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Lady Wildcats fall in loaded SubDistrict

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CROFTON — Hartington-Newcastle had the unenviable task of taking on one of the top teams in Class C2, Ponca, in an opening round game in the C2-5 Sub-District Tournament played at Crofton on Feb. 14.

The Lady Indians proved they belonged in the C2 hierarchy with a 56-21 win to send the Lady Wildcats home with an 11-11 record. The Lady Indians would go on to win the tournament over Crofton to advance to this week’s District Finals.

“Credit where credit is due, Ponca is a very experienced and talented team,” HNS coach Grant Rolfes said. “We knew we had to play our best game to have a chance and we didn’t do that.”

Hartington-Newcastle had positioned itself for a strong endof- the-season run after climbing to 11-8 on the season with a win over Wausa in the Clark Division finals of the Lewis & Clark Conference Tournament, but a loss to the Lady Vikings following the Clark-game and losses to highly regarded Wynot and now to Ponca left the Lady Wildcats at .500 for the season.

HNS found itself in a 10-2 hole at the end of the first quarter and the lead grew to 19-4 at the halftime buzzer.

“We had far too many turnovers and gave up too many offensive rebounds,” Rolfes said. “When you’re playing a team of that caliber that just can’t happen.”

Things went from bad to worse in the third frame as Ponca outscored the Lady Wildcats 26-9 to put the game out of reach.

Alivia Morten led a balanced Hartington-Newcastle scoring attack with six points as seven Lady Wildcats scored in the game.

Zoey Gratzfeld and McKenzie Bruning each added four points, Mani Lange, Lauren Howell and Karli Bruning contributed with a bucket each.

Olivia Grutsch led HNS on the boards grabbing six rebounds on the night.

“You’re never ready for the season to be over but I’m grateful for a chance to coach this team,” Rolfes said. “They made tremendous improvements and I told them to be proud of the work they’ve put in. For the younger girls, the challenge now will be to work to continue to improve.”

Hartington-New 2 2 9 8 - 21 Ponca 10 9 26 11 - 56


HNS - Alivia Morten, 6; Zoey Gratzfeld, 4; McKenzie Bruning, 4; Karli Bruning, 2; Lauren Howell, 2; Mani Lange, 2; Paige Kramer, 1.


HNS - Olivia Grutsch, 6; Zoey Gratzfeld, 3; McKenzie Bruning, 2; Maddie Steffen, 2; Alejandra Reyes, 2; Lauren Howell, 2; Paige Kramer, 2; Kennadi Pietz, 2; Mani Lange, 1.


HNS - Mani Lange, 1; Zoey Gratzfeld, 1.