With a senior dominated lineup, the Wamego boys’ basketball team was tough for many teams to solve this season.
The Red Raiders featured eight seniors and a balanced attack that led them to an 18-5 season record, including a 9-1 finish to win the North Central Kansas League title.
For their roles in the season, Wamego coach Troy Hemphill and senior Isaac Poe have earned the All-Flint Hills Boys’ Coach and Player of the year awards.
Poe averaged a team-high 10.3 points per game and added five rebounds on a team that saw six different players lead it in scoring throughout the season.
The senior said having the experienced group was a big part of the Red Raiders making their run this season.
“We had a great time — us group of guys always do,” Poe said. “We have good chemistry and have been playing together a long time. I think (experience) was the most important part. We had a lot of good leaders, a couple guys that have been starting since sophomores, and almost every situation we had a good group of guys that knew what was going on.”
Poe is no stranger to success in high school athletics, winning state titles in the 300-meter hurdles and the 4x800 relay just last year.
Hemphill said he is a guy they could count on to provide scoring or help get the ball to the hot hand.
“Isaac’s just really physically gifted,” he said. “He can run and jump, not only that, but he’s a good person. He’s been a 2 1/2 year starter, and we could count on him night in and night out to do his thing. If other guys were hitting shots, he didn’t worry about his own and just played the game.”
Poe is joined in Flint Hills honors by three teammates, and Hemphill said it shows just how much of a group effort this season really was.
“I think this group of seniors is pretty special,” Hemphill said. “We had eight and they not only all could play the game, but they were all great leaders. We never had a single issue with playing time or rules. They were all in and doing whatever it takes for us to be successful.”
The boys’ basketball team added to what has been a successful athletic year for the Red Raiders, winning a few league titles already this season, and having state success in cross country and girls’ basketball.
Hemphill said it’s a fun time to be a part of Wamego high school sports.
“It feels great, I’m just so proud of all of our teams and all of our athletes,” he said. “I was so proud of our girls and the season they had, and our fall sports. We’ve just had an outstanding year that doesn’t happen very often. I feel privileged to be a part of it.”
Poe said while it has been a fun to be a part of it on the court, a lot of credit goes to all the support they have received off of it.
“I think its great, we’ve got a great support system and Raider nation is a big part,” he said. “The students travel and they come and support us. That makes it a lot of fun.”