Young and Hungry: Girl’s Basketball Bounces Back

Varsity team proves doubters wrong as they make a run for the state tournament.

Coach Marty Plum talks to girls during timeout against Ralston.

Photo by Kelly Augustine

Coach Marty Plum talks to girls during timeout against Ralston.

Kayley Anderson, Editor-in-Chief

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Usually when discussing varsity sports, the word ‘young,’ when associated with a team, has a negative connotation. It’s used mainly to politely say that a team lacks the experiences, skills or mental capacity to excel at the varsity level. With a vast majority of underclassmen on the roster, it’s no surprise this year’s girls varsity basketball team had a lot of doubters. What was surprising was just how quickly they proved them wrong.

After a tough preseason loss against Westside to start the season, the girls bounced back with an upset against Gretna. “In my mind, it doesn’t really matter whether we’re young or old,” said coach Marty Plum. “We have the same goals and expectations, and that’s to play to the best of our ability. Our summer was really great and the kids worked hard and I think that’s what is showing on the court now. I knew from then that we were going to be a lot better than people on the outside thought,” Plum said.

Kelly Augustine
Sophomore Sydney McDermott goes up for a layup against Ralston.

It’s clear that the underclassmen have a lot of talent, including sophomores, Hannah and Haley Wheater. The twin sisters are a joy to watch on the court moving effortlessly together as if they were connected by some unseen force. “Hayley and I have been playing together forever,” said Hannah. “We understand each other’s playing style and it helps us do better. Besides Hayley and me, there’s a lot of sophomores on the team so I don’t feel out of place or anything, which is nice when usually that would be an issue.”

Basketball became a family affair when their dad signed on as an assistant coach. Sadly, Hannah Wheater suffered an ankle injury and was out for the district tournament this past weekend.

Young talent isn’t the only thing, the girls have up their sleeve, the upperclassmen aren’t lacking in talent either. Senior Starter Lizzy Ninneman returned to the court after a year-long hiatus, though you wouldn’t know it from how well she plays. “I decided to come back after a lot of thinking,” said Ninneman. “I missed basketball but I also really missed the team. We all work hard and that’s what helps us show up on the court and we’re excited to show what we can do in the postseason.”

Kelly Augustine
Seniors Lizzy Ninneman and Jessica Schlutman high five after a good quarter against Ralston.

Ninneman is supported on the court by fellow three-sport athlete Jessica Schulman and captain Allison Heithoff. Both of whom have added to the team’s chances of making it to the state tournament, as well as the majority of underclassmen players they have behind them. So when you get the chance, come out and support the girls’ basketball team on their road to state.