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Lady Jets open MUDECAS with upset

January 8, 2019

The Sterling Lady Jets opened the MUDECAS Tournament with a bang Monday afternoon, upsetting third-seeded Bruning-Davenport-Shickley.

Sixth seeded Sterling won the tournament opener 43-37 over the Lady Eagles, who are ranked No. 4 in Class D2.

With the win, Sterling advances in the winners bracket of the MUDECAS A Division. They will play second-seeded Sacred Heart at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Beatrice City Auditorium.

Sterling’s sharp shooting in the first half allowed them to lead by as many as six points. They did endure a big BDS run in the third and trailed by as many as eight, but fought back strong for the win.

Sterling coach Josh Pfeiffer said he knew this team was capable of pulling off an upset like this.

“We can be as good as we want to be, it just comes down to focus, execution and taking care of the basketball,” Pfeiffer said. “I think we showed flashes of how good we can be. BDS is a really good team and I’m proud of our girls for what they did.”

BDS scored the first two points of the game, but Sterling came back with a three pointer from Malayna Wingert and two free throws by Carly Wenzl to make it 5-2.

The Eagles answered with a basket, but a three pointer by Sydney Huls followed by another three pointer by Wingert extended the Lady Jet lead to 11-4.

BDS scored two straight baskets, but Sterling’s Colby Thies ended the first quarter with two free throws to make it 13-8 after one quarter.

The Eagles opened the second quarter with two straight baskets, but Sterling answered with a three pointer from Wenzl and two free throws by Thies to make it 18-12.

BDS battled back to make it 19-16, but Wenzl’s three pointer made it 22-16. Sterling would lead 22-18 at half time.

BDS fought back to tie it 22-22 early in the third quarter. Thies’ free throw briefly gave the Jets the lead back, but Sterling’s would go cold from the field and BDS took advantage with a 9-0 run to make it 21-23.

Ella Wingert ended the run with a jumper. Huls then got fouled behind the three point line and connected on all three free throws. She then knocked down a three pointer to tie the game.

A basket in the post by Thies gave Sterling a 33-31 lead after three quarters.

BDS quickly regained the lead with a three pointer to open the fourth quarter. Two free throws each by Morgan Haner and Huls gave Sterling the lead back at 37-34.

Another free throw by Malayna Wingert and two free throws by Theis extended the Sterling lead to 40-34 with 3:26 left in the game.

A three point play by BDS got them back within three at 40-37 with 1:04 left. The Eagles’ pressure defense created a few turnovers late, which created opportunities, but Sterling’s defense held strong. Wenzl hit two free throws down the stretch and Thies finished the game off with a free throw to make the final score 43-37.

Pfeiffer said this was a game they probably would have let slip away in previous seasons.

“We are getting older and gaining experience,” Pfeiffer said. “We’ve really been working on being physically and mentally tougher and I think we showed some toughness down the stretch.”

That was never more true than when his team responded to falling behind by eight points in the third quarter.

“We bounced back, made a run and re-claimed the lead and we were then able to hold onto it,” Pfeiffer said.

Wenzl led the way for Sterling with 16 points while Thies had 12. Malayna Wingert had sven points, Sydney Huls had five points and Ella Wingert and Morgan Haner had two points each.

Pfeiffer said his team has struggled at times knocking down shots this season, so they’ve been working on it often. It paid off against BDS. The Jets knocked down six three pointers in the game and were solid from the free throw line.

“We’ve been working on it and we know everybody misses shots,” Pfeiffer said. “We are better shooters than what we’ve shown on film, so we just tell the girls to keep shooting and they’ll eventually start falling.”

Jordyn Klenischmidt and Macy Kamler led the way for BDS with 14 points each. Regan Alfs had five points while Raegan Fiala and Taylor Sliva had two points each.

BDS falls to the loser’s bracket and will play seventh-seeded Johnson-Brock Friday at 8 p.m. at the Truman Center of the Southeast Community College campus.

Sacred Heart 45, Johnson-Brock 21

Falls City Sacred Heart girls coach Luke Santo picked up his 300th career win Monday night in the first round of the MUDECAS Tournament.

The second-seeded Irish downed the seventh-seeded Eagles 45-21 to advance in the A Division. They will play sixth-seeded Sterling in the semifinals at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Beatrice City Auditorium.

Erison Vonderschmidt led the way for Sacred Heart with 11 points while Rachel Magdanz had 10, Elizabeth Keithley had eight, Randee Witt had six, McKenzie Witt had four and Lauren Malone, Danielle Bippes and Emma Littrel had two each’

Santo is in his 13th season as the Irish head coach and has compiled a 300-42 record, which is an 87.7% winning percentage. He has coached the Irish to three state titles and they have only missed state one time during his tenure.

Johnson-Brock was led Jordan Koehler’s nine points while Jayse Koehler had six and Hailey Sandfort, Elizabeth Hodges and Taylor Buchmeier had two each.

The Lady Eagles will play a loser’s bracket game on Friday at 8 p.m. against BDS at the Truman Center at SCC.

Exeter-Milligan 31, Meridian 28

Top-seeded Exeter-Milligan fended off Meridian’s upset attempt in the first round of the MUDECAS Tournament.

The Lady Timberwolves defeated eighth-seeded Meridian 31-28 to advance in the A Division.

Meridian led 5-3 after the first quarter, but Exeter-Milligan gained a 13-9 lead at half time. They maintained a 20-14 lead after three quarters and held on for the 31-28 win.

Exeter-Milligan was led b y Kate Jansky’s 11 points while Emma Olsen had seven, Jaiden Papik had five, Cameran Jansky had four and Katherine White and Alexis Turrubiates had two each.

Meridian was led by Josiee Sobotka’s 23 points while Halle Pribyl had three and Andi Kort had two.

With the win, Exeter-Milligan advances to the semifinals. They plat at 5 p.m. Thursday night against the winner of Monday’s late game between fourth-seeded Freeman and fifth-seeded Southern. That game wasn’t over by press time Monday night.

Meridian will play the loser of Southern/Freeman at 6:30 p.m. Friday at SCC.

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