DORCHESTER, NE – The Meridian Mustangs opened its season last year with the boys and girls delivering double-digit victories on their home floor in Daykin.
Meridian did the same this year, spoiling the Longhorns’ home opener on Friday night.
The Lady Mustangs (1-0) won 32-22, while the boys (1-0) were victorious, 45-19.
It was a slow build, as Meridian led by six at the end of the first, by eight at halftime and then by 16 entering the fourth.
Dorchester refused to quit, however. The Longhorns switched to a full-court press defense, limiting the Mustangs to just two points in the final eight minutes, but 20 turnovers was ultimately too much for the Longhorns to overcome.
Junior Josiee Sobotka led Meridian with a game-high 11 points, including two made three-pointers. Fellow junior and all-state volleyball star Halle Pribyl was close behind with 10 points, including one three-pointer.
Dorchester’s lone player to score double figures was sophomore Jacee Zoubek. She scored 10 – nine of those came from beyond the arc. Junior Abigail Plouzek pulled a team-high seven rebounds, two blocks, and scored seven points.
The Longhorns are a bit short-handed in 2018-19. While they return four starters from last season, head coach Brandon Bruha only has seven players on his varsity roster.
No seniors, nor freshmen. Four juniors and three sophomores.
“We didn’t have any freshmen come up,” Bruha said. “We’re all juniors and sophomores with a lot of playing experience. I’m still really excited for the season.”
Much like the girls’ game, both boys teams got off to a sluggish start, with Meridian leading 8-5 after one quarter.
The Mustangs found their groove quickly in the second quarter, outscoring the Longhorns 19-3 in that frame to build a 27-8 halftime lead.
The first half exclamation point came from Meridian junior Payton VanWesten, who nailed a 30-foot three-pointer just seconds before the buzzer. Van Westen ended up with eight points.
Every Meridian starter scored at least seven points, and all 10 of coach Shawn Pohlmann’s players saw action in Friday’s win.
Senior Garrett Klipp, who led his team with 10.9 points per game last season, led the way in the first game of his senior campaign with a game-high 15 points. Klipp was particularly effective in the paint, hitting six layups.
“It’d be nice if he could get about 15 (points) a night and average a double-double per game,” Pohlmann said. “He finds the ball well, he’s quick with the ball, and he reads the defense well when he’s down low.”
Senior Mario Garcia was also impressive, dropping in 13 points – eight of those coming in the third quarter.
Senior Fred Kujat ended up with seven points.
Dorchester stays home Saturday to face College View. Girls play at 6 with the boys to follow at 7:30. Meridian has its home opener Saturday afternoon against Nebraska Lutheran. Girls at 2:30, boys at 4. These start times are weather permitting.
Beatrice @ Columbus
Beatrice girls, 38-24
Beatrice boys, 51-39 (highlights here)
Fairbury @ Lincoln Christian
Lincoln Christian girls, 53-27
Lincoln Christian boys, 80-40
The Jeffs are at Fillmore Central on Saturday afternoon. The girls play at 2, with the boys to follow at 2:30. Ol’ Red 99.5 will have full coverage.
Plattsmouth @ Norris
Norris girls, 51-13
Norris boys, 54-41
HTRS @ Diller-Odell
Diller-Odell girls, 45-40
Diller-Odell boys, 38-34
Friend @ Sutton
Sutton girls, 48-24
Sutton boys, 83-27
Heartland @ Wilber-Clatonia
Heartland girls, 44-20
Wilber-Clatonia boys, 50-25
Silver Lake @ Deshler
Deshler girls, 47-35
Sacred Heart @ Sterling
Sacred Heart boys, 69-42
Osceola @ Exeter-Milligan
Exeter-Milligan boys, 50-27
BDS @ Hampton
BDS girls, 69-44
Hastings @ Crete
Crete girls, 48-25
Hastings boys, 36-30
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