Pratt High’s Jenson Maydew is so versatile that coach Dean Rausch likes to sit back and watch the show.
The 5-10 Maydew provided Rausch a typical performance with a game high 17 points, several perfect assists and dominating inside play to lead Pratt past Nickerson High’s girls 57-18 Friday night.
Rausch said Maydew is the heart of everything that the Greenbacks (10-5, 3-1 CKL) run.
“The challenge for me is how to use Jenson to the best of her ability because she’s our best offensive rebounder, our best passer and one of our best 3-point shooters,” Rausch said. “That’s why we have her playing everywhere on the court doing a little bit of everything for us.”
Maydew’s most effective weapon is her high-low feed to 6-foot-3 teammate Payton Hoeme, who worked inside for 12 points and eight rebounds. Breann Becker contributed 11 points and she played a solid floor game setting up Pratt’s offense.
“Jenson and Payton are a pretty good tandem, and that’s where our experience is,” Rausch said. “We’re still learning and growing as players at our guard positions. But we are coming along. Our freshman point guard Breann Becker did an excellent job tonight.”
Pratt made 23 of 63 field goals and scored 24 second-chance points behind its aggressive rebounding.
The Greenbacks simply featured too much height and athletic ability for the Panthers. The Greenbacks also scored some uncontested baskets off Panther turnovers. Pratt led 15-4 after one quarter and were ahead 31-10 at halftime.
Nickerson (1-14, 1-3 CKL) is enduring some growing pains with a short and inexperienced varsity lineup. Five-seven guard Paige Stewart is Nickerson’s answer to Maydew.
Stewart breaks pressure defense, sets up her teammates and leads the Panthers’ defense and rebounding. Stewart scored eight points. Madison Chronister added four points.
“Paige sets a great example for her teammates the way she always hustles and keeps a great attitude,” said Nickerson coach Charles Smalling. “I like the way our girls are battling. They are playing tougher and smarter basketball every time out.”
Smalling said the Panthers improved by 12 points against Pratt after losing by 51 points in their first meeting. They handled Pratt’s fullcourt pressure defense better and moved the ball upcourt for better shots. The Panthers made 4 of 22 field goals with 26 turnovers.
“The team is steadily doing a better job moving the ball against pressure defense,” Smalling said. “We are working together and showing more patience. We are doing a much better job recognizing the defense and not getting trapped. We still make turnovers, but we’re trying to make an extra pass and trying to make plays.”
Smalling said the Panthers’ Chronister and Lewis made good hustle plays off the bench.
“The girls have done a good job keeping their spirits up,” he said. “As long as they keep working hard to get better every day, I’m going to be happy.”
Nickerson travels to Hesston and Pratt entertains Haven at home Tuesday.