HARTINGTON - Hartington-Newcastle girls basketball lost 49-42 in a season opener against Ponca.
It started as a game where HNS struggled to get things going due to foul trouble and an offense that was having difficulty getting into a rhythm. Things began to settle down in the second half though, with Ponca leading 21-14 heading into the third quarter.
“It was shaky. I think there was just a lot of unsettledness out there,” said HNS coach Corey Uldrich. “I don’t think either team played the way they would like to play when it matters.”
Uldrich was coaching his first girls basketball game for the Lady Wildcats, a role he was familiar with when he coached the Allen girls team his junior and senior year of college.
Uldrich said him and the team talked about how Ponca was going to be a strong early test and that when looking at the schedule before the season it was going to be one of the biggest challenges this winter.
“This is a game that we pegged out was going to be one of the most difficult games of the year,” said Uldrich. “Maybe not the most but if they are not the most they are 1a or 1b, whatever you want to say.”
For the Lady Wildcats, junior Abbe Morten led the way with 16 points. She was followed by Willa Scoville with seven, Kayden Jueden with six, Evvie Krie, Gina Jueden, and Hailey Gottsche each with three, and Ellie Stencel and Belle Harms both with two.
Harms made a big impact on defense with a team high three blocks, and tying with Kayden Jueden for the team high in rebounds, with six, and steals, with four.