Women’s Basketball News Archive 2019-2020

Johnson County defeats Lark women in home finale

Lark women’s basketball finished its home schedule with a game against #9 Johnson County on Wednesday. Hesston lost 88-40 in what would be their last game in the original Yost Center. With renovations and additions to campus athletic facilities in progress, Wednesday night officially brought to end time in Yost Center in its original form.

The sophomores who played their last home game were recognized after the game for their contributions to the program. KaDrea Hulett, Denazia Jeffers, Millaya Bray, Essence Tolson and Lindsay Manwell each played a role on this Lark team and were celebrated for their quality effort.

Bray, Jeffers and Tolson lead the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) in minutes played. Tolson added 14 rebounds to her domination in that category at Hesston College. She should end her Lark career as career, season and individual game leader in rebounds and currently leads the KJCCC in rebounds per game with 13.3. Tolson is also a KJCCC leader in steals per game (3rd/2), blocks per game (2nd/1.4). Bray and Tolson also are in the top 10 in scoring in the conference, both averaging 13.3 PPG.

The Larks will end the regular season at Labette Community College on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. KJCCC playoffs begin next week.

Lark women face 3 top 10 teams in four-game span

The Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) is one of the most challenging NJCAA DII basketball conferences in the country. Currently the KJCCC has #1 Johnson County CC, #3 Highland CC and #9 Kansas City Kansas CC. And this run of games is what the Hesston College Larks women’s basketball team find themselves in the middle of.

The Larks played #9 Kansas City Kansas CC Saturday, losing 114-67. They followed that game with a close defeat at the hands of Tabor College JV 51-46 and then traveled to #3 Highland CC last night losing 110-39. Next they will head to #1 Johnson County CC on Saturday.

During this three game stretch, two Larks continue to put up good numbers. Millaya Bray has scored 18, 14 and 16 while Essence Tolson averaged 12.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game over this stretch. On the season Tolson is averaging a double-double with 13.4 points and 12.9 rebounds per game. Bray leads the Larks with her 13.5 points per game average.

The Larks are 4-16 on the season and 0-3 in the KJCCC.

Lark women win two in California

Head Coach Jeff Jacobs took the Hesston College Women’s basketball team back to his old stomping grounds in California for a pre-Christmas tournament. The Larks came away 2-0, defeating Simpson University JV 55-52 and College of the Redwoods 64-57.

In game one sophomore forwards Essence Tolson and Millaya Bray led the way for the Larks with 19 and 11 points respectively. Freshman guard Parris Rawls added 9.

Game two against the Corsairs was a team affair with all nine players scoring for the Larks. Bray led the way with 19 while sophomore Denazia Jeffers contributed six. On the boards, Tolson was a major force. She tied a single game Hesston College rebound record with 28.

“We played our best game of the season,” said Jacobs. “I was excited that all 9 players contributed to help the team get the win”

The Larks will have some time to rest over the winter break. They return to action Wednesday, January 16, when they host Metropolitan CC-Penn Valley at 6 p.m. They will then take on Bethel College JV on Friday, January 18, at 6 p.m. before going on the road at Western Oklahoma State College on Saturday, January 19.

Lark women defeat Bulldog JV

Two excellent bookend quarters see Hesston College take home a win against McPherson College JV in Monday nights home game. The Larks defeated the Bulldogs 68-59.

Ofter going down 2-0, the Larks found their rhythm quickly in the first quarter. A few ties and lead changes in the early minutes until a 12-3 run to end the quarter. In the final quarter, the Larks used their athleticism to pull ahead, going on a 12-5 run with 4:42 left in the game. Great defense allowed for some easy points in transition, securing the victory.

Essence Tolson stole the show with 22 points and 22 rebounds for the Larks. Denazia Jeffers (12) and Millaya Bray (10) both scored double digits for the Larks while five others were on the score sheet.

“I am happy to get the win,” said Head Coach Jeff Jacobs.

Hesston will host Sterling College JV on Thursday, December 6, at 6 p.m. before heading to Western Oklahoma State College on Saturday, December 8.

Lark women fall to Oklahoma Wesleyan JV

The Larks lost a close one last night to the Eagles of Oklahoma Wesleyan. After taking a lead into the second quarter, Hesston could not sustain the momentum and ended up falling 81-65.

