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March 7, 2014
It's Minden-Pierce in the C-1 Girls Final
With Pierce girls basketball, as with life itself, attitude is everything.
So is effort and execution, playing great defense and having the ability to rebound.
No, I am still talking about the Pierce girls basketball team.
In the opening minutes of the second C-1 semifinal played this morning at the Pinnacle Bank Arena spunky, quick and sweet-shooting Kearney Catholic controlled the action, taking a 17-6 lead.
From there the Team From Up North turned up all the burners and brought the Stars to a rolling boil.
Extending its 2-3 zone defense, pressuring the ball and rebounding better than Ashton Kutcher did by getting engaged to Mila Kunis, the Bluejays looked every bit the part of defending state champion. That hasn't always been the case this season but Pierce is playing its best basketball at just the right time.
Talking briefly, unofficially, with Pierce head coach Darren Sindelar after the game he said his team's steadily increasing dominance of the game, one Pierce won by the count of 62-41, was all a matter of increased effort and intensity.
And great defense and rebounding, you the drill.
As I said to another Pierce coach after the game at 10:45, tip-off for the game with Kearney Catholic, there was great doubt in the building about whether or not Pierce could hang with unbeaten, No. 1 Minden.
By 12:45 that seemed more than possible, it seemed likely.
* Minden is also playing at an extremely high level of greatness, with so many weapons on offense and a tireless, risk-taking defense that forced Platteview into a growing number of mistakes as the game went along.
The evolution of Minden superstar Brooke Kissinger, from a bit of a one-trick pony as a freshman - granted, a pretty good pony - to a complete player, a great leader and calming influence to her teammates has been a joy to watch. Today, twin sister Jamie did a lot of the dirty work, tossed in a three and generally played a supporting role. A two-time all-stater, she is clearly capable of much more, when needed.
Today it wasn't needed.
Another reason it wasn't needed was the play of the third Kissinger - freshman Taylor - as she scored 18 points, making it look easy. The kid's got the goods to be the best player in her family before she's done; stay tuned
Minden's more than three players, though, and the presence of sophomore post Rebecca Stuart, who gives the team muscle and defense in the paint plus about 11 points a game, is a luxury few teams have, whether their roster is loaded with Kissingers or not.