The Wildcats take on the Discoverers

The Millard West Girls Varsity Basketball team faces off against Columbus in the second to last game of their season


The Wildcats have worked hard all season to improve their shots and grow closer as a team. They took advantage of some opportunities in this game and were able to trust each other to come out with a win. “We did well on improving our shots and trusting our team,” junior Emmy Holl said. “The shots we put up gave us just enough to stay ahead throughout the game.”

Garrett Wilcoxen, Staff Reporter

On Thursday, Feb. 18, the Millard West Varsity Girls Basketball team competed against the Columbus Discoverers in a home game. The Wildcats had been on a losing streak and needed a win in this game to gain some confidence back.

The game started off quick with the Wildcats winning the tip and driving the ball down the court. After a few short passes, the ball was in the hands of senior Laney Schipper, and she made a layup. This was followed by several missed shots by each team, until the Discoverers took advantage of a two on one opportunity and tied the score at two to two. After this, the Wildcats and Discoverers stepped up each of their defenses, not allowing the other team to put up uncontested shots for two minutes. The Wildcats broke this streak when junior Gwen Stocker shot an underhand layup and made the score 8-6 Millard West lead. 

With less than two minutes left in the quarter, the Wildcats were starting to pick up more ground on Columbus. After a steal by the Discoverers and a missed shot, sophomore McKenna Scholting knocked down a three. Following this came a shooting foul by the Wildcats which gave the Discoverers two shots, and Columbus made both to ultimately end the quarter with a score of 11-8.

“After the first quarter, I felt good we were finally winning for once,” Scholting said. “We always go into games with positive mindsets, and in this game, we made less errors along with stepping up our defense. We have all worked together to be trusting of one another this season, and this led to more points.”

The second quarter began with Columbus player junior Taylor Braun getting a double dribble penalty, and then Wildcat sophomore Grace Kelley banking a three. Directly after this play, there was a jump ball giving possession back over to the Wildcats, but not for long. Following this, there was a foul and then two more jump balls which ultimately placed the ball back in the hands of the Wildcats. Fortunately for Millard West, the Columbus full court press failed and gave Schipper a one on one opportunity to score. She capitalized on this chance and gave the Discoverers an eight point deficit. 

Columbus and Millard West then both bricked shots, and with three minutes and 45 seconds left, the Discoverers were able to hit a mid range step back jumper, decreasing the Wildcats lead by two points. Soon after, both teams started to loosen up on defense, letting each other score several times. Millard West was in the lead with one minute left by seven points. In the last minutes of the quarter, a Discoverer fouled a Wildcat and ultimately gave their team a bigger deficit. Millard West was able to put up one more shot before halftime, and going into the third quarter, the score was 26-18.

“In the second quarter, I was feeling confident in our team because we were putting in a lot of hustle,” junior Emmy Holl said. “Our team has gotten a lot closer and more trusting, and we are working well together now during the games, although we could have improved by attempting more steals and causing more turnovers.”

The third quarter began with the Wildcats in possession of the ball, and after a pass by sophomore Elizabeth Hoffman, Schipper was able to make an easy layup. Directly after the shot was put up, the Wildcats fouled a Discoverer player in the lane but were able to intercept the inbound pass. Following this, Holl was able to drive in for an AND1 layup. On the Discoverers next drive down the court, Columbus player junior Logan Kapels airballed a three and gave Millard West possession back. 

Columbus, soon after, started to lose their defensive motivation, allowing an easily blocklable shot to be put up in the paint, creating a 15 point Wildcat lead. Shortly following the Wildcat shot, Braun knocked down a three pointer for the Discoverers, and Columbus senior Rebecca Hazlett hit a quick mid range shot. This shortened the Wildcat advantage to ten points. After a missed Wildcat shot, Columbus was able to get a fast drive and lessen the lead to eight before a Millard West timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the Wildcats and Discoverers each scored a two point shot, and then the Wildcats ran out the clock with possession of the ball.

“After the third quarter, I walked over to the bench and told my teammates to not let up,” senior Reese Peterson said. “We had a lead, but I wanted to put them away early so we didn’t have to worry about them having a chance to come back.”

The final quarter started with Holl making an unselfish play by assisting Schipper in the lane for two points. Following the assist, the Discoverers and Wildcats went to the line on their next plays. Columbus completed one free throw, whereas the Wildcats made two. Soon after, Millard West was able to get the ball back and Hoffman was able to knock down a bucket in lockdown defense. The pass in on the next play was intercepted by Schipper and put up for another two Wildcat points. 

With another 15 point Wildcat lead, the Discoverers would have to make up lots of ground in the five remaining minutes to stay in the game. Unfortunately for Columbus, Millard West was able to secure the ball, and Hoffman knocked down a three making it significantly more difficult for the Discoverers. After two Discoverer shots that were completed, the Wildcats drove the ball back down the court and got their final points of the night. Columbus was able to score once more before the game ended with a score of 50-38 Wildcats.

“At the start of the fourth quarter we had a eight point lead, so we really wanted to put our foot down and finish it,” coach Marc Kruger said. “McKenna Scholting gave us a big lift off the bench with her 11 points and three steals that helped us win the game. Also, we have all benefited from great leadership of our seniors, Laney Schipper and Reese Peterson.”

The Wildcats will be back in action on Tuesday, Feb. 23, against Lincoln Southwest for a District game. The Silver Hawks are 17-2 which will put up a good challenge for the 5-16 Millard West Wildcats.