By Jason Ferguson
The Custer High School girls basketball team wasted little time in jumping all over the visiting Newell Irrigators last Thursday at the Armory, taking a 14-3 after the first quarter on the way to a dominating 78-41 win. The game ended up being the only game the Wildcats played last week, as a game scheduled for last Saturday was postponed until Feb. 1 due to an impending snow storm.
The Wildcats buried the Irrigators under a barrage of three-pointers, hitting eight shots from the behind the arc, five of which came from Tayler Carlson, who finished the game with 19 points.
“I think it played out that way with them being in a zone, it left the outside open,” head coach Steph Ornelas said. “Our girls were getting it inside and dishing it back out. Moving the ball way key.”
The game started out frantic, with both teams racing up and down the court, occasionally to the detriment of both teams. A Kenzie Hetley layup off an assist from Kenzie Becker put Custer up 9-3, and despite the Wildcats not shooting very well their pressure defense allowed them to continue to grow the lead with the help of five straight Carlson points.
Carlson’s second three-pointer of the first half put Custer up 19-4 early in the second period, and slick ball movement allowed the Wildcats to grow the lead after a Mallory Delmont basket inside.
Newell followed Delmont’s basket with a 7-0 run, however, including a three-pointer from Jessica Heil. Glazier stopped the run with a layup at the 3:08 mark, but Newell was able to close the Custer advantage to single digits before the ’Cats ended the half with a run of their own, including two Hetley free throws following an intentional foul call on the Irrigators’ Austin Alexander.
Ornelas said the Wildcats focused on slowing down the speedy Irrigators at halftime, recognizing Newell had players to continue to test the Wildcats’ transition defense.
“It was a battle of track teams on the floor. They got us a couple of times in transition,” she said.
The second half started with Carlson burying a pair of three-pointers to give Custer a 47-29 lead, and Delmont made it a 20-point cushion for the Wildcats when she scored under the basket on an assist from Glazier.
The girls continued their inside-outside attack with a Hetley layup off a Carlson steal that made the score 53-29. Moments later Carlson drilled another three-pointer that was followed by a Hetley three-pointer that made the score 59-31. Another Delmont basket inside made the score 66-35 late in the third quarter and brought about a running block and a lot of bench clearing for the remainder of the game.
Ornelas said getting to go deeper into her bench because of the lopsided score is always a positive.
“It’s good to get everyone into a game, especially at the varsity level,” she said. “The older girls enjoy seeing the younger girls get an opportunity. There were a lot of smiles in the locker room.”
Glazier finished with a double-double, scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Hetley was also in double figures with 13 points.
Ornelas said Glazier’s increased rebounding numbers this season are a result of her playing a new position—she’s a forward instead of a guard this year—as well as film work with assistant coach Mick Patzlaff on playing inside as opposed to the perimeter.
“It has improved her greatly,” Ornelas said.
The Wildcats will be back in the Armory this Thursday night for a home game against the 3-8 Douglas Patriots. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start. The following day the girls will travel to Hart Ranch for a 6 p.m. game against Rapid City Christian.
Custer 14 23 29 12 —78
Newell 3 22 10 6 —41
Custer—Mallory Delmont 4-6 1-2 9, Kenzie Hetley 4-10 3-4 13, Tori Glazier 9-17 8-14 26, Tobie Zerbie 1-2 0-0 2, Kenzie Becker 0-9 1-2 1, Sydney Gaulke 0-1 0-0 0, Sadie Glade 1-2 0-0 3, Tayler Carlson 7-14 0-0 19, Kelsey Herman 1-5 0-2 2, Kellen Kortemeyer 0-3 1-2 1. Totals: 27-69 14-26 78.
Newell—Vanessa Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Lexa Burtzlaff 0-5 0-0 0, Austin Alexander 1-5 0-0 3, Dana Youngberg 5-7 0-1 10, Jessica Heil 8-12 2-5 16, Kassidy Weeldryer 1-2 0-0 2, Kyla Emmert 0-1 0-1 0, Delaney Leber 0-3 1-2 1, Kayden Steele 4-9 1-1 9. Totals: 17-45 5-11 41.
Three-point goals: Custer 8 (Carlson 5, Hetley 2, Glade), Newell 2 (Heil 2). Rebounding: Custer 31 (Glazier 12), Newell 21. Steals: Custer 9, Newell 2. Assists: Custer 9, Newell 2. Turnovers: Custer 6, Newell 17. Total fouls: Custer 17, Newell 19. Fouled out: none.