This could be a special season for the Wamego High girls.
So far it has been, as the Red Raiders are 12-1 on the year and currently ranked No. 2 team in Class 4A.
Wamego had won its first 10 straight to start the season before falling to Hillsboro 51-50 in the championship game of the Trojan Classic tournament — in Hillsboro — on Jan. 19.
Of course, much of Wamego’s success is attributed to the play of Kaylee and Lanie Page.
Kaylee — a 6-foot-2 junior — leads the team at 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 5.1 blocks a game.
Her younger sister Lanie — a 6-2 sophomore — is averaging 15.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, four steals and 3.1 blocks a game.
“I think everyone, especially my four seniors, have really come along and have began to understand their role,” said Wamego head coach Jim Page and proud father of Kaylee and Lanie. “Before, they were pushing a bit, but now we are playing really smooth.”
Everything has come together for the Red Raiders, who play at Abilene on Tuesday night. Coach Page said his team has been enjoying the ride.
“We’re having fun,” he said. “I hate to say that, because, well, it’s not hard to have fun when you’re winning, but they are.
“We work really hard in practice and they’re having fun — even in sprints. That makes it nice for a coach.”
While the Page sisters get a lot of attention from opposing teams and college scouts, one forgotten strength of this season’s team is the solid rotation of those four Red Raider seniors.
Rachel Griffitt, Lakyn Rowden, Katie Baker and Rikki Alderson have all provided leadership for a program that not all that long found winning to be much more difficult.
“We’ve improved so much since last season,” Kaylee said. “We’ve got Rikki back this year — our seniors provide great leadership and our underclassmen are stepping up too.
“I’m really proud of us.”
With two superstar players like Kaylee and Lanie, some may assume there isn’t a strong sense of team with Wamego. But, that just isn’t the case. The Red Raiders gel extremely well.
“We have a lot of team chemistry,” Lanie said. “We know when to pass to each other and we practice really well together.”
That showed recently when Kaylee went down with an injury before facing league foe Concordia on Jan. 4. Kaylee didn’t play because of a hyper-extended knee.
Wamego’s leading scorer out.
The Red Raiders still cruised past the Panthers, 62-29, behind a game-high 29 points from Lanie.
“It was more difficult and everyone else had to step up,” said Alderson, who had six rebounds, two steals and block in that victory. “It was encouraging. We didn’t have Kaylee to rely on, but she was really good and helpful from the bench. She was coaching us, too.
“It was hard without her, but it was alright.”
A game like that also showed the growth of Lanie, who skipped the eighth grade to enter high school a year early last season.
“Last year, Lanie had some growing pains as a freshman,” her father said. “She played well last year, but that experience has carried into this year.”