|Gothenburg, Kimball girls take wins from Lady Plainsmen last weekend|
by Pastor Vince Carrig
The Lady Plainsmen earned a 35-29 lead after three quarters in Gothenburg, but the Lady Swedes’ three three-point plays and two open cutters took a come-from-behind, 48-42 win away from Perkins County, who lost despite having a fourth quarter lead for the third time in as many games.
Gothenburg guard Ali Abramson woke from an offensive slumber to score five points in the last quarter, including a three pointer. The senior point guard also got a right-handed runner to drop in quadrupling her output in the fourth quarter.
Forward Emily Max led all scorers with 17 points, putting away a lob pass and cutting to an open left block for the Lady Swedes in the fourth quarter.
Gothenburg center Kira Peterson got herself to the line and struck from behind the arc; the senior scored her third three pointer in the fourth quarter and counted four free throws.
Jenni Sis shot extremely well from mid-range and long range for Perkins County, leading the team with 14 points. Her three pointer staked the visitors to a 21-16 lead with 3:07 left in the half.
Perkins County again used a pressing defense and accurate shooting to build leads that swelled to nine points at 18-9 in the second quarter, after Mackenzie Hite drilled a three pointer, Jessi Day stroked two free throws, and Sis put a pass stolen by Brooke Poppe high off the middle of the glass to fuel a quick 7-0 run.
“We have done a nice job of improving from game to game over the last three games,” said Head Coach Chris Mestl after the weekend games. “Specific things like executing offensive sets and playing better defense is what I am pleased with the most.”
But missing seven of nine shots, two of three free throws, and committing four turnovers rarely mixes together into a recipe for crunch-time success. In Gothenburg, it spelled a deficit of 19-7 for the Lady Plainsmen.
“I think two factors that have caused the most fourth quarter troubles for us have been some bad ball handling and too many fouls. If we clean these things up, we should be better off,” said Mestl.
Perkins County sophomore center Tanya Metcalf shone in the third quarter, hitting a turn-around jumper from the foul line in its last seconds to put her team ahead 35-24. The older Metcalf sister also hit two free throws and avoided a swiping steal attempt before swishing a field goal.
Both teams struggled with foul trouble. Gothenburg’s two leading scorers picked up four fouls apiece but managed to stay in the game, as did guard Tabitha Paul. The Plainsmen reached their 10-foul limit each half, pushing the Lady Swedes into “the bonus.”
Brooke Poppe helped dig the Lady Plainsmen out of an early 6-0 hole with a three-pointer and a left-handed layup. Reserve forward Matisyn Humphrey connected on both first quarter free throws the referees offered her.
Kimball forward Kayli Rageth about wore out her spin move off the right block in posting 10 fourth quarter points to help the Lady Longhorns steal a 44-39 come-from-behind win from the Lady Plainsmen Friday night in Grant.
Rageth doubled the scoring output of anyone else on the floor with 22 points. She picked off a pass and scored a breakaway layup in leading Kimball to a 20-8 fourth quarter margin.
Kimball trailed by seven points after three quarters, 31-24.
Reserve senior forward Leslie Burge swished an open jump shot from the right wing to give her Lady Plainsmen that comfortable seven-point, fourth quarter lead.
But two Lady Longhorns reached their highest point totals in the fourth quarter, including forward Cierra Pederson, who got three from an open look at the left side of the arc, and two more after drawing a blocking foul.
Kimball solved the home team’s pressing defense and got some easy baskets as a prize. They also turned up the heat on the Lady Plainsmen’s breakout as the game wore on.
Less-than-accurate shooting, turnovers, and fouls plagued the Lady Plainsmen more in the fourth quarter than at any other time in the game.
Point guard Mackenzie Hite struck for two three pointers in the second half and led Perkins County’s attack with 10 points. The first three she hit gave the Lady Plainsmen a 29-21 lead; she also scored her team’s last three points.
The Lady Plainsmen used a high-pressure defense and flawless free throw shooting to build their 20-16 halftime lead. Brooke Poppe drove hard to the basket and drained all four free throws she earned, and Hite sent a pair through as well.
On the other hand, Kimball missed five of its first eight free throws in the first half, and shot just 40 percent (10-for-25) from the charity stripe.
Perkins County’s hustling, trapping defense took five possessions away from the Lady Longhorns in the first quarter, after which the home team held a 14-10 lead.
The teams traded turnovers and tie-ups in the second quarter, with Kimball forward Jennifer Gompert’s flying layup and Lady Plainsmen Brooke Poppe’s gritty pickup of a loose ball and open bank shot distinguishing the quarter. The teams combined for just 12 points in the second eight-minute span.