Nickerson Girls Basketball – Salina Chamber Team of the Month

By Matt Browning

The Nickerson girls basketball team was selected as the Wichita-area team of the month, which performed well in the Salina-area.

The Panthers defeated Smoky Valley 52-35 on February 11th, which was their fourth victory out of a six-game winning streak.

“We have had several tough games in February,” Nickerson coach Jon McLean said. “Most of those games we just hung tough and got through some rough spots in the game and then made the right plays in the fourth quarter to come out with a victory. Our defense has been pretty good to keep us in the games. When our offense clicks we can be really tough to beat.”

Nickerson jumped out to a 14-5 lead after the first quarter and led 28-13 going into halftime. In the second half, the Panthers never let Smoky Valley get back into the game, maintaining a double-digit lead.

Josie McLean led the Panthers in scoring with 23 points, while post player Ava Jones chipped in with 13.

What makes Nickerson a threat in Class 4A is the amount of balance they have on their roster. Four players average at least eight points per game.

“This team has excellent size with two 6’2 post players in (Ava) Jones & Morgan Stout,” McLean said. “There are not many high school teams with the kind of size we have. We also have very good guard play with (Josie) McLean, Kieryn Ontjes, and Madison Ontjes. All three have pretty good ball handling and shooting skills.”

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