Division I recruits Jess Shepard and Alexa Kastanek scored a combined 41 points on Friday to lead Lincoln Southeast in a 65-33 romp over North Platte at the Dawg House.Shepard, a 6-foot-3 sophomore who is committed to Nebraska, and Kastanek, a 5-9 senior who has signed with Iowa, were definitely tough to contend with, NPHS coach Mark Woodhead said.
"Jess Shepard is tough," he said. "She misses the first shot but she gets the rebound and puts it back in. She's a tough cover. Alexa is really good too. They take Shepard out and they go inside with her. She's a good ball-handler and she can three. Those two are so difficult."
The overmatched Lady Bulldogs (1-2) hung around with Southeast for the first four minutes or so. But then Kastanek started to get rolling.
The Knights, the preseason No. 1-ranked team in the state by the Lincoln Journal-Star, went up 16-6 with a little less than two minutes left in the first quarter on a Kastanek basket that followed a three-pointer by Reanne May.
Then Kastanek scored three baskets to round out the quarter and make it 22-6 Southeast.
In the beginning of the second quarter, the future Hawkeye scored two more on a pair of free throws to end the 13-0 run.
From there, it was tough sledding for the Lady Dawgs. The Knights (2-1) led 39-17 at halftime and 55-24 at the end of the third quarter.
Southeast's pressure is always tough but Woodhead said that the turnovers his team committed were mainly of there own doing.
"I wouldn't say their defense is suffocating but it makes you uncomfortable," said Woodhead. "That 13-point run, we aided. They got us to turnover the basketball. Their press didn't hurt us. Most of them were in our half-court offense."
Even though the score was one-sided, Woodhead said that his players battled hard all the way through. He praised senior Ashten Hernandez, who scored 17 against the taller Shepard to lead the Bulldogs.
"Ashten played pretty tough," he said. "Jess Shepard is going to make a lot of girls she plays against this year look pretty average and I thought Ashten did a good job. The thing is, we didn't back down."
Lincoln Southeast 22 17 16 10 - 65
North Platte 6 11 7 9 - 33
Lincoln Southeast (65)-Maddy Everett 6, Natalie Dettmer 2, Alexa Haas 8, McKenzie Anderson 2, Alexa Kastanek 17, Reanne May 5, Jess Shepard 24
North Platte (33)-Madalynn Doughty 7, Marisa Martinez 2, Kaitlynn Harvey 7, Ashten Hernandez 17
Free Throws: LSE 10-13, NP 4-6; Three Point Goals: LSE 2 (Haas, May), NP 2 (Doughty, Harvey)