The Larks started well, leading 4-0 and taking a 16-11 lead into the first break. In the second quarter, there were six lead changes and the half ended with the score knotted at 32. It continued to be back and forth as the third quarter progresses. At the 7:23 mark on of the Eagles hit a three to put them up by two. That started an 8-0 run that the Larks could not overcome.

The Larks outrebounded the Eagles 38-32. Hesston also shot better from inside the arc at 38.5%. It was the discrepancy in 3-pointers made (10-3) and free throws that kept the Larks from finding the win at the final whistle.

Leading the scoring for the Larks was Essence Tolson with 14. She also had 8 rebounds and is averaging just under a double-double on the season with 14.7 PPG and 9.6 RPG. Millaya Bray had 9 points and Parris Rawls, 8. KaDrea Hulett and Lexy Salmans came off the bench to contribute with 10 and 8 points respectively. Naomi Smith worked the boards off the bench for 7, while Rawls also had 7.

Saturday the Larks will head to Hutchinson Community College to take on the 13th ranked NJCAA D1 Blue Dragons. Tipoff will be at 5:30 p.m. They will then head to Barton Community College on Wednesday, November 28.

Lark women’s basketball opens with win over Bethel JV

The Lark women’s basketball team overcame a slow first quarter to defeat Bethel College JV 73-68 Friday night and start the season 1-0. Opening the season scoring for Hesston College was Millaya Bray hitting a short shot putting the Larks up 2-0. Bray scored again before Bethel and Hesston each hit threes giving the Larks a 7-3 lead. The Threshers then went on a 9-0 run, putting them up 12-7. Bethel held the lead through the end of the quarter.

Denazia Jeffers and Essence Tolson took over for the Larks in the second quarter. Jeffers had seven points, two steals and an offensive rebound. Tolson contributed with five points, five rebounds and a block. This shift in momentum allowed the Larks to take a 40-38 lead into halftime.

The Threshers regained the lead again with 7:38 in the third period 35-33 and it was back and forth throughout the quarter. The Larks went on small runs to go up by five to end the third. Hesston was able to hold off Bethel throughout the fourth to complete the five point victory to start the season off on the right foot.

Coach Jeff Jacobs was pleased with the effort. “The team played hard and as a team. Everyone was happy with each other’s success. I really like that.”

Tolson led the team with 25 points, 3 blocks, 4 steals and 19 rebounds securing her season’s first double-double. Jeffers ended the night with 12 points and Mackenzie Smith also hit double-digits with 11. Parris Rawls added eight rebounds to the Larks win.

The Larks will be at home against Colby Community College Monday, November 5 at 6 p.m. They will then take on Butler Community College on Wednesday before their first away game Friday at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

42 Larks named to NJCAA All-Academic Teams

The Hesston College athletic department announces that 42 student-athletes have been named National Junior College Athletic Association Academic All-Americans. To be an All-American a student needs to complete a minimum of 24 credits over the two semester school year. The 42 student-athletes represents 24% of Hesston’s total athletes on campus. Congratulations to the following students:

