Published Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 3:11 pm
BASKETBALL
Watson, Wendland lead Arapahoe

ARAPAHOE — Axtell saw too much of Arapahoe’s 1-2 punch Tuesday night.

The Wildcats couldn’t slow down Kaylea Watson, who piled up a game-high 24 points while Rochelle Wendland hauled in 20 rebounds to lead the Warriors to a 57-41 victory.

“They’re phenomenal,” Arapahoe coach Kip Stephens said of his dynamic duo. “They can both handle the ball, they can both play inside, they can both play outside. Twenty rebounds for Rochelle ... not a bad night. Our 1-2 punch really does a nice job.”

While Wendland also chipped in 11 points, the Warriors got a lift from Carley Polston, who added an outside threat with her eight points.

For most of the first half, it was a back-and-forth affair. Axtell was ahead with under three minutes in the first half thanks to Carlie Prososki and Laura Lundeen, who had 12 and 10 points, respectively.

But Arapahoe went on a 13-1 run that Axtell couldn’t recover from. Part of that stemmed from a box-and-one defense put on by Stephens to limit Lundeen.

“Lundeen really controls what they do,” Stephens said. “It wasn’t so much the points as much as she just controls everything. It seemed like we got them a little out of sync. We got a few steals and it just snowballed for the good.”

Wendland, who also had seven assists, five blocks and four steals, started runouts with a block or a steal and find Watson for the easy layup.

“Their transition game just killed us,” said Axtell coach Kelley Cooksley.

Including Kathryn Sorensen’s 11 points, Axtell still had three players finish in double figures. And despite being undersized against Wendland, they only lost the rebound battle 43-36.

But they shot 25 percent from the field in the contest.

“I saw them getting really frustrated in the second half,” Stephens said. “The first half, they kept up with us. But once we got that momentum shifted, they were have a tough time.”

Axtell saw most of its 16 turnovers happen in the second half trying to pull off a comeback. Arapahoe, however, didn’t surrender its double-digit lead.

“It just sucks,” Cooksley said. “We’ve lost three in a row and it’s not because we aren’t playing hard. We’ve got some young kids in some spots and it shows sometimes. We turned the ball over way too much in the third quarter to be successful.”

Coming off its third loss of the season and second to Dundy-County Stratton, Arapahoe was looking to get back to its winning ways. With the Republic Plains Activity Conference tournament this weekend, the Warriors got a needed bounce-back effort.

“It was huge because Axtell is such a quality team the way they got up and down the floor,” Stephens said. “That was big for us. It’ll help us build momentum. We were worried about being down after that Dundy County loss. We shot so poorly so it was good to see them come out with confidence.”

email to: connor.o’gara@kearneyhub.com

AXTELL..............................11 11 8 11 — 41
ARAPAHOE........................12 13 21 11 — 57

Axtell (6-8): Carlie Prososki 4-9 4-5 12, Kathryn Sorensen 4-6 2-2 11, Laura Lundeen 4-15 1-2 10, Gabbie Nickel 1-10 0-0 2, Season Mellema 0-5 1-2 1, Regan Miller 1-4 0-0 2, Sophie Mellema 1-6 0-2 2, Kit Wells 0-4 1-2 1, McKenna Erickson 0-0 0-0 0, Whitney Robinson 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Trampe 0-0 0-0 0, TOALS: 15-60 9-15 41.

Arapahoe (12-3): Kaylea Watson 12-21 0-0 24, Rochelle Wendland 5-11 1-2 11, Carley Polston 3-8 0-0 8, Danielle Eichenberger 2-5 0-0 4, Clare Anderson 1-6 2-4 4, Jacci Stagemeyer 2-4 0-0 4, Lora Taylor 1-5 0-1 2, Stephanie Paulsen 0-0 0-0 0, Olivia tenBensel 0-0 0-0 0, Brielle Weverka 0-0 0-0 0, Michaela Gellerman 0-0 0-0 0, Hannah Hanke 0-0 0-0 0, Gabby Stephens 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 26-60 3-7 57.

3-point goals — AXT 2-8 (Lundeen 1-3, Sorensen 1-1, Season Mellema 0-2, Miller 0-1, Nickel 0-1), ARP 2-14 (Polston 2-4, Watson 0-5, Eichenberger 0-2, Anderson 0-4). Rebounds — AXT 36 (Prososki 8), ARP 43 (Wendland 20). Assists — AXT 11 (Wells 4), ARP 14 (Wendland 7). Steals — AXT 10 (Prososki 3), ARP 10 (Wendland 4). Fouls — AXT 10, ARP 13. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — AXT 16, ARP 19.

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