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WP heads into post season play with 13-9 record, top seed in subdistricts PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 18 February 2016 00:00

Ellie Lee turns the corner against the Arthur County defender. Lee hit two buzzer beaters and scored 13 points in the game. (Diane Stamm | Johnson Publications)


By Diane Stamm

The Wauneta Breeze


The Wauneta-Palisade girls’ basketball team kept fans on the edges of their seats last week during close games with Maywood-Hayes Center and Arthur County.

WP Coach Matt Cox said both MHC and Arthur County were good teams and MHC was a tough team to face on its home floor.

Friday in Hayes Center, Faith Simpson set the tone with steal and layup on MHC’s second possession. Following a three-pointer by Ellie Lee, the Wolves tied the score at five.

Six-straight points by Simpson kept WP in the lead. Cameo Rector and Colby Cox helped add to that lead and WP ended the first quarter with a 16-13 advantage.

Lee, C. Cox, Rector and Reagan Skow kept the offense clicking in the second quarter with assists on baskets by C. Cox Lee and Simpson.

WP held a 34-18 lead with 2:30 left in the half, but only added a Rector free throw to the total before halftime.

Starting the second half with a 35-23 lead, WP increased the margin to 46-28 thanks to two three-pointers by C. Cox and one by Rector.

The Wolves hung with WP, however, and the Broncos only increased the lead by one.

“The lead was stretched pretty good (in the third quarter),” Coach Matt Cox said. “I slipped some young kids in for the end of the third quarter to try and grab my starters a little rest, and MHC rattled off some quick points. That little run shifted momentum and we just couldn’t get it back in the fourth.”

The fourth quarter was all about the Wolves. By the mid-point of the quarter MHC had cut the lead to 54-45. Two free throws by C. Cox and a Simpson layup eased the pressure, but with two minutes left in the game WP’s lead was 58-52.

A Wolves basket cut the margin to four 58-54 and a C. Cox free throw followed by a Simpson basket ran the lead up to 61-54.

With less than a minute remaining consecutive baskets by MHC cut WP’s lead to three points, 61-58, with 12 seconds left in the game.

One free throw by C. Cox helped WP hold on and win 62-58.

“We were good enough to sneak out a win but we will need to finish games better than that if we are going go deep into the postseason,” Coach Cox said.

Simpson led WP with 26 points, 11 rebounds and six steals.

C. Cox scored 20 points and five assists.

Lee and Skow each scored five points and grabbed six rebounds.

The following night WP hosted Arthur County.

The Broncos got off to a rough start, part of which Coach Cox attributed to the tough game the night before.

“Due to the intense emotional road game on Friday we started very flat on Saturday. We dug ourselves a pretty big hole and I wanted to see how the girls responded without a ton of yelling from me,” Coach Cox said.

Both teams struggled offensively in the first quarter. WP found itself down 3-7 until a C. Cox three-pointer brought WP to within one point. Arthur County closed the quarter with a three-pointer and a four point lead.

In the second quarter, the Broncos were unable to make a field goal until the midway point.

Trailing 10-16, a conventional three-point play by Simpson narrowed the lead to three, but the Wolves rattled off nine points before a second conventional three-point play by Simpson.

Lee’s three-pointer to beat the buzzer made the score 19-27 at halftime.

The teams traded baskets to start the second half, with WP getting a driving basket by Lee and a bucket by Simpson.

Two free throws by C. Cox brought the Broncos to within seven points, 25-32, but Arthur County responded with a decisive run to make the score 27-43. A steal and second buzzer beater by Lee made the score 29-43.

The Broncos’ offense fired up in the fourth quarter, scoring ten quick points, including two three-pointers by Lee.

The Wolves, unfortunately, had an answer for many of the WP baskets and the Broncos were unable to totally overcome the deficit.

With four minutes left in the game WP had narrowed the lead to 48-53 after getting baskets by Simpson, Skow and Rector.

Though WP threatened, the lead was never less than five points, and Arthur County made seven free throws over a two minute span to seal the win.

Simpson scored 26 points. Lee added 13 points.

“We fought back really well but Arthur County was well coached and I would say could have had their best offensive game from a shooting percentage standpoint of the year,” said Coach Cox. “Every time we tried to make a run they would answer with a bucket and we just couldn’t get over the hump.”

The loss ended the Broncos regular season.

WP headed into postseason play with a 13-9 record and the top record in the D2-8 subdistrict.

Tuesday the Broncos beat fourth seeded Eustis-Farnam  in McCook 51-46. The Knights beat Elwood 32-30 Monday.

With a win over 9-12 Eustis-Farnam, WP now plays the winner of Wallace/Hitchcock County Thursday at 6 p.m. MT/7 p.m. CT at the McCook Community College Graff Events Center.

Second-seeded Wallace (11-9) faced third-seeded Hitchcock County (8-11) for the right to  play WP in the subdistrict championship game.