Named to the first team with a GPA of 4.0 were Landon Baer (North Lima, Ohio), men’s soccer; Jenna Boller (Kalona, Iowa), women’s soccer; Jeremy Deckinger (Wichita, Kan.), baseball; Jade Gleason (Brush, Colo.), volleyball; Cal Hartley (Benton, Kan.), men’s basketball; Luke Hertzler (Harrisonburg, Va.) men’s soccer; Kylee Kasselman (Claflin, Kan.), volleyball; Kate Kilmer (Goshen, Ind.), women’s cross country; Cassidy King (Cochranville, Pa.), volleyball; Kaylen Lassley (Salina, Kan.), softball; Levi Litwiller (Hopedale, Ill.), men’s cross country; Nicole Loewen (Hutchinson, Kan.), women’s tennis; Taylor Longenecker (Harrisonburg, Va.), men’s track and field; Faith Manickam (Hesston, Kan.), women’s soccer; Elizabeth Miller (Archbold, Ohio), women’s cross country; Rio Mori (Osaka, Japan), women’s tennis; Curtis Oesch (Caldwell, Idaho), men’s tennis; Hannah Rosenbaum (Richmond, Texas), women’s tennis; Jaelyn Rufenacht (Pettisville, Ohio), softball; Jenna Schneider (Lodi, Calif.), softball; Morgan Sterner (Lehi, Utah), women’s basketball; Harune Suzuki (Osaka, Japan), women’s tennis; Bryson White (Fort Worth, Texas), men’s soccer; and Sadie Winter (Newton, Kan.), women’s cross country.
Lark athletes named to the 2018-19 NJCAA All-Academic second team
Named to the All-Academic Second Team with a GPA of 3.80 to 3.99 were Sam Amarante (Lodi, Calif.), softball; Kenzie Brown (Estes Park, Colo.), women’s soccer; Andre Eanes (Harrisonburg, Va.) men’s cross country; Faith Hallmark (El Dorado, Kan.), volleyball; Zac Neely (Ada, Okla.), men’s basketball; Caitlyn Nichols (Mesa, Colo.), women’s basketball; and Payton Yehnert (Parker, Colo.) women’s soccer.
Lark athletes named to the 2018-19 NJCAA All-Academic third team
Named to the All-Academic Third Team with a GPA of 3.60 to 3.79 were Alexis Avalos (Yucaipa, Calif.), softball; Savannah Bontrager (Milford, Neb.), women’s cross country; Sierra Broce (Goddard, Kan.), women’s cross country; Annalys Hanna (Fraser, Colo.), volleyball; Jacob Harris (El Paso, Texas), baseball; Shaelyn Headrick (La Junta, Colo.), women’s basketball; Preston Judd (Hayden, Ala.), baseball; Kaede Nakada (Tokyo, Japan), women’s tennis; Miho Okuda (Chiba-ken, Japan), women’s soccer; Haley Unruh (Wilmore, Kan.), volleyball; and Lindsey Yoder (Millersburg, Ohio), women’s soccer.

Larks fall to Johnson County on sophomore night

The Lark women’s basketball team concluded their regular season with a strong showing against Johnson County Community College. The Larks honored their sophomores but were defeated 78-62. The five sophomores who have worked hard and persevered over the last two years got the start for the Larks and played tough: Whitney Green, Carissa Slabach, Shaelyn Headrick, Connor Atkinson and Kara Horton.

Slabach and Headrick led the team in scoring with 14 each. Millaya Bray came off the bench and contributed 11 points. Green had nine rebounds while Headrick contributed seven boards and three assists.

“It was good to honor these terrific sophomores and their families,” said Head Coach Jeff Jacobs.

The Larks will be on the road again to play Johnson County CC on Wednesday, February 28. It will be the first round of the NJCAA Region VI playoffs. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m.

Connor Atkinson writes her name in Larks’ history

On Feb. 5, Connor Atkinson wrote her name in Larks’ history as the leading single season three-point shooter (55) and the leading career three-point shooter (100).

Atkinson hopes to continue making history playing basketball after Hesston, but no future is certain. In fact, that uncertainty was a driving factor to her success.

“I’ve been thinking that these could be my last few basketball games, so I’ve been trying to make the best out of it,” Atkinson said.

At the end of the season last year, Atkinson was only four three-pointers away from breaking the single season three-point record, something she wasn’t informed of until the end of the game. Although disappointed, she didn’t let the record become her focus for this season.

“This year I didn’t think about it that much,” she said. “I had a different mindset as a player. I didn’t want to be selfish and always take the shots and drive. I wanted to be more of a team player.”

And just as the previous season, no one informed Atkinson of how close she was to breaking the record until she broke it 30 seconds into the game against Tabor College JV. She was just as surprised as the crowd when Coach Jeff Jacobs informed everyone in Yost Center the she had broken the two records after the first quarter.

“I really didn’t think too much about it,” Atkinson said. “I knew it was getting close but I didn’t worry about it. I thought I was still a ways off.”

Now that Atkinson has achieved success at the collegiate level, she reflects on her accomplishments and how she got here. She credits the people who believed in her, but also the people who didn’t – specifically her high school basketball coach.

“I guess a lot of it was I wanted to prove a point: that I didn’t need him,” she said. “My senior year I did all of my recruiting on my own and I didn’t ask for his help. He didn’t even come to my signing day when I decided to come here. I knew some people believed in me, but not my high school coach so that was kind of my big thing.”

