By Dave Faries

Kimball Girls Survive Late Tigers Challenge, Improve To 9-2


Michele Daum

Danika Daum stretches for a rebound. The freshman led the way with 16 points and 6 boards.

At times on Tuesday night the Longhorns amassed leads comfortably in the double digits. Basketball, however, is game that rewards persistence—and there is one fact everyone in red and white agreed on.

“They’re a good team,” Danika Daum said of the visiting Tigers. “They’re fast.”

That Kimball held on the claim a 62-56 win had much to do with surprising touch from the line down the stretch and a few critical shots that stretched a lead here or stemmed a Mitchell rally there.

Early in the fourth quarter, Kelly Green corralled a Darbi Klinkhammer pass and banged it off the glass to maintain an 11 point margin. The visitors answered with two and a bonus. But a resurgent Taylor Wismer peeled around the top of the key, found some space and launched a three.

The ball clanged off the rim, shot high into the air and dropped through.

“My shots were falling,” she said after an 11 point night, “but that one might have been lucky.”

Or fortuitous—the Tigers responded with a 6-0 run, four coming from the always dangerous Chalsey Grentz.

Daum interrupted the spree, hitting from inside the paint and tacking on a bonus.

Kady Lower kept Mitchell in play, but Shelby Vogel’s high arching jumper from an assist by Jessica Hanks and a long two from just inside the arc by Daum fended off the threat, at least momentarily.

Kimball led by 9 with 3:40 to go, but Grantz and the Tigers closed to within reach. With 2:39 left, head coach Ken Smith called for a stall. The Longhorns erased more than a minute from the clock before Havannah Newens forced a turnover and drove for a layup, making the score 58-53.

Forced to foul, Mitchell sent Wismer to the line with just 51 seconds remaining. The diminutive guard drained both shots.

“I knew Smith would be mad if I missed,” she said with a laugh. “The shots went in—thank goodness.”

Free throws have been a problem for Smith’s charges all year. On Tuesday, however, Klinkhammer nailed 8 of 10, Wismer was a perfect 5 of 5 and the team notched 14 of 18.

“That’s our best free throw mark in two years,” the coach observed.

Amber Kilgore provided an important boost in the first half, recording 8 points—6 in the second quarter.

“We had to be aggressive,” she said of the run.

“It was a big win for us,” Smith acknowledged, adding that Brooke Hager’s steady play off the bench was also key.

The Longhorns visit Pine Bluffs on Friday night before returning home Saturday.

Michele Daum

Darbi Klinkhammer


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