Watseka makes most of new strategy
BISMARCK — The plan of attack has changed for the Watseka High School girls’ basketball team.
A year ago, the Warriors had three 6-footers and emphasized the inside portion of their offensive arsenal.
Those players are gone, but a program that was state-ranked last winter is still among the premier Class 2A teams. The emphasis has shifted.
Watseka had four players hit three-pointers in the first half Friday in a 56-25 win over North Vermillion (Ind.).
“We spend a lot of practice time with everyone shooting three-pointers so that no one is uncomfortable there,” coach Rebecca Swigert said. “We have some brand-new players, but I have confidence in this group.”
Her feelings are based on the veteran returnees: four-year starter Devin Curry and three-year regulars Taylor Bauer and Natalie Castonguay.
Curry — an All-Area first-teamer last winter as a junior — scored 16 points against the Falcons as did Bauer, who hit 4 of 5 three-point attempts.
A 5-foot-6 guard, Curry also cleared a game-high 14 rebounds, 13 after missed shots by North Vermillion.
The Warriors (12-2) clinched a berth in today’s 5 p.m. championship game against Shiloh by virtue of a 52-30 triumph against Salt Fork. Castonguay (14 points), Bauer (13 points) and Curry (11 points) led the way.
Unity 30, Westville 26. The Rockets pulled out the win thanks to a game-ending 9-0 run that featured five points from Taylor Renfroe, who was 3 for 3 overall against the Tigers.
“Taylor is a prime example of being ready when your number is called,” Unity coach Kelly Gallick said. “She’s our point guard on the JV team but provided us great minutes. She is very determined to be successful.”
Unity had to go deep on its bench as two starters fouled out. McKenzie Martin led the Rockets with eight points and eight rebounds. Unity plays Villa Grove/Heritage in today’s seventh-place game at 11:30 a.m.
Westville’s Adrianne Pate had a double-double (13 points, 12 boards). The Tigers and North Vermillion play in the 10 a.m. game for ninth place.
Bismarck-Henning 34, Villa Grove/Heritage 23. Lindsey Andrews and Maddie Winkler each had 11 points to lead B-H, which took control with a 19-2 run to start the game. Winkler shot the ball five times and made all attempts, including a three-pointer.
“Scoring is a bonus,” B-H coach Mike Stephens said. “Her value is as a leader out front. She has done a great job at point guard. She makes calls about what teams are in defensively.”
B-H’s Jessica Hall had five rebounds. Laura Cler led VG/Heritage with eight points. She had four rebounds, as did Micaela Childress.
Salt Fork 39, Villa Grove/Heritage 28. It was the type of game that Storm coach Jeff Carleton enjoys. Nine of his players had points and eight had rebounds against the Blue Devils.
“I want even balance,” he said. “It’s what we’ve been striving for the last three years. We have a solid group of role players but no superstars.”
Jenny Kimbro had 11 points. Logan Sanford had seven rebounds.
Carleton believes Kalyn Learnard’s return Thursday from a shoulder injury suffered in volleyball will solidify the point guard position.
“She’s a big leader emotionally and makes things happen,” said Carleton, whose squad plays Seeger (Ind.) in today’s fifth-place game at 1 p.m.
Alix Ezell led VG/Heritage with 14 points. She had eight rebounds, one behind team leader Elissa Baxter.
Shiloh 34, Unity 23. Shayne Smith scored 12 points and Lauren Moses had 10 for the Raiders, who held Unity to nine first-half points. Hannah Stone’s 10 points led the Rockets.
Shiloh 49, Fisher 38. The Raiders totaled 10 baskets but used a 20-6 edge from the free throw line to beat the Bunnies. Smith had 21 points. She hit three first-quarter three-pointers and 8 of 12 free throws thereafter. Jessica Hunt had 11 points. Caitlin Cole led Fisher with 10 points.
Seeger 47, Westville 18. Jicee Lacey, Shannon Lutchka, Ariel Prater and Mikayla Rolinitis each finished with four points for the Tigers.
Fisher 56, Seeger 39. Hannah Varner had 17 points as the Bunnies dealt Seeger its first loss. Cole had 13 points and Olivia Heffernan 11 points.
Bismarck-Henning 44, North Vermillion 24. Andrews and Addie Voyles each scored 13 points to spark the Blue Devils, who will face Fisher in today’s 3:30 p.m. third-place game. Brooke Walsh had 10 points.