By CONOR NICHOLL
Marmaton Valley’s Becky Carlson picked up career win No. 500 in MV’s 50-36 victory against Iola on Friday. Carlson has won three state titles. She collected 2A crowns with Hillsboro in ’95-96 and a Class 4A title with Iola in 2006. Carlson also earned a volleyball state title with Hillsboro in 1986. She was elected to the National High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2009.
In April 2020, Carlson left Iola after 14 seasons to go to Marmaton Valley, her alma mater. When she was a player for MV, Carlson paced the Wildcats to back-to-back state tournaments in ’75-’76, the only state tournaments for the girls’ basketball program, per historian Carol Swenson.
This season, Marmaton Valley is 7-1 and has won six straight games. The Wildcats have allowed just 34.5 points a contest. That includes a 29-23 win versus Uniontown on Jan. 4. That marks Uniontown’s only defeat this winter in a 9-1 start. Uniontown recently set a state record with 18 made treys in a contest. Marmaton Valley ended a five-game losing streak to Uniontown.
Marmaton Valley has two seniors on the roster: shooting guard Aly Ard and post Kendall Scharff. Plus, MV has six juniors: Gracie Yoho, Pauline Thery, Kaitlyn Drake, Tayven Sutton, Brynn Newman and Mary Brown, per MaxPreps archives.
Sophomore Janae Granere paced MV on Friday with 20 points. Granere was part of an undefeated middle school team, per Iola Register archives.
Marmaton Valley has made a sizable improvement from last season when it finished 4-12 in the Three Rivers League and had a late start because of COVID-19.
Additionally, MV defeated Oswego, 47-16, on Jan. 7, its second straight victory in the series after 19 straight losses that stretched back to 2008. On Dec. 14, MV beat Humboldt, 35-31. Before then, Marmaton Valley had dropped 14 in a row to Humboldt dating back to ’07.
Marmaton Valley has not produced a winning record in more than a decade. This could be the program’s best season in some time, which would continue Carlson’s great career. At Hillsboro, she made 10 state tournament trips in basketball and three in volleyball. She delivered a 333-149 record at Hillsboro, per SIK research and Hillsboro Star-Journal archives.