Ladies start the year with back-to-back wins

By: 
Sonja Karp

Photo by Alexis Barker/NLJ

Jayde Harrington stands her ground against Reece Halley in the Lady Dogies’ big win over the Lady Trailblazers on Friday. The Lady Dogies held Halley to just 13 points on the night, 5 less than her average for the season.

Sonja Karp

NLJ Sports Editor

 

The Lady Dogies began the new year with a sweep of two tough opponents in the Lady Trailblazers of Torrington and the Gering Lady Bulldogs. Defense prevailed in Newcastle’s 48-39 victory over the ‘Blazers, while offense was the key in the 61-41 win against the Bulldogs.

On Friday, the squad hosted Torrington who came into the contest with nine games under their belts and a senior-heavy, veteran team. Newcastle was a little behind the ‘Blazers having only played three games before going into a three-week Christmas break between contests, and it showed a bit at the start of the contest, but the Lady Dogies soon got up to speed. 

“I think the games that we haven’t played made a difference. They played over Christmas, and had played a lot more games than us, and it took us a minute to get going,” head coach Chad Ostenson said. “But I thought we played hard the whole game. On defense, we held them to just 39 points when they average 52 points per game, so that was great.” 

The contest was a hard-fought battle right from the tip. Torrington was able to establish a 4-point lead early, but then Newcastle settled in and kept the game tight throughout the first half. In those first two quarters, then just into the third, there were nine lead changes and four ties between the two squads. The Lady Dogies led by as much as 13 in the second half while Torrington’s biggest lead was 4. Newcastle led at the end of the first and third quarters, the teams were tied at the half, then Newcastle was on top at the end.

“The game was a total team effort and I can’t say enough about our defense,” Ostenson began. “It always gets pretty physical when we play them, and Friday night was no exception — but our girls held
their own.”

The Dogies out-rebounded the Trailblazers by 1 or 2, which was impressive given that is one of Torrington’s strengths as a team. Ostenson’s crew also did a good job in defending the Trailblazers’ leading scorer, Reece Halley. 

“Reece and Mattie Jones were our focus and we held Mattie to only 6 and Reece finished with only 13 when she averages 18 per game,” Ostenson reported. “We have focused on rebounding and closing out the last couple of weeks, and I think the kids really took those ideas to heart.” 

The starting five all contributed to the scoring column with Jaylen Ostenson leading the way with 19 points. Shelby Tidyman also hit double figures with her 11 points, while Hunter McFarland chipped in 9 which included hitting two from beyond the arc. MacKenzie Conzelman added 7 points and Tiernan Stanton rounded things out with 2 points of her own. 

On Saturday, the squad headed to Nebraska to face off against the Lady Bulldogs in Gering. The Bulldogs outsized the Lady Dogies with a six-footer and a couple of players standing at about 5 feet, 10 inches and 5 feet, 11 inches, but even missing 6-foot, 2-inch Stanton from the roster, the Lady Dogies dominated their opponent from the start, leading at every quarter break.

“We played probably our best game of the season,” Ostenson said. “Between Jayde [Harrington], Jaylen and Mack down low, we played some pretty good defense on their big. They pretty much have all the tools, but we played some great defense, and our team offense — getting contributions from everyone — was pretty stellar.”

The Lady Dogies got out and ran the floor, and finished at the rim. There were some great looks down court which Newcastle was able to capitalize on for points, and Conzelman, who leads the state in 3-point shooting, was dialed in again from beyond the arc, draining six of nine attempts.

“Everyone contributed to the offense. As good as our team defense was against Torrington, was our team offense against Gering,” Ostenson said. “I told the girls that it was one of the better games we’ve played since the Mt. View game last year at the state tournament.”

The Lady Dogies also took pretty good care of the ball, only turning it over 14 times throughout the contest. Though they were missing Stanton in the paint, Harrington and Bailey Benshoof came off the bench to provide a much needed defensive presence on the court.

“Jayde played her tail off on defense and did her job, and Bailey came in and did a really good job as well,” Ostenson said. “The way we’re playing as a team is awesome. If we can keep doing that, we’re going to be alright coming down the stretch.” 

The Lady Dogies shot an impressive 81% from the charity stripe and three players ended the night in double figures in the scoring column. Conzelman led with 22, Tidyman was close behind with 18 and Ostenson was next with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. McFarland added 4 points and Harrington chipped in 3 to round out the scoring. 

The squad has another tough road weekend ahead as they travel to Wheatland on Friday to take on the Lady Bulldogs, scheduled to begin at 5:30, then go to Spearfish on Saturday where they will face off against Rapid City Christian in the Sacred Hoops Tournament. The game will tip off at the Donald E. Young Center at 11 on Saturday morning.

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