Sub State
Game One
Game Two
Game Three

 Cimarron Lady Jays 

Complete Their Mission/1998

Click on Pictures 
for a larger view. 
More Pictures at the bottom of the page, Thanks Barb Knobbe. 
2nd place trophy 1973
Team members included Nancy Foulks, Barbara 
Redger, Ann Hastings, Candy
Boardman, Sandy Culver, Kim Dewey, Robin Hefner, Crystal Koehn, Cindy 
 Coached by 
Jerry Burns.
Pictures below are of Sub-State 1998  
Winning Sub-State, 1998 On To State, 1998
Team members are back row left to right.
Wendy Faurot, Kelli Small, Kelly Tucker, Kelley Kramer, Amber 
Miller, Shanon Kindsvater.
Front row left to right. Crista Grasser, Desirae Hanks, Jara Coles, Molly 
Knobbe, Annie Reimer, Dee Ewart.
Not pictured, Coach Tom Smith and Assistant 
Coach, Shonda Nolan.
Flag that hangs in the new Cimarron Gym.
The Lady Jays Mantra.
Do you have stories or pictures you would like to add to this page?  
Let me know and I will try to include them.  Also, let me know of any corrections I need to make.
Molly and Jara.
Jara comes up with the ball.
Student Section
Coach Smith gives instructions.
A Tense moment.
We Did It.

Twenty-five years ago the Lady Jays finished second in the inaugural State Women's Basketball championships.  No one had given them much of a chance when the season began but as time went on it was obvious they were very special ladies.  We were very proud of their effort and I remember how the season started with very few fans showing up for the games.  However, as the season progressed and we figured out what we had, the numbers steadily grew. 
It was fun to see the steady improvement that those ladies made.  Women's basketball had been played for many years at some of the area schools but was relatively new to Cimarron.  I had a cousin that played for Ingalls.  It was a lot different game up to this time as they played half-court ball and it was at a much slower pace.  One of the really neat things is how women's Basketball has evolved over the years.  The game of today is much quicker and faster and the skill level overall has improved tremendously. 
The ladies eventually lost in the finals in a hard fought game that first year.  It was a hard loss but we were all tremendously proud of our team.  As the years progressed, Cimarron's new crop of young ladies was working hard for a chance to avenge the loss in the 1973 Championship game. 
In the 1990's Cimarron started to see some very special things happening in our local Ladies basketball program.  Among those were basketball camps, summer leagues, and young women working hard on their basketball skills and taking the game very seriously.   Once again the attendance started to grow and it was not unusual to see a larger crowd at the Ladies' games than at the Men's games.
In the mid-90's Cimarron was blessed with many young ladies that possessed a special talent for the game of basketball.  Some of these ladies were children of players from the 1973-second place state team.  They eventually evolved into a nearly unbeatable group of ladies.  It was obvious that these ladies were an exceptional group, but every time they were about to make their move to the next level something always stood in their way.  Most of the time it was Lakin's Lady basketball team. 
I remember the sub-state championship game against Lakin at Oakley in 1997.  Cimarron had a lead that was sure to send them to state.  But like many other times, the Lakin ladies fought back to win.  The Lady Jays of 1997-1998 were about to change all of that.
Cimarron Lady Jays Win Sub-State 1998
Cimarron came into the Sub-state playoffs seeded number three and their first game was against one of their long time nemeses, Holcomb.  This was the Jays last home game and they won it in great style.  The leading scorer for the Lady Jays was Dee Ewart with 16 points.  Jara Coles added 14 and Molly Knobbe 12.  Everyone knew that the next loss was going to end the season and it was obvious that they were not going to let that happen any time soon.
Next we traveled to Southwestern Heights to face the number two seeded 
Lakin Broncs.  Lakin was undoubtedly our number one rival in the nineties, and they brought a number two State ranking into the game.  Cimarron's  Head Coach Tom Smith was quoted "Our defense was stupendous, superb, and outstanding.  We forced 39 turnovers by the usually steady Broncs." The Broncs came back to send the game into overtime but the Lady Jays held on for the win.  Cimarron shot a horrible 16% but held Lakin to just 40 points in the game.  Kelly Kramer had 13 rebounds, 9 of them on the offensive end. 
Now facing Cimarron was the number one ranked team in the State, Medicine Lodge.  Once again, the BlueJay defense turned the game around and the offense took over.  Jara Coles scored 18 points in the second half.  A great surprise came from freshman Karody Stucky who came off the bench to play some great defense and also ended up the number three scorer for the Jays with seven points. 
Coach Smith was again quoted, "We knocked off Medicine Lodge, Lakin and Holcomb to win the Sub-State Championship and advance to Hutchinson.   We do not know who we play yet because the weather has postponed some games and we may not know before press time for the paper. But, whomever we play, we will pressure them on defense and we will play with our hearts on the outside of our jerseys and play as  hard as any team you ever saw in your life.  This team is the most courageous and toughest team in the state, bar none."

