Kit Carson girls basketball captures third consecutive 1A title

Kit Carson Haxtun girls basketball

(Dustin Price/DustinPricePhotography.com)

PUEBLO — Kit Carson can now call itself one of the biggest prep girls basketball dynasties in state history.

Behind a standout 23-point, 16-rebound effort from senior Tess Hornung, the Wildcats routed Haxtun 63-33 to win its third consecutive state title in Class 1A. It also marked the third straight undefeated state title season for the Wildcats.

"It's very exciting," senior Olivia Isenbart said. "We've had our community behind us to encourage us all the way, and the journey has been amazing."

The Wildcats' run is made even more impressive by its sheer dominance. 

This season, in going the distance with a 25-0 mark, the Wildcats won each game by double-digits. The only team that came closest was actually Haxtun, Kit Carson winning 59-49 Feb. 2. 

They were motivated by that win, which the team considered a lackluster performance. A 30-point win Saturday was definitely the opposite of lackluster. 

"We were definitely used to pushing the ball offensively and being able to score when we want to," Hornung said, "but that wasn't our best game, and coming into this, I think we had something to prove."

Saturday, it showed that Kit Carson, especially its seniors, were on a mission.

In addition to Hornung's monster game, seniors McKenzie Smith, Haley Johnson and Olivia Isenbart left their marks on the program with banner nights. Johnson turned in seven rebounds in proving to be a defensive rock for the Wildcats while Isenbart went for 11 points and nine rebounds. Smith scored 13 points along with seven rebounds, as well.

This historic three-peat has roots going back a decade. Crawford said the members of this team were taking part in Kit Carson camps as little girls, and the team started from there.

"This accomplishment goes back many years," Crawford said. "They started to fall in love with the game back in 2nd grade, knocking on the door to our camps to let them in. They were our team managers back in junior high when all of those teams did so well, and it went from there."

Hornung said she had no idea that this squad was on the doorstep to a dynasty when they were sophomores, but Saturday, it sunk in that something special was built, she said.

"I think we knew we had the skill and talent," Hornung said, "but we never really thought about how far we could take it. We wanted to leave a legacy for the younger kids and it's great to have started something like that."

(Anthony Sandstrom/CHSAANow.com)