Unruh sisters guide Dodge City to big win
HAYS, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Dodge City High School senior Kisa Unruh and her sister, sophomore Becca, are the youngest of four siblings. The pair practices together, often on the family driveway that has a painted court. In the summer, Becca always wanted to play one-on-one. The sisters went back and forth on victories.
The girls’ dad, Shane, continually told his daughters to have a quicker release. Kisa honed form when Becca guarded her. During practice and even pregame warmups, the Unruhs like to guard each other.
The sibling competition yielded another dominant performance in a 52-26 road win against Hays High School in Western Athletic Conference play Friday. HHS had just seven varsity players because of the coronavirus quarantine.
“We’ve always done everything together,” Kisa said. “We know like every move we are going to make.”
DC led 18-3 after the first quarter. Overall, Kisa paced the Red Demons with 15 points, along with three assists, two rebounds, two steals and two blocks en route to the team’s MVP award. Becca scored six points off a pair of treys. Kisa holds school records for career points and career made 3-pointers.
This season, she has averaged 12.9 points a game and made 36 treys. Unruh wants to play in college and has had contact with Dodge City, Independence, Colby Community Colleges and NAIA Friends University. She was expected to talk with Cloud CC on Saturday. Becca has stepped up with 8.4 points per contest.
“They have a great relationship,” Dodge City coach Kelley Snodgrass said. “I think playing with your sister has got to be special, but they do push one another. And they are going to hold each other accountable, and they want the best for one another, and so it’s kind of fun to watch for sure.”
Dodge City has shot 35 percent from beyond the arc and averaged 17 assists a game, both among the state’s leading marks. Versus HHS, the Red Demons averaged 1.2 points per possession, a highly efficient rate. This winter, experienced Dodge City has tallied 1.11 points a possession and allowed .65. The Red Demons graduated just one player from a 17-5 year.
“We practice shooting a lot in practice,” Kisa said. “We always do the in and out passes from our posts if our posts get doubled. We just practice a lot, and we just trust each other, so we always make the extra pass to get a good shot.”
Dodge City, ranked No. 6 in Class 6A, improved to 13-1, 4-0 in league. Hays High had several players go into coronavirus quarantine Friday afternoon. The JV game was cancelled. HHS dropped to 5-10, 1-4.
“The young ones have come such a long way, and like everyone is playing for each other,” Kisa said. “And so everyone’s playing for the seniors, because it’s our last year, and with COVID, it’s just hard because we have gotten so much taken away so far, so it’s just we take it one game at a time. It’s just special.”
Around noon, Hays High coach Len Melvin, who works outside the district, received word about the quarantine. From noon to 4 p.m., Melvin said his phone was “going crazy.”
Dodge City heard about the quarantine on the 105-mile bus ride. Snodgrass said the JV was “crushed” to not play.
“You have this game plan in place,” Melvin said. “And some of our key pieces were not in there, so things changed real quick. You don’t have a chance to practice it. It’s just a quick board talk and hope your girls play their hearts out, and they did.”
Hays High took a quick 1-0 lead before DC ended the quarter on an 18-2 run. Becca shoots 37 percent from long range, Kisa 36. Becca shoots a little from the side with her feet close together. She delivered DC’s first points on a 3 off a pass from her sister.
“That’s just how she’s always shot, and she doesn’t want to change it, because it’s worked so well for her,” Kisa said.
Then, Kisa scored on a fast break off a Dodge City steal. She ended the quarter on back-to-back treys. Dodge City led 24-9 at the half.
“Defensively, I thought we were pretty good, but you can’t lose sight of those shooters,” Melvin said. “And we knew how good those shooters were, and the thing that Dodge is really good at doing to you is they try to get you in a help position, so they can run their shooter off a double, and they do a really good job of it. And our girls got put in a position where they didn’t know if they should be helping or chasing the shooter, and good shooters make you pay.”
Kisa opened the third quarter with two more treys, off passes from Becca and junior Amaya Perez. Then, Becca sunk her second 3-pointer for a 33-11 lead. At that point, DC was 6 of 10 from long range.
“(Coach) always says like ‘Adversity is good for everyone,’” sophomore point guard Carly Lang said. “I think it was a really good opportunity for some people to step up, and I think just going out there and working as hard as we can was really all we could do, and I think we did that pretty well.”
Junior Camree Johnson has picked up three recent junior college offers. She paces DC with 13.9 points a contest, though didn’t score until a jumper on the sideline for a 36-13 advantage.
“That’s what makes us so tough,” Snodgrass said. “Is we have so many weapons. They game planned for Camree, because she had 21 the last game, just like last year a lot of times they game planned for Kisa. So even though they are not getting the shots or they are not falling like they normally do, I think they know that their teammates are going to have their back and pick them up, and it’s going to be somebody’s night, and that’s what makes it great. It’s a great team effort.”
Afterward, Dodge City had its usual postgame awards, which have gained significant social media attention this winter. Assistant coach David Snodgrass leads the honors. Johnson earned the Rodman for a team-high five rebounds.
Senior Lauren Gleason and junior Victoria Gonzalez had the Golden Ball with five assists apiece. Perez and senior Alicia Solis wore boxing gloves for the 1-2 Punch. Kisa put on the championship belt for MVP honors. Snodgrass snapped the photos next to a wall just outside the locker room.
“It’s gave everyone confidence and gave everyone something to look forward to, and to work for during the game, so it’s just not one player,” Kisa said.
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