Expectations soaring for Lansing girls basketball team
Returning all five starters from a team that placed third in Class 5A, expectations were already going to be high for the Lansing girls basketball program.
Then those same five girls delivered Lansing’s volleyball program its first state title in nearly 20 years.
“These kids just know how to win,” said Lansing coach KC Simmons, who was in Salina last month to witness the volleyball team win the state title and heard from multiple fans who asked if he was ready to win another one.
“They don’t know how to lose. They don’t know what that means. They find a way and it’s not something we can really coach. I wish I could, but it’s just something they do.”
The Lions returns 98% of their scoring, including senior forward Kamryn Farris, who averaged 14.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game last season.
“She’s the fastest person on the court, so she’s a hard matchup because she’s either taller or stronger or she’s quicker,” Simmons said. “She has a chance to be our all-time leading scorer and rebounder if she does what she did last year.”
Starting point guard Caitlin Bishop, guards McKenzie Moburg and Skylar Weaver and center Mackenzie Manthe all return from last year’s team that went 19-4 and had the best finish at the state tournament in school history.
“If any of those five went for 20 (points), I would never be surprised,” Simmons said. “It’s hard to stop us because if you gear up for one kid, someone else will take over and our kids are so unselfish they’ll just keep giving the ball to that kid. We’re just so balanced and we have kids that can dribble it, kids that can shoot it, kids that can post up. We’ve got a little of everything.”
Simmons hopes the emergence of another volleyball player, sophomore Anna Laincz, will give the Lions something they didn’t have last year – depth.
“I’m hoping she can step in and play more for us this year because she’s definitely capable of it,” Simmons said. “We weren’t really deep last year. That was another good thing for our success was that we didn’t really have any major injuries or health concerns. We really only played five kids.”
Guard Brianna Krause, a junior, will give Lansing another option off the bench.
“She’s possibly the best shooter on a team of solid shooters,” Simmons said.
Regardless of depth, the Lions will continue to play fast.
“The first thing on everybody’s scouting report is stop us in transition because that’s what we’ve been trying to do since I’ve been here,” said Simmons, who is entering his fifth year at Lansing. “I’m just a big believer that it’s easier to score before the defense can set up. We practice that and drill that.”
Last season’s success definitely came as a surprise.
“It’s kind of funny because talking to the kids they just thought we’d be average,” Simmons said. “Last year we were hoping to be good. This year we’re expected to be good. The expectations are really high. We’re definitely going to have a target on our back, but it will be good for us. It will be fun. It’s always exciting when you have a quality team coming back.”