Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
The 2011-12 Kimball varsity girls' basketball team traveled to Milaca to face the Wolves in the first non-conference game of the new season. Our six seniors Rachel Arnold, Erin Dingmann, Emily Donnay, Brooke Merten, Samantha Stuve and Mandy Wittenberg are the foundation for a varsity group that has high expectations for the upcoming season. This game became an excellent opportunity to see how their early season hard work would pay off in a game situation. Both teams started slowly, but Kimball eventually got it going to push the tempo and the game in their favor.
Both teams seemed nervous at the start, but our offense eventually got moving. The Lady Cubs jumped out 6-0, with 14:30 to go in the first, as Mandy Wittenberg broke the ice offensively, knocking down a put-back two. Rachel Arnold then drained a lay up and Mandy scored again on a pretty assist from Erin Dingmann. At the 11-minute mark, Milaca came down the floor and sliced the lead to three by making a three-pointer. Kimball recovered nicely over the next 10-minute stretch of the game, forcing Milaca into turnovers that led to a 16-0 run. Junior Breane Meierhofer scored off a quick pass from Rachel, then Breane found Mandy underneath, and Mandy returned the favor by assisting junior Allie Seth for a bucket, highlighting the run for the Lady Cubs. Kimball struggled the last two minutes, allowing the Wolves to outscore them by four, but Emily Donnay swished a free throw to end the Lady Cubs scoring and a halftime lead, 23-8.
In the second half, it was Breane to Mandy to begin our scoring with Rachel, Erin, Mandy, Allie and Brooke Merten getting into the act, hitting shots that created some breathing room on the scoreboard for Kimball. Erin sunk our only three-point shot of the game and Milaca could only muster a mini-spurt which got them only as close as 12 early in the second half. Samantha Stuve, Mandy, Breane, junior Kenadi Mackereth and junior Raelynn Callander all contributed points in the second half from the foul line. Juniors Paiten Schreiner, Casie Mackereth, Alissa Jones, Hannah Zipoy and Kaylee Petty played turnover-free basketball to finish the game and helped Kimball cruise to a 52-25 non-conference win. Mandy grabbed nine rebounds, Breane had four assists and four steals to lead our team.
Thursday, Dec. 1, Kimball took a drive down Highway 55, to take on the Paynesville Bulldogs in their second game of the young season. The Bulldogs have improved their win total each of the last two seasons. It would prove to be a great test for the Lady Cubs on the evening.
As the game tipped off, it would be evident that Paynesville wanted to take advantage of their perimeter offense, especially the three-point shot. Kimball on the other hand, was content playing solid half-court defense and working the ball inside on offense. Mandy Wittenberg got the Lady Cubs on the board with a lay-up on a nice pass from Brooke Merten, and then Mandy hit a jumper off a pass from Breane Meierhofer to put us up 4-0. The Bulldogs loosened up offensively, hitting a couple shots, but Rachel Arnold would answer that with a bucket to take back a 6-5 lead at the 13:17 mark. Both teams went back and forth missing open looks on offense and neither team ever led by more than five points at any time in the game. Both Brooke and Emily Donnay knocked down two point shots, with Allie Seth draining a free throw as Paynesville led 15-14. Mandy added three free throws, Samantha Stuve scored two from the charity stripe, Breane made a hoop, and Allie got a put-back basket to cut the lead again to one point with a minute to go in the half. The Bulldogs hit a basket and Brooke ended the scoring in the first half on a nice shot on an Erin Dingmann assist. Kimball led by the slimmest of margins, 26-25 at the break.
The next 18 minutes turned out to be a real defensive struggle as both teams went six and a half minutes and only scoring a combined three points. To get us going on offense, Brooke, and then Erin, found the bottom of the net on three-point shots that helped tie and then stay within one with nine minutes to go in the game. Then on our next three offensive possessions: Rachel scored after a steal, Mandy hit a lay-up on a nice look from Brooke, with Mandy again hitting a shot, as the Lady Cubs led by one, 39-38. But as great teams prove the free throw line becomes important to close out late game victories. Kimball girls went eight for eight, down the stretch as Rachel, Breane, Rachel again, and Brooke iced the game with tough, confident work from the charity stripe. With 1.1 seconds on the clock, Erin inbounded the ball as the final tick meant a second Lady Cub victory of the season. Our half-court team defense is starting to get better, but we must continue to develop great habits and consistent rebounding. Breane grabbed 14 rebounds, Brooke had four assists, Rachel had four steals, and Emily added a blocked shot to lead our team.
The Kimball girls' varsity basketball team is 2-0 overall and 0-0 in the CMC conference. We will take on the ACGC Falcons Tuesday, Dec. 6, in their home opener at Kimball starting at 7:30 p.m. The team travels to Litchfield to play the Dragons Friday, Dec. 9, in another non-conference 7:30 p.m. tip off. Thank you for supporting Kimball girls' basketball.