Ord enjoyed a successful volleyball season in the fall.
Now the basketball team, featuring many of the same players, is hoping for something even better.
The Chanticleers are 14-0 and ranked first in Class C-1. The team also is riding the momentum of a 27-6 volleyball season that ended with the school’s 10th state tournament appearance.
“It’s hard to find anything to complain about when you’re undefeated,” coach Dexter Goodner said. “And I still feel as though we have a ton of room to grow.”
After going 27 years without reaching state, Ord’s basketball team has been on the rebound. The Chanticleers broke their state tourney drought in 2016 and reached that destination again last year in Goodner’s first season as coach.
Ord won its first-round match against Mitchell before falling in the semifinals against Kearney Catholic. The Chanticleers finished the season 22-6 after losing to Wahoo Neumann 55-52 in the consolation game.
Goodner said he was optimistic about this season, especially with the return of top scorers Delani Fahey and Ali Smith. Both guards averaged almost 14 points as juniors last year.
“We had a ton of confidence,” he said. “The girls worked hard over the summer and so I really felt good about where we were at.”
Goodner added that the taste of the state tournament in both volleyball and basketball has served as motivation this year.
“I think that’s absolutely driving our team, especially the seniors,” he said. “At this point, no big stage is going to scare them.”
As expected, Fahey and Smith have led the way. The 5-foot-10 Fahey is averaging 17.4 points, and the 5-6 Smith isn’t far behind at 16.1.
“For us to have those two guards is huge,” Goodner said. “Not only do they score but we don’t get pressed very often because they handle the ball so well.”
Both players also are coming off strong volleyball performances in the fall. Fahey dished out almost 1,000 assists as the team’s setter while Smith had 631 digs as the libero.
Goodner said Fahey’s height makes her a tough matchup for opposing teams.
“If they put a guard on her, she can score inside,” he said. “And if they put taller girls on her, she can drive around them or shoot over the top.”
The coach added that Fahey brings a quiet confidence to the court.
“She’s a cool customer,” he said. “She plays with a lot of poise and never gets rattled.”
When asked what Smith brought to the team, Goodner had a ready response.
“What doesn’t she bring?” he said. “She leads us in assists, is second in scoring and third in rebounds. And she’s an awesome defender.”
The coach added that Smith has one other important intangible.
“She brings a level of toughness and tenacity,” he said. “She’s started all four years and is one of those seniors who brought a high level of commitment to this team.”
Two other key seniors are Madi Hagge and Danielle Wray. Both are averaging seven points per game.
“All of our seniors have led by example,” Goodner said. “It’s a great group.”
The coach is aware there are still several tough games remaining before districts, but the Ord fans already are looking ahead. Goodner said some have pointed out that it’s been 30 years since the Chanticleers won their one and only title in 1988.
“The year I was born, we won the state championship,” the coach said. “We’d love to make that happen again, so I hope we can stay healthy and hungry.”