By CONOR NICHOLL
Derek Joiner is an Ellinwood graduate. He had strong high school careers in basketball and tennis. Joiner was on the staffs at Oklahoma State University and Pittsburg State University. During his PSU tenure, Joiner worked with an assistant named Matt Brock.
Fourteen years ago, Joiner and PSU played Kansas State in an exhibition. That night, the Joiners took a photo of Derek smiling and holding a young boy – Brit Dutton. At that point, Derek never thought he would coach Brit throughout his basketball career.
A few months later, Derek’s brother Justin married Brit’s mom, Meredith. Derek became Brit’s uncle. Derek eventually moved back to Ellinwood and into his current role as EHS head boys’ basketball coach. Justin and Derek run Joiner Construction. Derek first coached Brit on a second-grade basketball team. Derek has led Ellinwood during Brit’s high school career.
One hundred and two miles north, Phillipsburg’s Taryn Sides grew up with two older brothers, Trey and Ty. Her parents, Keith and Robin, were exceptional high school athletes. Among other roles, Keith is the longtime PHS head boys’ basketball coach, Robin the veteran girls’ basketball assistant. In elementary school, Taryn started to play basketball with a group that included her best friend, Heather Schemper.
Nearly three and a half hours west, the Brandl family has long lived in Tribune, in Mountain Time Zone. Robert Brandl worked for Wheatland Electric for 45 years. He was a tremendous supporter for Greeley County and went to daily practices for football and basketball.
Robert, who passed in 2020, had two sons: Buddy and Kojak. Buddy was an assistant on the 2011 GC boys’ basketball state championship team. Robert loved his grandchildren, including a boy named Jaxson Brandl, Kojak’s son. Ever since Jaxson and his teammates played together in third grade, Tribune knew the group could be talented. Jaxson was always a basketball gym rat.
In high school, the current senior trio of Ellinwood’s Brit Dutton, Phillipsburg’s Taryn Sides and Greeley County’s Jaxson Brandl are long established among the state’s elite. All three were first team all-state (top-five) selections in their class as juniors. Sides was 3A player of the year, Brandl the same honor in 1A-II for a state championship squad. Each is the all-time leading scorer for its school. Sides is a Kansas State signee.
In a matter of one week and likely no more than 10 days, the three standouts will all eclipse 2,000 career points, an incredibly rare achievement. Currently, just 28 girls all-time have reached 2,000. Brandl reached 2,000 career points last Friday, the 21st boy to accomplish the feat. (Research from Abilene’s Kyle Taylor for boys, Brad Doebele – Twitter handle @catfan28 for girls).
Additionally, senior Dominick Budy from Fort Scott Christian Heights, a non-KSHSAA school, recently went over 2,000 career points for his dad, coach Jeremy Budy, a FSCH graduate. Dominick has averaged more than 33 points a game this season.
Brandl, GC’s all-time scorer and rebounder, reached the mark last week. As of Wednesday morning, Brandl had 2,030 points, 944 rebounds, 288 steals and 202 assists. Greeley County is 18-1 and ranked first in Class 1A, Division II by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association.
GC lists seven seniors: Brandl, Titus Sherer, Isaac Schneider, Valentin Villalobos, Jariath Yanez, Carson Luebbers and Clay Smith. Plus, GC has well-known sophomore Lincoln Shafer, who made the buzzer-beating 3 to win state versus Hanover last March. This year, Brandl has 26.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
Ottawa’s Semi Ojeleye is Kansas’ all-time leading scorer with 2,763 points from 2010-13. He broke the record of 2,554 set by Brewster’s Josh Reid from ’93-96. Reid re-set the mark of 2,544 from Randall’s Don Bingham, set from ’53-56.
Dutton has 1,962 entering Friday’s game against Otis-Bison. Ellinwood, ranked fifth in 2A, stands at 17-1. Sides entered this week with 1,951 points and added 35 points on Tuesday for 1,986 points. The Panthers, 18-0 and ranked second in 3A, are at Hoxie on Friday.
