Balance key to success, Chamberlain captains sayCHAMBERLAIN — Alex Pederson has noticed the impact the Chamberlain girls’ basketball team is making in town.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
CHAMBERLAIN — Alex Pederson has noticed the impact the Chamberlain girls’ basketball team is making in town.
The senior guard is one of three team captains who will take the floor tonight when the Cubs play Pine Ridge in the first round of the Class A state tournament. The game is at 7:45 p.m. at Watertown Arena.
Pederson — who averages eight points, three rebounds and four steals per game — said she’s noticed more people showing up at Chamberlain’s games this year because of its successes. Chamberlain fans have been able to watch a successful team that has lost only once, a three-point defeat to Parkston in the first game of the season.
“It means a lot to the team and the town,” Pederson said of the team’s 19-game win streak and 21-1 record. “The girls’ basketball team hasn’t had a good record like this in a while.”
So what’s been the main factor in producing 21 wins this season?
Balance, Pederson says, and the team’s other two captains, Kennedy Wagner and Jaymee Knippling, agree.
“We have so much athleticism,” said Wagner, who averages a team-high 14 points and five assists per game. “If it’s not one person, someone else is having a wonderful night.”
The Cubs have six players who average at least 7 points per game. After Wagner, Knippling averages 9 points and 7 rebounds, Pederson and Corrina Reuer average 8 points and Logan Pickner and Abbey Handel each average 7 points per game.
“When teams are playing zone on us, we have guards to shoot it,” Knippling said. “And when teams are playing man, we have posts who can go down low and score. It makes us hard to defend.”
Because this is the first state tournament for any of the players on the team, Pederson expects some nerves in today’s first round.
The last time a Chamberlain girls’ basketball team qualified for the state tournament was in 2005.
The only other time the school qualified in girls’ basketball was in 1990. The team’s current 19-game win streak and 21 total wins on the year are both school records. The Cubs will be looking to extend both of those numbers today against Pine Ridge, which is 21-1.
“We’ll be ready,” Pederson said. “We wanted this really bad, and now when we’re there we’re just going to play our best.”