By TYLER HENRY
Little Apple Post contributor
Following a fantastic 22-3 season, the Wamego girl’s basketball team picked right up where they left off, and will enter the home stretch of their 2022-23 campaign at 12-1.
Despite losing a few key pieces from a season ago, the Lady Raiders haven’t missed a beat, and have taken up permanent residence in the top five of the Class 4A rankings, outscoring their first 13 opponents by a staggering 329 points.
“I've been very pleased with how the girls have stayed in the moment and focused on one game at a time,” Wamego head coach Brian McIntosh said. “I've also been impressed with how close this group is on and off the floor. They support each other and want great things to happen for their teammates.”
On the floor, those great things have come both in the form of convincing victories, and individual accolades for a Raider team that has three different players scoring double digits on average.
As part of a push to be the best they can be individually and as unified as they can be as a team, Wamego has put a heavy emphasis on playing unselfish basketball on offense, and rewarding toughness on both ends of the floor, which has led to an uptick in taken charges, trips to the line, and offensive boards.
“Our attention to detail has improved significantly over the season,” McIntosh said. “The better the opponent, the smaller your margin for error is. We pride ourselves on execution in big moments of games.”
While Wamego has dominated in the win column this season, the Lady Raiders remain intentional about continuing to be the best they can be, further cleaning up those fine margins ahead of what should be another deep playoff push.
“We’re still committed to daily improvement,” he said. “We have to continue to focus on controlling what we can control and playing up to our standards night in and night out.”
The Raiders have also received a sizable boost from the return of senior standout Addison Denney, who missed last year’s run with an ACL injury but has returned to give Wamego even more energy this season.
“It's nice to have her back,” McIntosh said. “She brings a lot of passion, strength, and toughness to our team. She has been playing really well the past few games and I look for her to continue improving for the rest of the season.”
While all of these things have contributed to Wamego’s success on the floor, their bonds and connections off of it have been equally beneficial, not only to their play between the whistles but also to their development as people, something Coach McIntosh has put an emphasis on throughout his time at Wamego.
“This group is very close,” he said. “They do a lot outside of basketball together and have formed extremely strong bonds. They have a lot of respect for each other because they know how hard they've worked in order to get to this point and I think this has led to a genuine love for their teammates.”
Even beyond this season, this group of student-athletes continues to build on the groundwork laid by those who came before them, for the next generation of Lady Raiders, and strengthen friendships that in many cases, may last a lifetime.
“We talk daily about our culture and what we want it to look like,” McIntosh said. “We have built this on our three core values: Hard work, self-discipline, and love. When we step on the court, it’s our goal for these three things to shine above anything else. We feel like if we focus on this, the wins will come, but more importantly, we will create bonds that will last forever.”
The Lady Raiders will be back in action on Friday, January 27th when Wamego travels to Rock Creek, looking for a sweep of the Mustangs on Friday night.
For continuing coverage of Wamego girls’ basketball all season long, stay tuned to the Little Apple Post.