By William / www.mcpherson-county-ks.com

ELYRIA – The 2020-21 season came one game short of making the state tournament for the Elyria Christian girls basketball team, and that one game was a loss to eventual state champion Central Plains.

For the 2021-22 season, the Lady Eagles will, for season number nine, have Greg Fields on the bench as head coach and team leader. Coach Fields has found many successes in his previous eight seasons and feels confident the upcoming one will be as well.

Losing just one player of note from last seasons team, the Lady Eagles look to improve on their 17-6 record of last year, though all four teams they lost to during the season eventually made their way to their respective class state tournaments.

Among the Lady Eagles returning will be two first-team All-Wheat State League performers in senior Kylee Penner and junior Allie Stone.

Penner is one of just three seniors (KiLynn Starburg and Olivia Clark being the others) with significant varsity experience as Elyria is still a team full of quality underclassmen.

According to Coach Fields, the Lady Eagles have continued to show markable improvement each season and he is hoping it continues for the 2021-22 season as well.

While still lacking a tall presence under the basket, the Lady Eagles have the speed and athleticism to play shutdown defense and make scoring difficult for opponents while improvement on offensive skills gives the coaching staff an anticipation of higher scoring games.

Here is a complete summary of the upcoming 2021-22 season for the Elyria Christian Lady Eagles:

LADY EAGLES OPENING MONTH OF THE 2021-22 SEASON =

Friday, December 3 = At Moundridge

Monday, December 6 = At Bluebird Classic – play Little River

Friday, December 10 = At Bluebird Classic – play Goessel

Saturday, December 11 = At Bluebird Classic – Final Round

Tuesday, December 14 = Host Sedgwick

Friday, December 17 = Host Peabody/Burns

Tuesday, December 21 = At Rural Vista

LADY EAGLE HEAD COACH GREG FIELDS =

Lady Eagle Head Coach Greg Fields will be on the bench for season # 9.

Coach Fields overall record is 97-78.

2020-21 Coach Fields led the Lady Eagles to an overall record of 17-6 while being 8-1 in Wheat State League games.

The Lady Eagles finished the 2020-21 season with a loss to eventual state champion Central Plains in the championship game of sub-state.

LADY EAGLES WHO GRADUATED/TRANSFERRED =

Randi Cooper – she did not play in varsity 2020-21 but did in previous seasons.

Connie Schott – she did not play varsity in 2020-21 but did in previous seasons.

Olivia Peters – she would’ve been a senior but transferred. She played a big part in the pressure defense the Lady Eagles played.

KEY RETURNING LADY EAGLES FOR 2021-22 =

Kylee Penner = A 5’ 8” senior who made 1st-Team All-League in 2020-21 while gaining some state honors as well. Penner averaged 11.3 points per game and 4.1 rebounds.

KiLynn Starburg = A 5’ 10” senior who averaged 3.8 points, 3.9 steals, and 3.5 rebounds per game in 2020-21.

Olivia Clark = A 5’ 6” senior.

Ryland Hawkinson = A 5’ 9” junior who averaged 8.1 points, 2.5 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game in 2020-21.

Allie Stone = A 5’ 5” junior who made 1st Team All-League in 2020-21 while gaining some all-state honors as well. Allie averaged 7.2 points, 3.9 steals, and 3.5 rebounds per game in 2020-21.

Alexus Swenson = A 5’ 3” junior who averaged 2.9 points per game in 2020-21.

Macy Reiff = 5’ 5” sophomore.

INCOMING PLAYERS TO PAY ATTENTION TO =

Hannah Froese = A 5’ 9” senior. What the coaches say, “Hannah has not played much varsity basketball yet, but has shown a lot of improvement in her ability to play with high energy. Hannah’s length and her positive attitude will be an asset to our team in 2021-22.”

Julia Allen = A 5’ 7” sophomore. What the coaches say, “Julia saw some varsity action last season, but she will be called on more this year. She is a very strong young lady who plays tough around the basket. She will be a solid rebounder and defender.”

Carlie Joe Rohaus = A 5’ 8” freshman. What the coaches say, “CJ has worked very hard during our summer league this year and showed that she can compete at a high level around the basket.”

WHAT COACH FIELDS HAS TO SAY =

About Kylee Penner = “She is a very strong player who plays bigger than her size. Kylee has started every game she has been in since she came in as a freshman, and she has continued to improve every season. Looking forward to watching her compete this year as a senior.”

About KiLynn Starburg = “Another great defender because of her aggressiveness and length. As KiLynn has physically grown, she has transitioned from a point guard to a post player, which we desperately need more of. She has worked to get stronger in the off-season and will play a vital role for us both as an inside and outside threat on offense.”

About Olivia Clark = “Olivia is an incredibly hard worker who is an impactful defensive player. She has a nice outside and mid-range shot which allows her to be an offensive threat.”

About Ryland Hawkinson = “Ryland is extremely athletic and has improved her skill level throughout each season. She has a great advantage with a very long wingspan to be very disruptive on defense. Ryland has the ability to be a big impact player for us, both offensively and defensively.”

About Allie Stone = “Allie set a school record for the number of three-pointers made in a s single season. She is a very aggressive defender who was second on the team last season with 85 steals and 78 deflections.”

About Alexus Swenson = “Alexus has an outstanding shot and has worked hard to improve her ball handling. She has the potential to turn games around for us and is a good leader on the team.”

About Macy Reiff = “Macy was our only freshman to earn a letter in varsity action last season. She is an incredibly hard worker who spent a lot of time improving her game in the off-season.”

About the 2020-21 season = “Last season was one of the most enjoyable years of my coaching career. Last season, the four teams that we lost to all went on to their respective state tournaments.”

About the upcoming 2021-22 season = “It has been a joy to watch this current group of players continue to improve each season. I am hopeful that we can continue to improve this season as well. We still lack a tall presence under the basket, but our speed and athleticism will hopefully make scoring difficult for our opponents. This group continues to improve their offensive skills each year, so I am anticipating another season of higher scoring games. If we combine that with our ability to shut teams down defensively, we should see plenty of success.”

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