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

Injuries play havoc with Lady Longhorns season


Drew Biesecker for the Western Nebraska Observer

Justine Heeg

After a good summer of camps and league play, the excitement and expectations for the 2017-18 Kimball High Girls Basketball hit a snag and thanks to some very key injuries. With Alex Reader back for her senior year and with sister, Kate Reader, ready to go for her junior season and with a pretty solid supportive cast, Coach Chauncey Pedersen had thoughts of post season honors.

Alex Reader had missed most all of her junior season thanks to a serious knee injury that required major surgery, so she was sitting on go for her senior year. Alex, and sister Kate, were both All Conference and All Region players from their frosh years and up. The season started the right way with a win over a very good and state-ranked, Potter-Dix team, and following a loss to Dundy County-Stratton, the Lady Horns reeled off two more wins and went to 3-2 and 4-2 before things started going bad.

Alex blew out the knee again, and sister Kate followed with the same type of injury, and both were lost for the year. Senior Kaylyn Nelson went out with a serious concussion and never got back. Sheridan Magninie, a junior, had a back problem that cancelled her out. Freshman, Sam Bemis, sat out several games with a knee problem, and several other girls were lost for periods of time with various injuries. As a result, Kimball finished up with only 6 wins and had 16 disappointing losses.

Hannah Biesecker and Justine Heeg were the only two seniors who finished out the season and both contributed greatly and will be missed greatly next season. Biesecker was All Western Trails Conference and Heeg was Honorable Mention. Biesecker was top scorer on the season with 175 points, averaging 8 per game and charted 94 rebounds, second only to Heeg with her 100 on the year. Heeg also scored 119 points and averaged 5.4. While Alex Reader played in only 7 games, she ended up with 77 points, averaging 11 per game, so a big void to fill with those three gone.

Kate Reader played in only two games and scored 30 points to average 15 just to show you the importance of her loss for playing time. Hopefully, she will be able to rehab and come back strong next year for her senior campaign.

Coach Pedersen said, "It was truly unfortunate with all of our injuries, but it put us in a position where lots of our young players were forced into varsity roles and got lots of experience and playing time."

Carli Wurdeman, a sophomore who had some starting experience even as a freshman, also received Honorable Mention All Conference, and she had some pretty good stats this year. She was second in scoring with 141 points, had 59 rebounds, 22 steals and 31 assists. Sydney Biesecker, a freshman, scored 69 points and had 59 rebounds. Jenna Greenwood, a sophomore, had 42 points and 39 rebounds. Megan Spicer, a freshman, had 41 points. Madison Wynne, a junior, had 38 points, 64 rebounds, 25 steals and 31 assists. Sam Bemis, a freshman, had 36 points and 39 rebounds, despite playing in only 13 games. Lacey Klinkhammer, a junior, had 29 points and 28 rebounds and she also missed some games with injury.

Drew Biesecker for the Western Nebraska Observer

Alex Reader

As a team, Kimball did not shoot the ball well, averaging just over 36 points a game. They shot 26% from the field and almost as good on 3-point attempts, where they were at 23%. From the foul line they were 52%. This needs to improve. They did a fair job on the boards, averaging over 25 rebounds a game, along with, 7 steals and 7 assists per game. The 23 turnovers per game needs to improve also.

In looking at next season, Coach Pedersen commented, "We need to put in some time working on our games in the off season. We need to come back with better shooters and better ball handling. We also need to get in the weight room and get stronger. Next season we are going to need some of our younger players to step up and take leadership roles."


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