While he was walking back to the locker room, Heights basketball coach Ken Palmer was met by each of his players holding a water bottle, waiting to celebrate their latest win. As soon as Palmer emerged, each player simultaneously doused their coach in celebration. A shower, Palmer says is deserved.
The Wichita Heights Falcons advanced to their 21st state tournament in school history with a 41-30 win over Washburn Rural on Friday.
Junior Laniah Randle was the leading scorer for the Falcons with a game high 14 points followed by Taylor Jameson who added 13. At one point in the game, Jameson had outscored the entire Washburn Rural team after her four 3-point baskets in the first half.
Washburn Rural found most of its points at the hands of Emma Krueger who scored 12. followed by Kasey Hamilton and Brooklyn DeLeye with 8.
Heights was in control for the majority of the game, except the third quarter. Rural dominated the quarter with a 10-4 scoring advantage, and seemed to be on the verge of a comeback. When the run carried over to the beginning of the fourth quarter, Palmer called a timeout and gave his team one task. Relax.
"We wanted them to calm down and take care of the basketball, we don't have to rush anything," Palmer said. "We got into a rut where we were just forcing shots and I had to call out to get them to buy in and be disciplined," he continued.
The Falcons heard their coach and bought in as the second half came to a close, outscoring the Jr. Blues 11-8 in the final frame of play.
Palmer went on to note that this team has been through a lot in the last few weeks with injuries and adversity but added that the win is the result of the work the team has put in.
As for the celebration, Palmer explained it didn't bother him at all, and that his team earned it, saying, "They work really hard for me in practice and they deserve it, whatever they have to give to me, I'll take it."
Wichita Heights will continue the pursuit for the state title on Wednesday at Koch Arena against Olathe East.