Lena girls best Bowler to open basketball season

McNurlen leads way for Wildcats with 15 points
Luke Reimer

The Lena High School girls basketball team opened its season on a positive note, taking down Bowler 60-21 on Nov. 22 in Bowler.

Senior Natalie McNurlen led the visiting Wildcats with 15 points, highlighted by a 3-point make. Sophomore Eva Brooks, senior Claire Brooks and senior Chaela Rabas were in double figures as well, scoring 12, 11 and 11, respectively.

While shots were falling for Lena, that wasn’t the case for Bowler, as sophomore Paige Treptow was the leading scorer for the Panthers with six points.

Defense was the name of the game, as Lena opened the contest on a 23-0 run, with a full-court press and a strong man-to-man defense. Lena head coach Tim Goldschmidt said that he wanted to see his team bring intensity on defense early to prepare for the rest of the season.

“That is what we have to be, yes,” said Goldschmidt on if defense was the emphasis on the night, noting Lena’s strong communication. “This group is very good at communicating — I have been coaching girls and boys for years and I have never been a man-to-man coach that believed in the switch, but this group does a great job and convinced me to do it.”

During Lena’s run to open the game, McNurlen scored 13 of her 15 points, making a 3-point shot and converting a free throw after a foul on a made layup.

Bowler got on the board with a free throw from junior Isabella Stevens. Treptow scored back-to-back layups on two straight Bowler possession to cut Lena’s lead down to 26-5.

The Wildcats closed the first half with four points; a 3-pointer from Rabas and a free throw from sophomore Whitney Potter to go up 30-5 at halftime.

“We have been trying to work and become a back-door team,” said Goldschmidt. “We stride on moving the basketball and getting as many passes in as we can to get the high percentage shot.”

The second half opened similar to the first half, as Lena added to it’s lead, going on a 9-0 run. McNurlen scored her final two points of the game on a fast break layup, with Rabas hitting another 3-pointer and Eva Brooks scoring four points on layups.

Bowler followed that up by going on its own run, scoring six straight points, by way of two free throws from Stevens and sophomore Ava Paiser and a layup from sophomore Natalie Rickert. Paiser added another two points on a putback after a rebound.

A 15-foot jumpshot make from Bowler senior Brandi Spencer brought the score to 45-17 in the middle of the second half.

Lena then pushed that lead to 55-17, going on a 10-point run, with another 3-point make from Rabas. Spencer made another 15-foot jumpshot, before a converted free throw from a foul on a made layup from Claire Brooks pushed the lead to 58-19.

A fastbreak layup from Lena sophomore Kali Fischer and a fastbreak layup from Treptow ended the game with Lena winning 60-21.

“We looked good at times — we have a good group and have been working hard,” said Goldschmidt. “They strive in wanting to play as a team and they know that one girl isn’t going to carry us if we want to get where we want to be. We showed signs of being a very good team tonight, but we still have a lot to work on.”

In terms of Bowler, Stevens said that this loss gives the team a starting point and gives the team an idea of what to work on for the rest of the season.

“We just weren’t moving,” said Stevens. “There wasn’t any movement — we do much better with movement in practice, but in the games I think that we may just get nervous and jittery.”

Stevens added that before Bowler’s next game, the team will need to put in work to fix some mistakes.

“You have to want to get better,” said Stevens, on where the team goes from here. “We will put the work in at practice and try to do as well as we can.”

Lena 30 30 — 60

Bowler 5 16 — 21

Lena (60): Natalie McNurlen 1-3, 15, Eva Brooks 3-8 12, Claire Books 2-5 11, Kali Fischer 0-0 4, Whitney Potter 3-4 7, Chaela Rabas 2-2 11.

Bowler (21): Paige Treptow 0-0 6, Brandi Spencer 0-0 4, Isabella Stevens 2-6 4, Ava Paiser 1-2 3, Natalie Rickert 0-0 4.