Give yourself a shot and you might just have a chance.
Nebraska City followed that advice with confidence on offense leading to increased shooting and the best output of the season in a 58-34 win over Raymond Central on Thursday, Feb. 6, at the Pioneer gym.
The Pioneer offense didn’t produce a 50-plus point game during its pre-Christmas schedule, but the Pioneers have been improving on offense of late with a 52-point performance in a close win against Conestoga on Jan. 14, a 53-point performance in a Jan. 21 overtime loss at Platteview, a 52-point performance in a win at Fort Calhoun on Feb. 3, and Thursday’s 58-point performance against the Mustangs.
Nebraska City Coach Justin Parr said the increase in points was directly tied to increased shooting confidence.
“They were running down and shooting. That’s good,” Parr said of Thursday’s action. “We are never going to score unless we shoot the ball.”
With confidence rising, Nebraska City plans to continue its attack. And to sharpen that attack.
Parr said the ideal possession involves Nebraska City passing the ball to get it into the painted area twice before finding a good shot. And then taking it.
In addition to confidence, the Pioneers are getting more production from younger players on the roster.
Parr said players like sophomores Katie Schreiter and Kendyl Schmitz have stepped up. Freshman Halle Thompson is also showing skill.
Parr said the improvement for Thompson has been particularly noteworthy.
“She has come so far from the first game. She came a long way,” he said.
Nebraska City has had to get more people involved since they’re missing some regulars. Seniors Taelyn Allen and Mara Davis are out with season ending injuries. Add freshman Casey Smith, who had been pitching in before a knee injury took her out of the line up.
The Pioneer team hasn’t been discouraged by those injuries. And hard work is starting to pay off.
“We are playing good basketball at the right time of year,” said Coach Parr.
Turning to the game action, Nebraska City was down 10-8 after a buzzer-beating lay up by Raymond Central at the conclusion of the first quarter. The Mustangs led 13-8 in the second quarter before Nebraska City responded with a 10-0 run. Scoring points in the run were Thompson, two-point shot; Abby Balfour, two and three-point shots; and Salena Balquier, three-point shot.
Nebraska City led 22-15 at half.
After a 2-for-2 free throw trip by the Mustangs in the early third quarter, Nebraska City went on a 14-2 run to go up 36-19 and take full command of the game.
Scoring in that stretch were Reese Madsen, four; Alexis Hoover, four; Thompson, two; Patricia Trice, two; and Schreiter, two.
Coach Parr said he was encouraged by the third quarter excellence as his team has had some third quarter struggles this season.
Scoring leaders for Nebraska City in the game were Balfour, 12; Thompson, nine; Schreiter, nine; Balquier, eight; Trice, six; Chloe Schaulis, four; Hoover, four; Madsen, four; and Schmitz, two.