The Cody Fillies basketball team got off to a scorching start to the season with three wins over the weekend at the Re-Max Early Bird Tournament at Campbell County High School in Gillette.
The Fillies beat Scottsbluff, Neb., 66-49 to start the tournament on Thursday. On Friday, Cody took down St. Thomas More of Rapid City 34-25. On Saturday, the Fillies defeated host team Campbell County 57-47 to start the year 3-0.
The Fillies dominated the glass in the opening game against Scottsbluff, and turned stifling defense into offense to jump out early and grab a big lead.
Ally Boysen and Jessa Lynn racked up back-to-back offensive rebounds and put backs midway through the opening frame to get the Fillies ahead 15-0 to start things out.
“Rebounding in general was big all around,” coach Chris Wagner said. “Just playing our style of game was big. We made a few fundamental mistakes, had some ball-handling issues, travels, that we can put on first game mistakes.”
After a Reece Niemann shot to beat the buzzer, the Fillies led 26-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Cody then built a 33-18 lead before halftime.
More offensive boards in the third quarter led to an array of second chance points.
Izzy Rakacokovich connected under the basket and drew the foul late in the third frame. After converting at the line for the 3-point play, the Fillies stretched the lead to 47-25 and then held on for the 16-point win.
“We were all just so excited to finally play,” Radakovich said. “It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been doing open gyms, working on technique and scrimmaging, but it was fun that we could finally play someone else.”
Radokovich finished with 16 points in the game. Molly Hays chipped in 15 points. Boysen added 10 points. Kennedi Niemann and Reece Niemann dropped in eight points apiece. Victory Buck added seven points and Jessa Lynn had two in the win.
The Fillies held St. Thomas More to just two points in the first quarter on Friday to open up a big lead. Cody then held St. Thomas More to two more points in the third on their way to the 11-point win.
“I think our defense really helped us out this weekend,” Kennedi Niemann said. “We have learned these defensive techniques for a long time and have a lot of girls who are just athletic. I think it’s an attitude of wanting to get the ball back. Every girl on the team has that.”
Saturday was a little different story, however, as Campbell County came out hot from the field and managed to secure nearly every loose ball as they jumped out to a 16-10 first quarter lead.
The Fillies started the second frame on a 6-0 run capped by a Reece Niemann offensive rebound and put back to tie things up at 16. She finished the first half with eight points and helped get the Fillies to a 27-22 halftime lead.
“The first quarter was a bit of a struggle,” Wagner said. “We tried some zone against them and tried something new, but we kept our composure, went back to man-to-man, and it took care of itself from there.”
The Lady Camels continued to give the Fillies trouble in the third, but a bucket in transition by Lynn off a steal by Hays helped get Cody a little more comfortable lead at 43-29 with time winding down in the frame.
“Campbell County was a tougher game for sure,” Radakovich said. “But it was nice to play a team that was willing to take it into the paint and battle in there.”
Campbell County opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run before Radakovich connected on a bucket to put the Fillies back up by seven points.
The Fillies turned up the defensive pressure the rest of the way, and Kennedi Niemann connected at the line to help stretch the lead back to double digits late in the third.
Kennedi Niemann then drained a backbreaking shot from deep with 2:08 to go in the game to put the Fillies up 53-41 and help seal the win.
“I don’t think we expected Campbell County to be ready to go like that,” Kennedi Niemann said. “They are a really good team and are going to surprise a lot of people this year.”
Kennedi Niemann finished with 16 points for Cody. Molly Hays dropped in 12 points. Reece Niemann finished with 11 points, Radokovich eight, Lynn six and Boysen four.
Cody will head to Powell on Friday to take on the Lady Panthers. The Fillies host Sheridan on Saturday.
“Sheridan is going to be a really good test for us,” Radakovich said. “This whole weekend was really good to help us prepare for the rest of the season and conference play.”