Fort Scott climbs into state rankings in turnaround season

Fort Scott is 10-3 and ranked 10th in the 4A state rankings.

FORT SCOTT, Kan. – At this time last year, the Fort Scott girls basketball team was 2-11. In 2022, it’s a completely different story.

“We’ve grown so much from last year and we’ve grown so much even from the beginning of the year,” says head coach Pechone Stepps. “There were times last year when I thought we battled and we would get close, but we just couldn’t get over the hump. You have to learn how to win.”

The Tigers held a team meeting midseason last year and it proved to be a pivotal moment. They began to turn things around and even made it to the substate championship. Fort Scott is carrying that late-season momentum into this year.  

“Knowing that every day in practice we started from the bottom, from day one. It’s paid off for sure,” says senior Abby Altic. 

Fort Scott is learning how to win. They’re currently 10-3 and tied for first in the SEK.  This week, they’ve landed in the state rankings. The Tigers are 10th in 4A.  

“I don’t think many of us expected it,” Altic says. “It’s awesome to see the rankings. Finally people are recognizing what we’ve done this season. People are going to want to beat us, like we’ve wanted to beat other people.”

It’s taken a lot of hard work to get where they are now.

“Those tough times last year gave our girls a taste of what we needed to do this summer and how we needed to come together and build on that foundation coming into the season,” Stepps says. “That’s what we’ve done thus far.”

The Tigers have a young, small group: two seniors and only 13 girls. They choose to see it as a positive.  
“That’s going to bode well for not only this year but for years to come,” Stepps says. “Those girls will understand what it takes to play at the varsity level.”

But first, the focus is on the rest of this season. 

“At the end of the practice the other day we talked about how to handle success,” Stepps says. “We’re starting to get a little exposure. We’ll see how we respond the rest of the way. I think we have the right mindset. We’re going to have to raise our level of play and meet expectations.”

Fort Scott returns to play on Friday at Chanute.