Thursday, February 22, 2024

Exira-EHK girls fall in Regional Final to Westwood

(From our sister station KJAN) The Exira-EHK Spartans girls basketball team will miss out on a trip to state after a cold night of shooting resulted in a 55-35 loss Wednesday night to the Westwood Rebels.

The Spartans realized quickly that they had their work cut out for them with the size of Westwood’s three forwards all being six feet or over. The Rebels came out of the gate scoring first with a jump shot in the low post. The Spartans responded with a Jaelynn Petersen lay up, but then watched Westwood go on multiple runs in the first to go up 15-7 at the end of the quarter. Then in the second quarter the shooting slowed down for Taryn Petersen as she was limited to six points in the first half, having difficulty scoring around the basket. The Rebels continued to utilize their size and continued to focus on feeding the ball inside and Exira-EHK seemed to have no response as Westwood went into halftime with a 25-14 lead.

At the start of the second half Coach Petersen had the Spartans come out in a new defensive look focusing on a full court press and traps. The new defensive strategy worked forcing turnover after turnover, but on the offensive end of the floor Exira-EHK still couldn’t connect their shots.  So, with a plethora of turnovers and a few made threes, Westwood firmly held on to their lead at the end of the third being up 35-22.

The fourth quarter saw little change for style of play for both teams as the Rebels looked to Addy Johnson and Ashlyn Davis for points inside the paint. Without a player to match up in size and the normally deadly accuracy from Taryn Petersen, Exira-EHK had to watch the clock wind down with Westwood celebrating a 55-35 victory.

When reflecting on the outcome of the game, Spartans Head Coach Tom Petersen was impressed by the defensive grit his team showed in the second half.


Exira-EHK was led the loss by 21 points from Jaelynn Petersen, 13 from Taryn Petersen, and Hannah Nelson chipped in one. This year’s group put in a lot of great effort, but Hannah Nelson is one senior that Coach Petersen looks back on proudly.


Westwood’s leading scorer was Addy Johnson with 19 and second was Ashlyn Davis scoring 15. With the victory, the Rebels improve to 21-0 and will start State Tournament play on Wednesday. When asked about the future, Coach Petersen is optimistic about next year’s team.


The Spartans now finish with a  16-7 record on the season.


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