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The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

Can’t be beat

The girls varsity basketball team beats Millard North for a second time
Jaclyn Johnson
Inbounding the ball, senior Taylor Hansen looks for a teammate to pass to. On Feb. 2, #1 Millard West took on the #2 team Millard North. “We knew it was going to be a fun game with it being a Millard rivalry as well as it being LadyCat night and there were a lot of people to cheer us on,” Hansen said. “It made for such a fun atmosphere and we really thrived off the energy throughout the game.”

On Friday, Feb. 2, the Wildcats took on the Mustangs at home for the second time. Millard West has held their number one title for the past eight weeks with Millard North at a close second.

At the start of quarter one, junior Neleigh Gessert won the tip off. With strong rebounds from sophomore Kylee Paben and junior Norah Gessert, the Wildcats held a three point lead by the end of the first quarter. 

“After playing them in the Metro tournament and beating them by 15, we knew they were a good team and would do anything to win,” senior Taylor Hansen said. “On defense we just had to play tough, get our hands up on the shooters and close the gaps in the lane. We prepared for them by practicing against their defenses we knew they would run, breaking the press and strong ball handling. Ultimately we knew if we played our best basketball and were confident we would be fine.”

During the second quarter, Millard West battled tough defense but still managed to keep a lead. Senior Brooke Wenninghoff and Paben helped tremendously when dishing out assists, getting rebounds and steals that all led to extra buckets. At the half, the Cats held them to only 16 points with a 16 point lead. 

“We knew we had to make smart plays while also being efficient on the offensive end but shutting them down on the defensive end and that was what really helped us to gain such a lead,” Paben said. “On offense we had to do different things to get open. For example, to get open threes we would set flare screens or I would fill in behind people that drove to the hoop so they would draw the defense along with them and I would be left open. When driving the lane you have to see the court and be aware when the line is open so you can drive.”

Paben scored 14 points being the second leading scorer of the game right behind Neleigh Gessert with 16 points. As a taller team, the Wildcats were able to block more shots and contest shots in the lane along with at the three point line. At the end of the third, the Wildcats held a 28 point lead over the Mustangs. 

“As a player I had to help by really handling the pressure and bringing the ball up efficiently,” Norah Gessert said. “Even when we are winning by a lot, I think our team does a really good job of staying humble and going by our team motto ‘Never Satisfied’. Beating the number two team was a statement that we can beat anyone when we play at a really high level throughout the rest of the season.”

By the end of the fourth quarter, four out of the five starters hit double digits in points with Neleigh Gessert at 16, Paben at 14, senior Callie Ott at 13 and Hansen with 11. Norah Gessert also hit nine points. Wenninghoff played a key role in assists and getting the ball up the court along with a bucket herself. The final score was 63-51. The Wildcats remain at a 17-1 season, proving themselves as unbeatable among teams in Nebraska.

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About the Contributor
Delaney Lueck
Delaney Lueck, Features Editor
Delaney is a senior and this is her first year on the CATalyst staff, but third year with journalism. In Yearbook, she has had a past role of Copy-Editor. Outside of journalism, Delaney enjoys taking pictures, spending time with friends, traveling, being with family, and being a part of the track team.

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