The best girls basketball players in Northeast and North Central Nebraska worked overtime on Friday at the Northeast Nebraska All-Star game at Northeast Community College, after playing to an 83-83 draw after four quarters.
The Light team's Allyson Wemhoff of Elgin Public/Pope John had just six points in regulation, then nearly doubled them in the overtime period. Following the tip to start the extra four minutes, Wemhoff triggered an 8-1 run with a layup in the opening seconds and a 3-pointer about a minute later.
Elkhorn Valley's Amber Miller drilled a 3 on the next possession to put the Light on top 91-84 en route to an 95-86 final.
Winning Light team coach Kandee Hanzel of Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family said it was fun to watch the teams play.
“They're having a good time, they got along really well. You just get stuck watching and forget, 'Oh, I've got to sub,' and you think, 'Well, it doesn't really matter who goes in, they're all good,' ” she said.
The Dark side dominated the first quarter. A 3-pointer from West Point-Beemer's Sierra Kile gave the Lights an early 8-3 lead, but the Darks followed with a 13-0 run, capped by an offensive rebound and put-back by Ponca's Taylor Lamprecht.
The Dark led 24-10 before Tara Foltz of Humphrey St. Francis drained a 3 at the buzzer to make it an 11-point game heading into the second quarter.
The Lights followed a 13-point first quarter by scoring 33 in the second. Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family center Taya Beller got going in the period, scoring 11 of her game-high 19 points.
For Beller, it was her last basketball game before embarking on a volleyball career at Wayne State. “I figured since it was my last game, I might as well leave it out there — just play ball and not worry about any mistakes,” she said.
Beller squared off throughout the night with her future college teammate and roommate, Maggie Brahmer of Pierce.
Both made shots against the other's defensive efforts and both blocked the other's shots. “It was really fun to go against her,” Beller said. “I've never played her in high school before, so it's a new experience.”
The Light team led 40-37 with less than a minute to go in the half before Kile assisted Erin Prusa of Howells-Dodge on a bucket and one and Foltz found the range with a 3-ball from the top of the key to take a nine-point lead into the half.
“I told them, they don't have to settle for the shot they normally take,” Hanzel said. “I said, 'This is an all-star game, just do what you do and play.' ”
The Light squad increased its lead in the third quarter. Hartington Cedar Catholic’s Jada Cattau's free throw put her team in front 63-49 before the Darks went on an 11-0 run. A free throw from Clarkson/Leigh’s Kaegan Held with 20 seconds to play pulled the Dark team to within 63-60.
Miller doubled that lead eight seconds later with a 3-pointer and the Lights led by six after three.
The two sides continued to entertain the crowd in the fourth quarter with displays of great skill on both ends of the court. The Darks began with a 12-3 run. Lamprecht's driving layup tied the score at 69.
Norfolk's Gabby Ruth then gave the Darks their first lead since the second quarter when her baseline jumper found the mark and put her side on top 74-72 with 5:40 to play.
Jessie Brandl of Stanton hit a bucket from the left wing to give the Dark team a four-point lead, but the Lights came roaring back. Wemhoff and Foltz 3-pointers put their side on top 78-76 with 3:35 left.
The Light led 81-80 when Laurel-Concord-Coleridge's Lorna Maxon drained a 3 from the right wing to put the Darks up by two.
The Dark squad maintained its two-point lead and had the ball with less than a minute to play when Cattau of the Light team picked the pocket of the Darks' point guard, dribbled for a layup and was fouled with 45 seconds to play.
The Cedar Catholic star made both free throws to tie it up and the Lights held on to send the game into overtime.
Many of the players hadn't picked up a basketball since their seasons ended in February or March, but they were still able to get the most out of their talent.
“Being in shape and being in basketball shape are two different things,” South Sioux City and Dark team coach Molly Hornbeck said. “But I thought the girls gave great effort, had a lot of fun and worked well together.”
The talent-rich teams had 11 players (six for the Lights, five for the Darks) score in double figures.
“Sometimes people think it's an all-star game, kids are going to be selfish; I don't think any of them were,” Hanzel said. “They were passing, they were shooting when they were open, they just got hot.”
The Light team had the advantage in field goals, 36 to 33, but the Darks made 11 free throws to the Lights' eight. The Light's biggest advantage and perhaps the key to the win came from behind the 3-point arc, making 15 treys to the Darks' nine.
Northeast Community College coaches named Beller and Lamprecht the game's most valuable players.
Girls Northeast Nebraska All-Star Game
Light Team 13 33 20 17 12 — 95
Dark Team 24 13 23 23 3 — 86
Light Team (95): Jada Cattau, Hartington Cedar Catholic, 4 3-4 12; Josie Sanger, Crofton, 3 1-2 7; Willa Scoville, Hartington-Newcastle, 2 0-0 4; Allyson Wemhoff, Elgin Public/Pope John, 4 0-1 11; Amber Miller, Elkhorn Valley, 4 2-3 13, Tara Foltz, Humphrey St. Francis, 3 1-2 10; Taya Beller, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family, 8 0-1 19; Erin Prusa, Howells-Dodge, 4 1-1 9; Sierra Kile, West Point-Beemer, 4 0-0 10; Hannah Ollendick, Elkhorn Valley DNP; Totals: 36 8-14 95
Dark Team (86): Jessie Brandl, Stanton, 4 1-2 11; Gabby Ruth, Norfolk, 3 1-1 7; Kaegan Held, Clarkson/Leigh, 4 2-4 10; Claire Morrow, O'Neill, 3 2-2 11; Carlie Wetzel, West Holt, 4 1-2 10; Marybeth Rasmussen, South Sioux City, 2 0-2 5; Lorna Maxon, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge, 3 0-0 8; Maggie Brahmer, Pierce, 2 1-5 5; Brianna Bauer, O'Neill, 2 1-1 5; Taylor Lamprecht, Ponca, 6 2-3 14; Totals: 33 11-22 86
Three-point field goals: Light, 15 (Cattau, Wemhoff 3, Miller 3, Foltz 3, Beller 3, Kile 2); Dark, 9 (Brandl 2, Morrow 3, Wetzel, Rasmussen, Maxon 2).