The Wildcats out shoot the Islanders

Girls varsity basketball has success in a conference game


Jetta Hoffner

One of the main reasons the Wildcats have been able to improve their ball movement is through communication with one another. Throughout the season, the team has bonded more which has led to a more dependent game for the players. “Going into the game I feel we trusted each other more and that led to smarter decisions,” sophomore Makenna Scholting said. “Throughout our season we have all got to know each other a little better on a friendship level, and that definitely helps our gameplay.”

Garrett Wilcoxen, Staff Reporter

On Saturday, January 16, the Millard West Girls Varsity Basketball team faced off against the Grand Island Islanders in an away game. The Wildcats have had a slow start to the season so far and needed a win to turn their season around.

The first quarter started off fast for the Wildcats, scoring right off the bat. Throughout the quarter, the Wildcats defense was on point as they held the Islanders to one basket. Junior Ava Martin was able to get two defensive rebounds along with senior Reese Peterson getting four throughout the game. They also scored 16 of their own points, most taking place early in the quarter.

“Going into the game, we knew that, if we focused on us, we could start fast and win the game,” senior Reese Peterson said. “Although we got the start we expected, we all need to work on playing man defense, not zone. This season, we have been focusing on zone, and this gave us a good idea of something we need to work on in the future.”

The second quarter began with the Wildcats leading by 15 points. The Islanders were unable to stop Millard West’s top scorers, senior Laney Schipper and sophomore Libby Hoffman, who had a combined 23 points in the game. The Wildcats were able to put up 22 points in the quarter, along with holding Grand Island once again to one score. This gave Millard West a 35 point lead.

“I was feeling very excited at halftime,” sophomore Makenna Scholting said. “We improved our screening from previous games, along with offering help and getting open in important situations.”

After halftime, the Wildcats came out strong but lacked the speed they played with in the first half. The beginning of the quarter was slower than either of the first quarters for Millard West, but they made up for it near the end. They ended up scoring 13 points along with holding a strong defensive side, letting one basket up.

“I felt like we did a good job of not playing down to their level, although 13 turnovers against a team that didn’t press and a running clock in the 2nd half is way too many,” coach Marc Kruger said. “At halftime we talked about rebounding the ball better, and in the second half, we improved that. Grand Island is a team we should have beat ten out of ten times, and I was happy with how the night went.”

The final quarter of the game began with Grand Island’s team showing promise. They outplayed the Wildcats in many different situations, creating opportunities for their team to score, even though they were playing against the Wildcats substitutions. The Islanders were able to score six points, while holding Millard West to eight. Fortunately for the Wildcats, this didn’t create a problem considering they were up 45 points at the time. The game ended with a score of 59-12 Wildcats.

“Overall, we played good team basketball, shot free throws well, and our pressing was good throughout the game,” Peterson said. “This season has been different because we are a fairly new team, and I think we have done a good job coming together and staying together when times are tough.”

Hoffman was able to put up 13 points in the game, three of which being three-point shots. Along with this, she shot 71% from the field and had one rebound. Schipper had 10 points in the game, and all five shots were from inside the arch. She shot 83% from the field and got three rebounds and one steal.

“We did well at moving the ball and taking advantages in mismatches, although we could have slowed down and taken better shots,” Hoffman said. “Throughout the season, our team chemistry has been built up a lot, which helps us communicate and play better together on the court.”

The Wildcats have another district matchup on Saturday, January 30. They will face off in an away game against Burke at 5:30 p.m.