STANTON — It’s still a bit of a teeter-totter season for the Hartington-Newcastle girls basketball team.
A team that is still trying to blend a core of veterans with a number of basketball varsity newbies has churned out a 4-5 season so far through the 2020 portion of the schedule.
Prior to the singing of Auld Lang Seye, the Lady Wildcats dropped a 42-29 decision against Stanton, before pulling off a tense 34-32 win over West Holt.
Alivia Morten (11 points), Kayden Jueden (nine points, seven rebounds) and Zoey Gratzfeld (nine points) led the Lady Wildcats’ effort against Stanton, while Morten’s 14 points keyed the HNS in the win against West Holt.
This week, the Lady Wildcats will tip off for their Classic Tournament Thursday with the title game set for Friday.
For head coach Josh Morten, a sluggish start against Stanton played a key role in the outcome.
“You could tell we hadn’t played in a game for nearly a week,” he said. “We were able to keep it close ‘til the end of the game. We just aren’t shooting the ball very well right now from anywhere.
“West Holt was a good win for us as we had lost two in a row going into the game. We still struggle at times getting the ball in the hoop though. We came out and played very aggressive in the first quarter and really caused them to have some issues which led to us scoring quite a few points early. Then we just went cold offensively.
“We let them back into the game after getting into a bit of foul trouble. Had to change things up and go to a zone defense against man-to-man. Alivia had another solid performance and Zoey had another solid game coming off the bench as well.” Alivia Morten said that the team still lacks the consistency needed to take the next step.
“We will be really good sometime during the games and then the other times we don’t look like our team at all,” she said. “We need to keep the consistency throughout the game instead of us going up-and-down.
“(The break) is definitely hard because we can get together as a team with our coach and most girls have Christmas where they have something going on. We tried to get together – six of us did – but that’s only half of our team. It’s hard to not have practice at all and then go into a game because we really aren’t prepared.”
Morten said she believes that every team could use a day or two of practice before starting up again following a near-weeklong break.
She noted that the Stanton game was more a case of the teams not being separated by much.
“We could have beaten them, but we were sluggish and weren’t playing at our pace during that game,” she said. “Going in the gym that Sunday right before that game, helped some of us. Those who didn’t come in were a bit sluggish.
“We have gotten a ton better since the beginning of the season, we just have to be more focused now since districts are coming up and its important to start winning a bunch of these games. We have built from the beginning of the season and we will keep building and I hope we do so we can keep winning games.”
HNS - Alivia Morten, 11; Zoey Gratzfeld, 9; Kayden Jueden, 9.
HNS - Kayden Jueden,. 7; Zoey Gratzfeld, 4; Alivia Morten, 4; Keanna Korth, 3; Delaney Sudbeck, 2; Mani Lange, 1; Lauren Howell, 1; Makenna Clarkson, 1.
HNS - Delaney Sudbeck, 3; Alivia Morten, 1; Lauren Howell, 1; Keanna Korth, 1.
HNS Kayden Jueden, 2; Mani Lange, 1; Delaney Sudbeck, 1; Makenna Clarkson, 1.
HNS - Alivia Morten, 14; Zoey Gratzfeld, 7; Mani Lange, 3; Delaney Sudbeck, 3; Lauren Howell, 2; Kayden Jueden, 2; Keanna Korth, 2; Makenna Clarkson, 2.
HNS - Kayden Jueden, 7; Zoey Gratzfeld, 5; Delaney Sudbeck, 4; Mani Lange, 1; Alivia Morten, 1; Keanna Korth, 1.
HNS - Mani Lange, 3; Kayden Jueden, 2; Alivia Morten, 1; Keanna Korth, 1.
HNS Delaney Sudbeck, 3; Keanna Korth, 2; Zoey Gratzfeld, 1; Alivia Morten, 1.
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