The Lucky 7 Conference has lost another member.
A year after Picher-Cardin dropped out due to low numbers, Bluejacket has done the same.
The move is effective immediately, but superintendent Almeda Carroll expects it to be just for one year.
“If we just had a year to get back on our feet - a year makes a big difference,” Carroll said. “We have a new girls coach (Lori Lillard) who is doing a great job for us. She's got a golf tournament going and some other things.”
Bluejacket has primarily competed in boys' and girls' basketball on the middle school and high school levels. It's also entered the conference track and powerlifting meets.
The Lucky 7 also offers championships in softball and baseball as well as a number of middle-school/junior high sports.
The remaining members (Afton, Commerce, Fairland, Quapaw, Welch and Wyandotte) were informed of the decision by e-mail.
Bluejacket has been a member of the Lucky 7 just since the mid-1980s. It's the smallest school. It's average daily membership (grades 9 through 12) for the 2007-08 school year is 58.84, putting it in the lower quarter of OSSAA membership.
By comparison, the next largest ADM is Welch at 130.63 (301 overall).
Wyandotte 238.33 and Commerce and Quapaw are at 200-plus.
“Our enrollment is steady,” Carroll said. “We are really solid there, it's just our number of girls who have played (basketball). This year's team will have only two juniors on the team who have played and there are only two freshmen coming up. The others were girls who are still learning. That made it really difficult to compete in the Lucky 7.”
Carroll said the numbers for boys' basketball isn't certain since they're still in the midst of football.
“They have struggled, too,” she said. “A lot of times with the boys, their athleticism helps them stay competitive.”
Carroll said the BHS schedule will be stocked with teams from smaller, Class B schools.
“It will be on a case-by-case basis,” Carroll said. “I have been referring calls to our athletic director (Ronnie Simmons).”
The Lady Chieftains have won only a handful of games over the past three seasons since the departure of Duane Thomas.
“I know the numbers haven't been very good,” said Thomas, who took the Lady Chieftains to the Class B state tournament eight of his 12 years there. Thomas now is superintendent and girls' basketball coach at Wyandotte.
“It's sad. I know the kids have different activities and basketball may not be quite as important as it was.”
Wyandotte was able to fill the dates on its schedule with Riverton, Kan.
“(Quapaw boys' coach Larry) Radford told us Riverton had a couple games available,” Thomas said. “It just worked out. The irony is the dates even matched up.”
“There are some really good schools in the Lucky 7 and some great people,” Carroll said. “We will be back.”