LANCASTER – The Lancaster varsity girls basketball team is literally off and running with a good start to their 2017-18 season.
The Flying Arrows went 2-0 in their first week of non-conference action, after having just one week of practice before getting into their schedule.
For coach Rob Wagner, the rush to start the season doesn’t allow him to incorporate anything but the most basic sets when it comes to game-planning for the first few opponents.
“The girls’ basketball season is such a rush,” Wagner said. “You have one week and you’re playing games already, and you just don’t have everything in. You just have to do things on the fly.”
Fortunately for coach Wagner, he has three returning starters from last year’s team that bring with them an abundance of varsity experience to go along with a lot of team speed and athleticism.
The Lancaster ladies used their team speed to wear down host Southwestern last Tuesday night, claiming a 46-33 non-conference victory over the host Wildcats.
Despite trailing, 24-22, at the half, coach Wagner’s squad maintained its fast and aggressive play on both ends of the court, and outscored the Wildcats, 24-9, in the second half.
Lancaster didn’t exactly light it up from the floor in their first game on a foreign court, making 16-of-61 (26%) shot attempts from the field, including 2-of-21 (9.5%) from 3-point range.
They did however shoot well from the free throw line, making 12-of-16 (75%), compared to Southwestern’s 4-of-12 (33%) performance.
It was senior Morelia Galvan leading the way with 13 points, six rebounds and one assist.
Freshman Kiley Kelly added 12 points in her first varsity action, to go along with two rebounds, two assists and four steals.
Also pulling down a team-high six rebounds was junior Devin Wagner, who also had eight points, three assists and three steals.
As a team, the Flying Arrows had 16 total steals and turned the ball over 13 times.
On the following Friday night, the Lancaster ladies played in front of a home crowd, who watched the Flying Arrows send visiting Iowa-Grant home with a 55-34 loss.
Lancaster jumped out to an early 10-1 lead in Friday’s ball game, and with 5:18 remaining in the first half, held a lead of 21-5.
The Flying Arrows led at the half, 29-13, then outscored the Panthers, 26-21 in the second half.
Junior guard Lydia Murphy led Lancaster with 16 points to go along with five rebounds and a team-high eight steals.
Sophomore Brooklyn Connelly chipped in 12 points, three rebounds and two steals, while Devin Wagner added 10 points, six boards, six assists and three steals.
Pulling down a team-high seven rebounds was junior Madison Straka.
Sophomore Olivia Liddicoat had 17 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals to lead the Panthers (0–1) in defeat.
As a team, the Flying Arrows made 21-of-58 (36%) shot attempts, including 9-of-25 (36%) from long range. They were 4-of-8 (50%) from the free throw line, committed 22 turnovers and came away with 20 steals.
Following this past Monday night’s road game at Barneveld, the Flying Arrows will next take the court on Tuesday, Nov. 28, when they host Viroqua.
As for the start of the season though, coach Wagner is optimistic his team is off on the right foot, even though there is still a lot of work to be done.
“We’re a pretty inexperienced group. We have the three girls that started last year that are all back, but for everybody else, this is like their real true first varsity experience, and we’re still just doing basic stuff,” Wagner said. “We’ve got to try to get a little more in depth on things if we’re really going to try to compete against some teams in our conference.”
“Overall, I think the girls are playing hard,” Wagner added. We don’t have a lot of kids, with only eight on varsity. They’re all working hard, and working to get better. It’s early, so I told them that our best ball is ahead of us.”
Lancaster 46, Southwestern 33
(from Tuesday, Nov. 14)
Lancaster 22 24 - 46
Southwestern 24 9 - 33
Lancaster - Morelia Galvan 13, Lydia Murphy 6, Kiley Kelly 12, Brooklyn Connelly 7, Devin Wagner 8. Totals - 16 12-16 46.
Southwestern - Kailey Droessler 2, Hailey Hinman 11, Maddy Myers 10, Ava Kunkel 2, Abbey Budden 4, Kate Wright 4. Totals - 14 4-12 33.
3-point goals - L: Kelly 1, Connelly 1; SW: Hinman 1. Team fouls - L 18, SW 17. Fouled out - None.
Lancaster 55, Iowa-Grant 34
(from Friday, Nov. 17)
Iowa-Grant 13 21 - 34
Lancaster 29 26 - 55
Iowa-Grant - Olivian Liddicoat 17, Annie Spurley 7, Trinity Spurley 6, Kylie Cutts 2, Katie Olson 2. Totals - 14 5-11 34.
Lancaster - Lydia Murphy 16, Brooklyn Connelly 12, Devin Wagner 10, Morelia Galvan 7, Madi Bainbridge 6, Kiley Kelly 3, Morgan DeBuhr 1. Totals - 21 4-7 55.
3-point goals - IG: Liddicoat 1; L: Galvan 1, Bainbridge 2, Murphy 2, Kelly 1, Connelly 3. Team fouls - IG 9, L 15. Fouled out - None.