Babcock leads Comets into 2020-21 Season


Jayden Gensweider

The Chanute Blue Comets’ girls’ basketball team is ready for the 2020-21 season. After going 13-8 last year they have a big group returning which includes seniors Mattilyn Cranor, Brianna Waggoner, and star Kori Babcock.  


“Fortunately, we have great kids who all are capable of leading. It starts with our seniors, Babcock, Cranor, and Waggoner, but we expect all our kids to lead. Returning players like Jacelyn Catron, Tyra Bogle, and Brinly Bancroft are all great communicators and energy givers,” Chanute’s head coach Dustin Fox said. “Even incoming freshman Peyton Shields will be expected to lead from the point guard position. All that said, when things get tough, all eyes will be on Kori Babcock. She’s our best, most accomplished player, and the players and coaches trust her to be the leader in go-to situations.” Fox added.


Babcock is one of the best players around. Last year she averaged 19.5 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, 5 assists per game, and 3.5 steals per game. She also had the honors of being 1st Team All-SEK, a Sports in Kansas 4A Player of the Year Finalist, Max Preps All-Class 3rd Team, Southeast Kansas Crawkan Regional Player of the Year, Crawkan All-Region 1st Team, Sports In Kansas 4A 1st Team, Wichita Eagle Class 4A 2nd Team, and Topeka Capital-Journal Class 4A 2nd Team. 


However, you can’t win with one player alone. You must have a supporting cast to complement your player and Coach Fox believes he does.


“We have more depth and returning experience this year. This should allow us to play even faster offensively and apply more pressure defensively. We were pretty limited on ball handlers last year. We feel we have a lot more available playmakers this season,” Fox said.


Chanute’s strengths come on the offensive side of the ball. They have very good playmaking ability and multiple players that can be trusted to score on any night so that the weight doesn’t have to be solely on Babcock’s shoulders.


“We were one of the top-scoring teams in Class 4A last year, and we expect to be again. Our biggest strength is our playmakers. Led by one of the best players in our area in Kori Babock, we have strong guard play that will help create shots and opportunities for all our players,” Fox said. 


Last year’s biggest challenge was closing out close games. The Comets lost on multiple buzzer-beaters throughout the season. After crushing close losses, the team was still able to keep their heads up and play solid basketball. 


“After going through the first half of league play undefeated, we had a stretch of league games where we lost in overtime at Labette, on a buzzer-beater from just beyond halfcourt to Pittsburg, and on another buzzer-beater against Independence. Those were some heartbreaking losses and eliminated the girls from having a chance at a league title. A lot of teams fall apart after losses like that, but last year’s group rose to the challenge and played some really good basketball to close out the season,” Fox said.


This year another challenge rears its ugly head: the COVID-19 pandemic. Chanute will play in the absence of fans. This will be a little different for players with a lot of Varsity experience, that are used to the cheers from fans and angry dads yelling at the referees.


The Blue Comets will play their first game on Tuesday, December 8th against the Caney Bullpups at 6:00 pm.