SHICKLEY, NE – BDS has been in a lot of big games lately, it seems.
Volleyball just took state. Football was in the playoffs this fall and won state the year prior. Boys basketball has had a winning record in all nine seasons and a state tournament berth in four of those nine.
BDS girls’ basketball is no exception to this cooperative’s success. The Eagles, state runners-up in Class D1 last March, just secured their second straight 20+ win season and are one game away from playing in their third state tournament in four years.
Jadyn Kleinschmidt has been there for all of them. Since she joined the team as a freshman in the fall of 2015, BDS girls’ hoops is 81-21.
As a four-year starter in volleyball, the Eagles are 99-29 since Kleinschmidt has been on the roster.
“It’s crazy,” Kleinschmidt said with a laugh. “It never really came to me that way, I guess. You just kind of play and don’t usually focus on the numbers. You just play the game, and I guess that’s what’s happened.”
A lot has happened for BDS in that time. Over the last four years, both the volleyball and girls’ basketball teams have been to state twice.
It took until Kleinschmidt’s senior year for the Eagles to claim their first state championship in a girls’ sport since Bruning Davenport and Shickley formed the cooperative in 2010-11.
BDS volleyball tied the coop record with 30 wins, reached the state title for the first time in five years, and hoisted the championship trophy for the first time ever after a five-set thriller over Ewing in November.
“Winning a state championship my senior year topped it all off for me,” Kleinschmidt said. “I’ll always cherish the girls I’ve played with, the opportunities I’ve had and the small town support I’ve received from everyone.”
When it comes to small town support, BDS isn’t bashful. During the volleyball season, Bubba’s Anytime Strang Cafe painted a giraffe on the side of their building, and painted in a spot for every win.
The giraffe painting was inspired by the stuffed, toy giraffe that accompanied the Eagles volleyball team – from the first two-a-days to the championship match at Devaney.
It came from head coach Kari Jo Alfs’ ‘Up to You’ motto which she had coined for that season. A giraffe was chosen as the symbol, because of its long neck.
And because they’re Jadyn’s favorite animal.
“I just love the whole theme of ‘Up to You,'” she said. “I think that it really kind of gave us some extra motivation, and it kind of carried us through the seasons.”
— BDS Volleyball (@bds_volleyball) November 4, 2018
The basketball team doesn’t have a giraffe, or any stuffed animal on their bench. Perhaps it’s just a volleyball thing. Or perhaps, the “Up to You” mantra just carried over.
Eight players from Kari Jo Alfs’ state championship team also play for coach Shana Gerberding’s team this winter.
The confidence and championship mentality has been especially apparent on both the volleyball and basketball courts this year. Kleinschmidt, Gerberding says, is a big reason for that.
“She keeps going,” Gerberding said. “They’ve been in the (state) tournament for so long in basketball and volleyball, they just relax and know how to compose themselves and take care of business.”
Kleinschmidt has been through about everything a high school volleyball and basketball player can go through in a four-year span. Regular season. Two-a-days. Conference titles. Subdistrict and district finals. Victory and defeat in state tournaments.
Kleinschmidt has been on a BDS roster for 10 total state tournament games in volleyball and basketball combined over the last four years. BDS’ record in those 10: 7-3.
“We definitely have performed under pressure,” she said. “So, I think that having that little chip on our shoulder really can help. We’re not ever really nervous. We know what we need to do to take care of business.”
That lack of nerves was on full display at the Crossroads Conference tournament in the York City Auditorium last month.
It’s the semifinals. Jan. 24. No. 2 seed BDS, who’s 12-4 going in, is a sizable favorite against No. 4 seed East Butler, who’s 10-8. BDS had already beaten East Butler, 53-31 earlier in the season.
The Tigers led 31-19 at halftime. The Eagles proceeded to go on a 14-2 run in the third quarter to tie the game, they survived four lead changes in the fourth quarter, and blanked East Butler in OT, 9-0 for a 61-52 win.
Gerberding called it pivotal. Kleinschmidt couldn’t agree more.
“We were down at halftime, and just being able to come back from that big deficit really showed us that we can do these things and that we’re a great team and we can beat pretty much anyone that we want to,” Kleinschmidt said.
The East Butler game was the fourth straight victory in what’s grown to an 11-game winning streak.
The streak was extended, if not solidified, last week when the Eagles topped rival and No. 7 ranked Exeter-Milligan, 46-31 in the D2-2 subdistrict final in Wilber.
“It felt really good,” Kleinschmidt said. “Exeter-Milligan always gives us pretty good games. I think we came in, knowing it could be tough, because the first time we played them, they didn’t have Katherine White due to injury.”
BDS won that game with White on the sidelines, 37-28 on Jan. 17 in Exeter. When White was back in the lineup, the Eagles limited her to six points on 3-of-10 shooting.
“So, I think the second time we played them, we knew it could be tough,” Kleinschmidt said. “We had a good game plan on going in, and having a lot of energy throughout the game really pulled us through.”
The hope now is that the same energy will pull BDS through their district final matchup against Sioux County (19-4), which will be played at Hershey Public Schools at 3 p.m. central.
In this new, 16-team sub-state bracket, BDS is the 3-seed, while Sioux County is the 14. Once again, the Eagles are favored.
While it’s true, that anything can happen in the postseason, Kleinschmidt has probably already experienced it. She’s seen the high and the low – both this year and in the last four.
Her and her team’s ability to adjust to the ebbs and flows of postseason basketball comes from something that can’t be taught – experience.
BDS has been on the big stage. A lot. Their time in the spotlight, Kleinschmidt believes, is what can set them apart again this year.
“The game of basketball is so different, because you never know what the other team is going to do, and you always have to adjust to that,” Kleinschmidt said. “Just knowing that we can adjust to any team, that’s been our motivating factor.”
Full interview with Jadyn Kleinschmidt here:
Hear BDS’ game against Sioux County Friday live on Ol’ Red 99.5. Pregame coverage starts just after 2:30 central on Friday. Tip-off is at 3. Tune into 99.5 FM or listen live at this link.
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