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Norton’s dreams dashed

Norton gave it all it had this afternoon, but Mary Broxterman proved to be too much.

The Royal Valley standout scored 26 points, going 9 of 14 from the field and 8 of 11 from the foul line, to help the Panthers from Hoyt to a 53-44 victory and a berth in tomorrow’s state championship game against Cheney, which leads Nemaha Central by 20 in the final minute of the third quarter.

The Bluejays, who got 16 from Taryn Kuhn and 12 from Hadley Hauser, will face the ladies from Seneca–the birthplace of John Riggins–at noon for third place.

Royal Valley is probably glad to see a new face in the championship game, even if Cheney is the obvious favorite. The Panthers lost twice to Nemaha Central in Big Seven League play during the regular season.

Riggins was born in Seneca because it has the only hospital in Nemaha County. The Diesel grew up in Centralia, a tiny hamlet 12 miles southwest of Seneca.

I’m not a fan of third place games. But I’m not playing in the game. I’m hoping Norton will regroup and come out strong. It deserves to take home something from Hutchinson after a stellar season, one where it had to navigate a difficult Mid-Continent League where Trego has its best team in at least 15 years, maybe ever, and Thomas More Prep is still a tough out even without Kayla Vitztum and other standouts.

I am ambivalent about going. Part of me says stay away because it’s a third place game. Part of me says go because it would be disrespectful to Norton. I stopped covering third place games when I was still going regularly. I missed Russell’s girls playing for third in 3A at Hutchinson in 2013; I had to be in Manhattan to watch Smith Center’s girls play for–and win–the 2A championship vs. Jefferson County North.

The carrot for the third place game is the trophy. The loser of the consolation game doesn’t get one. Now the players will have medals, but other than the sub-state championship plaque, nothing tangible commemorating the trip to state.

Norton won’t hang a banner in the Stull Gymnasium for this one, win or lose. Norton only hangs banners for state champions, a policy I like. Really like. Set the bar very high and challenge the athletes who wear the Norton colors to meet it. And that bar has been met plenty.

There is one school I covered extensively which recognizes just about any trip to a state tournament. Another filled up walls with league championship banners and sub-state championship banners, even if the team was one-and-done at state.

It was not a good day for the Mid-Continent League.

Trego’s girls lost 67-49 to Sterling in 2A, and Thomas More Prep’s boys fell 62-50 to Girard in 3A. No basketball titles for the league this year. Last year, Phillipsburg’s boys reached the 3A final, only to lose 44-42 on a buzzer beater by Halstead.

The Golden Eagles should be a force again next year. Donnie Shubert, who coached Trego’s boys to a state title many moons ago (see below), returns a ton of talent, including his daughter Lili, who was Trego’s leading scorer as a sophomore.

The MCL’s last championship, male or female, was Nick Linn’s Lady Red six years ago. The last MCL boys title? Trego in 2006. TMP won in 4A in 2007, but it was in the old Mid-State Activities Association at that time.

At least the MCL can crow about football championships by Phillipsburg and Smith Center in the fall; Trego’s girls winning cross country, led by individual 2A champion Helen Giefer; Plainville’s Jordan Finnesy winning a wrestling title; and looking forward to what should be good years in track and field and golf.

As I was running a couple of errands in Wichita this evening, an announcer referred to the girls basketball team at Kansas City Schlagle as the Stallions.

Big problem: stallions are always MALE. Schalgle and a couple of other schools perplex me with their choices of nicknames, colors and even school names. I’ll elaborate at some point tomorrow.

The tilapia from Outback was outstanding. Lunch? Not so much. I’m swearing off most fast food seafood forever (not Popeye’s). Why the heck am I eating it in the first place, considering I grew up in the best city in America for seafood?

I have problems in my life, but I could be in Venezuela, where the electricity is out in nearly the entire country, adding more misery to a country where millions are starving, the unemployment rate is 35%, $1 of currency would get you about .00000001 cents American, and the military is blocking all humanitarian aid from Colombia and Brazil.

Maduro is a psychopath, right on par with the fatso running North Korea. Anyone who supports him is also a psychopath. Huey Long was never this bad.

I’m going to try not to think of Maduro as I prepare for bed. There’s much more pleasant stuff to think of.

I’m sorry, TMP

If you read this blog between 5 pm and 8 pm Friday,  you might have noticed the meanest, nastiest, most vile post I have ever blogged on Foots Prints. 

