NCK Teams Sweep In Sunflower Shootout Against MCL All-Stars


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SMITH CENTER, KS (March 18)—The North Central Kansas all stars won both games against the Mid-Continent League in the 7th Annual Sunflower Shootout in Smith Center on Saturday, March 18. The NCK girls led 33-22 at halftime over the MCL squad and pulled away to win 86-68.

Riley Doebele of Hanover, one of two state champions on hand, led a balanced scoring attack by the NCK team with 16 points. Jenna Hennerberg of Washington County added 15, with Republic County’s Kendsey Johnson and Karsyn Smith of Linn adding 14 points apiece. Lakeside’s Jessica LaRocque scored 12 points, Elizabeth Walter of St. John’s Beloit-Tipton 10, Kassie Bretton of Thunder Ridge 3, and Kaitlyn Ohlde of Linn and Washington County’s Annie Otott one point apiece. Karlee Braun of Logan also played but did not score.

Tatum Bartels of Phillipsburg led all scorers in the girls game for the MCL team with 17 points and Megan Koenigsman of Thomas More Prep-Marian had 15. Ashley Mattheyer of Ellis added 9 points, Madyson Koerner of Thomas More Prep-Marian 7, Stockton’s Emily Conyac 6, Oakley’s Jenna Zimmerman 5, Katelyn Zimmerman of Thomas More Prep-Marian 4, Norton’s Baylee Miller 3 and Miah Melvin of Norton 2. Lexie Rome of Ellis also participated but did not score.

The MCL girls were coached by Alexa Rogers of Stockton and Trego’s Jerod Brown. Kyle Fox of Palco and Pike Valley’s Randy Thayer coached the NCK squad.

The NCK boys took a 62-33 halftime lead and then held on to win a high scoring affair 123-98. The 123 points was a team record, breaking the record of 111 points set last year.

Davis Dubbert of St. John’s Beloit-Tipton led the NCK squad with 25 points, while Trey Kuhlmann of Republic County canned eight 3-point shots to score 24. Beloit’s Brendon Mason scored 20 points, Michael Jueneman from the state champion Hanover Wildcats 16, Washington County’s Dawson Miller 12, Mason Eilert of St. John’s Beloit-Tipton 7, and Lakeside’s Dawson Johnson added 6. Taitem Ziegler of Natoma and Linn’s Chase McGatlin scored 5 points apiece and Josh Van Laeys of Logan 3.

Norton’s Landon Porter led the MCL team with 25 points, Easton Smith of Ellis added 23, and Norton’s Tyus Henson 22. Joel Green of Stockton and Hill City’s Everett Brandyberry chipped in 8 points apiece, Hayden Friend of Plainville 5, Stockton’s Kian Coffey 4, and Smith Center’s Thayne Benoit 3. Justin Reif of Plainville and Derek Pfeifer of Ellis played but did not score.

NCK coaches included Logan’s Mark Wildeman and Jeremy Miller from Linn, while Brandon Maska of Ellis and Oakley’s Craig Wamsley coached the MCL boys.

“This game definitely defined the word shootout as the two teams combined to score 39 3-point baskets,” said Rec Director Mike Hughes. “It also had several slam dunks, so fans got to enjoy a wild and exciting ball game.”

Three point contest winners were Easton Smith of Ellis in the boys, and Megan Koenigsman of Thomas More Prep-Marian, who won a tiebreaker with Madyson Koerner.

“These were a great group of kids and represented their schools and communities well,” Hughes stated. “We appreciate them giving up their time to participate, as well as the coaches. And to all the fans that turned out to support these athletes. They saw two great games by some great athletes.”

“We want to thank USD 237 for use of their facilities, the Smith Center Chamber of Commerce for furnishing the drinks for the players & coaches, the Smith County Kiwanis Club for taking tickets and helping with concessions, to the SCTV crew for filming the game for the DVDs that go to the athletes, the Smith County Convention & Visitors Bureau for sponsoring the advertising, and Nick Linn and the Entrepreneurship class for doing our programs,” Hughes added. “We also want to thank our Subway, Alta Convenience Store, Simmons-Rentschler Mortuary, Nex-Tech Wireless, Casey’s General Store, Solid Rock Construction, Blooms Flower Shop, Embellishments Boutique, Landmark Implement, Third Street Designs and Better Water who provided souvenir t-shirts for the players, coaches and workers.”

“Also to all the volunteers that gave of their time to pull this event off as we couldn’t do it without them.”

The Sunflower Shootout is sponsored by the Smith Center Recreation Commission.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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