The Maize High School girls basketball team returns one senior, Paige Lungwitz, who is aiming for her fourth consecutive trip to the Class 6A state tournament.
The Eagles’ best finish during Lungwitz’s career occurred last season, when they placed third at state. They appear poised to earn another state appearance.
“We are going to have a very talented team,” said Maize coach Jerrod Handy, “but at the same time will have to rely on some young girls to really step up. I’m excited about this team and think they will be a fun group to watch. We will not be as deep as last year but will be long and tall.”
Lungwitz, a 5-10 guard, is Maize’s top returning scorer. She averaged 14.1 points per game and recently committed to play basketball for Pittsburg State University.
The other veteran starter is 6-1 forward Keiryn Swenson, a sophomore who averaged 12.8 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game during her freshman year. Swenson and Lungwitz were first-team picks on the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League’s Division I squad last season.
In addition, Lungwitz was named Division I player of the year while Handy was honored as coach of the year. The team concluded last season as league champion with an 11-1 record and then finished 22-3 overall.
Other athletes expected to contribute this season are sophomore Daley Handy, a 5-11 guard who averaged five points last year, and junior Brayden Byrd, a 6-foot post player who averaged three points. Key players also include sophomore Saige Baalman, a 5-10 forward, and junior Kayln Helm, a 6-foot post player.
The Eagles’ season debut will be Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Andover. Their home opener will be Tuesday, Dec. 11, against Derby.
After competing at Emporia last year, Maize will return to Washburn Rural for tournament play in January. The Eagles won the championship at the Washburn Rural tournament in January 2011.