Every sports season is filled with exciting moments such as last second heroics, memorable wins over your rival and record breaking performances. Listed below are my favorite coverage stories from the 2011-12 season.
Heights boys make history with 60th straight win
The Heights boys basketball program has been nothing short of spectacular these past four years. Being able to witness the team win their record-breaking 60th straight game and as head coach Joe Auer said, do “something that no one has done in 100 years of Kansas high school basketball,” was pretty special.
The pressure mounting against the squad had to be incredible as they closed in on the record. To get past that hurdle must have been a huge weight off their shoulder as they continued on their path to a fourth straight state championship.
This was also one of the few times I was able to be in the locker room immediately following a game. It was a unique experience to hear the message Auer delivered to his players and watch as the kids started to reflect on an accomplishment they'll never forget.
Doffing, Conway Springs thrash Garden Plain
Growing up in Wichita, I knew of the fierce rivalry between Conway Springs and Garden Plain on the gridiron. Until this season though, I had not witnessed a game between these two in person. Normally during football season I only get to shoot highlights for the first half of a game before coming back to help produce the Catch It Kansas Show. Fortunately, with fewer games going on because we were down to the semifinals, I was able tag along with Grant Meech and stay for the entirety of the game.
While the outcome wasn’t as close as some of their epic battles in the past, seeing the passion and emotions that surround this game first hand was exciting; as was witnessing Brian Doffing elevate his game, rushing for 259 yards and four touchdowns to put his team into the state championship game.
Nicholson’s late bucket lifts Northwest over North
These past couple of years, Wichita Northwest versus Wichita North has developed into a nice little rivalry on the hardwood for the boys. During the 2010-11 season, both of the matchups needed double overtime to decide a winner. It was also in this series that North's Conner Frankamp dropped a league-record 52 points in a loss to the Grizzlies.
In their first meeting of the 2011-12 season, it would come down to the wire again. Craig Nicholson drained a game-winning jumper with four seconds left in front of a raucous crowd at North’s historic gym to seal the victory for Northwest.
Frankamp’s late basket pushes North past West
It’s always interesting to watch how teams will try and contain Frankamp. West elected to double-team him nearly every time he touched the ball. It worked for the first three quarters of the game as the Pioneers took a 42-35 lead into the fourth. Frankamp recovered in the fourth quarter and scored 13 points in the final eight minutes as North outscored West 21-10 and won by four.
After interviewing Frankamp following the game, a fan stopped me on the way out of the school to let me know, “that kid you just interviewed got outplayed tonight.”
Bold statement considering Frankamp controlled the final minutes and finished with a game-high 29 points, including making 9-of-9 free throws in the fourth quarter and all 12 he attempted for the game. He also grabbed nine rebounds, had two assists in the final two minutes, hit the go-ahead basket while splitting three defenders, and recorded the game-sealing steal on the ensuing possession.