Cimarron Lady Jays Go To State.

Leavenworth Immaculata  
Most of the season the Lady Jays had relied on their super guards, Molly Knobbe, Jara Coles and Dee Ewart to carry much of the load.  The opening game against Leavenworth Immaculata saw a big change in that.  We had always known how good the front line could be and they certainly carried the offense throughout much of the game.  Kelly Tucker had a great first quarter scoring seven of her 19 points.  Kelly Kramer came off the bench and added another 10 points.  Amber Miller and Karody Stucky also came up big under the basket for the Jays.  By the half the Jays had a 23-20 lead.  The third quarter was played evenly but the Jays pulled away and beat Immaculata 48-36.  The Jays had held a state qualifier to under 40 points and were pumped and ready to finish their mission.

Riley County

Riley County had just come off a big overtime win against top seeded and previously undefeated Erie.  They were big and fast but Cimarron's great condition, running game and depth were the difference in this game.  All 12 members of the team played and contributed to beat Riley County 54-51.  Coles finished the game with 18 points while Knobbe and Kramer each  added 12 points. 
The big difference in scoring came down to free throws and three point  shooting.  Cimarron made 21 of 27 from the charity stripe while Riley County only converted 17 of 29.  The Jays also scored 5 big three pointers.

Conway Springs

This game had everything you could ever ask for in a championship game.  Every Cliché you could ever think of applied at one time or another in the game.  An early knee injury to starting guard Dee Ewart forced Coach Smith to move Kelly Kramer to the perimeter.  She did a great job while her replacements Crista Grasser, Shanon Kindsvater, and Desirae Hanks played great defense in her place.
Four girls scored in double figures led by Knobbe with 17, Tucker 14, Amber Miller a tremendous 11, and Jara Coles with 10.  Player after player kept coming up big for both teams.  Cimarron went into the fourth quarter with a 10-point lead and everything looked great for the Jays.
Then we committed two turnovers and our defense broke down and Conway Springs came roaring back.  Molly Knobbe was called for her fifth foul midway through the fourth quarter.  Now with two starters on the bench the Cimarron faithful took a deep breath.  
Conway tied the game to send it into over time.  I recall Molly, always the spark on defense and often on offense, working just as hard on the sideline as she had in the game, coaching and encouraging her teammates. 
You could see a look in Jara's eyes that let us all know that one way or another they were going to win the game.  One lady after another stepped up big for the Jays.  Our Big girls made rebounds and shots that were seemingly impossible.  The Jays went on to outscore Conway Springs 8-2 in the overtime.  Conway had chances at the line but went 0 for 4.   
It was as if they had just run out of gas.  The depth that Coach Smith had worked so hard on to develop had paid off big time for Cimarron, the new Kansas State Class 3A Women's Basketball Champions. 
A special note should go out to the student body and community for their  support of these ladies.  It seemed many times the Cimarron crowd was larger than the home team at our away games.  I also know that the support of the parents was a very big factor.  I watched for years as parents sacrificed days and days of their time so this group of ladies could be the best they could be.  
Many of these ladies, if not all, spent most of their summers in camps, leagues and tournaments.  Also, I must include previous teammates and the hours spent helping to improve the playing skills of the Lady Jays.
And of course the coaching staff.  It takes that special little bit of something  extra to put a team over the top.  Talent is of course a must but the will to win must be instilled at all times.  I have always felt that the coaches' ability to keep a team believing in themselves is as important as their ability to run the right plays at the right time with the right individuals.  Although this team may have required a smaller amount from the coaches than other teams, I know that not every coach could have gotten them to the finals.  Thanks Tom Smith and Shonda Nolan. 
And most of all, thank you ladies for everything.  We could not be prouder of you.
Thanks also to the Jacksonian for much of the game and picture material for this page.
Pete Thomas.
Coach Smith holds up three fingers.  They stand for "Communicate,  Intimidate, Dominate." 
The Champs
 Signing autographs.
                      Happy Seniors
                           The Community Shows its appreciation.