WEEPING WATER – Weeping Water and Elmwood-Murdock turned Monday night’s tournament game into a basketball-themed track meet with their energetic efforts.
The Indians crossed the finish line of the fast-paced game ahead on the scoreboard.
Weeping Water stopped the Knights 73-57 in the quarterfinals of the East Central Nebraska Conference Tournament. The teams took 112 combined shots and sank 18 3-pointers during the evening. Twenty-five players saw court time in the contest.
Weeping Water head coach Joel Haveman said he was pleased with the unity the Indians displayed throughout the night. Four players scored in double figures and eight athletes finished with either a basket, assist or steal.
“That’s the first thing I told them after the game,” Haveman said. “This was a team victory, first and foremost. Our energy was great from the start and everyone played really well. Our bench was into it the whole night and everyone who came in stepped up and gave us a lot of quality minutes. The teamwork that they showed made this a really fun night.”
Weeping Water began the evening by surprising junior guard Peyton Barrett with a signed basketball in a pregame ceremony. Her teammates wanted to celebrate her reaching the 1,000-point milestone in her career. She crossed into four-digit career territory the previous week against Yutan.
Barrett carried those good feelings over into her shooting game against the Knights. She finished the evening with 34 points and drained six 3-pointers. She also used her quickness to create opportunities for mid-range jumpers and drives to the basket.
“I was disappointed with the number of looks we gave Barrett,” Elmwood-Murdock head coach Justin Moline said. “We knew coming in that she was a good shooter. They simply did a better job of moving the ball around and getting it to her.”
Weeping Water’s offense featured a multi-pronged attack from many spots on the court. Jamison Twomey (12), Grace Cave (11) and Brianna Lawson (10) all reached double-figure point totals and Reagan Aronson and Reba Wilson each sank long-distance baskets. Weeping Water delivered more than a dozen assists and finished with 15 3-pointers.
“We had 17 assists tonight, so we shared the ball really well,” Haveman said. “Sometimes we get our offense from dribble-penetration and individual drives, but it was great to watch how the girls shared the ball with each other tonight. They made on-target passes to each other that were easy to catch and shoot right away, and that led to a lot of really good looks. That was a big factor in being able to win this game.”
Seventh-seeded Elmwood-Murdock (7-12) fell behind 24-11 early in the second quarter but rallied within six points by the break. Lauren Justesen banked in consecutive short jumpers and Paetyn Florell knocked home two straight baskets late in the stanza. Katelyn Vogler then fired a pass to Sydney Kunz from the lefthand corner with time running out. Kunz drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to create a 37-31 margin.
Second-seeded Weeping Water (15-4) opened the second half with three straight baskets from Barrett and Twomey to swell the lead to 45-34. The team then drained four treys in the next three minutes to make the gap 57-43. WWHS put the game away with an 8-0 run at the beginning of the fourth period.
Barrett added seven rebounds, two assists and one block to her 34-point evening. Cave collected six assists, four rebounds and two blocks, and Lawson had three assists, two rebounds and one steal. Wilson drew one charge and finished with three points, three steals and two assists.
Twomey chipped in three rebounds, Lexi Ahrens made two assists and Bailee Nissen drew one charge and tallied two rebounds and two steals. Aronson added three points and one steal. Kelsi Vogler, Cadence Porter, Karley Ridge, Brooklyn Rathe and Lauren Wehrbein all helped the team with defensive work.
Justesen led Elmwood-Murdock with 19 points and nine rebounds. Florell had seven points and four rebounds and Nicole Wenzel generated eight points, three boards and one steal. Kunz produced three points, three rebounds and one assist and Brenna Schmidt tallied six points and six rebounds.
Jayden Halferty had seven points and two rebounds and Sydney Anderson scored six points. Vogler collected two rebounds, one steal and one assist and Norina Higuchi had one point and one board. Bailey Frahm, Kylee Synovec and Morgan Mills all provided defensive work for the Knights.
Weeping Water will take on sixth-seeded Freeman in the ECNC semifinals Thursday at 6 p.m. The Indians and Falcons will play at Southeast Community College in Lincoln. The winner will advance to the championship game at 6 p.m. Saturday. The third-place game will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday. Both contests will be held at SECC-Lincoln.
Elmwood-Murdock will travel to Yutan for a consolation-round game Thursday night. The Chieftains and Knights will play at 7:30 p.m.
Elmwood-Murdock 11 20 16 10 – 57
Weeping Water 20 17 24 12 – 73
Anderson 3-8 0-0 6, Kunz 1-3 0-0 3, Halferty 3-10 0-1 7, Justesen 8-10 3-6 19, Florell 3-7 1-3 7, Vogler 0-4 0-0 0, Schmidt 2-7 2-2 6, Wenzel 4-5 0-0 8, Frahm 0-2 0-0 0, Synovec 0-0 0-0 0, Mills 0-1 0-0 0, Higuchi 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 24-57 7-14 57.
Weeping Water (73)
Lawson 3-3 1-3 10, Wilson 1-3 1-2 3, Cave 3-11 4-4 11, Barrett 12-25 4-7 34, Ahrens 0-0 0-0 0, Twomey 4-8 0-0 12, Nissen 0-0 0-0 0, Aronson 1-5 0-0 3, Vogler 0-0 0-0 0, Porter 0-0 0-0 0, Ridge 0-0 0-0 0, Rathe 0-0 0-0 0, Wehrbein 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-55 10-16 73.