Published Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 12:41 am
Fullerton girls top Red Hornets; Heartland Lutheran boys fall, too

GRAND ISLAND -- Heartland Lutheran's girls basketball team was in a pretty decent position heading into the third quarter Saturday against Fullerton.

But the Warriors jumped on the Red Hornets at the beginning of the second half and went on to a 58-47 victory at Heartland Lutheran High School.

Fullerton (9-7) led 29-25 at the half. The Warriors then scored the first nine points of the second half in less than three minutes to take control of the game.

"The first three minutes of that second half just kind of killed us," Heartland Lutheran coach Kathryn Langrehr said. "We kind of lost our mental composure. We let them rattle us. That comes with experience and the mental attitude. I think we may have shocked ourselves that we were playing as hard as we were playing in the first half. The refs were doing a good job of letting us play."

A change in defensive pressure made a difference for Fullerton.

"We did a better job on our press, confusing them a little bit," Fullerton coach Stacy Kramer said. "We changed up our press from a full-court man to a 2-2-1 and a diamond-and-one. I think it threw a little glitch in their offense and gave us the edge we needed."

Heartland Lutheran (8-9) was battling back from there and never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.

Jolene Shotkowski had 17 points and Ashley Frenzen had 16 to lead the Warriors, who have featured a balanced scoring attack that can make it tough on opponents.

"I think we're a tough team," Kramer said. "We don't always have the same high scorer. We kind of mix it up. The girls play really well together. You can't really just shut down one player. That's kind of our strength."

Heartland Lutheran didn't have a double-figure scorer, but Emily Wiegert and Justine Bader had nine points each.

Katy Kowalski and Bethany Hollman dominated the boards with 16 and 10 rebounds, respectively.

"We have a lot of kids who were pushing hard," Langrehr said. "Sydney Schmitt was pushing hard. Justine (Bader) came alive in the fourth. Katy and Bethany worked really hard on the inside.

"I think it was a disappointment for us tonight. I'm not saying we expected to win, but I think we were ready to play."

Although the Warriors had trouble with Heartland Lutheran's height inside, they were able to hit some jumpers from the outside. Kramer said that was a key.

"We told the girls in order to win the game we had to make some shots from the outside because we weren't going to beat them in the paint," she said. "Ashley Frenzen did a nice job for us and shot really well and had a good shot selection tonight."

Fullerton.................................11 18 16 13—58
Heartland Lutheran.................8 17 9 13—47

FULLERTON (9-7): Steenson 3-9 3-6 9, Peregrine 1-5 5-10 7, Frenzen 6-9 3-4 16, Shotkoski 7-16 1-4 17, Herman 2-6 1-1 5, Ostrander 1-6 0-0 2, Plumbtree 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 21-55 13-26 58.

HEARTLAND LUTHERAN (8-9): Scheer 1-5 0-0 3, Hollman 2-5 0-0 6, Schmitt 2-10 0-0 8, Bader 3-8 1-4 9, Kowalski 3-4 1-3 7, Wiegert 4-11 1-2 9, Hiegel 1-8 4-4 6. Totals 17-51 7-13 47.

3-point goals—Fullerton 3-7 (Shotkoski 2-6, Frenzen 1-1). Heartland Lutheran 6-15 (Schmitt 2-5, Bader 2-4, Scheer 1-2, Wiegert 1-2, Hiegel 0-2). Fouled out—Frenzen, Hiegel. Rebounds—Fullerton 31 (Peregrine 11). Heartland Lutheran 42 (Kowalski 16). Turnovers—Fullerton 18, Heartland Lutheran 32. Total fouls—Fullerton 19, Heartland Lutheran 21. Technicals—Hiegel.

* * *

Fullerton boys 57, Heartland Lutheran 34

Heartland Lutheran struggled on offense in a 57-34 loss to Fullerton.

The Red Hornets (9-7) made just 17-of-51 shots from the field for the game. Part of the reason was the Fullerton defense. Another key factor was Heartland Lutheran was without leading scorer Jon Simonson, who was held out of the game after battling through illness this week.

"We couldn't hit the broadside of a barn," Heartland Lutheran coach Lloyd Wagnitz said. "I don't know how you get them over the fact that somebody's not playing. I think that wore on them mentally a little bit. I know Jon was having a hard time watching.

"I don't know. We just couldn't shoot tonight."

Fullerton certainly gets some of the credit for the Red Hornets shooting problems.

"I thought our defense played extremely well," Fullerton coach Pat Larsen said. "I know them missing Jon Simonson was a factor for them, but we were still pretty concerned about the younger Simonson (Jacob) and the (Grant) Suchanek kid. I thought our kids did a good job defensively on those two."

Suchanek led Heartland Lutheran with 17 points, including 13 in the second half.

"We just focused on trying to keep those two kids from getting in a rhythm," Larsen said. "I think Suchanek got into his rhythm the second half. That started to concern me."

Fullerton (6-7) built a 26-14 lead at the half and Heartland Lutheran never really threatened. Tyson Hellbusch led Fullerton with 17 points while Seth Wetovick had 14 and Garett Saum 10.

Heartland Lutheran has three games this week with Elkhorn Valley Tuesday, Blue Hill Thursday and Burwell Friday. Wagnitz wanted to make sure Jon Simonson was ready for a tough week.

"That's why we didn't want him to play tonight," Wagnitz said. "We need him for those three games."

Fullerton.......................................10 15 17 14—57
Heartland Lutheran........................8 6 13 7—34

FULLERTON (6-7): Saum 4-10 1-2 10, Hellbusch 8-10 1-5 17, C. Wetovick 0-3 0-0 0, Shotkoski 2-6 1-2 5, S. "Wetovick 6-7 1-1 14, Robinson 1-3 0-0 3, Ostransky 2-6 0-1 4, Tilson 0-1 0-0 0, Nathan 2-4 0-0 4, Conway 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-49 4-11 57.

HEARTLAND LUTHERAN (9-7): Ja. Simonson 0-9 0-2 0, Warneke 0-5 0-0 0, Messersmith 2-4 1-1 5, Suchanek 6-19 3-6 17, Hueftle 1-3 2-2 4, Koch 0-1 0-0 0, Dreher 0-0 0-0 0, Sanders 3-11 1-3 8, Zapata 0-0 0-0 0, Probasco 0-0 0-0 0, Doose 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-52 7-14 34.

3-point goals—Fullerton 3-12 (S. Wetovick 1-1, Saum 1-3, Robinson 1-3, C. Wetovick 0-1, Tilson 0-1, Conway 0-1, S. Wetovick 0-2). Heartland Lutheran 4-17 (Suchanek 2-6, Ja. Simonson 1-4, Sanders 1-5, Warneke 0-1, Koch 0-1). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—Fullerton 42 (Hellbusch 12, C. Wetovick 12). Heartland Lutheran 31 (Hueftle 10). Turnovers—Fullerton 19, Heartland Lutheran 18. Total fouls—Fullerton 14, Heartland Lutheran 14. Technicals—None.

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