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FHSU's Keehn wins second MIAA title in track -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Wessel continues to spark Shockers -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Ronda Rousey's fast work, like at UFC 184, a big draw -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Minnie Minoso's love of baseball never waned -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

FHSU wrestling sending four to nationals -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Kansas State rallies late to put away Iowa State -3/1/2015, 9:33 AM

No. 8 Kansas holds on to defeat Texas, 69-64 -3/1/2015, 9:31 AM

Wichita State captures MVC crown by beating Northern Iowa -3/1/2015, 9:30 AM

Ellis' Younger cruises through Friday at 3-2-1A -3/1/2015, 9:39 AM

Hays High's Deterding second in 4A -3/1/2015, 9:58 AM

Norton wins title with backside points -3/1/2015, 9:36 AM

Hoxie's Porsch repeats in 3-2-1A -3/1/2015, 9:43 AM

FHSU splits at Northeastern State -3/1/2015, 9:41 AM

HHS girls win on senior night -3/1/2015, 9:40 AM

HHS boys roll by Great Bend -3/1/2015, 9:39 AM

Class 3-2-1A State Wrestling finals results -2/28/2015, 9:37 AM

Tigers fall, need win to host first round -2/27/2015, 10:20 AM

Tiger women, MIAA champs, hang on -2/27/2015, 10:29 AM

Monarchs survive on senior night -2/27/2015, 12:17 PM

With KU back in control, Jayhawks prepare for 'high drama' -2/27/2015, 10:19 AM

Nino Williams takes long road to success at Kansas State -2/27/2015, 10:18 AM

Sub-state basketball pairings -2/26/2015, 10:37 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Younger part of youth movement for Railers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

Big 12 reprimands K-State after court-storming -2/26/2015, 10:53 AM

Hays High's top four headed to Salina -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- HDN area state qualifiers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Porsch seeks a repeat in state finale -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Freshman Hutchinson leads young group of Redmen -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Norton steps up again to have shot at 3-2-1A state crown -2/26/2015, 10:50 AM

Shockers fight past Indiana State, set up big Saturday -2/26/2015, 10:27 AM

Rhoades back at state -- this time in 4A -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

TMP survives Plainville -2/25/2015, 11:26 AM

K-State issues apology -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

HHS swept at Dodge -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/25/2015, 10:21 AM

Royals still hoping for Starling to break out -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Penske revels in Logano's victory at Daytona 500 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcat's win throws a roadblock at Jayhawks -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

KBCA prep basketball rankings, Feb. 23 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcats get it done -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

No-name Hahn wins Northern Trust Open -2/23/2015, 10:24 AM

FHSU softball splits on Sunday in Minnesota -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Logano wins first Daytona 500 -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Lutz: VanVleet has another day to remember -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

VanVleet takes Wichita State's assists title in win -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

'Cats seek confidence before game with KU -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

Perry Ellis, No. 8 Kansas rebound from loss, beat TCU -2/22/2015, 12:47 PM

Baylor drills K-State -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

Monarch girls run away from Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:38 PM

TMP wins physical game at Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Mathews all-state for HHS -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

HHS wins at Garden, jumps back into WAC race -2/22/2015, 12:41 PM

Wrestling roundup -- Hays High sends four to 4A state -2/22/2015, 8:19 PM

Victoria puts together complete game in win at Ness City -2/22/2015, 12:40 PM

HHS girls fall down early, lose at Garden -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Earnhardt Jr. makes Duel history, Patrick qualifies -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

HHS sends relays to state -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Tiger baseball takes two from UCM -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Gene Stephenson says he's filed his own appeal -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

TCU takes out K-State -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Bohuslavsky keys win for Tiger women -2/19/2015, 10:59 AM

Tiger men rally for MIAA win -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Tiger women No. 1 in Central Region -2/18/2015, 5:04 PM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/18/2015, 11:22 AM

Barton's Hensley named Player of the Week -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

TMP boys win, girls fall in Great Bend -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

K-State hopes to build some momentum at TCU -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

Two in a row for HHS girls -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

Hot early, HHS boys get win at Abilene -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

All is possible at Daytona -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

WVU tops Jayhawks in wild finish -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chiefs can find impact receiver in NFL draft -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chargers set sights on LA, push San Diego officials for action on stadium -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Defense a constant for Shockers -2/17/2015, 10:26 AM

FHSU, UCM series moved to Hays -2/16/2015, 10:55 AM

KU prepares for full-court press -2/16/2015, 10:17 AM

Foster lifts Kansas State past Oklahoma on Saturday -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Three Tigers crowned MIAA champs -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Bowyer, after crash, slams qualifying format -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Phillipsburg girls knock off TMP at the buzzer -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Hays High girls snap losing skid -2/15/2015, 2:21 PM

Hays High stunned by Liberal at the buzzer -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tiger women's streak halted at Pitt State -2/15/2015, 10:26 AM

Tiger softball 1-3 to start season -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tiger men fall at Pitt -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tigers drop to 0-2 with losses to Mines, Regis -2/15/2015, 1:10 AM

KU coach kicks off tour in Hays -2/13/2015, 11:10 AM

K-State guard Johnson laughs off hecklers at W. Virginia -2/13/2015, 10:13 AM

The Tigers' do-it-all Shaw -2/13/2015, 11:10 AM

Samac staying on court, providing big games for Tigers -2/13/2015, 11:09 AM

Wichita State baseball players see winning as antidote to distractions -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Royals, Herrera agree -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Royals purchase contract of Derek Gordon -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

