Nex-Tech Wireless Central Athletes of the Month: Central Christian girls’ basketball undefeated, own win versus No. 1 Little River in Goessel tournament final


The top-ranked girls’ teams in each of the seven classifications did not change from preseason rankings to the Week 1 Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll.

The group had 6A Shawnee Mission Northwest, 5A St. Thomas Aquinas, 4A Bishop Miege, 3A Hugoton, 2A Sterling, 1A-I Little River and 1A-II Central Plains.

Entering Friday, Northwest, Aquinas and Miege were a combined 9-0. All three teams had an average margin of victory of at least 29 points. Hugoton lost its season opener to 6A Olathe West, though bounced back with four straight wins, including key 3A matchups versus Thomas More Prep-Marian (52-40) and rival Cimarron (66-40).

Sterling and Central Plains are each 6-0 with multiple quality wins. Sterling won the Kingman tournament and beat Cheney, the defending 3A state champions, this week. Central Plains already has four wins versus ranked teams.

The only change in the No. 1 rankings from Week 1 to Week 2 rankings came in 1A, Division I.

In one of Kansas’ marquee December wins, Hutchinson Central Christian defeated LR, 41-36, to win the Goessel tournament championship game Dec. 14. LR (4-1) dropped to fourth in the latest poll released Tuesday.

Central Christian remained fifth in Division II, behind Central Plains, Lebo, Hanover and Golden Plains. CC coach D.J. Kauffman’s team heads into Christmas at 6-0. Kauffman has coached with Central Christian for 20 years, including 18 as an assistant for longtime boys’ coach Adam Clark. Kauffman led middle school girls’ basketball as the head coach for seven seasons. This is his third year as head high school girls’ coach.

Kauffman has an experienced group with several family ties. His daughter, junior Kaylee Kauffman, is the starting point guard. Senior Samantha Ramsey starts at power forward after a huge volleyball fall. Senior Leia Shank is at small forward. Sisters Aly (post) and Anna Lambert (2 guard) are a senior and freshman, respectively.

The top-four bench players are freshman two guard Belle Barnett, sophomore two guard Natalie Jensen, junior post Allison Bateman and junior small forward Jocelyn Losew. The 6-foot Ramsey is considered the team’s top defender and can guard the opponents’ best post or guard. Kauffman and Shank are solid defenders.

“The whole team is all about team chemistry,” coach Kauffman told SIK.

Entering Friday, Lambert paces with 13 points and five rebounds. Kauffman delivers 11 points a contest. Ramsey is at eight points, seven rebounds a game. Shank has eight points and six rebounds.

Coach Kauffman said the key was to “neutralize” Little River’s outstanding senior Lily Boughfman, a Fort Hays volleyball commit. Last season, Central Christian lost twice to Little River, 40-33 on Dec. 11 and 38-28 on Jan. 29.

Little River is currently 4-1. Burlingame, under coach Jeff Slater, took over the top spot in 1A-I. Central Christian and Olathe West remain the only teams to beat a No. 1 team this year.

“Samantha Ramsey did a great job guarding her, holding her to five points,” Kauffman said. “Leia Shank and Aly Lambert also did a good job of helping guard her. It was a total team defense effort. We were able to hold them scoreless for the last five minutes of the game. Kaylee Kauffman and Anna Lambert also hit some big shots down the stretch in the fourth quarter to get the win.”

Central Christian should be the substantial favorite in the Class 1A, Division II Stafford sub-state. Elyria Christian, Stafford and Cunningham are a combined 1-11 entering Friday’s play.

Cunningham is the defending state runner-up to Central Plains but lost all its key players and has a new coach. Pawnee Heights (3-3) and Chase (2-4) round out the Stafford sub-state field. Chase has already matched last season’s win total from a 2-16 team. PH girls finished 11-10 last season, its best record in more than five years.

On Friday, Central Christian girls beat winless Caldwell, 47-12. For the boys, sophomore Emilio Ibarra hit a game-winning 3-pointer from the top of the arc for a 62-61 victory, per Hutchinson News.

In addition to the Little River victory, CC has cruised through its schedule with wins versus Wichita Classical (66-15), Canton-Galva (56-17), Burrton (55-31) and Macksville (54-35).

Central Christian has consistently been a top-tier 1A/1A-II girls’ basketball program under previous coach Jason Hett and Kauffman. CC is headed for its seventh straight winning season. The Cougars have 20-3, 19-5 and 16-5 marks the previous three winters.

Central Christian volleyball finished 29-12 this fall and fourth place in 1A, Division II, a nine-win jump from the previous season. The 6-foot Ramsey earned second team all-state outside hitter (top-14 overall) by the Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association. CC qualified for volleyball state in ’20, its first trip in five years.

CC girls basketball won a 1A regional title in ’19 and last advanced to state in ’17 and ’18, per KSHSAA records. Central Christian’s all-time best showings are state runner-ups in ’11 and ’12. Those are the lone four state appearances in school annals.

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