Wolfpack girls are “Wild”.
That’s the reputation they’ve earned this year.
They did it again Saturday night, earning another wild card berth to run around with the hottest teams in the state, this time at the Girls State Basketball Tournament.
It’s nothing new for this year’s Wolfpack, just a few months ago they earned a wild card berth to the state volleyball tournament, went down to Lincoln and won two of three matches to bring home some shiny hardware. With the volleyball team, fans began planning their trips to Lincoln well in advance of the team qualifying.
The basketball team is another story. Having posted a great record (19-4), the Wolfpack never lost back-to-back games. These girls didn’t like losing, they had a fire which burns hot, you could tell that by watching the way that they played.
They kinda reminded me of a team coached by Nolan Richardson back in the 1990s.
Richardson coached the Arkansas Razorbacks to a national championship. I remember them for only two things: 1) Then-President Bill Clinton attended the national championship game and the media made a big deal about it; and 2) the style of basketball they played — it was called “40 Minutes of Hell.”
From the start of the game till the final buzzer, they played tenacious defense. No shot, no pass, no movement of the ball wasn’t challenged by the Razorbacks. Every second of every game was played like there was no tomorrow. It was do-or-die for the Razorbacks.
You can see that same style of play with Coach Randy Eisenhauer’s Wolfpack teams, especially when the first quarter starts.
In many of their victories, the Wolfpack gained the upper hand in the first quarter, pushing the ball up the court as fast as they could to get layups or open treys. If the opposing team wasn’t in good shape, wasn’t ready for what was about to hit them, they had no chance.
When the Wolfpack was hitting their treys, that opened up the inside game for Lydia Behnk and Elizabeth Selting. When teams would adjust, that led to open treys for Jordan Mescher and the Wemhoff sisters (Baylee and Ally). It worked on many nights.
“Coach Eisenhauer tells us every time we go out there, it’s a 32-minute game. We play all 32 minutes, not just the first or last quarter,” senior Baylee Wemhoff said. “We play as a team, trust, communicate and play hard.”
On the rare nights it didn’t work, the treys weren’t falling and the opposing team had a size advantage.
If the Wolfpack, who practiced all week in hopes of getting that wild card, can play their style of basketball in Lincoln starting Thursday, it will be must-watch basketball for EPPJ fans.
Coach Eisenhauer’s style of play (his teams play fast, real fast) has produced winning seasons and entertaining basketball for a number of years. He’s been close to earning that state ticket, but taller teams took down the Wolfpack in district finals past.
Now he’s finally cleared that hurdle, he will take the Wolfpack where they’ve never been before. The experience many of these girls gained at state volleyball should help calm their nerves.
Yes Wolfpack girls are “Wild” this year and, if you’re a fan, you like it that way.
They’re winners and, like November, now they go to play with the best to see who’s the best.
Go Wolfpack! See ya there!
Wolfpack girls are “Wild”.