|Lady Broncs beat Falcons, win subdistrict|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Thursday, 24 February 2011 20:01|
WP to face Brady for district title with state just one win away
By Josh Sumner
The Wauneta Breeze
In a season laden with hard luck as well as rare feats, the Wauneta-Palisade girls basketball team (16-8) is just a game away from the dance.
After defeating Hitchcock County (19-6) in an instant classic 52-48 to take the D2-10 subdistrict, the Wau-Pal Lady Broncos need only one more win to find themselves in the state tournament.
But don’t tell WP Head Coach Roger Lauhead how good of a job he’s done. The modest coach, who has coached his team to the district title game after an 0-4 start, doesn’t want the credit.
“In the end, it’s the players who have to get the job done,” said Lauhead. “A coach can only do so much.”
Basketball fans in southwest Nebraska were treated to a gem of a ballgame when WP locked up with HC last Thursday at neutral Chase County gymnasium. A packed house witnessed a thriller of a game that featured two of the best players in the area: Hitchcock County’s Laramey Lewis and Wauneta-Palisade’s Bethany Riener.
In the beginning, the two all-conference standouts went mono-a-mono.
Wau-Pal’s Bethany Riener (No. 20), at right, takes the ball down the sideline against Wallace, as she singlehandedly breaks the Wildcat press in the opening round of subdistrict play. (Wauneta Breeze Photos | Josh Sumner)
Lewis scored 11 of her team’s first 13 points on her way to a 17-point first half. Coupling her ability to shoot the 3-pointer with a knack for penetrating, Lewis scored at will.
Meanwhile, Riener kept up the pace for the Lady Broncs by scoring 8 of her 16 points in the first quarter, including a 30-foot heave to beat the buzzer. The heroic shot electrified the crowd and gave Wau-Pal a 1-point first quarter lead.
The Lady Broncos failed to capitalize on the momentum, however, as HC outscored WP 13-4 in the second quarter to take a 26-18 halftime lead.
Controlling Lewis in the first half was a major chore for Wau-Pal. So, Coach Lauhead changed the strategy. At the start of the third quarter, the Lady Broncs consistently ran a box-and-1 defense, which meant keeping an extra defender on Lewis at all times. Lauhead gave freshman Abbie Fanning the job.
“Abbie is really the only player we have that has the speed to keep up with her,” said Lauhead. Fanning helped to hold Lewis to only 6 points in the second half.
All three Lady Bronco freshmen played prolonged minutes in the second half of the game — often times together. A rotation consisting of seniors Jenae Bischoff and Laura Rundback split major minutes with Fanning and fellow freshmen Tailor Lee and Brooklyn Nordhausen throughout the third quarter.
Lady Bronco Jenae Bischoff (No. 30), at center, goes hard to the rim for 2 of her 13 points against Hitchcock County.
The plan worked to perfection, as the group hung strong, and allowed starters Riener, Shelby Hamilton and Sheyla Christner to catch their breath heading into the final quarter.
“I’ve got to give those freshmen a lot of credit,” said Lauhead. “They really wanted to be on the floor, and they worked hard.”
Entering the fourth quarter, the Lady Broncos found themselves down by 6. A steal and score by Riener proceeded 5 quick points from Hamilton, who hit four 3-pointers on the night.
The rest of the game felt like a free throw shooting contest, with each team going a perfect 6-6 in the waning minutes.
A pair of makes by Bischoff gave WP the lead, followed by a couple from Riener to ice it.
Bischoff lived up to her coach’s expectations, going 4-5 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, and scoring 13 points in the game.
Riener finished with a team-high 16 points, while Hamilton and Christner scored 14 and 9, respectively.
Lady Broncs to play Brady for district championship
Wau-Pal travels to Wallace to play Brady (19-4) tomorrow night (Friday) with a trip to state on the line.
The Lady Broncos are 1-1 this season against Brady. They lost their first game of the season 51-39 to Brady on Dec. 3 before beating them 58-47 on Dec. 28.
Start time for the championship game is 6 p.m. MT/7 p.m. CT.
Jayvee girls split at Dundy County-Stratton
The Wau-Pal girls junior varsity basketball team lost to Hayes Center 29-20 before winning 27-18 over host-team DCS in last weekend’s JV tournament.
Brooklyn Nordhausen scored 9 points in the loss to Hayes Center, while Emma Skelton led the Lady Broncos with 6 points over DCS.