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19-1 Falcons quest for state title fueled by teammate's season-ending injury

 Feb 18, 2020; Wichita, Kansas, USA; during a City League matchup between Wichita Heights and Southeast ©KellyRoss
Feb 18, 2020; Wichita, Kansas, USA; during a City League matchup between Wichita Heights and Southeast ©KellyRoss (KWCHCIK)
Published: Feb. 26, 2020 at 9:55 PM CST
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Over the years, Heights has had one of the most talented basketball programs the state has ever seen.

But this season, with four DI prospects in their starting lineup, Ken Palmer said this team is the most talented group he’s ever coached.

“They stay late, we come early, I push them so hard they throw up,” said Palmer. “They want it, they want it bad and they work hard so you get to see what they do to our opponents.”

Before their first loss of the season against Bishop Carroll brought them to 19-1 Tuesday, the Falcons were beating opponents by an average of 39 points a game.

“When we come in we take it seriously, we work on our defense, we stay focused,” said junior Laniah Randle.

The team said their talent is only half of the reason why they’ve been so dangerous this season.

“The work ethic we all have is tremendous so we you never have to worry about telling someone work harder,” said senior Taylor Jameson. “It’s more like, ‘hey, take it easy, make sure you’re good for the next game.’’

The Falcons starting five is just about the most highly recruited in the state.

Senior Taylor Jameson will continue her career next season playing at the DI level at George Mason. Ashton Conley had offers on the court as well, but will play soccer next year at Butler Community College.

Junior Laniah Randle currently has an offer from Wichita State and Southern Illinois, while sophomore Cayanna Stanley already holds a DI offer from Eastern Michigan.

Their fifth starter, sophomore Zyanna Walker, picked up an offer from more than 20 DI programs, including the entire BIG 12 aside from Baylor.

But instead of playing with her team to finish out the season, her team is now playing for her in their quest to bring home a state title. Walker tore her ACL against Southeast last week.

“Since were not allowed to play with her on the court, we have to take it to that step to play for her,” said sophomore Cayanna Stanley.

As if the Falcons needed any more motivation to get to the championship game after a quarterfinal loss at state last year, now they have it.

“Seeing her hurt knowing she can’t play basketball for a couple months just tore us down cause we still have the ability to play,” said senior Ashton Conley. “I think it just drove us, were going to play for her and win this for her and were going to do it together.”

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