Finally at home, girls drop ’Gators

Jason Ferguson

Defense was the name of the game for the Custer High School girls basketball team in its game against the Newell Irrigators last Thursday evening at the Armory, as the Wildcats held the Irrigators to 31 percent shooting while forcing 32 turnovers in a 63-31 win.
“We’ve been working a lot on that press and they have been doing well,” head coach Tobey Cass said. “They are hard workers. Our subbing was on point. It all came together. Our goal is to keep that going.”
The Wildcats actually fell behind early, as Jaelyn Wendt put the Irrigators up 5-4 with a basket in an early part of the game that saw fast play and lots of bodies on the ground.
The ’Cats took the lead for the first time at 8-7, and within three minutes extended the lead to 14-7 via an Alice Sedlacek basket off an assist from Jordyn Larsen.
Custer continued on a 13-0 run into the second quarter until a Newell three-pointer, but that was followed by an Ally Cass layup, and later a Ramsey Karim three-pointer that gave Custer a 26-16 lead. The Wildcats took a 30-18 lead into the half after a Larsen steal and assist to Sedlacek.
The Wildcats continued to pour it on in the second half, as Bailey Cass scored off an offensive rebound and Cass worked her way inside for a basket. By the time Allie Kelley hit a long corner two around the four-minute mark, the Wildcats had taken a 38-20 lead. A Josey Wahlstrom three-pointer put the final nail in the coffin as Custer took a 43-22 lead into the fourth quarter.
“We’ve really been working on moving the ball around and not standing on offense, so we’ve put in a couple of other things that will open up that middle,” Coach Cass said. “A lot of teams like to play zone, so you have to be able to take advantage of that. We have been working in it, and it’s fun when it works out.”
Cass led the scoring attack with 22 points, while Wahlstrom added 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
The game against the Irrigators was the team’s first home game of the season, as its previously-scheduled home opener postponed due to COVID-19.
“It was nice to finally play a game at home,” Coach Cass said. “We haven’t worn the whites out, I will say that.”
On Jan. 18 the Wildcats traveled to Wall where they had the Eagles down 25-16 at the half before being outscored 30-14 in the second half of a 46-39 loss.
Cass said the tough second half was a product of missed layups, missed free throws and an Eagle parade to the free throw line.
“They made some buckets and we didn’t. They are a good team and well-coached,” Cass said. “They shot a few more free throws than we did, but that’s what happens on the road.”
Neither team shot particularly well, but the Eagles made 29 trips to the free throw line, making 19. Custer on the other hand, was eight of 16 from the line. The Eagles also had a signficant rebound advantage and forced 26 Custer turnovers.
“We had plenty of opportunities to win,” Cass said. “Whenever you’re a visitor you can’t miss those shots and still win.”
Tomorrow the team, 6-4,  heads to Red Cloud to make up the Jan. 15 game that was postponed due to COVID-19, followed by a trip to Hill City Friday for a 6:30 p.m. game. Next Tuesday the team will host Douglas at 7:30 p.m.
Red Cloud (8-1) is a quick, well-coached team that Cass said will press the Wildcats up and down the court.
“We will see if we’ve mastered our press break,” he said. “Some of our best games is when we push the pace and it’s a back and forth type of game.”
Hill City sits at 6-5, having most recently lost to Belle Fourche and Rapid City Christian. The Rangers also have size to match up against Kellyn Kortemeyer inside, something few teams have.
Douglas is 2-6 on the season, but has largely played a Class AA schedule.
“They are bigger and have more kids,” Cass said. “They are hard to beat.”
Custer    16    14    13    20    —63
Newell    7    11    4    9    —31
Custer—Allie Kelley 2-6 0-0 4, Ramsey Karim 1-5 0-0 3, Josey Wahlstrom 5-8 1-2 12, Ally Cass 10-19 0-0 22, Alice Sedlacek 3-15 0-0 6, Bailey Cass 2-3 0-0 4, Emily Borkowski 1-1 0-0 2, Kellyn Kortemeyer 4-7 0-0 8. Totals: 29-65 1-4 63
Newell—Braylee Freytag 0-3 0-0 0, Rachel Erk 1-2 0-0 3, Sarah Erk 0-1 0-0 0, Jaelyn Wendt 2-9 2-2 6, Stacy Mahaffy 2-4 0-0 5, Taylor Gaer 2-7 7-7 7, Kim Johnson 3-5 0-0 6, Sydnee Kjellsen 2-5 0-0 4. Totals: 12-38 4-6 31.
Rebounding: Custer 32 (Wahlstrom 7), Newell 29. Steals: Custer 20 (Karim 5), Newell 5. Assists: Custer 16 (Wahlstrom 6), Newell 11. Turnovers: Custer 13, Newell 32. Total fouls: Custer 14, Newell 9. Fouled out: none.
Custer    9    16    8    6    —39
Wall    10    6    13    17    —46
Custer—Allie Kelley 1-3 0-0 2, Ramsey Karim 2-6 0-0 5, Josey Wahlstrom 3-8 5-8 11, Ally Cass 3-12 2-4 9, Alice Sedlacek 2-9 0-2 5, Bailey Cass 0-2 0-0 0, Kellyn Kortemeyer 3-8 1-2 7. Totals: 14-48 8-16 46.
Wall—Nora Dinger 1-8 8-12 10, Ava Dinger 5-233-9 8-10 21, Kaunna Poor Bear 0-6 2-2 2, Skylie Wagner 1-3 1-4 3, April Schultz 4-11 0-1 8, Alexis Stephan1-3 0-0 2, Jada Kuser 0-4 0-0 0. Totals: 12-48 19-29 46.
Three-point goals: Custer 3 (Karim, A. Cass, Sedlacek), Wall 3 (A. Dinger). Rebounding: Custer 36 (Kortemeyer 8), Wall 45 (A. Dinger 10. Steals: Custer 8, Wall 11 (A. Dinger 5). Assists: Custer 10, Wall 9. Turnovers: Custer 26, Wall 15. Total fouls: Custer 22, Wall 14. Fouled out: none.


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