Saturday, December 20, 2014
   
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Eagle girls fall short in final

Third time is a charm for Wauneta-Palisade

WALLACE-—The Brady girls got the best of Wauneta-Palisade twice this season.

The first game of the year was a four-point win for the Eagles and the opening round of the home holiday tournament ended in a easier 16-point victory.

But when all the cards were on the table and a trip to the Class D-2 state tournament was at stake, it was the Broncos who had the upper hand.

Wauneta-Palisade’s girls defeated Brady 58-49 Friday night in the D2-5 district final at Wallace.

“You’ve got to hand it to Wa-Pa,” said Brady coach Lance Arterburn. “They came prepared and they played hard.”

After Brady senior Dakota Terry hit the first bucket of the game, Wauneta-Palisade scored on a break-away shot and then converted two consecutive Eagle turnovers into points in the first couple minutes of the game.

The Broncos kept pushing, using a stingy pressure defense to keep the Eagles out of their running game.

At the three-minute mark of the first quarter, Wauneta-Palisade led 12-3.

The Brady girls didn’t give in, though, making a 7-0 run to close out the period trailing 16-12.

“We missed some easy shots that usually fall for us,” Arterburn said, “and Wa-Pa made big shots when they needed to.”

The second quarter was much closer as the teams traded baskets. The Broncos had a 28-22 edge at the break.

“We made a nice run before halftime,” Arterburn said, “and again in the third quarter.”

The Eagles tied the score at 28-28 with 6:25 left to go in the third and managed to take a 31-28 lead while holding the Broncos scoreless for the first five minutes of the second half.

A three-pointer by Wauneta-Palisade guard Abbie Fanning stopped the run and two free throws on the next Bronco possession allowed Wauneta-Palisade to regain the lead for good.

Brady had plenty of opportunities to close the gap in the fourth quarter but couldn’t string together enough buckets.

Four straight turnovers beginning at the three-minute mark dashed Brady’s hopes all together.

“We missed some key free throws that would have kept the score within reach,” Arterburn said. “We just came up a little short.”

Brady was 5-of-10 from the line in the final period and 15-of-27 from the stripe for the game.

Terry led Brady in scoring with 14 points. She also pulled down nine rebounds.

Sophomore Josie Palmer contributed 11 points and seven rebounds.

Tailor Lee led the Broncos with 16 points while Fanning chipped in 11.

Brady finishes the season with a 20-4 record. It’s the first time in school history the girls have completed three consecutive 20-win seasons.

“We are disappointed in the way it ended because we all had our hearts set on playing in Lincoln,” Arterburn said. “But we can’t be disappointed in what this team has accomplished.”

Three senior players will graduate, having played on both the first-ever Brady girls team to make it to state in 2010 and the only team to advance, finishing fourth in 2011.

“The seniors have done a lot of great things to help turn this program around,” the coach said. “They’ve set the tone for the future.”

They’ll be missed, Arterburn said, but the Eagles have plenty of fire power coming back.

“We’re going to reload and hopefully come back for another successful season next year.”

Wauneta-Palisade (18-6) enters the Class D-2 state tournament as the No. 7 seed and will face No. 2 Lindsay Holy Family (24-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Lincoln East.

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