Eager to assist
Hastings St. Cecilia’s Morgan Nikkila isn’t your typical power forward.
While it comes as no surprise that Nikkila entered the state tournament second on her team in rebounding (5.1 per game) and blocked shots (31), the 6-foot junior was far and away the Hawkettes’ leader in assists (126) and steals (67). In fact, Nikkila already owns St. Cecilia’s single-season assists record.
“Sometimes I like to drive and kick it out when I don’t have the shot,” said Nikkila, who scored 14 points and had two assists in Friday’s 52-42 state tournament semifinals win over Hershey. “I know we have a lot of great shooters on our team who can do it better than I can, so I just look to kick it out to them.
“Getting assists is not something I’m trying to do, but I just see them open, so I hit them and they make it for me.”
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No letting up
Despite posting a 26-point district-final victory over Homer, Crofton coach Aaron Losing said he wasn’t concerned about his team being overconfident for Friday’s rematch in the Class C-2 state tournament semifinals at Pershing Center.
“Our girls understood that the last time we played (Homer), we played about as clean and as perfect of a game as we could’ve played,” Losing said. “Everything went in for us that night. We were prepared for a game today where if the shots didn’t fall and we didn’t play perfect basketball, we were going to have to grind out a win.”
No. 1-rated Crofton (26-0) started Friday’s contest shooting 3-of-16 from the floor in the first quarter, but hit 51.6 percent (16-of-31) over the final three quarters to pull away for a 54-36 victory over the second-rated Lady Knights (24-4).
— Terry Douglass