Panthers, Wildcats among league leaders to start 2015
With the second half of the high school basketball season picking back up on Tuesday, now seems like a good time to see where the area teams stand compared to their league competition.
For the Holton and Royal Valley boys, 2014 saw the teams succeed (both are tied for second behind co-league leaders Sabetha and Nemaha Central) in very different ways.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 3-1 start in league competition (3-2 overall) on the strength of team shooting as HHS leads the Big Seven in both three-point shooting percentage (44%) and free throw percentage (71%).
Meanwhile, the Panthers (3-1, 4-1 overall) have excelled on the defensive end of the floor and are second behind only Sabetha in fewest points allowed (39.6 per game) so far this season.
In addition to their strengths as a team, the Wildcats and Panthers have gotten some strong individual contributions as well, starting with Holton’s Garett Beecher currently leading the league in scoring with 17 points per game.
Royal Valley’s Noah Rottinghaus isn’t far behind (fourth), contributing 15 points per game for the Panthers, while Trey Tanking is also in the top 10 for Holton with an 11.2 point scoring average.
The Jackson County players are also some of the top shooters in the league as Beecher is second in three-point field goal percentage (57%) while Holton’s Parker Sides ranks fourth (50%) and teammate Bryson Patch is seventh (43%).
Rottinghaus ranks seventh in two-point field goal percentage (64%), while his Panther teammate Tristan Tessondorf (55%) is 13th and Beecher is 14th (54%) Beecher is also seventh in free throw percentage (70%).
With Royal Valley’s penchant for defense, it should come as no surprise that it also has several players at the top of the league in rebounds and steals this season, with Rottinghaus ranking second in the Big Seven with an average of 8.6 rebounds per game, while teammate Jarrett Roy isn’t far behind with 5.2 boards per game.
Four Panthers also rank among the top 15 in the league in steals per game, including Derrick Barger (2 spg, 6th), Rottinghaus (1.8 spg, 7th), Tessendorf (1.4 spg, 10th) and Nick Ehrhart (1.4 spt, 11th). Barger is also eighth in the league currently with an average of three assists per contest.
Tanking has also ranked among the best in the league in steals with an average of 2.4 per game (5th) and Patch is not far behind (8th) with 1.8 per game. Tanking also ranks fifth in the Big Seven with an average of 3.8 assists per game while Beecher pours in 3.2 assists per game.
Rounding out the strong individual performances is the only other league leader in Jackson County, as Joe Cullen is tops in the Big Seven with a total of 16 blocked shots this season (3.2 per game).
On the girls side, the Wildcats and Panthers haven’t been as dominant in one particular area but have used a well-balanced front to put themselves in the top half of the league standings currently.
Holton ranks second in free throw percentage (57%) and fourth in two-point field goal percentage (38%), while the Panthers are fourth in terms of team defense, giving up an average of 38.4 points per game this season.
Some individual performances have also carried the Holton and Royal Valley girls, starting with three of the Panthers ranking in the top 15 of scoring in the Big Seven. That includes Kate Hanson (4th, 13.6 ppg), Jaycee Worrell (6th, 11.4 ppg) and Tamo Thomas (15th, 8.4 ppg), while Shay Tanking is the lone Wildcat in that group (12th) with a 9.8 point scoring average.
Tanking (36.4%, 8th) and Thomas (35.3%, 10th) are also among the top three-point shooters, while three different Wildcats are among the top 15 in two-point field goal percentage, including Emily Degenhardt (5th, 52.6%), Hayley Thompaosn (9th, 44.4%) and Ashlyn Weilert (12th, 42.3%). Levanna Biggoose is also seventh in two-point field goal percentage, shooting 50% so far this season.
Amongst the strong performances, Holton’s Courtney Boswell is the only official league leader as she has the top free throw shooting percentage (73.7%) in the Big Seven. Teammate Tanking (68.4%) isn’t far behind her in fourth, while Thomas (66.7%) is fifth for the Panthers.
Seeing several Wildcats and Panthers leading the league in steals is no surprise as Worrell is second with 4.2 per game, while Boswell is third with an average of 3.6. Panther Leslie Schuetz (8th) also landed in the top 10 with 2.6 per game, while Weilert rounds it out with an average of 2.4 steals so far this season.
Tanking is the only Jackson County player in the top 10 in assists, tying for fourth with three per game, while Thompson is fourth in the league with an average of .8 blocks per game.
With three-fourths of the season left to play, it looks like the Wildcats and Panthers are in good hands and well on their way to what could be another highly competitive season and, eventually, sub-state tournament.