Girls consider basketball season a success



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The girls’ basketball team went to state last week with the hope of taking back the state title. The team won their first two games against Central and Benson to advance to the championship. Although they put up a tough fight, they could not overcome the point deficit. The girls’ got runner up, falling to Lincoln Southeast. Photos by Linzy Heim.


On March 2, the girls Varsity basketball team fell to the Lincoln Southeast Knights in the state championship game with a score of 65-57.

The season ends with a school best record of 27-2.

“Our team chemistry attributed to our success. We were playing for each other, and getting other people the ball, and put others in the position to succeed,” senior Haelee Kowalski said.

The state tournament started on Feb. 28, where the Thunderbirds took on Benson High School. Benson kept the game close by shooting well inside the paint. Even so, the Thunderbirds were able to maintain a lead for the majority of the game, and all of the second half.

West’s largest lead of the game came in the second quarter, where they held Benson to just three points while forcing 17 turnovers, 10 of them being steals. Junior Julie Targy led the defensive effort.

“[We are good at defense because] we work on it a lot during practice, and play well as a team,” Targy said.

With 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter Benson made a run, with the help of Bellevue missed free throws, and closed the gap to three.

The T-birds were able to hold off the Bunnies 53-51 and advance to the next round.

“We were able to win close games because we work on similar situations in practice, and are confident in ourselves,” Kowalski said.

In the semifinals Bellevue West went up against Central, the previous state champion.

Quick baskets and two threes allowed the Thunderbirds to grab a five point lead which they would manage to keep until a few seconds going into the half (32-30).

The girls lost the lead for the first time of the game with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter down 38-37.

Stout defense by Freshman Chloe Akin-Otiko along with others allowed the Thunderbirds to manage the fourth quarter and win 53-50.

“[Chloe] really rose to the challenge, and played extremely well when we needed help,” Kowalski said.

In the NSAA Class A State Championship the number one ranked Bellevue West Thunderbirds matched up with the second ranked Lincoln Southeast Knights.

Lincoln had its way with the T-Birds at beginning of the game, scoring at will and getting a 9 point lead putting the score at 18-9 at the end of the first quarter.

The Knights extended their lead to 13, the highest of the day, and forced the Thunderbirds to take a timeout. This timeout seemed to be what West needed as they went on to score 9 unanswered points to close the gap to three.

The Knights responded with two buckets before the half to put the score at 29-22.

Southeast’s lead stayed consistent throughout most of the second half.

West’s lack of three point shooting hurt their usual high-powered offense. In the first half the Thunderbirds shot 0-6 beyond the arc.

“Going up against better teams with good defenses, it’s harder to shoot with a hand in your face than it is for most teams that we played this year,” Kowalski said.

The girls however thought the season was a success despite not winning a championship.

“I would definitely consider this season a success. We did what we wanted to do on and off the court and made it to the state championship,” Kowalski said.

Next season the team is only losing three players.

“I feel good about next season. We are only going to get better,” Targy said.

James Teutschman
West Wind Editor-in-Chief