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Oakley girls put together a team effort

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Longtime Oakley High School girls' basketball coach Randall Rath has three daughters, including Marlee, a sophomore on the Plainsmen team. Marlee Rath saw significant playing time as a freshman and started in Oakley's season-opening 54-37 win last Friday at home against Leoti-Wichita County.

Rath tallied a team-high 15 points and helped set her teammates up for shots multiple times. She was one of several players who started the season strong after not starting last year.

"I thought she did good, along with all the rest of the kids," Coach Rath said. "It's tough to be a coach's daughter. I am pretty hard on her, but we have a good understanding of when we leave the court, it's left there. She played really well, same as the rest of them."

Rath has reached multiple state tournaments, including the last two, and won a Class 2A state title in 2006-07. He believes Oakley's strength is its collective team effort again, but junior Laura Dennis can be especially strong. Dennis scored 12 points in the victory. Dennis is the lone starter back who saw any significant starting time last year.

"Laura Dennis is an exceptional basketball player, and we didn't get her the ball as much as we need to," Coach Rath said.

Senior Kyndal Maurath, a little-used reserve in the past, ran the point and tallied 12 points.

"We are hoping she can handle the point, and take my daughter Marlee off that, so we can create some shots," Rath said. "All of them work together and use our assets and make us a good basketball team. (Kyndal) played some last year.

"Didn't have a lot of experience, but she did have some," he added. "It's something that coaches try to preach to kids all the time. There were some good kids in front of her, all-league players and two teams that were pretty successful her sophomore and junior year. She was still a part of that. I think it's really obvious that she has practiced against that caliber of kid."