ANDOVER, Kan.—Andover High’s girls went 12 years without getting to the state tournament. But now they’ve gone in back-to-back seasons, and this could be their best team yet.
The Trojans can shoot, and they’re willing to play defense. They’re quick, and they have good team depth.
“We plan to play fast with this group,” said Max Hamblin, who enters his eighth season with the Trojans.
Hamblin used a 10-player rotation last season, as Andover went 17-6 and won five straight games to get to its second straight Class 5A Tournament.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, they also took a first-round exit for the second straight season. Their outside shooting, a strength all season, went ice cold in a 46-37 loss to Topeka Seaman. The Trojans made 12 of 49 field goals (24.5), their worst shooting performance of the season.
Hamblin still thinks he has a good outside shooting team. But they may not rely as heavily on 3-pointers (they took 385 of them last season, making 32 percent ) this season.
In the middle of that state tournament game, Trojan fans got a good look at their future. Freshman Jaylyn Agnew was Andover’s best player that night, scoring 14 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. She was great in the fast break, scoring many of her points off layups in transition.
Angew, a 5-foot-10 sophomore guard, leads a salty group of returners. She played in all 23 games last season, averaging 9.8 points and 5.3 rebounds while leading the Trojans with 43 assists and 36 blocked shots.
Also back is 5-7 guard Sydney Tilson, an outside threat who led the team with 34 steals and a 39-percent 3-point shooting percentage while averaging 5.5 points last season.
Other returners include Jolynn Hallmark (5-7 senior guard, 2.3 ppg), Kaley Hallmark (5-8 sophomore guard, 4.8 ppg), Hana Bruner (6-0 junior post, 1.2 ppg) and Mattie Routhier (5-7 junior guard, 2.8 ppg).
Among others who will be competing for playing time will be seniors Dion Hallmark (5-7 guard) and Mollie Dow (5-11 forward).
“We have several players have little varsity experience,” Hamblin said.
Still, Hamblin said Andover’s goal is to win the league championship and advance to state again, despite graduating last season’s top scorer in Audrey Meisch and top rebounder in Kelsey Dick, who were both 6-footers.
“We don't have the size we have had the past few years,” Hamblin said, “but this team might be one of our best teams since I have been the head coach.”
Hamblin owns a 76-55 record at Andover, and is 336-265 overall.