Millard West coach Kip Colony had a really good feeling about last Saturday’s game against top-ranked Lincoln Southeast.
Even though the Wildcats trailed by 12 at halftime, he made sure his team knew he still believed in them.
“The first thing I said to them was, ‘We’re not giving our best effort and we’re only down by 12,’ ” Colony said. “If we play like we’re capable of playing, we can be successful.”
The ninth-ranked Wildcats (2-0) dug their way out of the hole in the second half and upset Southeast 71-61 in the Early Bird Tipoff Classic. They put more defensive pressure on the perimeter to prevent the pass into Jess Shepard, and they tried to force Southeast to play at their up-and-down tempo.
Samantha Waldron scored 17 points. Dani Saenz (15), Marisa Lowe (14) and Brooke Savage (13) also were in double figures. Paige Phipps, with eight points, is the other starter on the squad with only one 6-footer in Lowe.
Colony said he couldn’t be prouder of his team.
“They are very humble young ladies. They work hard for me every day and they are great kids on and off the court,” he said. “You always want good things for good people.”
The Wildcats’ motto this year is team: Together everyone achieves more. That unselfish attitude, plus a narrow loss last year in the district championship game to Papillion-La Vista South, is driving the team. The Wildcats had qualified for state six straight years and eight of the past 10.
“I have motivated kids who have come back,” Colony said. “I don’t think they liked the feeling of sitting home.”
As excited as the girls were after Saturday’s win, Colony said they know it’s a long season. He wants to make sure they keep moving forward.
They play Omaha Burke on Friday and North Platte on Saturday. The next week it’s Bellevue East and Omaha Central.
That’s life in Class A and the Metro Conference.
“It doesn’t end,” Colony said. “You are playing top-notch teams all the time.”
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