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No. 3 Nickerson girls dominate second half at Hoisington

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 11:21 PM CST
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HOISINGTON, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Six-foot-two sophomore Ava Jones entered Friday’s game in Hoisington averaging 25 points and 11 rebounds a night. The rebounds came early but Jones had just six points at the half. By night’s end, Lady Panther coach Jon McLean got 21 points from sophomore Josie McLean and 17 points from Jones as Nickerson cruised to a 61-25 win.

“The last couple of games (Josie) has been shooting the ball better,” said Coach McLean. “She had really struggled before Christmas shooting the basketball. We have Ava, but we have three really good guards around her. We should be hard to guard with our ability to make threes, put the ball on the floor, and make plays for everyone else. I never like to see Ava get in foul trouble, but we handled it and extended the lead.”

Nickerson junior Alexis Allen opened the contest with a trey and McLean followed with another for a quick 6-0 lead 90 seconds in. McLean hit two threes in the first quarter and Jones grabbed six boards in the frame as the Panthers scored the first 11 points and led 16-6 after one.

Hoisington’s 3-point shooting kept the Cardinals in the game. Senior Keeley Wolf and sophomore Addy Mason each made shots in the first, then senior Suzanna Schneider hit a pair of treys in the second. With Jones sidelined with two fouls at the 6:53 mark, Hoisington trailed just 31-19 at the half.

Allen swished a three for the first field goal of the third quarter nearly three minutes in. Then the Lady Panthers were off to the races. Jones put back her own miss to reach double-double status with 12 points and 10 rebounds with 2:40 to play in the frame. McLean added a late three, then a free throw after the buzzer as Nickerson pushed its lead to 46-21.

Hoisington got a jumper from junior Livvy Brewer with 1:17 to play in the third. That proved to be one of just three Lady Cardinal field goals in the second half.

“We always talk about the first three minutes of the second half are really important,” Coach McLean said. “We obviously want to win those three minutes. We won them by a convincing margin tonight. They missed some shots and we got out in transition and made some easy baskets, which helped. We just mix our defenses up and try to keep teams off balance. Tonight it was pretty effective for us.”

The pedigreed Jones put on a show in the final eight minutes, snapping up five more rebounds and taking two defensive boards end to end. She finished her night with 17 points and 16 boards. McLean made just two free throws in the fourth to cap a big night with 21 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the outside. Allen and Kieryn Ontjes each added six points.

Wolf paced the Lady Cardinals with eight points, and Schneider finished with six points.

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