KEARNEY — The Panhandle Explosion varsity girls basketball team was eliminated from the championship bracket of the Miss Basketball Showcase after suffering a pair of setbacks on Saturday in Kearney.
In the opening round, the Explosion dropped a tough 63-53 decision to the Lady Ball Hoggs Elite out of Kansas. The Explosion then fell 41-26 against Northeast Nebraska’s Xtreme II.
Explosion head coach Josh Guerue said his squad gave a very talented Kansas team all it could handle in the first game.
“The first game we played against the Lady Ball Hoggs was the best I’ve ever seen our girls play,” Guerue said. “That is a really good ball club, and we were fighting and scratching with them the entire game. The girls just played outstanding. We were so proud with how they played in that game.”
Eleven different Explosion players scored in the contest. Scottsbluff’s Kiley Guerue led the way with 12 points. Guerue drained a pair of 3-pointers. Gering’s Allie Vacha added seven points, while six points were netted by Gering’s Ashlyn Schultz, Morrill’s Jessica Harvey and Scottsbluff’s Toni Rosado.
Mitchell’s Kady Lower led the Explosion on the glass with six rebounds. Alliance’s Rylee Trout pulled down four boards and recorded four steals.
The challenge of playing five games in the span of just three days started to catch up with the Explosion in their second game Saturday. Coach Guerue said lots of tired legs became evident.
“Going into the second game, you could just see how exhausted the girls were,” he said. “I think they kind of gave everything they had in that first game and in the second game they just had a hard time getting it going again. I felt we had the better team, but we just beat ourselves with tired mistakes. I think the grind of the three days kind of caught up to us there in the end.”
Kiley Guerue scored seven points to lead the Explosion in scoring. Alliance’s Mickenzie Brennan added five points. Gering’s Kaylee Spreier pulled down a team-high eight rebounds, while Gering’s Vacha collected four steals.
The Explosion finished the tournament with a record of 2-3. Coach Guerue lauded his players for their effort all weekend.
“It was a tremendous effort by the girls,” he said. “This was a tough environment to play in and they really grew as a basketball team in this tournament. It was a great experience for them.”
The Explosion will return to action July 24-28 at the Adidas Super 64 Showcase in Las Vegas.
Lady Ball Hoggs Elite 63, Panhandle Explosion 53
LADY BALL HOGGS ELITE
Blaize Burgess 11, Caitlyn Claussen 16, Alexis Gifford 14, LaRaisha Owens 8, Ja Evans-Patterson 10, Lilly Stewart 2, Alexandra Tyson 2.
Mickenzie Brennan 4, Summer Mueller 2, Ashlyn Schultz 6, Allie Vacha 7, Kady Lower 4, Rylee Trout 2, Elizabeth Bernhardt 2, Kiley Guerue 12, Jessica Harvey 6, Toni Rosado 6, Kaylee Spreier 2.
Northeast Nebraska Xtreme II 41, Panhandle Explosion 26
NORTHEAST XTREME II
Ellie Carr 3, Lydia Allen 3, Jacey Olmer 2, Audra Corbit 10, Quinn Wragge 9, Taleah Williams 10, McKenzie Rusk 4.
Mickenzie Brennan 5, Summer Mueller 3, Ashlyn Schultz 2, Kady Lower 2, Kiley Guerue 7, Jessica Harvey 2, Toni Rosado 1, Kaylee Spreier 3.