While comparing statistics, not much changed between the 2021-22 and the 2022-23 seasons for the Chadron High girls’ basketball team.
The Lady Cardinals shot 35.5% overall from the field last year and 35.8% this year. They made 94 3-pointers a year ago and 88 this year while shooting a bit more than 26% from long range both seasons.
This year’s team was 178 of 328 for 53.1% from the free throw line, compared to 146 of 286 for 51.3% last year. The Cards averaged 43.1 points in 2021-22 and 42.2 this year. They outscored their foes both years—991 points to 945—a year ago and 1012 to 1002 this year—while playing one more game this winter.
But the Cardinals finished with a 13-10 record last year and were 10-14 this year.
Close games that didn’t turn out right for the Red and Black, particularly early in the season, hurt the win-loss total. This year’s team dropped four of its first six games by five or fewer points. A basket here, a basket there, a stop here, a stop there, could have brought another winning season. That’s basketball.
People are also reading…
Coach Eric Calkins points out that his Cardinals played a lot of capable teams. Through the teams’ regular seasons, he notes that 10 of the losses were to opponents that had a combined 119-19 record. Those teams, in no particular order, are Rapid City Christian, Scottsbluff, Lakota Tech, Gordon-Rushville, Sidney and Bridgeport. All but the Lady Mustangs reached their state tournaments.
The coach has some other observations. He said the Cards struggled handling the ball, didn’t pass well, and needed to improve their outside shooting. He added that the rebounding was much improved.
For the third year in a row, Demi Ferguson was Chadron’s leading scorer. She averaged 8.9 points as freshman in 2020-21, 11.9 last year and 9.8 this year. Although Anika Burke was the Cards’ leading rebounder her senior year in 2021-22 at 7.9 per game, Ferguson was next at 5.4, and she’s led the team with a 5.1 average each of the last two years.
Oh, Oh, Demi, your free throw shooting dipped more than 10 percentage points this year from the previous two, but you doubled your number of assists this season during that span.
Jaleigh McCartney paced the free throw shooters by making 21 of 29 while Sophia Wess was next at 20-29, both right at 70%. Taverra Sayaloune made the most free shots, going 40-62 for 64.5%. Sayaloune also was the team’s second leading scorer with a 6.7 average while shooting 40% from field.
Haylee Wild was on target with 28 of her 54 shots for 52% and rebounded well, but those free throws!
In summary, the Lady Cards played hard, worked hard and looked good on the court. Five seniors—Makinley and Micaiah Fuller, Laney Klemke, Marlee Pinnt and Wess—concluded their careers. They played with gusto.
The junior varsity posted a 14-3 record and Calkins says the Chadron freshman team was the best in the Panhandle, particularly at the end of the season when Sidney was among its victim.
The statistics accompany this story.