Star-studded women’s basketball recruiting class at KCKCC

by Alan Hoskins

Reaching a new personal pinnacle in wins in a 24-8 season wasn’t enough for Kansas City Kansas Community College coach Valerie Stambersky. Now she wants to do it again.
Working closely in conjunction with assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Shaun Burki, Stambersky has eight signees for the 2014-2015 season with what could be one of KCKCC’s best recruiting classes.
“This group is going to bring so much more versatility and depth, especially to the guard position where we needed more depth this past year,” Stambersky said. “With a good corps coming back, it’s exciting to think about this group for next year.”
The Blue Devils return seven players from this year’s team including five players who started 15 or more games.
Two of the newcomers, teammates Cierra Gaines and Erin Anderson at Edwardsville, Ill., High School, are already in the Blue Devil camp having transferred in at the start of the spring semester. A 5-7 shooting guard, Gaines averaged 12.7 points and 5.6 rebounds at St. Louis Community College while Anderson is a 5-8 guard who signed with Southwestern Illinois but redshirted because of a knee injury.
“Both are legitimate starting prospects with their ability to score, rebound, play defense and compete along with the benefit of being here for a semester and understanding of the expectations both offensively and defensively,” says Stambersky.
Point guard depth will come from 5-3 Aricca Daye of Des Moines East and 5-7 Artasia Carnes-Marshall of Memphis East. A first team all-conference selection, Daye averaged 10.3 points and 4.1 assists on a 20-3 East team that finished ranked No. 7 in Iowa while Carnes-Marshall was ranked among the top 25 players in Tennessee. Averaging 12 points and 3.6 assists, she originally signed with Kennesaw State, an NCAA Division I member.
They’ll join Cassidy Harbert, an honorable mention All-American, at the point guard position. “All three are different and will provide depth,” Stambersky said . “Arrica is more of a ball distributor; Artasia can also play the two position.”
Two Kansas standouts will be in the mix at the small forward position, 5-10 Janay Jacobs of Wichita’s Kapaun-Mt. Carmel High School and 5-9 Sierra Roberts of SM South. Jacobs was a member of a team that won the state championship in her sophomore season and was fourth and third the last two seasons. A participant in the Kansas-Missouri All-Star game, Roberts averaged 13.4 points and 4.4 rebounds to earn first team all-conference honors.
“Jacobs is a blue collar athlete who can shoot, rebound and works hard; Sierra has a great shooting touch from the outside. Smart, she can also get to the rim,” Stambersky said.
The Blue Devils will also get valuable help from a pair of standouts from Bradley Tech High School in Milwaukee, 5-9 guard Ky’Ana French and 5-11 forward Myranda Keeler. One of the top 20 players in Wisconsin as a senior, French averaged 18.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists while Keeler averaged 9.8 points and 11.8 rebounds with season highs of 24 points and 23 rebounds.
“A lefthander, French is a slasher with a great scoring mentality; Keeler brings a lot of athleticism – a rebounder and shot blocker who runs the floor,” Stambersky said.
In addition to Harbert, the Blue Devils will return guards Rashaun Casey and Alyson Weber, forwards Janai Mitchell, Iland Shurn and Eirenei Alesana and post Julia Garrard.
“We’re not done recruiting yet,” Stambersky said. “There’s always a place for good players.”

KCK author writes new book

“Brandeen, In the Shadow of Captain Moonlight,” a new book by Helen Walsh Folsom, is now available.

Folsom is from Kansas City, Kan., and has written other books, including “St. Patrick’s Secrets,” “Fianna,” and “Ah, Those Irish Colleens.”  Drawing on her Scots Irish heritage, she decided that in her retirement she would write books with Irish settings.

This new book is the story of Brandeen, who lived with her tender-hearted mother, Peig, in the town of Cullymor, Ireland. Her life was not at all pleasant. She was considered illegitimate and treated horribly by the town folk. When she learns of her father’s return, she burns with anger and resentment.

Brandeen resents this estranged father who forces her away from her secure little cottage home into an uncomfortable house and dangerous circumstances that repeatedly threaten her life.

Although she grows to enjoy her training to become a shipping company magnate, she still resents her father until slowly and surely she realizes the man she hates is the man she would risk anything to defend, even to revealing the identity of Captain Moonlight.

The book is available for purchase by Kindle on

Ag Hall to close temporarily this season

The National Agriculture Center and Hall of Fame, Bonner Springs, will close its doors temporarily this season, according to an announcement today.

“The Board of Directors believes that this is an opportune time to regroup and rethink the Center’s future,” said Jody Albers, president of the Board of Directors.

“Our balance sheet is strong, and our board of directors and partners are committed to a bright future,” Albers said.  Event and daily attendance have grown substantially over the last several years.  The previous staff and leadership have done a tremendous job, but without continued private funding the board has had to make a tough decision, Albers said.  The National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame will be completely reimagined in the months ahead, she said.

The facilities and grounds will play host to a variety of events throughout the year. Temporary volunteer or part-time staff will be made available for scheduled events.  The facility offers a variety of spaces for rent and will continue to do so during this period, she said.  Staff will attend to the upkeep of the buildings and grounds and the preservation of the collection.  Maintenance of the buildings and grounds will continue as usual. The community and patrons will be able to visit the website to get updates and to express thoughts on the future, she said.