Peabody-Burns’ new girls basketball coach, Travis Schafer, brings three years of experience at Western Plains in Ransom to the job, and he’s put that experience to good use assessing the talents of his 10-member squad.
“We have a great group of girls out this year,” Schafer said. “Each girl brings something different to the table.”
Shafer has favorable first impressions of the team’s two seniors, Rylie McDowell and Christa Elliot.
“Rylie and Christa show great leadership on and off the court,” Shafer said. “They are two girls that care more about the team than they do themselves. They have great character and always do the right things. Both are outstanding basketball players, but basketball is only a piece of their lives. After they graduate, they will both go on to do great things in life because of their leadership, dedication, and character they instill in themselves.”
Character isn’t the only thing McDowell and Elliot bring to the table.
“Rylie and Christa have two of the smoothest shots I have seen since Pistol Pete Maravich,” Shafer said, comparing the pair to one of college basketball’s greatest all-time scorers. “They will be tough to stop if they get an open shot.”
Shafer’s enthusiasm extends to the team’s two juniors, Cheyene Shaw and Katy Benson, although Benson may have a hard time living up to the player Shafer compared her to.
“They both bring tremendous defense to our team,” Shafer said. “Cheyene isn’t afraid to hit the floor and give up her body for a loose ball. Katy is one of the best all-around players since Michael Jordan. She has a great shot and does an excellent job of getting to the basket.”
Sophomores Anna Lubbers, Mallory Harris, Nicole Sanders, Paige Murray, Sandy Johnson, and Katie Charles complete the squad. Shafer said the group brings speed, sharp shooting, and good attitudes to the team.
“They are all very dedicated and work hard,” he said.
Shafer said he will focus on improving the team’s character and skills as they try to improve on last year’s 2-19 record.
“We have made it a team goal to compete this year and let the wins take care of themselves,” Shafer said. “If we compete, we put ourselves in good position at the end of each game.”
The Lady Warriors play Dec. 5 against Chase County at Cottonwood Falls.