Girls Basketball: Threes rain early, concern late
Both sides saw things they liked, things they didn’t like and, one, in particular, walked away with some slight concern for the future.
Columbus High and Scotus Central Catholic girls basketball went head-to-head Saturday afternoon in a jamboree, also known as a scrimmage, inside the CHS gym days away from tipping off the regular season.
The Discoverers were hot early but eventually cooled off against a group of Shamrocks that proved to be slightly more consistent.
For SCC though, the major storyline might be the future of returning all-state player Bailey Lehr, who went down with a knee injury in the first quarter. She spent the rest of the afternoon with that knee wrapped in ice and left CHS on crutches.
Scotus opens the new season following last year’s state championship on Thursday at home against Hastings St. Cecilia. Columbus does the same the following night, also at home against Beatrice.
“We have a lot of kids with inexperience. Coming out, I thought we did a lot of nice things offensively and defensively,” Scotus coach Jarrod Ridder said. “We’re walking away pleased with how we performed today.”
The Shamrocks were led by sophomore Camille Pelan with 12 points, while junior Amber Buhman was right behind her with 11. Lehr scored seven in her limited action.
Columbus led 15-12 after the first but trailed at half 22-21. Scotus then began to slowly pull away, taking a 31-26 advantage into the fourth where the Rocks eventually finished the game up 43-33.
“We started playing with a little more urgency defensively and getting out on shooters as the game went on,” Ridder said. “That’s just one of the learning curves we’ve got to go through early in the season.”
All 21 Discoverer points in the first half came from the 3-point line.
Aspen Luebbe led CHS with eight points while Lauren Benck had seven.
“I loved this preseason game. It’s fun to play a quality team like they are that plays solid defense like they do and runs their offense really well. Even though it’s early, you’ve kind of got to be on your game to play with them,” Columbus coach David Licari said. “I was really happy with a lot of the things we did today.”
Licari was most interested to see how his group carried over execution from practice to game speed. Although Scotus graduated a large chunk of its title team from a year ago, Licari knew the Shamrocks remained a tough test that would reveal more about his team.
There were some rust and some sloppy play, but he said he felt those miscues had more to do with first-game jitters than anything else. In terms of compete level, he was encouraged with what he witnessed.
“I thought we got some pretty good looks. Some of that, even though you work super hard in the first two weeks and you condition and do all those things, we still, I think, got a little bit tired and then those shots just don’t fall,” he said. “As far as being open or not, our looks were just as good in the second half as they were in the first half.”
Although Licari was happy with everyone, he mentioned Osmunda Izaguirre as a player who has made a big jump from a year ago.
“A lot of girls did a lot of positive things,” he said. “The nice thing is, we found out about a lot of things we can still get better at.”
Ridder viewed the Shamrocks from a similar position. Eight seniors left little room for more than one or two others to contribute to last year’s run.
“We have a lot of talented kids who haven’t had the chance to play at the varsity level,” he said. “So I’m not surprised we came out and played well.”
A young group was always going to be asked to come together and find a chemistry as quickly as possible. That may be even more important depending on what Lehr finds out Monday once her knee is scanned.
“Any time you have an athlete who has a knee injury, you’re always concerned about what it could potentially be,” Ridder said. “She’s got a great future ahead of her, and we’ve got to keep that in mind also. But we don’t know. We’ll see how that goes.”
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com