The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By John Verser
Publisher of the Sun-Telegraph 

Potter-Dix claims second straight MAC title


John Verser / Publisher of the Sun-Telegraph

Payge Hoffman, right, of Potter-Dix, looks to pry the ball loose from Creek Valley's Taya McMillen in Saturday's championship game.

Potter-Dix coach Jeff Einspahr challenged his team to play their best game of the year Saturday night.

It certainly looks like they did.

The Lady Coyotes (12-1) overwhelmed a short-handed Creek Valley squad and dominated in every facet of the game on their way to a 56-14 victory and second straight Minuteman Activities Conference Tournament title.

"This is awesome," Einspahr said. "The girls stepped up, came ready to play tonight, and really did a great job tonight. I think it was their best game of the year, and that's what we were challenging them to do."

Potter-Dix trailed just once in the game, at 3-2 less than three minutes into the contest. An Audrey Juelfs 3-pointer with 4:31 left in the first quarter erased the slim deficit, and the Lady Coyotes' onslaught was off to its start. By the end of the quarter, Potter-Dix held a 17-6 lead.

Part of the big run came as the Lady Coyotes harassed the Storm (9-6) with their press, which caused a plethora of turnovers and led to numerous points. One thing that also hurt Creek Valley was the absence of two starters, leading scorer Jessie Straber (11.9 points per game) and senior Joey Straber.

"I noticed they were missing their best player, (Jessie) Straber, tonight, so that definitely hurt them," Einspahr said. "Our press has been getting better and without their ball handler, it really took a toll on them. Our girls really had a lot of energy tonight, they had a lot of fun, and did just what we expected them to do. So that was great."

Juelfs' second trey of the game, just 43 seconds into the second quarter, gave the Lady Coyotes a 20-8 lead and started a 16-0 run. Dawson Sharman also had a trey in the big run, which included baskets by Anna McLaughlin, Juelfs, Cortney Lewis and Brooke Glass. Potter-Dix led 33-12 at halftime.

Einspahr said the experience his team gained in last year's MAC Tournament helped going into the tournament this year.

"It definitely helped. We only lost one senior last year, so all these girls had this experience," he said. "Last year, it was a little uneven, a little uneasy. This year, we didn't see any of that. They were focused and ready to go. They knew what they had to do, they knew the challenges of it, and they came ready to go."

John Verser / Publisher of the Sun-Telegraph

Creek Valley's Andi Ortgies, right, lifts a shot over a Potter-Dix defender in Saturday's MAC championship game.

The Lady Coyotes outscored the Storm 23-2 in the second half. Juelfs put together a triple-double to lead Potter-Dix in an all-around effort. She had 16 points, 15 steals and 10 assists in the win. Alexus Rozelle added 13 points and a team-high 9 rebounds.

Payje Misegadis led Creek Valley with 6 points, while Andi Ortgies added 4 points.

Both teams return to play Tuesday as Creek Valley travels to Sutherland and Potter-Dix heads to Pine Bluffs, Wyo.

Einspahr said the nature of the MAC Tournament can help his team as it reaches postseason play.

"The team goal is to win the MAC Tournament in the middle of the season," he said. "It really helps you get your focus on this week and make sure that we're doing everything right to the best we can. It helps you for those big games, those big games that you have to win - subdistrict, district, it helps you with that, definitely."


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