Holton Girls Basketball Preview 2018
The Class 3A Holton High School Lady Wildcats are preparing for the 2018-19 prep basketball season with three returning starters and nine total returning letterwinners from last year’s team that went 11-3 in the Big Seven League and 15-6 overall.
HHS head coach Jon Holliday is back for his 28th year of leading the Lady Wildcats and has a 477-148 win-loss record, including Class 4A state basketball titles in 1994 and 2011, numerous state tournament appearances and at least 10 Big Seven League titles, also.
The Lady Wildcats’ 11-3 league record last season was good enough for third place in the league. In Class 4A-DII sub-state play, HHS lost to Marysville, the eventual fourth place finishing team at the state tournament.
Returning starters for the Lady Wildcats are senior Lauryn Moore (5-11 forward), senior Tabor Barta (5-3 guard) and sophomore Saydee Tanking (5-8 guard/forward).
Coach Holliday described Moore as a strong presence in the paint for the Lady Wildcats on both offense and defense. Barta, he said, is also a tough player at both ends of the court and a solid shooter. Tanking, he said, is one of the most versatile players on the team.
Moore was an all-league honorable mention pick last season and an All-County pick averaging 8 points per game (11th best in Big Seven). She also had 65 offensive rebounds last season (third best in league) and 78 defensive rebounds (eighth best in league). She was also an All-County honorable mention pick in 2017,
Tanking was an all-league honorable mention pick last season as a freshman averaging 8.9 points per game (10th best in the league). She was also an All-County pick last season.
Barta averaged 3 points and 2 rebounds per game last season and was an All-County honorable mention pick the last two seasons.
The Lady Wildcats lost four players to graduation last season – Sarah Lierz, Maleah Price, Emma Reith and the school’s all-time scoring leader, Shay Tanking, who is now playing college basketball for Washburn University.
Coach Holliday also listed four other returning players for the Lady Widlcats team who have a year of varsity playing experience each – senior Sarah Holaday (a 5-6 guard who can shoot the basketball), senior Mariah Rameriz (a 5-11 forward who can shoot), senior Faith Haussler (a 5-4 guard who is a solid ball-handler and free throw shooter) and junior Danika Hickman (a 5-8 guard who is very athletic at both ends of the court).
Coach Holliday also listed seven other junior players as either key varsity returners or key varsity newcomers – Kinleigh Rhodd (a 5-9 forward), Paige Crouch (a 5-11 forward), Olivia Yingst (a 5-4 guard/forward), Bailey Flewelling (a 5-7 forward), Isabell Watkins (a 5-3 guard), Adalee Degenhardt (a 5-4 guard) and Taygen Altenburg (a 5-5 guard).
The coach said Barta, Haussler and Degenhardt will serve as point guard by committee for the varsity team until one of them emerges as the floor general. He added that Holaday and Hickman look to be the team’s top two shooting guards, so far.
Coach Holliday said he considers the group of Moore, Ramirez, Rhodd, Crouch and Flewelling as a “solid group of bigs’’ for defending and rebounding underneath the basket this season.
“We have some tools to work with on this team. We just need to figure out how to put the puzzle together,’’ coach Holliday said. “We will emphasize a little bit slower pace on our half-court offense and our defense will be more post-oriented,’’ he said. “The keys to our success this season will be rebounding, transition defense and shooting percentage.’’
Coach Holliday predicts the Big Seven League to be as competitive as ever with Nemaha Central, Royal Valley, Jeff-West and Sabetha all good enough to potentially finish ahead of the Lady Wildcats in the league standings with Hiawatha, Perry-Lecompton and Riverside also battling for league wins.