It’s possible both Dutton and Sides reach 2,000 on Friday.
Additionally, Pawnee Heights’ Alec Carlson, who scored 41 points Tuesday, has an outside chance to reach the record – and should clear 1,900. He has 1,730 career points with potentially eight games left. Carlson plays for his dad, Rick, a former record-setting collegiate high jumper and an excellent athlete at Utica. Rick has coached at PH more than 25 years in various roles. Alec has cleared 46 feet in triple jump and 43 inches in the vertical.
“Alec Carlson is a stud,” Wheatland-Grinnell coach Will Bixenman told SIK last year.
Brandl, Dutton, Sides and Carlson have all significantly changed their program’s trajectories. PH hadn’t reached state since the ‘70s until appearances the last years.
Greeley County is 70-21 in the last four seasons. In the seven years prior, Greeley County was a combined 59-91. Both Brandl (second team) and Sherer (honorable mention) earned all-league as a freshman.
Sides’ talent was well-known in the younger ranks. In November 2018, I was at the Class 3A state semifinal football game at Phillipsburg between the Panthers and Hoisington. Phillipsburg eventually went 13-0 and won the state title. Trey was the four-year starter at quarterback and point guard, and currently a key player for Central Missouri basketball. Ty was a standout receiver on that squad. Both eventually made the Shrine Bowl.
Before the game, I talked with someone who knew the Panthers well and congratulated them on the success of PHS and the Sides brothers. Taryn stood with her friends a few dozen yards away. The message was clear from the fan: wait till Taryn comes.
“I just wanted to be like them, because I have always looked up to my brothers, always played with them,” Taryn told me her freshman year.
Phillipsburg went to state when Sides was a freshman and sophomore, the first two state appearances in program history. Schemper, a Washburn volleyball signing, and Sides have led the Panthers to the best start in school annals this year. Phillipsburg has won every game by at least 13 points.
“We have been playing together a long time, and I feel like you can tell on the court, we just kind of know what everyone’s doing, what their strength is, and we like to find the open girl,” Sides told SIK in Jan. 2023.
Sides, considered a once in a lifetime player, is among the greatest shooters in Kansas history. As of late January, Sides had made 86 percent career free throws and 40 percent from long range. Schemper returned after missing her junior year with injury and provided around 13 points and six rebounds a game. Three girls in Kansas history, Jackie Stiles, Susan Woolf, and Emily Ryan have gone over 3,000 career points.
“The most enjoyable part is having Heather back,” Sides said in Jan. 2023. “Last year, it really took a toll on me, not having her there with me, and so having my best friend back is really fun, and we get to finish this year strong, and then as well as all my other friends. I grew up with these girls since we were really little, we have been best friends forever.”
Dutton, similarly to Sides, Brandl and Carlson, has loved basketball since he was young. Sides was first team all-league as a freshman. Dutton and Brandl were statistically the state’s most productive boy players as freshmen.
“Britton has had a passion for the game for a long time,” Joiner told SIK when Dutton was a freshman. “He was getting in the gym in the early mornings all fall. He is just somebody that loves the game, cares about it, has goals for it, and I am excited that I get to coach him for four years.”
Before Dutton came to high school, Ellinwood had limited upperclassmen and posted 16 combined victories in three seasons. The Eagles are 73-14 in Dutton’s four years. Ellinwood is looking for its first state berth since ’84. Dutton, who broke the school scoring mark that had stood since 1986, has always been very ambidextrous and very gifted from a skill standpoint.
“He can watch a player go do something, and then can go out and imitate it, and just great feet, great hands, great body control, and that’s why he is able to do all the different things that he can at such a young age,” Joiner told SIK when Dutton was a freshman.
Dutton’s body control and ability to finish around the rim in a variety of ways has yielded 26.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, four assists and three steals a contest. He shoots 61 percent from the field, 71 percent from 2-point range. Joiner has remained in contact with Brock, the former Pittsburg State assistant. Brock is now head coach at Division II University of Illinois-Springfield. Brock signed Dutton.