But that wasn’t the only factor. Atkinson also worked hard during the offseason to better herself, to further fulfill her dream of playing college basketball.

“Every day during the summer I’m at the YMCA, from 4-6 hours depending on how much I work at my job,” she said. “I was in the gym a lot this summer just shooting.”

Although she would like to continue to play somewhere else after Hesston, Atkinson is content with what she’s accomplished.

“I told my mom at the beginning of the season that if I broke that record it would feel good because if I don’t play basketball I would at least accomplish this one thing,” she said. “I feel pretty good that I did something here.”


by Jasmine Pankratz

Atkinson honored for three-point shooting and Larks defeat Bluejays

Monday night the Hesston College Larks women’s basketball team defeated the Tabor College Bluejay JV 59-40. Prior to the game, Connor Atkinson was honored with setting two records, the most 3-pointers made in a season (55) and a career at Hesston College (100). The game then, could not have started off in a more perfect way. Atkinson hit a 3-pointer just 30 seconds into the game as the Larks went up 3-0.

“I am very happy for Connor,” said Head Coach Jeff Jacobs. “She has developed into a nice player.”

Hesston College dominated the first half, opening the game with an an 18-2 run. The Larks continued to control, stretching their lead to 25-8 at the end of the first quarter. The Larks then went on to only give up two points in the entirety of the second quarter leading 35-10 at halftime.

“We had a good first half,” said Coach Jacobs.

Whitney Green led the team in scoring with 18 points while Atkinson added 10. Seven other Larks got on the score sheet. Savannah Villegas and Kara Horton led the team on the defensive boards with six each as the team totaled 33 rebounds on the night.

The Larks will be back in action on Wednesday as they travel to NJCAA Region VI opponent Johnson County Community College. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

Larks defeat Threshers

Tuesday night the Hesston College women’s basketball team continued their hot streak winning their fourth straight. They defeated Bethel College JV 70-50 to remain undefeated in the 2018 calendar year and move to 10-8 overall. The timing could not be better as they start NJCAA Region VI play next week.

After a slow start and not getting onto the score board for the first 4:28 of the game the Larks went on a 7-0 run overtaking the Threshers and would not look back. The night proved a team effort as the Larks had solid play from everyone who stepped onto the court. The Hesston College bench outscored Bethel 17-10 and almost doubled the Threshers assists by sharing the ball 17 times. The defense also had great stretches for the Larks and really showed as they held the Threshers scoreless from the field for almost six minutes at the start of the third quarter.

Leading the way for the Larks were Connor Atkinson with 19 points and 4 assists and Whitney Green with 18 points and 5 steals. Carissa Slabach added 9 points and Millaya Bray added 8 with 6 rebounds while Hunter Begley added 7 and 6 rebounds.

The Larks will take on Fort Scott Community College next Wednesday at home at 6 p.m., and Kansas City Kansas Community College on Saturday, January 27, at 2 p.m.

Larks defeat Rhema

The Larks women’s basketball team started 2018 right with an 88-61 victory over Rhema Bible College.

Setting the precedent from the start, Hesston College tipped off the game with a 7-0 run. The Larks never looked back, taking a 26-12 lead into the second quarter and only built on it as the evening when on.

The transition game was big for the Larks. They created 27 turnovers and scored 33 points directly off the quality defense. The bench also outscored the Eagles 33-4. Every healthy and eligible player got on the score sheet. “We were down three players and the nine who played came in and played terrific basketball,” said Head Coach Jeff Jacobs.

Connor Atkinson led the team with 26 points. “Connor had 26, but she shared the ball and played tough D,” said Jacobs. Kara Horton was also in double digits with 13 and Whitney Green came off the bench to contribute 17. Shaelyn Headrick led the team with 8 rebounds.

The Larks travel to McPherson College JV tonight and next week host Bethel College JV Tuesday, January 16. The following week starts the NJCAA Region VI competition, hosting Fort Scott CC on Wednesday, January 24.

Larks women defeat NWKTC in last game before finals

Twas’ the night before finals when all through the gym, lady’s basketball was stirring hoping to make the ball through the rim. Visitors from Northwest Tech arrived with a vengeance hoping to steal the Larks win, an early Christmas present. But a win was not coming for Tech you do see, the Larks played great basketball which led to victory.