I made highly inflammatory remarks about TMP-Marian High School, two ladies who coach athletic teams there, a former employee who worked at TMP for 20 years, and worst of all, some young ladies who attend school there. 

I mentioned a young lady from another school, someone I care very deeply about. In that part, I said I felt sorry for her because she was friends with many girls from TMP, who probably thought I was some sort of sexual predator. I also made this assertion about the TMP volleyball coach as well.

All of the above statements I made in anger. I made them because I was higighly agitated, certainly for no good reason.

Of course, those statements were 100 percent false. I have not have the privilege of meeting any of the coaches or students in question. Therefore, they cannot make any assumptions about me, unless there is proof to the contrary. 

I did not mean the lady I care so much about should not have friends from TMP. The ladies from TMP happen to be some of her best friends. Even though I did not mean it that way, it doesn’t excuse it. 
I am very sorry I said what I did. The post has been deleted, but the damage is already done. 

I’ve put about 39 hours and 290 miles between the site of the post, but I still feel very, very bad about it. 

My therapist has told me time and time again that when I’m mad and want to blog something, to go ahead and do it, but do it privately. Do not post it. Or keep it in a private file which only I have access to. 

The one lady I would do anything for told think before I post. If I’m angry, wait 24 hours before posting.

I wish I would have listened to these ladies. I didn’t, and I must pay the price. 

I swear I will do all I can to never post something so hurtful again. I can’t promise I will bat 1.000, but I’m going to do all within my power to try.

Top seeds steamroll into semis

Thomas More Prep and Lakin easily won their quarterfinal matches of the volleyball sub-state at Lakin.

The Monarchs improved to 36-2 by spiking Southwestern Heights 25-10, 25-7; and the host Broncs (32-7) rolled over Hi-Plains League rival Syracuse 25-8, 25-10.

Next up is #4 Hugoton (16-20) vs. #5 Cimarron (15-19) on the West court, and #3 Norton (22-13) vs. #6 Hoisington (8-25) on the East court.

TMP gets the Hugoton-Cimarron winner in the semis, and Lakin plays the Norton-Hoisington winner.

Norton has won just one sub-state match since making it to the 2007 state tournament. That was two years ago at Scott City, when the Bluejays won in the first round over Southwestern Heights before losing to Lakin in the semis.

This is the first match Norton is the higher seeded team in sub-state since 2005, when Chelsea Cox was a senior. How time flies.

Short drive, long wait

The first match of the volleyball sub-state at Lakin is still an hour and 15 minutes away. (Now less than an hour. I’ve been a little slow in getting my blog updated).

I’ve been here for 45 minutes. Once again, I left too early and got here way too early. I should have waited another hour. It isn’t as far from Garden City to Lakin as I thought it was, so I ended up here right at noon, even after three stops on K-156 in Garden before heading west on US 50. I probably should have stopped at the new Love’s travel center in Holcomb to kill a few minutes. The good news is it will be easy for me to get out of the gym to my car this evening. I was able to park along the side of the football stadium, and there is an exit door in the gym only 20 feet from my car.

The nice people at Lakin have set me up with a table, so I can use my laptop to blog and update Twitter without draining my cell phone battery. I have my phone and Bluetooth keyboard to update Instagram should I so desire. I’m going to take pictures from the walking track above the gym floor. I can set my lens at a long length, like I did at TMP, and go without having to worry about getting too close to lose focus.

The way I see it, is if I’m driving east on US 50 and the sun is still out, it will be a bad day. It will mean Norton got bounced by Hoisington in the first match.

TMP is here for their first match vs. Southwestern Heights of Kismet. God Natuasha Dreher hates me. Really hates me. It’s not like I said something to her. I haven’t. I’m too scared. I’m afraid she will bite my head off. I want to cry about it, but I can’t right now. And I’m not bringing it up with Peggy. Not today. Not the time or place.

Buffalo Wild Wings isn’t looking likely this evening. Not with the Cubs playing in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. I’m hoping to be in Lakin late enough so where all I have time to do is drive back and hit the hay. I’ve got to leave Garden before 9 tomorrow morning so I’m back home by noon to eat lunch with my parents. My mother is cooking for the first time in three weeks.

It is absolutely ludicrous I’m wearing one of my silk floral shirts and my pale yellow shorts today. It is not supposed to be this hot in Kansas, even though I’m farther south than normal, on October 22. Ten years ago, I went to a sub-state in Scott City, and I remember sleet flying around as I drove on I-70 from Russell to Oakley, most of the exact same route I drove yesterday. For it to be this hot this late in October is making me nauseous.

