By Tom Southard
Western Nebraska Observer 

2018-19 Lady Longhorns: Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

 

March 14, 2019

Drew Biesecker / For The Observer

When Kate Reader hit the court, all eyes often were on her as she earned a special place in Kimball Longhorn basketball history.

The 2018-19 basketball season for the Kimball High girls wound up with 10 wins and 11 losses, but when we consider the opposition the Lady Longhorns faced throughout the season a lot of credit has to be awarded to the Kimball team.

They suffered an early season loss to Dundy County-Stratton, which finished 2nd in the State D-1 Tournament and highly ranked.

They had a loss to state ranked Class B Sidney, which was a state tournament qualifier. They lost to North Platte St Pats, another State Tournament qualifier that was top ten ranked all season, and they lost to Mitchell, which wound up 4th in the C-1 state tournament and was 25-3 on the season and ranked as high as number one in their class during the season.

They also had a couple of losses to Chase County, another larger class school, and they played Pine Bluffs, a top school in Wyoming rankings to within 2 points before losing.

The Lady Horns scored 980 points, averaging 46.6 points per game, and allowed 964 points and 45.9 points per game. As a team they shot 31% from the field making 289 of 845 2 point attempts for 34%, and 71 of 302 3 point attempts for 24%. At the foul line they were 189 of 318 for 59%. They did a good job on the boards with the height they had averaging 28.7 rebounds per game.

They also had 47 blocks and 249 steals, averaging 11.9 a game. In the assist department, they ended up with 224 for 10.7 a game. One category they would have liked to have improved was turnovers, where they suffered 420 for 20 per game.

The three seniors on this year's team will certainly be missed, especially Kate Reader the tallest player on coach Chauncey Pedersen's roster at 5'10". Kate closed out an outstanding career where she was All Conference and All Region her freshman and sophomore years, but saw her junior season end in the second game when she went down with a serious knee injury that required surgery.

She battled back to prepare herself for her senior year and led the team in scoring with 271 points, averaging 12.9 per game, and was top rebounder with 223 averaging 10.6 per contest. Kate had 30 of the team's 47 blocks, and led the team in steals with 60 and assists with 58. Yes, Miss Reader will be missed!

Madison Wynne was a starting point guard who was a good ball handler who also played tough defense. Her season stats include scoring 50 points, pulling 66 rebounds, 6 blocks, 37 steals, and

38 assists. A good team member with a good attitude.

Lacey Klinkhammer was the other senior member who got off to a slow start her senior year with some injury problems but came on to contribute some key playing time, especially as a defender and rebounder. At 5'8" she could hold her own with taller and larger opponents.


Lacey scored 46 points, had 39 rebounds, 3 blocks, 12 steals and 10 assists. Like Wynne and Reader, she provided leadership and was a team player. With the loss of the three seniors, there goes 367 of their 980 points scored this season and 328 of their 602 rebounds, along with all of the other categories mentioned.

There are some positive returning stats, and all is not lost.

Carli Wurdeman, a 5'5" junior who has played a major role in the success of the Kimball girls the past 3 seasons, will be back after scoring 229 points and averaging 10.9 points a game. She wrote

her name into the school record books with her long range shooting skills ending up with 41 treys including 8 in one game to tie the school record. Despite giving up height, she holds her own rebounding pulling 86 rebounds this season, had 5 blocks, 58 steals and 56 assists. Her basketball skills are many!

Megan Spicer is a returning starter as a sophomore this season who plays the game with gusto. She seldom misses on her left handed drives to the basket. The guard was Kimball's number 3 top scorer with 167 points averaging 8 points per game. She also had 39 rebounds, 38 steals, and 25 assists.

Sydney Biesecker is the other sophomore starter on this year's team, and she provides returning height which is badly needed. Sydney is a good shooter who scored 153 points, averaging 7.3 points a game and she hit 14 treys and shot 66% at the foul line. She was also the second best rebounder with 95 for the year, had 22 steals, and 22 assists.

These 3 returning starters are proven competitors to build around. Other returning varsity players who helped the cause this past season include sophomore Jaydin Paxton, who scored 20 varsity points including 4 treys and played big in the JV games as well.

Payton Wise as a freshman showed lots of talent and had 16 varsity points and 13 rebounds. At 5' 8" she has good quickness and full court speed. Look for Payton to become a very valuable addition to the success of the next three years.

Katie Heeg is yet another freshman who saw lots of playing time with the varsity this season. She has good quickness and court sense. She knows what to do and does it. She ended with 6 varsity points and stood out on defense while pulling 17 rebounds and getting 7 steals.

Raven Johnson was another sophomore who had some varsity stats, although no points scored. She shows a lot of potential and should fit in well.

There are others from junior varsity roster who will stop up next season as well to help the cause.

Coach Pedersen offered up some comments on the season.

"I thought we had a pretty good season," he said. "There were defiantly some games I felt we should have won, and would have liked to finished above 500. I was happy with our finish in the WTC tournament (3rd), as we were picked to finish 6th in the conference at the beginning.

"We had a pretty good nucleus in our starting five. We will have 3 starters returning and lose 2 to graduation and also a top player off the bench in Lacey Klinkhammer. Madison Wynne was not a big scorer, but provided great defense and she will be missed. Kate Reader will be a hard one to replace as she has put herself in the record books in many categories, even after 'missing her junior year to injury."

Pedersen went on to say, "We were able to build a little depth this year, but not near as much as I would have liked to. We do have a lot of young girls that got some varsity time this year and I look forward to seeing them improve due to this. We will need to work hard on our offense and on improving our full court defense. I felt we had improved a lot this year in getting girls to score and had a decent output offensively, but we were not where we needed to be defensively."

 

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