Gorillas ride three-game winning streak into MIAA opener

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburg State women’s basketball team kicks off their MIAA schedule on Wednesday night, hosting Newman at 5:30 PM.

Pitt State is 4-1 and on a three-game winning streak heading into their matchup with the Jets.

In their first five games. the Gorillas have 10 players averaging 10+ minutes per game. That depth will be important for PSU as they head into the MIAA grind.

“Starting with our exhibition games and scrimmages, that was a big point of emphasis. We wanted to get everybody in and wanted everybody feeling confident and comfortable,” says head coach Amanda Davied, “Sometimes the comfortable comes before the confident. I think that’s where it has kind of played out how we wanted it to. We’ve done what we’ve needed to do against the teams we’ve played to feel good about it. That’s where it leaves us right now. We’re ready for that next challenge and this week will be a good one.”

The Gorillas have also used their first five games to build chemistry, get some young players valuable minutes and build a little consistency early in the season.

“You can’t always know who is going to show up what night, but it’s getting closer to that,” Davied says on her teams’ consistency, “The good thing is that the girls are playing connected. The bigger piece to being confident is that we’re sharing the basketball, so they must feel confident within each other. We’ve had 20 assists and 21 assists, so that’s a really bright piece. I think that does just show that they’re playing well together.”

Pitt State prepares for MIAA opener vs. Newman

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburg State men’s basketball team hosts Newman on Wednesday night at 7:30 in their first MIAA game of the year.

Pitt State is 1-5 through their first six non-conference games.

The Gorillas are already dealing with plenty of injuries, giving head coach Kim Anderson an extended look at a lot of guys early in the season.

“We started off with 17 guys. We redshirted our two freshmen and then we have three guys who are hurt, so maybe having 17 was a good idea,” Anderson says, “We got a lot of guys a lot of playing time. Candidly, I think there’s still competition. There’s going to be competition all year. It comes down to production. If you play well, you get to play more. If you don’t play well, you play less.”

The PSU men split their two meetings with Newman last season – with each team winning on the road.

Both games were one-possession games.

“It’s funny. When we went over there, we were behind most of the game and we came back and won at the end. When they came here, they were behind most of the game and came back and won at the end,” Anderson says of last year’s meetings with Newman, “They have a lot of their guys back and they’ve added a couple new players who are really good. It’s going to be 40 minutes. There’s not going to be a rest time. You’re going to have to play your best game for 40 minutes.”

Mild & quiet trend keeps on trucking for Wednesday – Nick

Good Tuesday evening, everyone. It’s a little hard to believe that we’re wrapping up the month of November today. It’s also a little hard to believe that we’re still getting this mild this late in the year. Normally, we should have highs topping out in the lower 50s as we wrap up November and work into December. After we spend the past few nights with lows in the upper 30s, we stayed mild for the past few afternoons with highs in the middle 60s.

That was still quite a warm up with our current front and upper-level wave passing through the region today. Both produced quite a bit of cloud cover and some areas of sprinkles. Otherwise, the latest check of the surface map has the front through the region and ready to fall apart as we work into Wednesday.

Upstairs at the jet stream level, an upper-level wave is passing to our north over the Dakotas and into Minnesota. There’s cold enough air to the north where those areas are seeing some snow as we head through the rest of the evening. Around here, the low will keep sending in partly to mostly cloudy skies in from the southwest as we work through the night.

With the cloud cover and a returning southwest wind sticking with us as we head into Wednesday morning, most spots will stay in the 40s to start the morning out. Areas around Joplin and in southwest Missouri will drop back into the middle 40s while areas west of Joplin and west of the Kansas/Missouri line will mainly drop back into the lower 40s.

With a light westerly breeze working together with partly sunny skies for our Wednesday afternoon, we’ll jump right back into mild territory for the afternoon. After we start Wednesday afternoon with temperatures in the lower 60s, we’ll top out in the middle 60s for the afternoon. Some areas west of 69 could even sneak into the upper 60s before the day is through.

