American Implement Western Kansas Team of the Week: Ranked St. Francis girls on a winning streak, facing key games


In the fall, St. Francis volleyball finished 29-11 and advanced to the Class 1A, Division I state tournament. Outside of the 2020 COVID season, it marked SF’s first state volleyball appearance since 1996, per KSHSAA archives. Senior libero Ellee Krien, a team captain, was honorable mention all-state by the Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association. She easily paced SF with 5.9 digs per set.

Plus, 5-foot-10 senior Gracie Parsons, a transfer from Smith Center, ranked second with the Indians in kills per set, blocks and hitting percentage.

St. Francis could achieve similar history in girls’ basketball.

The Indians won 14 games last winter in a co-operative agreement with Bird City-Cheylin. This season, St. Francis is playing as its own team and has started 12-1. The Indians are ranked No. 10 in Class 1A, Division I by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association. SF has one all-time girls’ basketball state appearance, in 1981, per Kansas historian Carol Swenson.

St. Francis has three huge games in the next nine days that will decide the Northwest Kansas League tournament champion – and likely the NWKL regular season titlist.

On Friday, SF hosts league rival Rawlins County (10-3). On Monday, SF plays Quinter (11-1) in the NWKL tournament championship. The game is held in Dighton. This is a reschedule from Jan. 21 from the weather. Then, St. Francis plays Quinter at home in the league game Feb. 3.

Plus, Quinter and St. Francis are easily the top-two seeds in the Quinter sub-state and could meet a third time in the postseason. Quinter won seven in a row against SF, though the Indians have won the last six.

St. Francis owns quality wins against 2A Wichita County with a 50-38 victory on Dec. 10 and a 48-30 win on Dec. 16. The only loss came to Golden Plains on Dec. 20. Longtime GP coach Parker Christensen has been impressed with St. Francis. Wichita County is 10-1 when not playing St. Francis

“No. 1, they are good-sized girls, and they are pretty strong girls,” Christensen said. “I mean, they can beat you around pretty good.”

Particularly, Krien and Parsons have made a difference. Smith Center has its highly touted junior class, and Parsons is getting significantly more playing time with the Indians.

“The Parsons girl, who came over from Smith Center, and she is a good player,” Christensen said. “Not everybody gets a senior to come over that can play like that.”

This entry was posted in Basketball. Bookmark the permalink.