By Jeremy Kuechle, Coach
On Tuesday, Dec. 15, EV-W arrived in Kimball to face the Cubs in the conference opener for both teams. The score would see-saw back and forth in the first half, as neither team could pull away with Kimball holding a 23-22 lead at halftime. With Kimball down by two points with nine minutes to play, the Cubs offense fizzled as they failed to score for more than five minutes while the Eagles managed to build a 41-34 lead, Kimball would have some chances to make it interesting near the end, but late free throws sealed it for EV-W as they came out on top 50-40. Kimball was led in scoring by senior Kelsey Vigoren with 12 points, followed by sophomore Mandy Wittenberg with seven points. Junior Megan Garding and sophomore Liz Kastanek both had five points, junior Natalie Stein three points, with sophomores Rachel Arnold, Brooke Merten and seniors Tesslynn Callander and Sarah Messer all with two points each. Callander, Kastanek, and Merten led the defense with four steals each while Garding out-leaped all rebounders with ten rebounds.
The schedule wouldn't get any easier as Kimball next traveled to Holdingford Friday, Dec. 18, to take on another tough conference opponent. Kimball would struggle in the first half as Holdingford started off hot shooting very well from the floor building a 43-28 halftime lead, and then extended the lead to 18 points (53-35) with 11:34 to play in the game. That is when the Cubs started making some big-time plays, initiating one of the most exciting come-from-behind performances I have ever been a part of. A flurry of steals, everyone hustling to the ball, finishing fast break opportunities with lay ups, great anticipation and rebounding after forcing the Huskers into some bad shots led to Kimball cutting the lead to 54-52 with 6:40 still left to play. An explosive 17-1 scoring run by the Lady Cubs! Kimball would later tie the game at 56-56, then again at 58-58, and yet again at 60-60. With 32 seconds left Wittenberg would get fouled making a strong move to the basket and sink one of two free-throws giving the Cubs a 61-60 lead. The Cubs defense then held, while Wittenberg would be fouled again, once more making one of two from the line, giving the Cubs 62-60 lead with only three seconds remaining. The Huskers would not get a shot off before time expired as the Cubs completed the amazing come-from-behind victory.
Wittenberg would finish with 11 points and 10 rebounds on the night second only to Garding's game high 19 points and 11 rebounds. The post play was followed up by junior Shannon Donnay having one of her best games of the young season with seven points, nine rebounds, and five steals.
Sophomore Rachel Arnold had a break-out game as well, chipping in 10 points with five assists and five steals. Merten finished with six points connecting for Kimball's lone three-point shot on the night, while Callander had four points and six boards. Vigoren would finish with three points and a game-high six steals and Stein scored two points. A great team effort for Kimball as they push their record to 4-2 on the season (1-1 conference). Go Big Blue!