With a southwesterly breeze and mostly clear skies locked in for Wednesday night and Thursday, we’ll keep this mild trend going for the second day of December. After lows drop back into the upper 40s in the morning, we’ll have afternoon highs soar into the lower to middle 70s across the area.

Since December does kick off over the next few days, you know temperatures like this won’t stick around for long. However, partly sunny skies and a jet stream to our north will push highs back into the middle 70s to kick off the first weekend of December.

Then, our next wave and storm system will take shape and push into the region. Mostly cloudy skies and scattered showers and t-storms will be around as we work through our Saturday and certainly for our Sunday down below. Even with the clouds and rain chances, we’ll have lows starting in the middle 50s and highs topping out in the middle 60s for both Saturday and Sunday.

Once that system clears out, it will turn quite a bit cooler to start the first full work/school week of December. Partly sunny skies return for Monday. While Monday will look nice, we’ll start with lows in the lower 30s and highs topping out in the upper 40s. By Tuesday, we’ll stick with Doug’s pattern and see another storm system with rain chances head our way. Combine that with mostly cloudy skies, it will be a chilly Tuesday with highs in the middle 50s.

Doug has you covered with his long range forecast out to Christmas Day down below. Have a good night and a great Wednesday!


December 8th-11th: Warming back up by mid week with rain chances again Wednesday through Friday.  Then cooling back down for the weekend.

December 12th-18th: Cold for Sunday before we see cool air return Monday. Mild Tuesday through Thursday before we turn cooler again for Friday and Saturday. We’ll watch for slight rain chances Thursday.

December 19th-25th: Mild for Sunday and Monday before cooler air returns for Tuesday and Wednesday. Briefly mild for Thursday before we turn cold for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We’ll watch for rain chances Sunday and Monday to start the week. Rain chances on Thursday will switch to snow chances for Christmas Eve and snow showers for Christmas Day.

Rural Kansas schools see decline in early learning reading levels

COLUMBUS, Ks.–Kansas schools are among many nationwide trying to recover from the impact of the pandemic on learning. Kelly Walters, reading specialist for the Columbus Unified School District has seen the effect’s on young children’s learning first-hand.

“They would be quarantined or teachers were quarantined. So they didn’t get the normal school year last year. And any sort of reading that we do, you have to have the foundational skills. So when those kids, missed almost half of their kindergarten or first-grade year, they really missed a lot of the foundational skills that you have to have to be a successful reader,” Walters said. 

A recent study by the reading roadmap non-profit shows rural Kansas school districts, like Columbus, experienced the greatest decline in early reading levels between 2019 and 2021, compared to other Kansas school districts

Now the District’s superintendent, Brian Smith, says they’re trying to catch up, which can be challenging when some students need more help than others.

“Some students came back and they were in pretty good shape and on course and others came back. And that creates an issue to try to catch some for others or where they needed to be. So we’ve introduced afterschool programs and summer school programs to help that because not everyone maybe needs that,” Smith said. 

The district says they plan to use what they’ve learned through the pandemic to change and improve how kids are taught in the future.

“We want to really work and focus on all of those kids that are struggling because we know that for them to be successful adults, they have to be able to be a successful reader,” said Walters. 

We also reached out to the Pittsburg School District who sent us a statement that reads:

“We would agree that we saw increased numbers of students scoring in the lowest tier of the state assessment during the spring of 2021 assessments.  There is certainly no doubt that the challenges of COVID over the past two years have impacted student learning, especially those students with additional challenges such as lower socioeconomic status and those who speak English as a second language.  Making comparisons and/or judgments based upon state assessment scores which are given only once annually and do not compare cohort groups of students most likely does not tell the whole story.

We prefer to utilize our reading program assessment data (FastBridge) which provides a picture of a student’s progress at least three times during the school year.  We can then make comparisons between the beginning of the year and end of year assessments with the same cohort of students to make judgments on our effectiveness and progress.  For instance, this same group of students (3rd graders in 2020-21) in USD, increased 4% in the number of students achieving grade-level reading achievement from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.  Similarly, this same group of students showed a 6% decrease in the number of students reading at least one grade level behind their peers.”
Statement from Dr. Brad Hanson, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, USD 250