NELSON — Lawrence-Nelson’s volleyball team had a magical year. The No. 1-seeded Raiders seemed destined for a spot in the Class D-2 championship match in early November, but were derailed in the semifinals by Humphrey St. Francis, who eventually lost to Bruning-Davenport/Shickley in the final.
Playing in its first state tournament since 2015, Lawrence-Nelson was bounced to the consolation match, and swept Wynot with ease for a third-place finish.
The Raiders were a senior-laden group on the volleyball court, and virtually all of the players on that team will hope to provide the same success on the basketball court this winter.
Lawrence-Nelson went 20-5 last basketball season, falling one win short of a state tournament appearance, which would have been the first since 2011. The Raiders lost their district championship in Class D-1 to Elkhorn Valley 49-41.
All five of the teams L-N lost games against last season made the state tournament in their respective classes. This season, the Raiders drop down to D-2, where they spent the volleyball season.
Five seniors will play huge roles for the Raiders.
Kargian Drudik leads all returners in scoring after averaging 10.9 points in 21 games last season. She also recorded a team-best 63 steals. Taylor Harrington also averaged double-digit scoring with 10.7 points. She finished with a team-leading 72 total assists and was second with 59 steals. Hallie Epley scored 6.3 points per game and brought in 5.8 rebounds per game. Annie McCartney was third on the team in steals (43) and averaged 5.7 points. Allison Miller chipped in three points and just under three rebounds per game.
Emily Miller, a junior, and Emma Epley, a sophomore, also return with plenty of varsity experience. The pair appeared in 24 and 21 games, respectively. Miller averaged 3.9 points and 4.1 boards while Epley averaged about one of each.
“Our team is returning a lot of varsity minutes this year,” L-N head coach Andy Peterson said. “Hopefully our confidence is high this year, since our girls now know how good we can be. Making it to district finals last year should help motivate us to take it to the next level. “
The Raiders won 20 games last year for just the second time in school history. Their season starts Dec. 6 against Red Cloud.