Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Lady Horns return several game changers


Desyree Nelson

The 2016 Lady Longhorn basketball team is pictured above. Front row from left are, Sierra Rutledge, Justine Heeg, Lila Moore, Bailie Brower and KayLynn Nelson. Middle row from left are Nicole Delaplane, Sheridan Magninie, Madison Wynne, Lacey Klinkhammer and Carli Wurdeman. Back row from left are Jenna Greenwood, Shauntae Daily, Alex Reader, Hannah Biesecker, Kate Reader and Jannel Fiehtner.

The Lady Longhorns return veteran coach Chauncey Pedersen as they look to build on last year's 17-7 record as WTC and regular season runner-up and SPVA champions. Kimball has lead the region in team free throw percentage for the last two years.

Kimball returns several key players including Alex Reader, a 5'8" junior who was named Western Trails Conference and SPVA All-Conference, as well as, Nebraska State Athletic Association All-State, Omaha World Herald All-State Honorable Mention and Star Herald All Region 4th team.

This dynamic athlete scored 11 points per game on average, pulled in an average of 3.7 rebounds with two steals on average and 2.3 assists as a sophomore. She set the school record with most treys in a season last year with 55.

Kate Reader also returns as a Lady Horns starter. The 5'10" sophomore earned 11.2 points per game on average as a freshman and led the team in rebounds with 8.1 per game. She was credited with 2.9 steals and 1.8 assists per game on average as well.

Not to be outdone, the younger Reader sister received Western Trails Honorable Mention, All Conference SPVA, OWH Class C-1 All-State Honorable Mention, Lincoln Journal Star Class C-1 All-State Honorable Mention and Star-Herald All Region Honorable Mention.

The team returns several letter earners as well, including senior Jannel Fiehtner, 5'8, senior Shauntae Daily, 5'10, and juniors Hannah Biesecker, 5'10" and Justine Heeg, 5'6.

The Lady Horns will face plenty of competition this year, according to Pedersen.

"Both the WTC and SPVA is loaded with plenty of talent this year. Our toughest competition in the WTC will be Hemingford, Mitchell, and Gordon/Rushville," Pedersen said. "All three teams return a number of starters and experience. Our toughest competition in the SPVA will be North Platte St. Pat's and Chase County as they both return plenty of experience and returning starters."

Hemingford is ranked first in the sub-district right ahead of Kimball and returns top regional performers Brooke Turek, Natalie Gasseling and Faith Rohrbouck.

Mitchell, ranked first in Western Trails, will return three top performers, as well, in Celeste Cardona, Jori Peters and Keyana Wilfred.

"We will have a very tough schedule this year, as both conferences will be very strong with plenty of talent returning. We were hit hard with graduation last season and will be very young. With only two returning starters, Alex Reader and Kate Reader, who we will rely heavily on at the beginning of the season," Pedersen said. "We will also look to our three seniors, although they don't have a lot of varsity experience, they will provide us with great leadership. We will look to develop some younger players and set goals to improve every game, hoping to peak at the right time."


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