman, the Moundridge High School volleyball team returned to the Class 2A state finals. After a 3-0 finish in pool play, Moundridge downed Sublette in two games in the semifinals. In the finals, Moundridge lost to St. Mary’s 25-15, 25-15, finishing the season 40-4.

• Newton Rebels repeat at Walter Johnson League champions. Under first-year co-field managers Sean Bechtold and Chris Pate, the Newton Rebels won the Walter Johnson League regular-season title for the second straight year. The Rebels qualified for the National Baseball Congress World Series for the fifth straight year.

• Newton High School boys’ track team takes third at state. The Railers claimed 15 medals, including one state title to place third in Class 5A competition. Zach Roberts won a title in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles.

• Goessel High School boys tie for second in Class 1A state track. Craig Banman won titles in the pole vault and 300-meter intermediate hurdles. Goessel ended the meet by winning the 4x400-meter relay.

• Hillsboro High School boys take second at state track. Without an individual title, the Hillsboro High School boys’ track team claimed a second-place finish in Class 3A competition.

Game of the year — Boys’ soccer regional finals: Newton 0, Liberal 0 (Liberal wins on penalty kicks 4-3). With two Newton players sent off, the Railers held state-ranked Liberal scoreless for 110 minutes, stopping three penalty kicks, including two in overtime. Liberal went on to finish third in Class 5A

Newton Kansan

Athletes of the Year

High School — Boys: Jordan Voelker, Newton, basketball, track (currently a football player at Butler Community College). Girls: Miranda Weaver, Hesston, tennis.

College — Men: Jeff Buller, Bethel, track. Women: Paige McKinney, Bethel, tennis.

Professional — Men: Brian Moorman, Sedgwick, Buffalo Bills punter. Women: Laurie Koehn, Moundridge, Washington Mystics guard.

Coach of the year

High School — Kristin Wiebe, Berean Academy, girls’ basketball.

College — Chad Schilling, Bethel, volleyball.