SALINA - The Twin Valley League has tradtionally been one of, if not the best small-school league in the state for athletics.
Two girls - Emilee Ebert of Frankfort and Macy Doebele of Hanover - did the TVL proud over the weekend at the 36th annual KBCA Girls' All-Star Game at Kansas Wesleyan's Mabee Arena.
Ebert, who has signed with Kansas State, finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and four assists in 22 minutes as she helped lead the White All-Stars to a 76-65 victory over the Blue squad.
Doebele, meanwhile, did all she could for the Blue team. The future Washburn Lady Blue scored a game-high 20 points in 19 minutes and also added seven rebounds.
Ebert and Doebele may play in a league fillied with Class 1A schools, but their play is anything but small-school.
"That's in the past now. I've definitely made it to where I want to be," said Ebert, a 6-foot guard. "I worked hard to prove myself and I've gotten where I wanted, so it's not something I think about anymore."
Ebert, who averaged 17 points and eight points a game as a senior at Frankfort, will trade one Wildcat uniform for another. She orginally committed and signed with Missouri State, but after a coaching change in Springfield, she was released from her letter-of-intent and jumped at the opportunity to play for Kansas State when the offer came.
The Wildcats had always been interested in Ebert, but didn't have a scholarship available during the time when Ebert was being courted by Missouri State.
"I went down there (Springfield) and really loved the coaches, so it really had nothing to do with anything else," Ebert said. "The opportunity came when K-State had an opening. It's a lot closer to home and easier for my family to get there, so I took the opportunity.
"I kinda had to play the waiting game, but then it all fell into place in the end."
Ebert, who has been working out in Manhattan for two weeks prior to the KBCA game, said she has been a life-long K-State fan. It's a place she's always loved, a college she wanted to attend and a program she wanted to play for. She finished her high school career scoring 1,648 points.
"It's definitely where I've always wanted to be, so it's been a lot of fun there," she said. "But, to get to come here and meet all these new people ... it's been a lot of fun here, too. I made a lot of new friends and I loved the experience."
Ebert was one of just five players to shoot better than 50 percent from the field in the game (4 of 6 from the field). Meanwhile, Doebele, a former Hanover standout, did most of her damage from the free throw line.
The 5-foot-11 Doebele knocked down 11 of 12 free throws to boost her 20-point effort, which was the top point total of the 23 players who competed in the game. In addition to her points and rebounds, Doebele also added three steals and two blocked shots.
"It was fun. I mean, I knew a lot of girls coming into this game, just from playing league and state and traveling ball so it's fun to see them again," said Doebele, who scored more than 1,500 points in her high school career. "But it was also great to meet all these new girls from across the state. We're just happy to be here and be selected; it's such an honor to be here. It was a good two days."
Despite coming from a Class 1A program - like Ebert at Frankfort - Doebele more than held her own. Two of her future teammates at Washburn - Hannah Willey (Abilene) and Abby Oliver (Wabaunsee) - also played on the Blue team.
"Over the last several years, we've built our program up and tried to make ourselves known," Doebele said. "Yeah, a lot of times as a 1A school, they don't expect as much, but when you get out to state, you're playing good teams, even though they are small schools. We've made it (to state) the last couple years and you go up against some good girls and I play in a tough league.
"Over the summer, playing AAU ball and traveling (teams), I've played against girls like this. I just wanted to have fun and play hard. It was just a good experience."
Kia Wilson (Manhattan) and Ebert led a balanced scoring attack for the White all-stars in their victory over the cold-shooting Blue squad. They each scored 14 points and Tiffany Dortland (Russell) scored 10 as the White stars led by as many as 19 points in the second half. Abby Oliver (Wabaunsee) and Kirsten Young (Burlington) added nine and eight points, respectively.
Neither team shot the ball well, although the White team did warm up with 45 percent in the second half to pull away for the victory. Wilson, who will play at Nebraska-Omaha, played a game-high 26 minutes and also added six blocked shots, four steals and four assists.
“It’s a real honor to be here," Wilson said afterwards. "I was real excited because I got to play with some of the girls I’ve played with either in the summer or played against in high school, so it was cool to play with them or against them.”
In addition to Deobele's 20 points, Madison Haney (Ulysses) added 11 points and Carly Bachelor (Washburn Rural) scored 10 for the Blue team, while Mary Broxterman (Royal Valley) had seven points and a team-high eight rebounds. Bachelor was honored with her Miss Kansas Basketball award earlier in the day.