The Kenyon-Wanamingo girls’ basketball team hosted the Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers in Kenyon Monday and while the Knights looked strong throughout the first half, they were unable to keep pace with the Buccaneers in the second half and ultimately fell by a score of 64-45.
The Knights (1-2) trailed the Buccaneers (1-0) by a few points early on in the contest, but quickly rallied to tie the score and eventually took a slim lead. The two teams traded points throughout the first half before the Knights hit a couple of big three-pointers right before halftime to give themselves a little space. The big baskets allowed the Knights to open up a 6-point lead at the break.
“Those three-pointers were a big part of the reason why we were still in that game,” Kenyon-Wanamingo coach Jake Wieme said. “WEM came out very strong and yet I thought the first half was the strongest half of basketball we’ve played so far this year. I thought our girls did a really nice job of playing aggressive, being physical and playing good defense, and they did a really good job of boxing out. I know (the referees) called us for some fouls on that but those are things that we work hard on in practice and we really emphasize boxing out, and I thought the girls did a good job of executing those things.”
Wieme said the Knights’ biggest challenge was coming up with a defensive answer for WEM guard Brielle Bartelt, who finished with 31 points.
“I think we did a decent job of guarding her in the second half but she just made a lot more plays, so the credit goes to her on that,” Wieme said. “But going into the game we talked about executing our plan on defense and it was good to see the girls take our game plan and apply it.”
The Buccaneers pulled even with the Knights at 34-34 just a few minutes into the second half and continued to surge, eventually building a lead that reached as high as 20 points.
“I don’t think it was one specific thing or another,” Wieme said, “but we actually had a similar game at the beginning of the season where we played a good first half but then in the second half things kind of got out of reach for us and just snowballed from there, so it was unfortunate that that happened again against WEM.”
Riley Dummer led the Knights with 18 points, but Wieme said he hopes some of the other players will be able to step things up a bit more, as no other player reached double digits against the Buccaneers.
“Overall we need to improve on offense,” Wieme said. “We have a good group of girls who have played a lot of basketball and I think they’re all talented and can score in different ways, so we just need to make sure that we utilize all of them. We can’t rely on just one person to be an offensive threat for us. We all need to be offensive threats, and I think over the last couple of games the girls have been realizing that and they’ve been willing to take an open shot a little more often.”
Megan Mattson chipped in eight points for the Knights, while Sydney Burow finished with seven points, Julianna Boyum totaled six points and Madi Luebke contributed five. The Knights attempted 53 shots but made only 16 of them, for a shooting percentage of 30%. They did a bit better from beyond the arc, making five of 13 (38%) 3-point attempts.
“I really feel we can be a well-balanced team on the offensive side of things but that means we need everyone contributing a little more. But I feel like we’re starting to get there, which is a good thing,” added Wieme.
Next up for the Knights is a home game Friday against Stewartville (0-1).