The Schuyler girls lost 68-25 at home Thursday against West Point-Beemer.
The Lady Warriors have been hit hard by the flu bug and injuries lately, depleting an already thin bench. This lack of depth was a major hurdle against the Cadets (10-4).
“Haylee Korth came back from having the flu for this game,” Schuyler head coach Kadeyn Johnson said. “I didn’t know if I was going to have her for tonight. Tasha Wolken got hurt a little bit tonight. Numbers are just holding us down a little bit right now.”
West Point-Beemer suited up 14 players for the game and all of them scored at least one point. Andrea Hoffman led the way with 14 points and Brittney Hinkel added 12.
Schuyler got seven points apiece from Rachel Shonka and Wolken, six from Yessica Rodriguez and five from Korth.
West Point-Beemer jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before Wolken broke the ice for SCHS by hitting a short jumper. The Cadets extended their advantage to 10-2 midway through the opening quarter.
Korth then drove to the basket and was fouled as the ball dropped through the hoop. She added the free throw to complete the traditional three-point play, pulling the Lady Warriors within five at 10-5.
West Point-Beemer responded by scoring eight straight points before a pair of Shonka free throws made the score 18-7 after one quarter.
“Offensively, we would like to work the ball in more to Rachel,” Johnson said. “It is tough for us to get the ball in there when they know that Rachel is one of our threats, so they were keeping her from getting the ball.”
Rodriguez hit a pair of jumpers in the lane midway through the second quarter and Korth followed with a 10-foot jumper as Schuyler trailed 27-13.
The Lady Warriors kept attacking, but tired late in the quarter. West Point-Beemer outscored Schuyler 11-3 over the final 2:30 of the period to take a 38-16 lead into halftime.
The Lady Warriors played their best basketball of the game in the third quarter as they were only outscored 10-7.
Wolken hit a 3-pointer, then added a pair of free throws, and Shonka made a jumper in the lane to account for Schuyler’s seven points.
“Usually, our third quarter is not our best quarter. We usually seem to come out pretty flat, so I was glad to see that we came out after halftime and played really well,” Johnson said. “That was one of our best defensive quarters of the season. I told them that we got a lot of deflections. We went to a 2-3 zone and tried to get a lot of tips and some easy layups off of that.”
Schuyler hosted Class B, No. 2 Seward on Friday and couldn’t keep up with the high-flying Bluejays, who hit nine 3-pointers in the 69-10 win.
Johnson knew his team would be in for a tough challenge against Seward, which improved to 8-3.
“I thought that our girls played hard the entire game. Seward is a tough team and we all knew that coming in,” he said. “I told the girls before the game that we had to play hard for the entire 32 minutes and I felt like we did that, despite what the final score indicated.”
Eleven players scored for Seward, led by 11 points from Kelsie Zadina, who hit three 3-pointers. Rebekah Klenke and Kayla Luebbe added 10 points each.
Shonka paced Schuyler with five points, Jakelin Mejia knocked down a 3-pointer and Wolken made two free throws.
“We were successful in our half-court sets in the third quarter and that is something that we are to be working on more and more,” Johnson said. “It was tough after a while because they were in zone and you can only do so much against a zone defense. Once they went man it opened things up for us to run some different sets.”
Defensively, the Schuyler coach was pleased with his post players’ performance.
“Rachel did a good job of containing their posts on defense. I told her and Yessica that they both needed to play big down low. They had to box them out and get a lot of rebounds. They both did a really good job of doing that tonight,” Johnson said.
The Bluejays hit three treys in the opening three minutes while opening a 14-0 lead before Seward coach Tom Tvrdy sat his starters and brought in five reserves.
Schuyler mustered only two first-quarter points on Shonka free throws and trailed 18-2.
The Lady Warriors never could get rolling.
Seward scored the first 16 points of the second quarter and raced to a 34-2 lead before Shonka broke the Schuyler drought with a short jumper. The Bluejays scored the final nine points of the quarter and led 43-4 at halftime.
For the second game in a row, the Lady Warriors played a strong third quarter. Seward outscored Schuyler 12-5 in the period, but the Lady Warriors made the going tough for the visitors.
Both teams played their reserves in the final quarter.
Schuyler fell to 1-11 this season following the loss.
“The girls still have their spirits up after this game. The girls knew how good of a team Seward was,” Johnson said. “Now we will come to practice Monday and begin to get ready for our next game.”
The Lady Warriors play Friday at Lakeview and Saturday at Grand Island Northwest before starting the Central Conference Tournament on Monday against Holdrege. That game will be played in Aurora.