Beth Holmes

Abilene senior point guard Beth Holmes (1) drives the ball to the basket during Class 4A State Tournament action a year ago in Salina.

After graduating more than 80 percent of its scoring offense with the departure of two-all state players in Sydney Burton and Hannah Willey, the Abilene Cowgirls will retool its offense as it plans to defend its North Central Kansas League basketball title.

First-year head coach Mike Liby welcomed back three starters in senior point guard Beth Holmes, senior Jade Vopat at the two-guard and junior forward Abi Lillard.

“Our 2019-2020 Cowgirl team will be in a re-tooling year, after losing two all-state players from last year,” coach Liby said. “We had several girls stepping up during this past summer with skill work, weight room and agilities.”

Holmes is the leading scorer returning for the Cowgirls with a six-point per game average. The first team all league selection also led the team in assists and she fought for three rebounds per game.

Lillard played with a strong front line presence for the Cowgirls shooting a five point per game average while bringing down four boards a contest. That production earned her honorable mention all-league last year. Vopat is strong defensively for Abilene and has shown outstanding ball control skills according to coach Liby.

Others returning to the Cowgirl varsity are senior guard Annie Bathurst, junior forward/guard Allison Liby and sophomore forward Jenna Hayes. All three girls played considerable minutes for the Cowgirls last season.

Hayes averaged four rebounds per game and just over three points per game on offense. Allison brought down two rebounds per contest and can also fill in at the guard position for the Cowgirls.

“We expect to defend the NCKL title and compete at a high level,” coach Liby said. “Clay Center and Chapman should also contend for the league title and will be tough league games.”

The Cowgirls open the season the Friday when they host Smoky Valley.

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

Abilene Basketball Schedule

Dec. 6 vs. Smoky Valley

Dec. 10 at Rock Creek

Dec. 13 vs. Augusta

Dec. 20 at Concordia

Jan. 7 at Chapman

Jan. 10 at Marysville

Jan. 14 at Wamego

Jan. 17 vs. Clay Center

Jan. 23-25 at SIT – Salina

Jan. 28 vs. Concordia

Jan. 31 vs. TMP

Feb. 7 vs. Marysville

Feb. 11 at Council Grove

Feb. 14 vs. Wamego

Feb. 18 at Hays

Feb. 21 at Clay Center

Feb. 25 vs. Chapman

Feb. 27 vs. Hays

March 2-7 Sub-State TBD

March 11-14 State at Salina-TBD

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

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