DESHLER, NE – Deshler and Exeter-Milligan are in different conferences and different classes.
Yet, the two are very familiar with each other. The Dragons and Timberwolves have opened the season against each other nine years running.
For the second straight season, Exeter-Milligan won both openers. The girls (1-0) won 56-41, while the boys fought back from an eight-point, fourth quarter deficit to win 48-45 in overtime.
Fresh off of a third place finish at state, and ranked No. 6 preseason, the Lady Timberwolves topped the Lady Dragons to open the season for the fifth consecutive year.
Senior and first-team all-state guard Kate Jansky had a game-high 29 points, accounting for more than half of Exeter-Milligan’s scoring. Jansky was impressive from long distance, knocking down a game-high five three-pointers.
Senior forward Katherine White also accounted for a large chunk of Exeter-Milligan scoring with 18 points, including three triples.
Both teams were impressive beyond the arc Thursday. The Timberwolves hit eight team-threes, while Deshler had ten. Thirty of Deshler’s 41 points came from long range.
Senior guard Sydney Roth, who led the Lady Dragons with 16 points per contest last season, led her team in defeat Thursday night with 11 points, including three three-pointers.
Junior Tyra Schardt had perhaps the best game of her varsity career Thursday with 11 points – nine of those came from behind the perimeter.
While both teams showed off their shooting abilities, both teams showed vulnerability in ball handling. The Dragons committed 21 turnovers, while Exeter-Milligan ended with 19.
Deshler led Exeter-Milligan by three after the first quarter, by four at halftime and by eight after the third.
Roughly 65 seconds into overtime, the Wolves had jumped out to a 45-38 lead.
With the game tied at 38 at the end of regulation, Exeter-Milligan went on a quick 7-0 scoring spurt to start OT, and never lost the lead after.
The Wolves had a balanced scoring effort throughout the night, with four players scoring eight or more points. Senior forward Max Zeleny led the way with 10 points – all of those came in the second half.
Sophomore Jackson Beethe and senior Colton Bossaller each had nine. Senior Spencer Pribyl scored the Wolves’ first four points of the game, but picked up two quick fouls halfway through the first quarter, and sat on the bench for the remainder of the first half.
Pribyl, one of the Wolves’ top returning scorers with 8.2 points per contest last year, finished with eight points Thursday.
Senior guard Peyton Dubbert carried the Dragons, and had a great start to the season with a game-high 17 points. He struggled from the free throw line, however, missing four straight free throws in the second half. Dubbert finished 2-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Both teams struggled in that category. Deshler shot 4-of-10, while Exeter-Milligan hit 5-of-12.
Exeter-Milligan was able to overcome major turnover problems. The Wolves committed 24 turnovers, compared to 14 by Deshler.
Deshler stays home Friday to face Silver Lake. The girls will play at 6:30, with the boys to follow at roughly 8. Exeter-Milligan plays its home opener on Friday against Osceola. The girls will play at 6, with the boys to follow at 7:30.
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- Freeman boys, 44-28
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- Wilber-Clatonia boys, 57-46
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- Hastings boys, 51-40
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- Lakeview boys, 44-33
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- Republic Co. boys, 77-37
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- Friend girls, 54-27
- Lewiston boys, 59-28
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- York girls, 52-14
- York boys, 75-67
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