By Clint Andersen
The Gordon-Rushville Lady Mustangs opened their basketball season on Friday in Hemingford. The game featured strong, physical play by both sides. The Mustangs battled adversity throughout the game and Hemingford’s depth finally tipped the balance as the Bobcats came away with the 57-50 win.
The Mustangs scored the first two points of the game, but then saw the Bobcats pull away to a 15-6 first quarter lead. In the second quarter, the Mustangs were forced to play without starters Haley Sahr and Denie Jacobsen. Sahr left with an injury and did not return, while Jacobsen picked up her fourth foul early in the second quarter and didn’t return to the game until midway through the fourth. It was against this backdrop of adversity that three freshmen got their first taste of experience at the varsity level, and they did it in style. Josie Perez, Kenna Campbell, and Carlee Hinn all made huge contributions that helped erase a ten point Bobcat lead. Perez and Campbell each scored six points and Hinn added four as the Mustangs scored nineteen points in the quarter, going into the break trailing by one, 25-26.
Coming out of halftime with Sahr and Jacobsen both still on the bench, sophomore Ashton Sasse stepped up in a big way. Sasse came away with multiple steals and layups, scoring seven of her nine points in the third quarter.
The Mustangs held a 42-40 lead entering the fourth quarter, but ran out of gas just short of the finish line. The difference in the game was the Bobcats’ ability to substitute players and keep them out of foul trouble. The Mustangs ended the game with three key contributors on the bench as both Ashton Sasse and Carlee Hinn fouled out along with Hali Sahr who did not return after her injury in the first quarter. Hemingford outscored the Mustangs 17-8 in the fourth quarter and held on for the 57-50 win.
The Mustangs’ leading scorer was Josie Perez with 17 points. Ashton Sasse and Kenna Campbell each scored 9, Keelie Campbell and Carlee Hinn scored 4, Dani Campbell added 3, while Deni Jacobsen and Paige Schultz scored 2 apiece.
While the Mustangs failed to come away from the win, it was clear that this team will be very dangerous as the season progresses. The talent, youth and athleticism of these young Mustangs will be fun to watch as they develop this year. The Mustangs’ next opponent will be a tough one as they travel to Chadron on Friday to face the Cardinals. The game will again be webcast on www.sheridancountyjournalstar.net so if you can’t make it to the game, tune in on your computer for high-definition coverage of Mustang basketball.