The Fort Calhoun girls basketball team won its last game going into the Nebraska Capitol Conference Tournament, while Arlington fell short in its.
As a result, the Eagles used Friday's postgame meeting at Douglas County West to turn the page and focus in on the Pioneers, who they were to face in Saturday's first round at Conestoga High School.
“Coach told us to think about this game, but not dwell on it and be ready to play tomorrow,” AHS sophomore Taylor Arp said.
Four FCHS players and coaches, meanwhile, watched Friday's game between the Falcons and Eagles (4-11 overall) in preparation for the conference tourney. Less then 24 hours later, those Pioneers (7-10) lost to that Arlington squad, 36-35.
“We finally set in and executed offensively pretty well,” AHS coach Luke Brenn said after his team broke its eight-game losing streak. “But it was our rebounding and defense that really did well this afternoon. It was a great team win.”
Eagles senior Kate Miller scored the game-winning free throw with 21 seconds remaining after Fort Calhoun sophomore Bria Bench had tied it up at 35-all with 31.9 seconds left.
“Didn't play our best ball, especially on offense,” Pioneers coach Marty Plum said. “We made a few too many mistakes and Arlington took advantage of them. Today, they were just better.”
FCHS had one last chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but Arlington freshman Britt Nielsen got a piece of the last-second shot and senior Hailey Brenn hauled it in as the buzzer sounded.
Miller led the Eagles with 13 points, while Libby Hegemann scored 10. Bench led all scorers with 20 points as Tess Skelton added eight and Maddy Tinkham notched seven.
The win earned Arlington a Monday tournament trip to Syracuse, while Fort Calhoun will next play Thursday in another NCC game.
Eagles fall at DCW
Douglas County West outscored Arlington 17-7 during Friday's second period, but never truly pulled away from the Eagles.
The Falcons did improve to 9-8 with the 39-29 home win, but AHS successfully attacked the paint and reached the foul line as they'd hoped.
“We just knew we had a size advantage, so we knew we needed to take advantage of that,” Arp said after a 13-point night. The 5-foot-9 post player was 7-for-8 from the foul line.
“Sometimes, not very confident,” she said when asked about her feelings toward free-throw shooting. “I'm like, 'Oh, I better make this' and then I just take a deep breath and go from there.”
The approach worked Friday, but it wasn't enough as the Falcons' Grace Holm led all scorers with 24 points. Her DC West team led by as many as 15 points during the fourth period, but the Eagles cut into that advantage with a 6-0 run of their own.
Keelianne Green, Miller and Arp contributed as Arlington pulled within 36-27 late. The push just wasn't enough, though, as coach Brenn's squad suffered its 11th loss of the season.
Pioneers beat Cedar Bluffs by 42
Before battling the Eagles at Conestoga, Fort Calhoun hosted a makeup game against Cedar Bluffs, dominating 50-8 Thursday night.
School cancellations due to snow forced the reschedule, but it was the Pioneers that buried the Wildcats early when the teams finally met. FCHS led 16-1 after one period and 27-3 after two in picking up its seventh win of the season.
Skelton led coach Plum's team with 22 points, including nine on 3-point makes, while Bench contributed eight. Sophie Thomas and Raegen Wells scored six points apiece, too.
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