2006-2007 State 1A Basketball Champions
     The Kit Carson Wildcats captured the Class A State Basketball Championship last week in dominating fashion. The Cats, rated number one all season, didn't disappoint as they ran away with all three games. No overtimes, no last second shots, and no close games may have proved disappointing to many fans, but Kit Carson can be extremely proud of their State Tournament run. The Wildcats have been in the State Championship game three times in the last four years, winning in 2004 and this year. Ironically the Cats lost to Hi-Plains last year to set up this year’s rematch. In the quarterfinal round, the Cats matched up against the number eight seed LaVeta Redskins. LaVeta, sporting a 14-7 record, proved no match for the Cats. Kit Carson, as they have done all year, got out of the gate quick putting up 29 first quarter points while the defense only allowed 2 points. In the second quarter, the offense continued to roll putting in 28 while the Redskins only managed 7, running the half time score to 57-9.

     Kit Carson’s entire 12 man roster saw plenty of action and put in 39 second half points while LaVeta only could manage 20. Kit Carson shot 33% from behind the arc and 55% from two-point range. As has been the case most of the season, the only downside to the game Kit Carson shot a dismal 53% (9/17)from the free throw line. LaVeta shot 11 for 55 for 20% and they converted on 5of 8 from the charity stripe. Kit Carson showed why they were the best rebounding team in 1A as they grabbed 59 boards and held the Redskins to 29. Kit Carson committed only 11 turnovers while the defense forced 25 miscues for LaVeta.

     Scoring for Kit Carson was Joe Jolly with 14, Damon Dechant 14, Curt Connelley 8, Andrew Maxcy 11, Stetson Mitchell 4, Josh Hammer 5, and Wade Jacobs led all scorers with 17, Ty Trahern 12, Tyler Stephenson 7, and Jon Ball 4. Antonio Arroyo grabbed 3 rebounds and had 3 assists, Connelley had 4 boards and 3 assists, Dechant grabbed 10 rebounds, had 1 steal, and 2 blocked shots; Hammer had 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 assist; Jacobs had 2 boards, 3 steals, and 2 assists; Jolly pulled down a team high 13 rebounds, had 1 steal, 2 assists, and blocked 3 shots; Maxcy had 7 rebounds and 1 steal, Mitchell had 4 rebounds and 2 assists, Tom Rhoades had 1 rebound, 2 steals, and 2 assists; Tyler Stephenson had 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and a team high 5 assists; Trahern had 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists.

     In the semifinal round the Cats met the Otis Bulldogs who were coming off a quarterfinal victory over Pawnee and sporting a 20-4 record. Otis was possibly the biggest team Kit Carson had faced during the season as highly touted 6’8” J.P. Davis looked strong in the first round game but the Cats held him to just 14 points. The Cats, known for their explosive, quick starts, put in 23 first quarter points and Otis scored 13 to stay within striking distance. But the Cats defense stiffened in the second quarter only allowing 4 points while the offense put in 19 for a 42-17 first half lead. In the second half, Kit Carson scored 29 points and the Bulldogs scored 22 for the final score of Kit Carson 71 Otis 39.

     Kit Carson shot 58% from two point range, 38% from behind the arc, and 59% from the free throw line on 10 of 17 shooting. Otis struggled to get open looks against the stingy Cat defense, shooting only 23% from the field. The Bulldogs were 10 of 18 from the charity stripe and committed 16 turnovers. The Wildcats committed 16 turnovers and held a 45-34 rebound advantage. Scoring for Kit Carson were Joe Jolly with 2, Damon Dechant had a team high 24, Curt Connelley 4, Andrew Maxcy 3, Stetson Mitchell 4, Josh Hammer 4, Ty Trahern 14, Tyler Stephenson 6, Antonio Arroyo 4, and Jon Ball 6. Antonio Arroyo grabbed 2 rebounds and had 1 steal; Ball had 5 boards, 1 steal, took 1 charge, and blocked 1 shot; Connelley had 6 rebounds, 1 steal, and 3 assists; Dechant pulled down a team high 15 rebounds, had 2 steals, 2 assists, and blocked 2 shots; Hammer had 3 rebounds and 1 assist; Jolly had 5 rebounds; Maxcy had 3 rebounds, 4 steals, and 1 assist; Mitchell had 2 rebounds; Rhoades had 1 rebound and 1 steal, and a team high 6 assists; and Trahern had 1 rebound, 1 steal, and 2 assists.

     In the Championship game, the Cats took on the Hi-Plains Patriots, the number two seed in the field and sporting a 21-4 record. These, ironically were the same two teams that faced off for the state championship last year with Hi-Plains winning that contest. Kit Carson would not be denied this year as they came out on top 58-36.

     In the first quarter, you know the story, Kit Carson jumped out to a commanding 20-4 lead. In the second quarter Hi-Plains closed the gap scoring 17 points while Kit Carson managed 15 for a Wildcat half time lead, 35-21. In the third quarter, both teams struggled to get any offensive rhythm scoring only 15 total points, 8 for Kit Carson and 7 for Hi-Plains. Early in the fourth quarter the Patriots made things interesting as they closed the gap to 10 points, but Kit Carson stepped on the gas pedal and ran off 15 fourth quarter points.

     Trahern, in summing up, added these comments about this special team and season. “I can’t say enough about the accomplishments of this team. They dominated the field like it has never been done before. We scored 225 points in three games while only giving up 104, for an unbelievable 121 point margin of victory. Our defense only allowed one player in three games to reach the double figure mark, we ran several picture prefect fast breaks, and we were very dominate on the glass, out rebounding our three opponents by a margin of 59 boards (140-81). It is impossible to put into words my feelings for this group of young men. Our entire team of twenty-one players played exceptional basketball all year long. The Varsity, for the first time in school history, went 25-0 on the season and our JV team also ran off a perfect season, going 16-0 as well. That feat will be difficult to match. The quality of each and every individual on our team allowed us to really get better every day in practice. Not many 1A teams can have the competitive type of practices that we were afforded this year. That depth was also very evident in games as well. I think the thing I am most proud of is the way this group challenged each other, yet developed an inseparable chemistry that made us great. We have been very fortunate the past four years to make four trips to the state tournament, and I hope they can look back later on and appreciate how difficult that task was. The dedication and their willingness to be coached will be something I remember for a lifetime. I also want to thank Assistant Coach Scott Johnson and Assistant Coach Toby Kechter for their dedication, time, and all the sacrifices they made for the betterment of our team. Also thank you to all the people who make our home games an entertaining venue and thank you also to Bob Schecter and The Range Ledger for their coverage of our memorable year. Thanks to the Booster Club for all they have done throughout the year and last and most importantly THANK YOU to the parents of our players. Without your support and trust, this incredible run absolutely would not have been possible. You are one of the main reasons for all our successes.”