KING CITY, Mo. — The South Nodaway Longhorns finished the 2017-2018 season with a 10-15 record with five of their losses by 10 points or less. Experiencing those close losses and having a team led by eight seniors, the expectations for this season are high and with a 66-43 win over the King City Wildkats on Tuesday night, those expectations may only get higher.
“I don’t think we’ve beaten King City in my high school career,” Senior point guard Cade Henggeler said. “Offensively, we’re talented, but defense is how we’re going to win our ball games — expectations are high.”
The game looked like the first game of the season throughout the first quarter. The teams traded baskets on their first possessions, but then the scoring stopped, and the fouling began. Three minutes into the game, the teams had just three points each and combined had four fouls. King City’s offense really struggled — the Wildkats only managed two shot attempts through the first four minutes of the game.
“To be honest I didn’t expect a hot start in this one,” Longhorn coach Dustin Skoglund said.
The Longhorns jumped out to a 13-6 lead after senior guard Kole Kramer’s 3-pointer. King City answered with a 3-pointer from Carson Medsker with one minute left in the first quarter. It was the Wildkats’ first field goal since the opening minute of the game.
King City drew within five after Collin Breckenridge made both of his free throws. But that is when the Longhorns took over. A 6-0 run by South Nodaway stretched the lead to 21-10. King City wasn’t just struggling offensively, but until Breckenridge’s two free throws with five minutes left in the half, the Wildkats had as many fouls as they did points.
King City did what they could to claw their way back into the game at 25-17, but Taylar Freemyer and Clayton Walker were big in South Nodaway’s 8-2 run to end the first half.
“We did a good job on the defensive end, we had a few lapses, but it’s the first game and hopefully we’ll pick those up as we go,” Freemyer said.
The Longhorns’ CJ Sipes started the second half with two free throws and a 3-pointer started a 10-2 run for South Nodaway. Sipes was second on the team with 15 points in the Longhorns’ season opening win.
“We’re just really athletic and we have natural scorers and that athleticism is what makes us good on offense and defense,” Henggeler said.
South Nodaway’s biggest lead came after a Freemyer layup made it 47-25. Freemyer had 19 points in the game and his coach believes it’s the start of another great season from his senior.
“He’s been a three-time all-conference player and hopefully he’s on his way to his fourth,” Skoglund said. “I thought he did a good job of picking his shots, not forcing them and distributing the ball when he needed to.”
The Wildkats put a little pressure on the Longhorns when Cameron Simerly’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 14, but in the end, South Nodaway was too much for King City. A 20-2 run to end the game ended any chance of a comeback for the Wildkats. It was the Longhorns’ first victory over King City since 2015.
“I think the expectations are high, we always try to set high expectations and I think this team is hungry and they’re ready and because of that, those expectations are high,” Skoglund said.
South Nodaway girls 52, King City 35
The South Nodaway girls led off the night with a 52-35 win over the Wildkats. The Longhorns’ win over King City was their third in their last four meetings.
Kaylin LaMaster led all scorers with 17 points. LaMaster had four field goals, two 3-pointers and went three-for-three from the free-throw line. Hannah Wilmes was second on the team with 15 points. Wilmes finished with three two-point field goals and three 3-pointers.
King City will play in the Albany Invitational next week while South Nodaway will play in the Platte Valley Invitational.