LADIES CONTINUE WINNING STREAK

By: 
Sonja Karp

Photo by Nicole McFarland/NLJ

MacKenzie “Mack the Gun” Conzelman went an incredible 5-5 from beyond the arc in the Lady Dogies dominating victory over the Lady Outlaws of Rawlins on Saturday. In the two games last weekend, the junior went 10-12 from 3-point land, shooting an unbelievable 83% from downtown. 

Sonja Karp

NLJ Sports Editor

 

“Mack the Knife” has nothing on the Lady Dogies’ MacKenzie Conzelman, who is proving week after week that she is “Mack the Gun” because this junior is a shooter! 

The Lady Dogies’ dominating wins over the Lady Rams of Big Horn on Friday and the Lady Outlaws on Saturday were spearheaded by team efforts of well-executed defense as well as rather unbelievable shooting by Conzelman from beyond the arc. 

In their 53-6 win over Big Horn, Conzelman shot 5-7, and in their 52-12 victory over Rawlins she was a perfect 5-5 from beyond the arc.

“I have no idea how that happens,” Conzelman laughed. “I just stand on the perimeter, catch the ball, and shoot!”

Shooting 83% from 3-point land in two games and 57% overall for the season doesn’t just happen by accident. Conzelman let it slip that she and teammate Jaylen Ostenson get 250 shots up every morning at open gym, and that dedication is paying off for the Lady Dogies.

“Mack was unbelievable over the weekend,” said head coach Chad Ostenson. “Her percentage for the year is unheard of in high school ball, so we’ll just let her keep shooting! You can just see her grinning when she lets them go, so it’s a lot of fun.”  

While Conzelman’s shooting prowess provides a sparkle to the Lady Dogies’ game, it is the stellar defense of the entire team which opened up the running game and, ultimately, those perimeter looks. 

“Our defense is pretty solid,” Ostenson said. “We only gave up 18 points all weekend. Big Horn only scored 6, when the night after they beat Greybull 38-32 and we held Rawlins to only 12 after they had scored 28 against Douglas on Friday.”

The dominating defense of Newcastle created offense all night long on Friday. The Lady Dogies led the Lady Rams 20-0 at the end of the first quarter, and 35-2 at the end of the half. Despite mercy ruling Big Horn at right around the 6:35 mark of the third quarter, Ostenson’s crew was able to extend their lead to 53-2 by the time the fourth quarter began, keeping the Lady Rams off the scoreboard yet again.

“We are working together a lot better this year,” Hunter McFarland explained. “We also have a lot more different defensive sets that we run so we are able to mix it up pretty good.”

Three Lady Dogies ended up in double figures on the night. Conzleman led her team with 15 points, Shelby Tidyman was next with 12 while McFarland added 11 of her own. Ostenson had her first single digit game of the season with 6 points, Bailey Benshoof hit a bucket and one from beyond the arc for 5 and Tiernan Stanton chipped in 4 points to round out the scoring. 

On Saturday, fans saw much of the same as Newcastle took on the Lady Outlaws. Mack the Gun was back in action, hitting a perfect 5-5 from downtown, and the defense of the night before took off right where it had left off. 

The Lady Dogies led at each quarter break — 15-3, 35-5, 50-8 and then 52-12. The mercy rule was once again instituted with around three minutes remaining in the third, and on both nights, the starting five sat for most of the second half and all of the fourth quarter. 

“We have athletes all around who can get up and stay aggressive, and it’s a lot of fun when we are all working together to create turnovers,” Jaylen Ostenson said. “That is really something we work on every week in practice and is one of our main focuses, so that carries over into games.”

“We weren’t out pressing or trapping, though we did run our zone quite a bit against Rawlins,” Coach Ostenson explained. “Our kids buy into our defense, and they get down and work as a team. We have ball pressure, but we also have help when we get beat. We have also recently gotten better at cleaning up the boards.”

To that end, the Lady Dogies were even on the boards against Big Horn and out-rebounded the Outlaws by three. Stanton hauled down 15 rebounds on Saturday against Rawlins.

Rebounding has been a weakness of the Lady Dogies this season, so to improve that aspect of the game, especially on the defensive glass, makes a huge difference. Only allowing your opponent one shot shows when it comes down to the final score.

Ostenson and Conzelman led the team in scoring with 15 points each, Tidyman was next with 9, Stanton had 8, McFarland 3 and freshman Hailey Beastrom pitched in 2 on the day.

The Lady Broncs of Burns come to town on Friday for a makeup cross-conference match-up postponed from the first weekend of the season. The double header will also be senior night for both the Lady Dogies and the Dogies, with girls varsity action beginning at 4:30.

On Saturday, Ostenson’s crew will head to Chadron with varsity tip-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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