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WEEPING WATER – Yutan kept Weeping Water’s high-flying offense in a low altitude throughout their aerial battle Thursday night.

The Chieftains used a variety of defensive tactics to capture a 50-40 triumph at Weeping Water. Yutan’s athletic lineup kept the Indians from soaring to their normal level of point production. YHS became just the fifth team to hold Weeping Water to 40 or fewer points this season.

Weeping Water head coach Joel Haveman said Yutan played an inspired brand of basketball on both sides of the court. He said Yutan head coach Rod Henkel and his staff devised a game plan that helped the Chieftains end up ahead on the scoreboard.

“That’s one of the best teams we’ve seen this year in all phases of the game,” Haveman said. “I’m a big fan of Rod Henkel and how he handles that program. His girls play hard and he does a nice job of encouraging them and getting them to reach their potential. Hats off to them because they’re a very good team.”

Weeping Water (14-4) and Yutan (14-3) relied on their defense to create a low-scoring game in the first quarter. WWHS made six steals and forced nine total turnovers in the stanza, and Yutan generated two steals, one block and three total giveaways.

Grace Cave drained consecutive 3-pointers early in the second quarter to help Weeping Water take its first lead at 13-12. Yutan responded with points on four straight possessions to make it 18-13, and Peyton Barrett’s steal and fast-break layup created an 18-15 margin. Brianna Lawson’s crosscourt assist to Cave for a 3-pointer 1:16 before the half made it 18-18 at the break.

Haveman said the Indians had hoped to have the lead entering intermission. The team was able to manufacture several good first-half scoring chances but saw those opportunities come up empty.

“I was a little uneasy at the half,” Haveman said. “We had a lot of easy shots that we ended up missing, so we could have put some distance between us and them on the scoreboard. I was worried about that, because I knew Yutan would try to make some adjustments to keep us from getting those types of looks in the second half.”

A stepback 3-pointer by Cave tied the game at 26-26 late in the third quarter, and a pair of free throws by Bailee Nissen deadlocked things at 28-28. A short jumper by Reba Wilson then kept the Indians within 33-30 with 7:09 to play.

Yutan pulled away from the Indians after that. The team scored on the next five possessions to secure a 42-32 margin, and Johanna Vandenack’s basket and free throw pushed the gap to 47-33. Vandenack and Rylie Jones created the team’s final point total with late free throws.

Cave ended the evening with 23 points, five rebounds, two steals and one assist. Barrett collected eight points, four rebounds and four steals, and Nissen had two points, two steals, four rebounds and one assist. Barrett and Nissen also drew one charge apiece.

Wilson collected five points, two steals and two rebounds. Lexi Ahrens posted two points, three rebounds and one assist, and Brianna Lawson finished the night with two boards and one assist. Jamison Twomey added defensive work for the squad.

Haveman said the Indians would use the loss as motivation for next week’s league tournament. Weeping Water will be the number-two seed in the event. WWHS will host either Elmwood-Murdock or Johnson County Central at 6 p.m. Monday.

“I think they’re excited,” Haveman said. “It’s an opportunity that they’ve worked hard for. It’s going to be a good tournament because there are a lot of teams that are pretty even at the top, so it’s going to be fun to see how everything plays out.”

Yutan                  10   8 13 19 – 50

Weeping Water    7 11 10 12 – 40

Yutan (50)

Jones 5-9 2-7 12, Davis 2-6 0-0 4, Josoff 0-4 0-0 0, Arensberg 4-9 1-3 9, Smith 5-9 2-2 12, Vandenack 3-4 5-7 11, Lloyd 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 20-43 10-19 50.

Weeping Water (40)

Lawson 0-7 0-0 0, Wilson 2-3 1-1 5, Cave 7-21 4-6 23, Barrett 2-13 4-5 8, Ahrens 1-1 0-0 2, Nissen 0-3 2-2 2, Twomey 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 12-51 11-14 40.

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