Having time in the gym this week has been a welcome opportunity for the Lady Swede basketball team as they prepare for an intense run leading up to the SWC tournament later this month.

On Jan. 7, Gothenburg hosted the McCook Bison in a physical, fast-paced game that saw the Swedes dig deep to find a 52-43 win.

“I think the girls were surprised by how physical the McCook girls came out on defense to start the game,” head coach Kassie Schuett said. “We saw their junior varsity team play pretty physically and get good traps right away on our rebounders which took away from our transition game.”

Schuett said she took some time before the varsity game to point out how aggressive the Bison were in the jv game to ensure the Swedes were ready.

“Once we got into the first few minutes of the game, they started to settle down more and play their game,” she said.

The Swedes stayed steady and held fast to their abilities and game plan to secure the win.

Aubrey O’Hare and Kynlee Strauser each had 15 points and Clara Evert had 10 rebounds.

Ashlyn Richeson had 4 assists.

The Swedes traveled to Centura on Jan. 8 for another tough tilt against the Centurions.

Minor adjustments were made as Gothenburg headed into a road game that turned into a defensive battle.

“Going into Saturday, we wanted to make sure that we had our legs because playing back-to-back is always a little nerve-racking,” Schuett said of the 28-21 win. “Our shooting percentages were pretty poor against Centura, but the girls know that when shooting isn’t going our way we have to up the effort on defense and rebounding and they did a great job of that.”

Gothenburg took control of the game early and stayed in the lead throughout the game, despite having some difficulty getting the buckets to fall.

Ellarey Harm had nine points and Strauser added seven.

Evert and O’Hare each had six points and Richeson dished out four assists.

The Swedes are preparing for two games this week that are sure to test them in a number of ways.

The Cozad Haymakers come to town on Jan. 13 and Schuett said that the Swedes are not relying on past meetings as a foundation for practice.

“Cozad is a much improved team from last year,” she said. “They are quick and are playing more man defense than they have played in the past. They seem to be very scrappy on defense and on offense they are showing they’ve got some girls that are shooting pretty good from the outside.”

On Jan. 14, Gothenburg travels to Imperial to take on a tough Chase County team.

“Chase County is going to be a very tough team as they are every year,” Schuett said. “We are going to continue to fine tune things offensively against man defenses and focus on controlling the pace of the game.”

The Jan. 13 games against Cozad will tip off at 4:30 p.m. at Gothenburg High School beginning with the junior varsity contest.

That game will be live-streamed on the Gothenburg Activities YouTube Channel found at https://www.youtube.com/c/GothenburgActivities.

On Jan. 14, the Swedes travel to Imperial to take on the Chase County Longhorns at Chase County High School with the jv game beginning at 5 p.m.

That game will be live streamed on the Chase County Sports YouTube channel found at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtG3OV7VgyiF5_6DXJr9FSA.

Contact Rebecca Steward at rebecca@syndicatepub.com or call 308.537.9498