KIMBALL — A fast start powered the Kimball girls basketball team to a 67-34 win over Bridgeport in a Western Trails Conference Tournament first-round game on Thursday night in Kimball.
The Longhorns, seeded third and ranked No. 9 in Class C-1 by the Omaha World-Herald, jumped out to a 17-3 lead after the opening eight minutes before holding a 34-14 advantage at halftime. Kimball head coach Chauncey Pedersen credited his team’s quick start as a major key to victory.
“I was impressed with our defense during the first half,” Pedersen said. “We shot the ball well and our inside/outside game was working for a while.”
Kimball outscored Bridgeport 33-20 in the second half to punch its ticket into the semifinals of the tournament. The Longhorns will take on second-seeded Mitchell on Friday at 3:45 p.m. at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff. The Tigers, ranked No. 10 in C-1, ran to a 68-21 win over Bayard Thursday.
“The game went pretty well overall, but got a little sloppy at times in the second half. We need to clean some things up,” Pedersen said of his team’s effort in the first-round contest. “Going forward we are going to work on taking care of the ball better. We have to rebound better. We didn’t hit the boards very well tonight and Bridgeport did a great job rebounding. We need to work on that and be ready to go tomorrow.”
Danika Daum led Kimball offensively with 21 points. She shot 7 of 16 from the field overall and sank 7 of her 9 free throws. Joining Daum in the double-figure scoring column for the Longhorns were Kate Reader with 14 points and Madison Biesecker with 11. Arica McCloud finished with eight points.
Kimball finished the game shooting 40 percent overall and converted 15 of its 23 free throws.
Reader had a double-double as she led the Longhorns on the glass with 12 rebounds. Daum pulled down nine boards, while Biesecker and Alex Reader both finished with six. Biesecker dished out a team-high four assists.
Defensively for Kimball, Biesecker and Kate Reader led the way with two steals each. Daum and Myriah Tyan each recorded one block.
Ashley Weborg scored a team-high 13 points for Bridgeport. Weborg hit a pair of 3-pointers. Brittany Nelson also sank two 3-pointers to finish with six points. The Bulldogs shot 4 of 13 at the free-throw line.
Friday’s semifinal game between Kimball and Mitchell will mark the third meeting of the season between the teams. Each team owns one win over the other. Mitchell edged Kimball 44-42 back on Jan. 8, while the Longhorns registered a 59-42 victory over the Tigers in the most recent contest on Jan. 26.
Bridgeport (5-13) ........................ 3 11 10 10 — 34
Kimball (16-3) ............................ 17 17 14 19 — 67
Points — Emily Baxter 3, Brittany Nelson 6, Lydia Cantu 3, Brittney Newkirk 2, Alexis Corman 5, Ashley Weborg 13, Riley Hall 2.
Points — Madison Biesecker 11, Arica McCloud 8, Alex Reader 6, Myriah Tyan 5, Danika Daum 21, Kate Reader 14, Shauntae Daily 2. Rebounds — Biesecker 6, McCloud 3, Kailey Dickerson 4, Alex Reader 6, Tyan 3, Daum 9, Kate Reader 12, Kaylyn Nelson 1. Assists — Biesecker 4, McCloud 1, Dickerson 1, Justine Heeg 2. Steals — Biesecker 2, McCloud 1, Heeg 1, Tyan 1, Kate Reader 2, Nelson 1. Blocks — Tyan 1, Daum 1.