By Tera White
The Mound Westonka High School girls basketball team shows promise after opening the 2018-2019 season with a 3-0 record.
An exciting home game against Delano on Nov. 27 brought the White Hawks their first victory with a 53-49 win. Westonka finished the first half up by 8, 33-25. With under five minutes left in the game, the White Hawks fell to a 5-point deficit, 42-47. Westonka battled back, with senior Maddy White hitting a 3 with under three minutes left. Senior tri-captain Jennifer Schaible hit another 3 with a minute and a half left to tie the game at 48. Junior Makala Shelton drove from the lane off a pass from senior tri-captain Maya Thurston with less than a minute left to regain the lead at 50-48. Free throws from White and Schaible clinched the 53-49 win.
Schaible led scoring with 18 points, and Shelton had 14. Thurston had eight rebounds, and junior Melissa Drill had six. Schaible had three steals. White drew three charges in this game. The team forced Delano into 20 turnovers versus Westonka’s 11. The White Hawks JV and C-squad teams also won their matchups against Delano.
At Visitation on Nov. 29, Westonka dominated the game and were up 39-4 at halftime. The second half brought all White Hawks players off the bench, with everyone contributing to the 51-20 win. The leading scorers were Shelton with 11 points and Thurston with nine points. Thurston had five steals, and the team’s active defense forced 30 turnovers from the Blazers.
Battling a snowstorm on Dec. 1 to get to St. Anthony Village, Westonka swept the undefeated Huskies with victories for all three teams. In the first half of the varsity game, Westonka controlled the boards and continued with the strong defense that they brought to the first two games, jumping to a 12-point 29-17 lead heading into the locker room.
The Huskies came out in the second half with an aggressive and quick full-court press, closing the gap to nine points with under 10 minutes left. In the last three minutes, Westonka dominated, adding 11 points to St. Anthony’s three points to close out the 62-48 win. Schaible led scoring with 17 points, and senior tri-captain Ela Springer had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Shelton had 11 points, and Thurston had 10 points with three steals. Westonka out-rebounded the Huskies, 38-27.
This week, Westonka played great team defense and showed patience with excellent ball movement and passing on offense. The next home game will be on Thursday, Dec. 13 against Esko at 6 p.m. for varsity. Plan to support your White Hawks and be ready for exciting basketball at all team levels.
Coach Alan Hiebert’s corner: “This group of girls has really invested to the program and our standards this season. So far practices have been competitive and intense, with just the right amount of humor and fun mixed in. The results on the court, to this point, have been very satisfying as a coach. These girls truly care about each other, all levels of the program and their results. We’ve been tested early in terms of building leads and then having to either fight to keep it or fight to get it back. The mentality this team has displayed so far gives us all encouragement that this season can be very successful.”