For the second time, The Derby Informer is recognizing the top accomplishments of all Panther athletes. These selections are based on performances from the entire school year.
— ADAM’S PICKS —
Take a look at these numbers from Derby football in the last six years. A 70-6 record, four state titles and five championship-game appearances. Need I say more? Derby has become the class of 6A with two perfect seasons (2016 and 2018) and two one-loss seasons (2013 and 2015) over that stretch. The program hasn’t lost a home game in nearly five years. This past fall, the Panthers gave up seven or less points in 10 of their 13 games. Derby held BV North, who it also played in the 2017 state championship game, to its lowest score in its past 22 games.
Bill Ross, Derby wrestling
Few programs have maintained the consistency in Class 6A wrestling like Derby. The longtime Panther coach and his staff have done a wonderful job at crafting this team to peak ahead of the postseason. During his Derby tenure, the program has finished in the top three 10 times. The program won its first state championship since 1986 in February.
OUTSTANDING MALE UNDERCLASSMAN
Tre Washington, basketball and football
Tre Washington didn’t disappoint on the gridiron or the hardwood. The junior ran for 1,836 yards and is now No. 2 all-time in program history, dating back to 1983. He ran for 100 yards or more in 10 of Derby’s 13 games and also totaled 27 touchdowns through the air and on the ground. In basketball, Washington averaged 12.6 points per game. He scored in double digits in 11 of Derby’s final 14 games, including a season-high 28 points against Newton on Jan. 19. He also made a team-best 36 3-pointers, shooting 34 percent from beyond the arc.
OUTSTANDING FEMALE UNDERCLASSMAN
Sydney Nilles, volleyball, basketball and soccer
No matter the season, the Derby junior made a major impact. In volleyball, consistency as a setter and being able to fill in as an outside hitter allowed Nilles to make her presence known. In basketball, coach Jodie Karsak praised her ability to fill a stat sheet and it’s exactly what she did. During the Lady Panthers’ 23-1 season, Nilles finished second in assists (3.1) and rebounding (5.3) and third in scoring (7.1) and steals (2.0). She also scored five goals and added 10 assists in soccer this spring.
OUTSTANDING FEMALE ATHLETE
Kennedy Brown, basketball
The brief paragraph written here isn’t nearly enough room to encapsulate Brown’s career as a Lady Panther. The senior helped lead Derby to four-straight state tournaments, including a state championship and two title-game appearances. The program won 85 games over her career. Brown was a four-time, all-state selection by the Kansas Basketball Coaches’ Association. She also was named the Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year and received selections in the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic this past spring.
OUTSTANDING MALE ATHLETE
Isaac Keener, Derby football
Keener was a rock in one of the best defenses in Derby program history. After missing the final seven games of his junior season, the senior was a wrecking ball in Class 6A backfields. He finished the year with 83 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He had seven more solo tackles and eight more sacks than any of his teammates. No. 81 will represent Derby in the Kansas Shrine Bowl with teammate Hunter Igo before heading to Topeka to play at Washburn. After his performance last fall, I believe it’s fair to say that the Ichabods got a major steal.