Both Washington County girls basketball teams had a difficult time maintaining possession of the ball Tuesday at Arlington High School, but Fort Calhoun and the Eagles also had a good night taking it away.
In the end, ball control statistics coincided with the final score. Arlington had 21 turnovers to the Pioneers' 28 and won the Nebraska Capitol Conference game 50-36.
“That wasn't necessarily the plan going into it, but it sure ended up being it,” FCHS coach Allie Schleifer said of going after steals defensively. “After last night, we just really emphasized better rotation in our half-court defense and that turned into, actually, more turnovers in our favor.”
But the Pioneers fell to 3-16 with back-to-back losses to Nebraska City and AHS, while the Eagles improved to 12-9 this season.
Early on, though, postgame records couldn't have been easy to project. Three-pointers by Jaidyn Spoon and Kylee Bruning helped Arlington to a 16-11 first-quarter lead, but Fort Calhoun battled back during the second. Back-to-back baskets by Tessa Skelton and Rianna Wells evened the score at 18 with just 3:02 left before halftime.
“We were just kind of rushing some things because we haven't shot the ball real well the last three games,” AHS coach Luke Brenn said. “And the girls were, kind of, panicked a little bit in the first half. We just adjusted a bit in the second half.”
The adjustments pushed the Eagles' five-point lead at the break into a 10-point lead through three periods.
“We came out in the third quarter and played pretty well,” Brenn noted.
Two Spoon buckets ended the quarter as Arlington's Washington County foe made some mistakes that contributed to the Eagles' advantage.
“Some of the decisions we were making with the ball were decisions we made in December,” Schleifer said. “That was, kind of, uncharacteristic right now, so hopefully that was a one-game deal.”
Arlington — by way of Sarah Theiler, Kailynn Gubbels and Kate Miller — scored the first five points of the fourth period, taking firm control of the contest.
“Once it got to that 16-, 18-point mark was when I started thinking, 'Man, these turnovers are hurting us worse than I thought they would,'” Schleifer said.
Spoon and Fort Calhoun's Kinsley Wimer each scored 17 points to lead their teams. Bruning and Gubbels added 11 apiece for the victorious Eagles.
“Was it a perfect game all four quarters? No,” Brenn said. “But we found a way in the second half and, in the third quarter, we played pretty well.”
Pioneers fall to Nebraska City
The Fort Calhoun girls basketball team battled back into Monday's home game against Nebraska City with an 18-10 third period, but the purple Pioneers left for their own home with a 52-47 win.
Nebraska City led 30-20 at halftime, but saw its lead shrink to 40-38 through three quarters. It bounced back with a 12-9 fourth, improving to 2-15 this season.
Mackenzie Hansen led Fort Calhoun in defeat, scoring 12 points on four 3-point makes. The junior was 4-for-6 from beyond the arc, while Wimer and Skelton also knocked down long range shots.
Nebraska City's Abby Balfour led all scorers with 15 points.