WAYNE — The Cedar Catholic girls basketball team is still struggling to find its rhythm.The Lady Trojans dropped a 66-51 decision just before Christmas to Dakota Valley.
Cedar then came out of the break and dropped a 53-39 decision to Pender in the first round of the Great Northeast Nebraska Shootout.
Cedar looked solid in the first half against the South Dakota team, but the Lady Trojans struggled to open the second half as they were outscored 19-7 in the third quarter.
In the defeat, Brynn Wortmann scored 21 points while Brooklyn Kuehn chipped in with nine points.
“We need to continue to find our individual roles that will help us be successful,” Coach Craig Wortmann said. “If we can find ways to contribute from a team view, I think we can make a run in January to help the girls gain some confidence.
“I would rate us as fair or average in our play so far. These girls have more to give and we are working to bring that out. We have had our setbacks early in the season, but as we continue to practice and find our way, I look for better days to come for this group.”
Pender was going to be a challenge, according to Wortmann, and senior Makenzie Arens saw the Lady Trojans trending in the right direction as the tournament loomed.
“I feel like we are working through some things right now,” Arens said, noting the season-ending injury to Makenna Noecker. “We are right where we were last year in December and so I think good things will come in the end as far as the team part of it. We are just trying to find our rhythm right now.
“Ever since we were in quarantine things have been off little off, but we are working on that.”
The senior class had to sit out two weeks after being quarantined for COVID-19.
The team chemistry continues to improve, especially on offense which includes getting those extra passes to find open shots.
“They will eventually fall,” Arens said. “We just have to find our shots, and everybody is going to have to take their looks as they fit within the team. That’s what I have to do: Find out where I fit and what I can do and what I can’t. If I do things I am not good at, it’s not good in the end and that what everyone has to do.
“From the defensive side, if we play aggressively, we are better off. If we slack, it just won’t work at all.”
Arens, who had COVID-19, said the team has moved past being scared of the virus, and would prefer that the team not go through the same distractions again.
“I hope we don’t after Christmas,” Arens said. “That’s where I could see it again, but hopefully not.”
Arens hopes to score a little more after the break to help the Lady Trojans who have battled a tough schedule in preparation of another state run.
“I just need to find my rhythm and things start to click for us as we go further into the season,” she said.
Cedar 10 14 7 20 — 51
Dakota Valley 15 19 19 12 — 65
Cedar Dak Valley
FG 7-30 22-46
3PT 4-15 3-9
FT 25-31 12-14
Reb 26 24
TOs 13 14
SCORING Cedar - Brynn Wortmann, 21; Brooklyn Kuehnk, 9; Jordyn Steffen, 7; Laney Kathol, 6; Megan Heimes, 6; Gracie Dickes, 1; Mackenzie Arens, 1.
REBOUNDS Cedar - Laney Kathol, 8; Brooklyn Kuehn, 6; Brynn Wortmann, 5; Gracie Dickes, 3; Jordyn Steffen, 3; Elly Becker, 1.
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