Nebraska City and Lourdes girls' basketball previews

Pioneer girls’ could get a boost from reversing close losses

Waylon Bennett

The Nebraska City Pioneers will return five senior girls to start the 2019-20 season.
Last year the Pioneers finished with five wins and 17 losses.  Four of the losses were by three points or less.
Nebraska City’s biggest win came against the  Bennington Badgers during a 57-54 victory to open up the season.  Bennington ended the season 14 and 10 overall.
Offense: Nebraska City averaged 39 points per game and shot .39 percent from the field.
Defense: Nebraska City allowed 56 points per game and averaged 28 rebounds.
Returning: Senior, Mara Davis averaged 5.2 points per game and led the team with 28 three-pointers last season and 39 assists.  Junior,  Madi Mitchell will work inside the paint this season.  Mitchell averaged 4.3 points per game and totaled 77 rebounds in 15 games.  
Senior Abby Balfour led the Pioneers in steals with 34 and contributed 3.6 per game.  
Junior Alexis Hoover was second on the team with 30 assists.
Graduated: Snezana Serafimoska led the Pioneers in scoring.  Snezana averaged 11.5 points per game and nine rebounds.  Mackenzie Anthens was second in scoring with 6.6 points per game and shot .43 percent from the field.
Nebraska City will open up the season at Bennington on Friday, Dec. 6, starting at 6 p.m.

Knight roster features plenty of experience for 2019-20

Waylon Bennett

As the 2019-20 season begins, the Lourdes Central Knights girls basketball team will return plenty of experienced athletes that qualified for the state tournament the season before and a 20 and 6 overall record.
Last year, the Knights pulled off an excited fourth quarter victory over Yutan, 34-28, in the district title game to advance to the Class C-2 state tournament.  Lourdes lost to Fillmore Central in the first round, 53-41.  
 Lourdes started out the 2018-19 season by winning five straight games.  One of those wins came against Falls City Sacred Heart by a score of, 50-45, on December, 4.  The Irish finished that season as the Class D-2 state runner-up.
To begin the season, the Knights will return four seniors that played significant roles and have plenty of experience under their belts.
“It’s always nice to have that many players come back,” Coach Clay Carlton said.  “I like the way we have been practicing.  We have a lot of energy.  We have some younger players doing good things as well.”
Offense: Last year the Knights averaged 47 points per game.
Defense: Lourdes allowed 34 points per game. In eight of the 26  games played, Lourdes held their opponents to 30 points or less.   blocked shots.   
Returning: Going into this season, Lourdes have plenty of players that can handle the ball including; Brianna Fulton, Emma Heng, Addie DeFreece, Ivye Meyer and Libby Baumert.  Baumert set the school season record last year by shooting .38 percent from behind the three-point line.  Senior,  Elaina Madison, and Junior, Gina McGowen, will take control under the basket and in the paint.  The 6’3 McGowen holds three  school records in blocked shots.
She has the career record in blocked shots with 142; season record, 79; game record, seven.
Graduated: Lourdes lost two key guards.  Macey Allgood, who handled most of the point guard duties, and shooting guard Jacey Kreifels.
Lourdes will face Duchesne Academy in the first round of tournament action on Thursday, December 5, at Lourdes Central High School.  Game time is at 6 p.m.