Earning the 69-58 win, the Larks women’s basketball team set a great tone for the rest of finals week. They will head into the Christmas break with a 7-8 record having won four of their last six.

It was the first quarter that set the tone for Hesston College. Starting off with a 7-0 run, the Larks continue to push the lead to 12-2 behind Connor Atkinson’s second 3-pointer. A balanced offense saw six Larks score in the first period. The scoring balance continued throughout the half as the Larks took a 36-23 lead into the break.

Whitney Green took over in the third quarter, scoring 10 of her 16 points and adding 3 (5 total) steals. The Larks continued to add to their advantage. Connor Atkinson was also in double digits at the final buzzer with 14 points.  Again, the balance in the team’s offensive output is seen in the score sheet with nine players scoring and eight players recording at least one rebound. The team also recorded 10 assists, twice as many as Tech, and 11 steals.

The Larks will return to action at home on Thursday, January 11, in a rematch with Rhema Bible College. They will follow that with a trip to McPherson College JV the next day.

Lark women defeat Sterling JV, even record at 6-6

An 82-69 win over Sterling College Warriors JV Monday night extended the Lark women’s basketball win streak to three in a five-day span and evened their record at 6-6.

After steamrolling Cottey College at home to start their season, the Larks traveled to Cottey (Nevada, Mo.) and ran into a different team. The Comets exploded in the first half hitting threes left and right and pushed the Larks to their limit. At halftime the score was knotted at 34.

The second half was more of the same. Back and forth basketball and it came down to the last three seconds and the team who had the ball. Fortunately for Hesston, it was the Larks with possession. With the clock ticking down, Carissa Slabach hit a game winning three to seal the victory 72-71.

For second-year head coach Jeff Jacobs, this was his first road win. “The girls really deserve it, we’ve put in hard work,” said Jacobs.

Monday night the Larks were at home against the Sterling College Warriors JV. Hesston started in control, leading 10-2 after 3:15 in the first quarter, but the Warriors did not give up. They clawed back and with 5:25 left in the half took a 28-26 lead. Sterling added to their lead, stretching it to a seven-point advantage at the 2:35 mark in the second quarter.

Kara Horton started a Lark rally with an aggressive play at the rim, earning a trip to the foul line with 1:29 on the clock in the half. Horton made 1 of 2 from the line and solid defense allowed Whitney Green to be aggressive as well. She was fouled in the paint and hit both of her free throws. Connor Atkinson hit a three 11 seconds later, followed by a Green jump shot. With nine seconds left in the half, Horton hit a jump shot. The ensuing defensive trip saw a missed 3-pointer by the Warriors and a quick outlet to Kadrea Hulett saw the Larks go up 46-40 to end the half. This 11-0 run was what the Larks needed to propel themselves into halftime and give them the confidence to finish the game in the second half.

Green led the Larks on the night with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Also scoring in double digit points were Millaya Bray (14), Horton (14) and Atkinson (10) who also had 6 assists.

“It’s fun to be on a win streak,” said Coach Jacobs. “We can score, but need to play with more heart and rebound while playing tough D to keep in going.”

The Larks will play at MCC-Penn Valley (Kansas City, Mo.) on Thursday before returning to Yost Center on Saturday, December 9, to face Western Oklahoma State College at 1 p.m.

Lark women defeat Bethany JV

The Larks got back to winning ways as they defeated the Swedes of Bethany College JV team 82-62. The game got off to a slow start with some sloppy play by both teams. But after the flood gates opened for the Larks, they were not to be stopped. The defense set the tone by keeping the Swedes off the scoreboard for the first 4:36 of the game. At the end of the first quarter the lead was 19-9 and Hesston College never gave up the ten point lead again in the game. By halftime they had pushed it to 20, leading 42-22.

Leading the way with scoring was Carissa Slabach with 17 points and Essence Tolson with 13. The offense was well balanced with 11 different scorers. Team rebounding was also fantastic with 45 total boards. Tolson lead the team with 13 giving her a third double-double of the year.

The Larks will be back in action on Friday at Cottey College and again at home on Monday, December 4, against Sterling JV, tip-off at 6 p.m. They will be on the road Thursday, December 7 at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley (Kansas City).