As a junior, Dutton tallied 48 points in a win against Lincoln. Joiner has often rested Dutton in the fourth quarter of blowout wins. Uncle and nephew have never went after or talked about records. Joiner has looked to soak up and enjoy every moment with Dutton and Ellinwood’s group of five seniors. Another moment will be joining the exclusive 2,000-point career club.
“Britton is an exceptional finisher, because he can use either hand, he is strong,” Joiner said. “He has got excellent ball handling skills.”
All-time leaders – 2,000 career points boys (list from Kyle Taylor)
As of Wednesday:
1. Semi Ojeleye – Ottawa – 2763 – 2010-13
2. Josh Reid – Brewster – 2554 – 1993-96
3. Don Bigham – Randall – 2544 – 1953-56
4. Sean Robbins – Waverly – 2513 – 1987-90
5. Steve Cadue – McLouth – 2382 – 1958-1961
6. Oliver Salmans – Hanston – 2377 – 1987-1990
7. Conner Frankamp – Wichita North – 2275 – 2010-2013
8. Rod Shrum – Erie High School – 2262 – 1975-1979
9. Trey Unrau – Moundridge – 2250 – 2009-2012
10. Perry Ellis – Wichita Heights – 2231 – 2009-2012
11. Jerry Milner – Virgil – 2204 – 1952-1955
12. Travis Hermreck – Crest – 2204 – 1989-1992
13. Randy Dawson – Lyndon – 2198 – 1974-1977
14. Cooper Holmes – Concordia – 2191 – 2013-2016
15. Lonnie Hiebert – Goessel – 2161 – 1986-1989
16. Tod Bernard – Haven – 2052 – 1985-1988
17. Daren Kistner – Waverly/Hartford – 2083 – 2014-2017
18. Jayden Garrison – Little River – 2082 – 2018-2021
19. Jaxson Brandl – Greeley County – 2030 – CURRENT
20. Ryan Wedel – Minneapolis – 2015 – 2003-2006
21. John Crider – Horton – 2006 – 1995-1998
22. Dominick Budy – Fort Scott Christian Heights (non-KSHSAA) – 2000-plus – CURRENT
All-time leaders – 2,000 career points girls (list from Brad [email protected])
1. Jackie Stiles – Claflin – 3603 – 1997 graduating year
2. Laurie Koehn – Moundridge – 3160 – 2000
3. Emily Ryan – Central Plains – 3007 – 2020
4. Susan Woolf – Andover – 2851 – 1996
5. Shalee Lehning – Sublette – 2510 – 2005
6. Shauna Porter – Waconda East – 2370 – 1997
7. Miklannet Tennal – Centralia – 2347 – 2000
8. Kendra Wecker – Marysville – 2305 – 2001
9. Brooke Ubelaker – Osborne – 2293 – 2003
10. Tristan Gegg – Labette County – 2290 – 2018
11. Dayna Finch – Smith Center – 2256 – 2000
12. Kelly St. Clair – Baxter Springs – 2203 – 1986
13. Kari Jones – Pratt Skyline – 2199 – 1978
14. Sarah Klaasen – Remington – 2195 – 2002
15. Nikki Ramage – Little River – 2165 – 1996
16. Jennifer Perine – Rossville – 2162 – 1996
17. Casey Henningsen – Waconda East – 2128 – 2003
18. Crecia Meitler – Sylvan Grove – 2124 – 1993
19. Jenna Farris – Lincoln – 2119 – 2013
20. Marchelle Campbell – Schlagle – 2094 – 2002
21. Jacee Kramer – Jeff County North – 2062 – 2013
22. Kathryn Flott – Olpe – 2053 – 2011
23. Rachelle Roulier – Colby – 2042 – 1987
24. Michelle Stueve – Olpe – 2029 – 2004
25. Jacie Hoyt – Hoxie – 2016 – 2005
26. Janaya Washington – Reno County – 2009 – 2021
27. Brenda Phillips – Golden Plains – 2003 – 1981
28. Kelly Krumsick – Frontenac – 2002 – 1979