MHC held to season-low point total in 27-18 district final loss

Monday, February 26, 2018
Jayden Widener (23) drives past a Sandhills-Thedford defender for a layup during the second quarter of Friday’s D2-5 District final at Gothenburg High School. Widener led MHC with 11 points, but the Lad Wolves fell to the Lady Knights 27-18.
Gabe Gauthier/McCook Gazette

GOTHENBURG, Neb. -- Points were at a premium at Gothenburg High School.

Unfortunately for Maywood-Hayes Center, the Lady Wolves came up on the wrong end of a defensive battle.

Held to its lowest offensive outing of the season, MHC shot just 13 percent in a 27-18 loss to Sandhills/Thedford in Friday’s D2-5 District final.

“We couldn’t find the bucket,” MHC head coach Kim Stengel said. “We had the shots we wanted and were getting them where we wanted them, but we couldn’t get the finishes.”

MHC put up 47 shot attempts, almost double Sandhills/Thedford’s 28 tries, but the Lady Wolves only made six field goals. A big factor, according to Stengel, was Sandhills/Thedford’s strong defense.

“They caused us a lot of problems in the paint, which is where a lot of our points come from. It was a tough, defensive game.”

Heading into Friday’s district final, MHC averaged 58 points per game on the season. But Friday’s game had a much different look early on.

Gothenburg’s public address announcer called the first quarter a “pitchers’ dual,” as MHC held a slight 4-2 advantage after eight minutes.

Sandhills/Thedford, however, came charging back with its strongest quarter. The Lady Knights outscored MHC 10-3 in the frame to take a 12-7 lead at halftime.

MHC students react to a Lady Wolves’ basket in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game. A strong contingent from both Maywood and Hayes Center communities cheered on the Lady Wolves at Gothenburg High School.
Gabe Gauthier/McCook Gazette

Stengel said the halftime talk revolved around one simple message.

"I told them we have to keep attacking the hoop," she said. "We knew if we were able to take the lead, we would go from there. The third quarter has usually been our big quarter."

MHC's shooting woes, however, continued into the third period. The Lady Wolves were outscored 4-3 to see Sandhills/Thedford push their lead to 16-10.

In the final frame, the Lady Knights scored 11 points to book their trip to the Class D2 State Tournament.

Despite scoring eight points in the final quarter, Stengel said MHC struggled to control the tempo for most of the game.

"We like to play up tempo ball and get a lot of layups, but we couldn't get out on them like we wanted to. We had spurts of it but we couldn't control the tempo. We were out-defended big time."

Most of Friday’s scoring came from two players: MHC’s Jayden Widener and Sandhills/Thedford’s Marlee Taylor. The two combined for 31 of the game’s 45 total points.

Jayden Widener led MHC with 11 points. Grace Koubek was next for the Lady Wolves with three, while Jaycee Widener and Paige Wood were the only other MHC players to score with two points each.

Sandhills/Thedford got a game-high 20 points from Taylor. Hannah Higgins scored three, while Carlie Collier and Jaylee Simonson each had two.

With the loss, MHC’s season ends with a 20-6 record. Stengel, who has been the girls’ basketball head coach for all three years of the MHC co-op, said this season was a “wonderful” experience.

“We’ve had a lot of fun in practice and we’ve had a great run. Credit to the seniors for the leadership they provided and all the extra work they put in outside of practice. But without every single girl on this team, we wouldn’t be where we are. I’m very proud of the girls.”

Score by quarter

ST (10-11) 2 10 4 11 - 27

MHC (20-6) 4 3 3 8 - 18

Scoring leaders

ST: Taylor, 20; Higgins, 3; Collier, 2; Simonson, 2.

MHC: Jayden Widener, 11; Koubek, 3; Jaycee Widener, 2; Wood, 2.

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