I am sick and tired of the bugs swarming around the basement at home. They are particularly bad in the bathroom. I’ve had it. I told my dad to look into it pronto. I’m about ready to buy an indoor bug zapper. I don’t care if it’s loud. I want the bugs dead.

The bugs can wait until tomorrow. Volleyball beckons.

 

In the Garden (City)

I spent much of yesterday feeling very guilty.

The first thing Crista told me when we started our session was that she saw Norton play Smith Center in the third place match of the Mid-Continent League volleyball tournament last Saturday. If you recall, I did not go to the MCL tournament the second day, although I did go the first, which coincided with my birthday.

I wish I had been there Saturday. I would have loved to introduce Crista to Peggy and Caitlyn. Now I feel terrible about not going.

I was pretty certain I was going to Norton’s sub-state in Lakin tomorrow, but when Crista told me that, it cemented it.

To that end, I’m now in Garden City, 30 miles east of Lakin on US 50. It was a three-hour drive from Russell, I-70 to Oakley and US 83 down. The TownePlace Suites, where I’ve stayed before, is on K-156, the road which heads towards Jetmore, Larned and Great Bend. I could have saved a few miles if I had taken US 281 from Russell to Great Bend, then K-156 all the way down, but I figured the way I went saved some time.

I passed a tanker about a mile south of Oakley on 83. He was throwing rocks. IDIOT. Every time I then dropped to 65, he would tailgate me. I was ready to call the Kansas Highway Patrol and report him, but after crossing into Scott County, he disappeared from my rear view mirror.

Lucky I passed through Scott City. I had something I forgot to mail in Russell. Better I drop it off than keep carrying it in my car, although it wasn’t super important.

Norton plays Hoisington tomorrow following the completion of the match between Lakin and Syracuse, which begins at 2 p.m. on the east court.

TMP, which is 34-2 and the top seed, plays on the West court at 2 vs. Southwestern Heights. The second match on the West court is Hugoton vs. Cimarron.

The TMP-Southwestern Heights and Hugoton-Cimarron winners play on the West court in one semifinal, while the Norton-Hoisington and Lakin-Syracuse winners play on the East court in the semis. The championship is on the West court.

The winner advances to the Class 3A state tournament next Friday and Saturday at Emporia.

Norton hasn’t been to a state tournament since 2007, when Caitlyn’s sister, Courtney (Otto), was a senior. The Bluejays were 10-20 heading into sub-state, but beat Lakin, Cimarron and Phillipsburg to advance. The state tournament wasn’t so good, with Norton going 0-3, but it was remarkable to make it.

The 22-13 record Norton carries into sub-state is the best for the school since 2005, when Caitlyn’s OTHER sister, Chelsea (Funk), was a senior. Norton has generally had great success in all other sports, winning state championships in both boys and girls track in the years I’ve been here, in addition to seven wrestling championships in 11 seasons, but volleyball somehow has been left behind.

It could be much worse. Some schools have very little athletic success. Like one I’m very familiar with.

The next time Norton has an event in Hays isn’t until Feb. 3, when the Bluejays play basketball at TMP. I will remind Crista many times. .

I’m going to find a place to play Buzztime this evening. Either I’m going to Buffalo Wild Wings, which recently opened, or Old Chicago. Those are the only locales in Garden City, but hey, it’s better than Hays, where the only place you can play now is the Fort Hays Student Union, and I’m sure they hate non-students going in there. Therefore, the closest place to Russell to play is Buffalo Wild Wings in Salina.

Maybe it’s a good thing there isn’t a Buzztime location in Hays. I might spend too much time there and stay too late, which would disrupt my sleep patterns. It’s just too bad the best games are at night, which force me to drive I-70 between Salina and Russell at night. It’s a boring stretch any time, but it’s dangerous at night.

I’ve learned to cut myself off in Kansas City. Never later than 10, usually earlier. And staying very close to Zona Rosa helps.

I have a stop to make at Dillon’s to buy Caitlyn’s teammates some Gatorade for tomorrow. High is supposed to be around 27 Celsius (81 Fahrenheit), which is absolutely absurd for October 22. They’ll need hydration, even though Lakin’s gym is air conditioned. I already bought Caitlyn’s grape Gatorade in Oakley when I stopped for gas and to use the restroom.

I’m hoping I’m not back in Garden City too early tomorrow evening. Bad news if I am.