Good Luck

June 05th, 2020

katieshotosKatie Horyna takes a shot at the Class 6A State Tournament in Wichita. The Lady Redskins advanced to the semifinals before the tournament was canceled. L&T photo/Earl Watt


  • Leader & Times

Late Thursday evening, the Kansas High School Activities Association made the call to cancel the state basketball tournaments taking place across the State of Kansas.

That ended a historic run for the Lady Redskins who sat at 23-0 and advanced to the semifinals before being notified Thursday that the final two days of the tournament had been canceled.

Earlier in the day, the NCAA canceled the national tournaments.

While Liberal coach Carter Kruger understood the decision, as a competitor, it was still a tough pill to swallow.

“I would have rather lost by 25 but had a chance to see,” he said. “Honestly, it’s not even the win or loss but the opportunity to finish the season on the court. It’s special with these kids we’ve coached for so long. You want to make that memory. Maybe it would be the joy of winning or the agony of defeat. We knew Saturday it would be over. When you play the game knowing it is the last time, it’s different. As athletes and coaches, you understand there is an end, but you want it to come on your terms. That wasn’t the case.”

Sitting at 23-0 and preparing to face Derby, Kruger liked the match-up.

“We certainly liked our chances,” Kruger said. “We would have to play well against Derby. We had a ton of potential and was just starting to play our best basketball. We thought we could make a run at it. It wasn’t in the cards. It doesn’t take away form the season our team had. We had some ups and downs, close calls, and got better every day. We are closer than any team I’ve seen in my life. We competed extremely hard. I’m just so proud of them. You want to end it on the court with a state title, but as far as I am concerned, they are champions. They displayed so much character, we know they have a bright future ahead. We are disappointed not to play on the court, but these are unprecedented times. We understand the reason.”

The announcement finally came about 8:20 Thursday night that basketball season was ending early in Kansas.

“Everyone’s season would end this weekend, but not to play it out on the court, and then, to find out as a team it is over, it lacks a little closure,” Kruger said. “There’s a wound. Players, coaches and fans are hurt. We can’t control it. We just have to hope everyone is safe and healthy.

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