KU's Ellis near 1,000 points -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Hoxies' record just a matter of time? -2/12/2015, 3:26 PM

New coach, new season for FHSU softball -2/12/2015, 11:25 AM

Tigers look for better pitching in 2015 -2/12/2015, 10:14 AM

Shox roll to win -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

Kansas State rally again falls short at W. Virginia -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

FHSU wrestling rolls to dual win -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

Click To View All


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SPOTLIGHT
Tigers' Kacperska steps up as starter

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Tigers' Kacperska steps up as starter

Published on -2/4/2014, 8:54 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Nikola Kacperska grew up in Poland and played all sports. One day, Kacperska's mother told her daughter she had to choose one activity.

Recounting the story with a laugh, the Fort Hays State University freshman said she watched the movie "Space Jam."

"Michael Jordan, I want to be like him, and I started playing basketball," she said.

Kacperska's choice helped her eventually come to the United States and become the first international player in the six-year Tony Hobson era.

The freshman point guard has moved into the starting lineup the last two games and helped FHSU achieve a pair of big home wins versus Emporia State University and Washburn University last week.

"This was kind of my dream to come to the States, and playing here," Kacperska said.

Kacperska has averaged 17.7 minutes per contest, leads the team with a 42.5 3-point percentage with 5.6 points and 50 assists, tied for second for the 15-4 Tigers.

"Niki is really competitive, and she will not back down," Hobson said.

Kacperska and sophomore Beth Bohuslavsky have manned the point for a squad receiving votes in NCAA Division II.

"Niki, I think it's clicking for her," junior center Kate Lehman said. "She is a freshman, and we expected a lot out of her coming in, and she is really starting to fill those shoes. She hits some big free throws, some big 3-point shots, and she is really great at just finding the open man.

"She is great at deception," she added. "She has very deceiving passes. She has a very good ability to drive in and then kick out to the shooter. That's something that's rare in a point guard, and we have it with her and Beth, so that's helpful."

On Wednesday, FHSU (8-4 MIAA) will play at rival University of Nebraska-Kearney (7-12, 3-9 MIAA). Start time is 5:30 p.m. in Kearney, Neb. Hobson called UNK at least 15 points better than last winter's struggling team. The Lopers have lost multiple close MIAA games, rather than blowouts in 2012-13.

"They are not very far off from having a lot more wins," Hobson said.

After the 5-foot-6 Kacperska selected basketball, her mother wasn't very happy, and figured her daughter was too short for the game. At times, Kacperska had to go to the gym without letting her parents know she was practicing basketball. Now, Kacperska said her mom is happy, but misses her daughter. The family stays in contact through Sykpe, calls and messages.

"I am homesick sometimes," Kacperska said.

When Kacperska, 20, was a teenager, a website contacted her to promote her career with videos and information that were eventually sent to United States college coaches.

Kacperska at first tried two years ago, but couldn't pass an exam. Kacperska, who had played for the Under-20 Polish National Team, tried again. Fort Hays, like many colleges, receives plenty of tape from various sources. FHSU assistant coach Talia Miller tries to watch all the video and pass along potential prospects to Hobson.

"She was so much faster than the girls she was playing with, and just was a lot more skilled," Miller said. "We get a lot of foreign films, and they are not necessarily very skilled, but I knew that Niki was pretty skilled."

Hobson was impressed, too. Kacperska, because of various conflicts, couldn't get a visa immediately. From July 4 to 14, Kacperska averaged nearly seven minutes a game in eight contests for the U20 European Championships.

Hobson worked on getting everything in line -- including clearance with NCAA and FHSU -- most of the summer. For a time, Hobson was uncertain whether Kacperska could come.

Based on the information he'd received, Hobson believed Kacperska was a 5-foot-8 shooting guard who could play point guard. Instead, Kacperska is 5-foot-6. She is actually a sophomore by age, but NCAA rules allow a European player to start its athletic clock one full year after completing high school and still have full collegiate eligibility.

"Other than that, she's been about what we'd hoped she'd be," Hobson said.

Kacperska, who had virtually no experience playing man-to-man, took awhile to get adjusted, especially defense. Kacperska, who speaks solid English, had to sometimes learn the language, too.

"First months here were really tough," she said.

"She has come a long way," senior Katelyn Edwards said. "...She is a spark to our team, and she is doing amazing things."

Kacperska has done well against zone defenses, which she saw a lot in Europe. That included Washburn's zone last weekend. She finished with 11 points, two off her career-high, and her second double-digit game.

"Very aggressive kid," Washburn coach Ron McHenry said.

On Jan. 18, Kacperska and the rest of the bench struggled in a 49-48 road loss to Northeastern (Okla.) State University. Kacperska played just six minutes, easily her lowest of the season. A few days later, starting sophomore guard Taylor Chandler suffered a knee injury that has cost her at least several weeks.

In the last four games without Chandler, Kacperska has averaged 21 minutes per contest, with 7.8 points and 2.8 steals. Before Jan. 23, Kacperska had just 17 steals this season.

"Taylor is a really good defender on our team," Kacperska said. "When she got hurt, I was like, we need to do something to fill that role. I have to do something too, because Coach was thinking that I am not that good at defense. Maybe I should show him."

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