Published Friday, December 6, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 12:55 am
Thunderbirds run away from Kearney

KEARNEY — Kearney High girls basketball coach Jason Boyd wished he could have that first quarter back.

The Bearcats trailed by 19 points after the first quarter against the state’s No. 1 squad. But Kearney High was only outscored by a point in the following two quarters insteading of letting Bellevue West run away with it.

“It’s not like they were backing off. They had their press on and they had their starters in and we won that quarter against the No. 1 team in the state,” Boyd said. “It was a confidence thing for our kids.”

That first quarter, however, was more than enough to sink the Bearcats, 83-53 in their season opener on Friday night.

“I thought it was a great game for us. It’s hard to say that coming out and losing by 30 but we got a lot better from it,” Boyd said.

Part of the reason Bellevue West jumped out to a 23-4 first quarter lead was sharpshooter Madison Braun. The senior, who had a team-high 20 points, drained three of her six three-pointers in the first quarter.

“She went off, which is what I was worried about,” Boyd said of Braun.

The three-pointer was what Bellevue West turned to to fend off the Bearcats.

While post Kate Liveringhouse poured in 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds, the Thunderbirds made their living shooting 52 percent from beyond the arc.

“It helps when you shoot 14-27 from out there,” said Bellevue West coach Doug Woodward.

The Bearcats relied on experienced guard Kelsey Stithem, who stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals. Skyler Snider fueled the Bearcat offense with her game-high 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

“She really had a great game. She showed a lot of improvement from last year just with things like keeping her dribble alive, attacking the basket and going up strong at the basket,” Boyd said of Snider. “She was huge for us and I hope she continues that throughout the year.”

The Bearcats will look to improve their ball control, which resulted in 32 turnovers. The Bearcats were bothered by Julie Targy, who had six steals.

Despite a 30-point loss, Boyd told his group that it grew more playing against the state’s best than it could’ve against any other foe.

“I told their coach afterwards that was great for us,” Boyd said. “It made us a lot better. We got a lot better tomorrow from this game. That’s the key for us going forward.”

Bellevue West 83, Kearney High 53

BW — Madison Braun 6-13 0-0 20, Kate Liveringhouse 7-11 5-6 19, Chloe Akin-Otiko 5-6 0-0 11, Anna Dolezal 3-6 0-0 8, Julie Targy 2-4 1-3 5, Pimmi Dike 2-4 1-1 5, Mia Felici 2-5 2-3 6, Katie Imig 1-3 0-0 3, Taylea Dotzler 1-1 0-0 3, Brianne Inselman 1-1 0-0 3, Courtney Morehead 0-0 0-0 0, Kylie Spurgeon 0-3 0-0 0.
KHS — Skyler Snider 8-11 7-10 23, Kelsey Stithem 3-4 5-5 11, Abby Ray 3-4 0-0 6, Karmin Moncrief 2-2 1-1 5, Payton Cudaback 2-3 0-1 4, Abbie Graham 1-1 0-0 3, Breanna Obermiller 0-2 1-2 1, Hannah Lundell 0-1 0-0 0, Stacy Peters 0-1 0-0 0, Brianna Miller 0-1 0-0 0.

BELLEVUE WEST (1-0) ....... 23 18 20 22—83
KEARNEY HIGH (0-1) .......... 4 16 21 12—53

3-point field goals — BW 14-27 (Braun 6-12, Imig 1-3, Akin-Otiko 1-1, Dolezal 2-5, Inselman 1-1, Felici 2-3, Dotzler 1-1, Targy 0-1), KHS 1-5 (Graham 1-1, Moncrief 0-1, Snider 0-2 Stithem 0-1). Rebounds — BW 20 (Liveringhouse 7), KHS 16 (Ray. Stithem 4). Assists — BW 21 (Braun 4), KHS 11 (Stithem 6). Steals — BW 18 (Targy 6), KHS 16 (Stithem 4). Fouls — BW 18, KHS 12. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — BW 16, KHS 32.

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