EXETER, NE – Exeter-Milligan has been here before.
The Timberwolves (13-1) girls’ basketball team has had winning seasons every year for over a decade, and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
It’s been eight years, though, since E-M has had this many wins at this point in the year.
The Wolves have typically started well. 12-2 last year, 10-3 in 2016-17, 11-3 in 2015-16 and so on.
The last time a start was this good statistically? 2010-11. The Wolves started 16-0, and finished 24-2.
A 42-39 loss to Howells in the first round of the state tournament ended that season surprisingly early.
After another first-round loss at state against Friend in 2012, Exeter-Milligan has since made it back to the state tourney each of the last two years.
The results: 4th place in 2016-17 and 3rd in 2017-18.
This year, Exeter-Milligan, like everyone else in the state, hopes to go all the way.
There’s still a lot of season left, but senior shooting guard Kate Jansky’s leadership and performance on the court has vaulted the Timberwolves to the top of the charts in Class D2.
The 5-foot-8 senior shot lights out to start the season, scoring 83 points in the first three games and sinking 15 of her first 27 three-point attempts.
Through the first 14 games, Jansky continues to shine. She now leads Class D2 in scoring (20.2 ppg) and in three-pointers made (38-of-103 attempts).
This recent shooting success didn’t come free.
“We’d come in and lift every morning (in the summer),” Jansky said, “and when we were done lifting, we’d go into the gym with (assistant coach Sara Lincoln), and we’d put up either 100-200 shots. Whatever we had time for every morning.”
Jansky has scored 20 or more points six times this season, but Meridian limited her to a season-low 11 points on Monday. The Mustangs kept E-M in check much of the night, holding the Wolves to a season-low 31 points.
Still, Jansky and her team emerged victorious, 31-28.
“We could have done a lot better job, but overall I think that game helped us in the long run with our defense,” Jansky said.
That win set up a high-profile meeting with Class C2 contender Freeman on Thursday night at the auditorium in the MUDECAS A Division semifinals.
Jansky and her team again proved up to the challenge, topping the No. 4 Falcons 39-31.
“(Freeman) is taller than us,” Janksy said. “They’re also longer than us, like wingspan. So, we had to be careful with our passes. They run man and 3-2 (zone) defense, so we had some plays to run against them to score some points.”
The Timberwolves now face No. 6 Sterling (11-3) in the A Division championship. The Jets, winners of four in a row, have already stunned No. 3 BDS 44-37, and then No. 2 Falls City Sacred Heart, 25-23, in overtime Thursday.
Whatever happens on Friday and beyond, 11th-year head coach Jackson Krejci feels that his team is prepared to finish strong, and get back to the big stage in Lincoln.
Jansky, along with fellow senior Katherine White (9.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg), have been paving the way.
“We have two good leaders in Kate Jansky and Katherine White that have really helped the younger ones out,” Krejci said. “We’ve been off to a good start, but with MUDECAS, the schedule starts to get a little more difficult.”
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @Tommy_NCN.
Interview with Kate Jansky (before Freeman game):